Sunday, January 03, 2010

As is often the case, I spent New Years watching several Twilight Zone episodes (yearly marathon). While watching "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" episode, it occurred to me that much of this past decade could be distilled in this short study of paranoia and the human condition. Introduce some unknowns, then sit back and watch it happen. Watch "the monsters" take over.

In fact, the main theme of many a Twilight Zone episode is fear and the ugly effect(s) it has on us. Regular folk are shown in everyday lives, and then the fear begins to take hold, amplify and spread, and before you know it people become unglued and mayhem erupts.

I wonder what Rod Serling would've said about the fear-mongering perpetrated over the last several years. I believe he'd find it beyond shameful, but I don't think it would shock him in the least. If anything, he was trying to warn us, to not succomb to mindless fear, to resist acting irrationally driven by anxiety. But as much as we repeatedly watch TZ episodes again and again, year after year, it's as if we willfully overlook the larger, more meaningful underlying messages.

I don't know what's more frightening, the fact that many of us have given in to the scare tactics employed since 2002, or that we've neglected to heed the warnings conveyed by those before us (such as Serling and Orwell, to name two). In either case, ignorance is the common culprit.

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