Tuesday, August 24, 2010
We Have Just Entered The Twilight Zone...
"I happen to think that the singular evil of our time is prejudice. It is from this evil that all other evils grow and multiply." -- Rod Serling
This is important to me. Up until now I have tried to keep the focus of this blog on film and filmmaking with an emphasis on story construction. And this post will not stray too far from that, but you will get a view of my politics that I have mostly left out of this blog. I may alienate some people, but I am willing to take that chance.
I believe deep in my heart that stories exist to teach us. I go into this in great detail in my second book The Golden Theme, which will be out before the month is out, if all goes smoothly.
I believe that our stories contain the collective wisdom of everyone who has ever lived.
Why do I bring this up? Because I think there is a story that we need to pay attention to right now. Like all good stories, it is timeless and so appears to be timely.
You don’t have to read many of my posts to know what a hero Rod Serling is to me. In 1955 there was a very famous lynching of a black teenager named Emmett Till. This lynching shocked the nation and Rod Serling wanted to write a television play about it.
The sponsors were so worried about the Southern response to the story that they edited Serling's script beyond recognition.
Serling wanted to tell stories that mattered. He decided to make his points in an indirect fashion and created his classic television show The Twilight Zone.
Now, if you are a regular reader of this blog you know all of this. I bring it up because of something that happened this weekend at an anti-Muslim rally in New York. This was a rally about the Islamic community center planned two blocks from Ground Zero, which has been erroneously dubbed “The Ground Zero Mosque.”
At this rally a man was harassed and accused of being a Muslim by an angry, hateful crowd.
This reminded me so much of one of the most insightful Twilight Zone episodes: “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.”
I suggest that you please watch it and see if you can tell how little we have changed since Mr. Serling wrote this mini-masterpiece fifty years ago. See if you notice how little we have learned to see the humanity in our neighbor – and how quickly we turn to anger, hatred and suspicion.
It’s high time we grew up.
“We have met the enemy and he is us.” – Walt Kelly in his Pogo comic strip
Patterns : the complete scripts of four famous television plays : Patterns, the Rack, Old Macdonald, Requiem for a Heavyweight