Violence does not spring from a vacuum. It’s born out of other men’s violence It gets nurtured and it grows in a soil of prejudice and of hate and of bigotry.
I found this quote on Meta. It is a post from Rod’s daughter, Anne, who was sharing…As I knew him: My dad Rod Serling.
I grew up on the original Twilight Zone. It was my favorite show. It took the interesting twists in life and science fiction and positioned small morality plays in tiny microcosms, each with its own lesson for us to absorb. To this day, I am sure I could rattle off 20 of the episode storylines without much thought.
In particular, “It’s a Good Life – A Very Bad Man,” tells the story of a little boy tyrant to whom everyone becomes a sycophant, because they fear his wrath. This one has been top of mind since the results of the 2016 election. Take a look below and see if you see the same parallels that I do.
That episode embodies what I believe Rod’s aphorism for today represents to me. It is the cumulative effect of fear and the resulting catastrophic results when a society is cowering in the face of a child coward with way too much power. Watching it play out in real life and trying to understand how such a buffoon could co-opt an entire political party was both fascinating and terrifying to me.
Listening to the hearings and testimony about the meetings with co-conspirators, Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, Rudy Giuliani, Pat Cipollone and others in the Oval Office on December 18, feels very much like this episode to me. Listening to the testimony of witnesses talking about numerous times where the White House staff had to clean up a broken dish and ketchup on the walls…from a plate having been hurled against that wall, also delivers segments of this episode to me.
Most important, the essence of today’s aphorism describes exactly where this country is going completely wrong. Bigotry against LGBTQ people, or people who practice a religion you do not understand or come from a part of the world you do not understand is substantially on the rise since 2016. It has given a quiet authorization to people who quietly harbor those inner hatreds to express them openly and allow those feelings to further express themselves in others. That is what Rod is warning us about here in this aphorism and in his remarkable show.
The Illusion Factory was fortunate to work on two of the incarnations of The Twilight Zone as the show continued to have revivals over time. None were as good as the original. We can thank Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz for giving a green light to this remarkable program and allowing geniuses like Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry a chance to bring some of the most thought-provoking content to the homes of millions.
Rod was a landmark in my industry. I am so fortunate to have found his body of work at such a young, impressionable age. He most certainly helped frame my point of reference in viewing the world at large.