Friday, May 02, 2008
Living in the Twilight Zone
Golden Earring's Chorus for The Twilight Zone goes as follows:
Now I'm steppin' into the Twilight Zone
This is a madhouse
Feels like being home
My feet they can't move
Under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I've gone too far
Now why, you may ask, am I bringing up that chorus and The Twilight Zone?
I am a huge Twilight Zone fan, catching old episodes whenever I can on the local independent television station. I will not be so arrogant to say that I have caught every episode in my lifetime, but I have seen a great many of them. A couple of nights ago I caught an episode that sent a chill down my spine. The episode of The Twilight Zone was "The Obsolete Man," with Burgess Meredith (Watch the full episode here). The opening narration is as follows:
You walk into this room at your own risk, because it leads to the future; not a future that will be, but one that might be. This is not a new world: It is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advancements, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: Logic is an enemy, and truth is a menace. This is Mr. Romney Wordsworth, in his last forty-eight hours on Earth. He's a citizen of the State, but will soon have to be eliminated, because he's built out of flesh and because he has a mind. Mr. Romney Wordsworth, who will draw his last breaths in the Twilight Zone.
The main character, Romney Wordsworth (Burgess Meredith), is a person that has been found to be "obsolete" by The State because he is not needed by society anymore. And because he is guilty of the crime of being obsolete, he is prosecuted by The Chancellor, and is sentenced to death.
In his daily life Mr. Wordsworth is a carpenter. Secretly, he is a librarian, a practice that is punishable by death. Also, he believes in God, another crime punishable by death.
After his sentencing, Wordsworth is given the choice of method of execution. He requests, also, that he be allowed to not disclose his method of death, and for the execution to be broadcast live on television. The requests are honored, and Wordsworth is sentenced.
Note the name of the main character. Romney Wordsworth. Appropriate considering his hobby as a librarian. Also note this daytime occupation: Carpenter. Considering that Mr. Wordsworth in this episode of The Twilight Zone is a man of faith, the connection is obvious. And Mr. Wordsworth spends a large portion of his final moments reading from a Holy Bible which he retrieves from a hiding place (apparently the Bible is illegal as well).
As the episode proceeds, while Wordsworth's final hours are broadcast live to the nation, the chancellor is invited by Wordsworth to come to his apartment (Wordsworth's choice location for his death) for a short discussion. What the chancellor does not realize is Wordsworth ensures that the chancellor is locked in the room with him. Then Wordsworth reveals his choice method of execution, and this chosen method is by bomb, a device which has been hidden in the room and is set to go off when the clock reaches midnight.
Wordsworth is calm as death approaches, and his intention is to show the nation how a man of God faces death. As he reads verses from his Bible, he points out that the State will risk losing face by trying to rescue a high-ranking chancellor. As the time winds down, Wordsworth’s calm acceptance of death stands in sharp contrast with the chancellor’s increasing panic, and eventual outburst, "In the name of God, let me out!"
Wordsworth immediately obliges, saying, "Yes, chancellor, In the name of God, I will let you out."
Wordsworth knows he is not obsolete as he dies. His personal freedom was not taken away from him by the totalitarian state, his faith was not rubbed out by the humanistic secular government. His faith in what was written in his Bible is what keeps him going, and he never becomes fearful as death approaches. As death approaches the main character remains firm in his convictions, while the chancellor who claimed all along to be protected by The State became fearful, and panicked.
In the final scene the chancellor, now stripped of his rank for his outcry to God, and his inability to hide his fear, is put on trial for none other than the crime of being obsolete.
The closing narration of The Obsolete Man is as follows:
The chancellor, the late chancellor, was only partly correct. He was obsolete, but so is the State, the entity he worshipped. Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete. A case to be filed under "M" for mankind—in the Twilight Zone.
How chilling is the parallels to today's society. The liberal left desires that The State (big government) be all things to all people. They encourage dependency upon The State through entitlement programs while squashing faith and self-sufficience. Anything not in agreement with their agenda is suppressed (as Creationism is in academia, how discussions of faith are because the Christian faith refuses to accept homosexuality as a valid lifestyle, Pro-Family books and addresses because they defend the family unit). And as this agenda incrementally advances, eugenics peeks over the horizon, and the liberal left's own green agendas stands in the way of their own supposed advancements and religion of saving the planet from ourselves.
How chilling is it that today's society is hell-bent on eliminating God, eliminating faith, and suppressing scriptural teachings and values. The commonalities between The Obsolete Man and the path our society is on is chilling, indeed.
Also note the following: The Obsolete man aired during the second season of The Twilight Zone in 1961, two years before God/prayer was removed from the public school system by Abington Township School District v. Schempp, June 17, 1963, a case brought about by the activism of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, who founded the group American Atheists in 1963.
Hear commentary about this episode of The Twilight Zone on Political Pistachio Radio.
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