Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trump Lives In The Twilight Zone (And Now So Do We)

As we try to comprehend what is happening to this country, we turn to the past and to popular culture. This is like that. Trump is like Hitler because he is a racist, authoritarian hate monger…or he isn’t like Hitler because he isn’t a vegetarian. I posted about how this surreal moment reminds me of the final scene in Rosemary’s Baby.

For a while though I have mostly been thinking that Donald Trump is like a child. A spoiled child. And now a very powerful spoiled child.

Like the one played by Bill Mumy in that episode of Twilight Zone, “It’s a Good Life” from November 1961. The episode takes place in an imaginary town called Peaksville, Ohio. Apt that it should take place in Ohio, because that is where a lot of Trump’s mojo came from this year.

Watch this episode here, on Hulu

In this episode it’s not a wonderful life, it’s only a good life, and that description is entirely ironic. Except irony isn’t allowed in Peaksville. No opposing opinions. No comments or criticisms. And no bad vibes directed at little Anthony Fremont, because bad vibes are punishable by death. You are only allowed to have nice thoughts about this red haired six year-old because he can’t stand for anyone to think differently than he does. And he's vicious. He punishes disagreement with sudden humiliating death. But, like Trump, he is distractible, so the adults around him try desperately to distract him and please him. They are his hostages, again like how we feel right now with Trump. We are all hostage to his moods, his whims, his vindictiveness, his thin skin, his irrational swings this way and that. And he is on the verge of becoming the most powerful man in the world.

The closing words delivered by Mr. Serling could just as well be about the world after November 8th, 2016. (Members of the press take note.)

"No comment here, no comment at all. We only wanted to introduce you to one of our very special citizens, little Anthony Fremont, age 6, who lives in a village called Peaksville in a place that used to be Ohio. And if by some strange chance you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet Anthony, you can be sure of one thing: you have entered The Twilight Zone."

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