March 13, 2020
Have The Monsters Arrived on Maple Street? – ABRIDGED
NOTE: There are TWO versions of this commentary. (1) – An ABRIDGED version I deem appropriate for this page. And – (2) – An UNABRIDGED version for the more provocative SAIDWHAT?. Who says I’m not a considerate fellow?
The Monsters are Due on Maple Street originally aired on March 4, 1960 on CBS. It was Episode 22 of Season One of The Twilight Zone. Written by Rod Serling.
I have referenced this particular episode of The Twilight Zone on several occasions here over the past 20 years. The appropriateness of this 1960s scenario to March 2020 in America should be obvious to all but the most totally oblivious among us.
The premise is “a typical” residential neighborhood in AnyTown USA circa 1960. The comfortable consistencies of their everyday world are “tweaked” – in slight, seemingly inconsequential, ways… AND… CHAOS erupts
Maple Street, U.S.A., late summer. A tree-lined little world of front porch gliders, barbecues, the laughter of children, and the bell of an ice cream vendor. At the sound of the roar and the flash of light, it will be precisely 6:43 P.M. on Maple Street…This is Maple Street on a late Saturday afternoon. Maple Street in the last calm and reflective moment – before the monsters came. … Before the CHAOS ensues.
In the final scene, the camera pans back to a “spaceship” looking down on the chaos. Two silhouetted figures are discussing the scene below.
Figure One: Just stop a few of their machines… disrupt their routine… throw them into darkness for a few hours… With few variations, they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find… AND ITS THEMSELVES. And all we need to do is sit back … and watch.
Figure Two: Is this pattern always the same… this Maple Street… is not unique?
Figure One: Their world is full of Maple Streets. We’ll just go from one to the other and let them destroy themselves… one to the other… one to the other.
Narrator (Rod Serling’s) Voice:... The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices…to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill…and suspicion can destroy…and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own – for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.
In America 1960… CHAOS could be created by simply turning streetlights on / off … turning a lawn mower on / off … an automobile starts up by itself. “Technology 1960” was “stone-age” compared to now – 60 years later.
Today 2020… a “power surge” during a thunderstorm shuts your computer off… and you curse “the city” … “the utility company” … “your internet provider”. You go to make a cellphone call and get a No Service notice… an interruption of only a few moments sends you into a cuss-fit. Suppose you can’t send an e-mail … or a text message … SUPPOSE YOU CAN’T ACCESS FACEBOOK / TWITTER !!! OMG !!!
Compound that with OMG !!! … NO MARCH MADNESS … NO NBA … NO MLB … NO MASTERS. Then there’s the total insanity in the aisle at Wal-Mart over a case of Charmin’. Could even Rod Serling have ever imagined …
If Maple Street 1960 could be turned into a War Zone in 30 minutes … Imagine how vulnerable America – or Western Civilization – The Planet – is today.
We – as a general population – strongly disagree on Whose Fault Everything Is – BUT we are all quite sure “We Know” … Don’t We? Based on your chosen source(s) of (mis)information YOU KNOW … and you are comfortable in that knowledge. I certainly am.
You also KNOW that – depending upon the size of your social / occupational “bubble” – there are aplenty “walking among you” who very aggressively disagree with your conclusions. You do not have to “like them”. You can hold them in utter contempt… but they “walk among us” regardless.
My “social / occupational bubble” is relatively small … other than those of you I interact with on this website. I consider myself very fortunate to have such a circumstance at this point in my life.
My daily escapes are (1) long walks on a woodland “greenway” with a good audible book; and… (2) scrolling thru 100s of pictures of our grandchildren. Not necessarily in that order. I hope you have your ways to “escape”.
How will YOU react When The Monsters Arrive… on Your Maple Street…. If they haven’t already arrived.
NOTE: The UNABRIDGED version of this commentary is available at SAIDWHAT. …. CLICK.
“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; … but he/she that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
– Thomas Paine
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