I find it very hard to believe that anyone really likes to habitually play imperial stormtrooper. The helmets directly refer to German WWII helmets after all. There is a perfectly visible reference to the real Nazis right there.
But you'd recognize that liking to play dress-up as fake space nazis who fired imaginary lasers at actors who then fell over to indicate they are dead is not quite the same as liking the National Socialist German Worker's Party and believing in their program of lebensraum and ethnic cleansing.
Zombies are only acceptable as symbolic of deeply felt fears. They are only familiar from previous movies and books, just as starships are only familiar from previous movies and books
This is true. But a typical starship story involves a lot more than a mere starship. Take the cast of the original Star Wars, which includes a cybernetic dictator and a hairy alien. The setting: Exotic and foreign planets, a gigantic space station, a run-down smuggling vessel.
The characters in zombie apocalypse fiction can tend towards the lurid or ridiculous, but they're not far removed from your standard pulp types - serial killers, psychopaths, etc. The locations are named places which exist in reality, typically ones familiar to the creator (hence, obviously, why most American zombie stories take place in America).
"Liking Firefly is not the same thing as believing in Dunning School history and ascribing to a Neo-Confederate world view." Obviously this is true. But this is like saying you're only a racist if you're a dues paying member of the Klan or the Nazis.
It's just a matter of degrees, stj
. People can have bad ideas reinforced by fiction, and fiction can hold to bad ideas. But people are able to enjoy said fiction without accepting those ideas. If say someone loves Firefly and believes in the Lost Cause mythology, there's probably relation between these two facts. (It's obvious that some of Orson Scott Card's politics influence why he likes Firefly so much). But it's the latter that is the serious fault here, and doing the former does not assure the latter.
So yes, criticizing works for behaving overtly or covertly to reinforce abhorrent narratives is fair game (and honestly one of the more important and entertaining kinds
of criticism to read). But enjoying those works is not necessarily
the same as agreeing to those narratives.