Tag Archives: Twilight Zone

Richard Matheson…

Richard Matheson, who along with Charles Beaumont and series creator Rod Serling wrote most of the classic episodes of The Twilight Zone, died Sunday. My favorite Matheson Twilight Zone script is “The Invader,” which features an amazing pantomime performance by Agnes Moorehead (Bewitched).

A giant (forgive the pun) in science fiction, Matheson wrote “The Enemy Within” episode of Star Trek, which I’ve always enjoyed perhaps because it feels like an installment of The Twilight Zone.

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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Pop Life


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The Country of Pig People..

Zeke Miller wrote about Rick Santorum’s concerning popularity in Iowa:

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and his aides were frantically refreshing laptops and phones to see the results of Saturday’s Des Moines Register poll yesterday evening, results that showed him within striking distance of Mitt Romney, but it probably didn’t matter: The last surging Republican candidate is uniquely ill-suited to snatch the nomination from Mitt Romney.

Miller is right that Santorum won’t win the nomination, but I disagree that it doesn’t matter. It’s frankly as depressing as my high school prom night that a candidate “within striking distance” in Iowa of the likely nominee is someone who, in 2012, says things like this:

“Diversity creates conflict. If we celebrate diversity, we create conflict,” Santorum told the audience in Ottumwa.

Well, that’s not good. It’s also oddly familiar. Where have I previously heard such sentiments expressed?

“I say to you now…I say to you now that there is no such thing as a permissive society, because such a society cannot exist! They will scream at you and rant and rave and conjure up some dead and decadent picture of an ancient time when they said that all men are created equal! But to them equality was an equality of opportunity, an equality of status, an equality of aspiration! And then, in what must surely be the pinnacle of insanity, the absolute in inconsistency, they would have had us believe that this equality did not apply to form, to creed. They permitted a polyglot, accident-bred, mongrel-like mass of diversification to blanket the earth, to infiltrate and weaken! Well, we know now that there must be a single purpose! A single norm! A single approach! A single entity of peoples! A single virtue! A single morality! A single frame of reference! A single philosophy of government! We cannot permit… we must not permit the encroaching sentimentality of a past age to weaken our resolve. We must cut out all that is different like a cancerous growth! It is essential in this society that we not only have a norm, but that we conform to that norm. Differences weaken us. Variations destroy us. An incredible permissiveness to deviation from this norm is what has ended nations and brought them to their knees. Conformity we must worship and hold sacred. Conformity is the key to survival.”
The Twilight Zone, “Eye of the Beholder”

I often think of this “Twilight Zone” episode when I hear Santorum, or Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry rant against homosexuality. Donna Douglas’s character is seeking a “cure” for her “condition,” one that causes no harm to those who wish to marginalize her. Her “crime” is being different, and as we see, there’s no “cure” for that. Douglas is revealed to be beautiful underneath the bandages, and her tormentors ugly. But there’s more to it than that. What writer Rod Serling was really saying is that we become twisted, inhuman when we refuse to see the worth of others.

Even if Romney — who is hardly a champion of diversity but at least his primary residence is the planet Earth — wins on Tuesday, the majority of votes will be cast for Santorum, Bachmann, Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. These are all votes cast to make the United States a country of pig people.

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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Political Theatre, Pop Life


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“Nothing changes on New Year’s Day”…

I am historically depressed on the first day of the year. Perhaps it’s the feeling of getting closer to death. As I kid, I’d wonder, “Is this the year I’ll die?” I would envision my tombstone: Stephen Robinson, 1974 – 1986. No one cared. That was in the simpler days when I had no real enemies. Twenty years later, the tombstone would have read, Stephen Robinson, 1974 – 2006. Someone is laughing.

When I was younger, New Year’s was a let down because school usually started again the next day. Two weeks off from school when you’re a pre-teen is long enough for you to think it will
never end.

New Year’s is also the last real holiday for what seems like months. Valentine’s Day is not a day off and it’s rather insular. There are no Valentine’s Day parties. It’s the day when single women are depressed, and single men don’t realize how lucky they are to be able to ignore it.

January kicks off weeks off winter that don’t aren’t offset by Christmas songs. I’m usually glad to see the Christmas songs go but I wish winter went with them. Winter is like the obnoxious friend of the holidays who lingers at the party after its more charming companion has long since left.

But the day is not over yet, so I can comfort myself in my two New Year’s traditions — listening to U2’s “New Year’s Day” and watching the “Twilight Zone” marathon on SyFy. I gave up cable TV along with my less destructive crystal meth addiction, but I can still participate thanks to YouTube and iTunes.

Happy New Year,
Stephen Robinson
1974 – 2012

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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Social Commentary


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Even in heaven, someone has to be the raccoon…

Even in heaven, someone has to be the raccoon…

My views on the afterlife were greatly influenced by a 1962 episode of “The Twilight Zone.” In “The Hunt,” Hyder Simpson (a backwoods version of Homer Simpson) and his dog Rip die while chasing after a raccoon. They wind up wandering down a metaphorical road through eternity where Simpson almost stumbles into hell if not for loyal Rip. Eventually, they meet a young angel who takes them both to heaven, where he promises Simpson there’ll be plenty of raccoon hunting.

My first thought when I originally saw the episode almost 30 years ago was “What kind of awful heaven is this for raccoons? They get to spend eternity with dogs and hillbillies getting their jollies shooting them for sport?” It occurred to me that even in heaven, someone has to be in hell, because in a twist on Sartre, everyone’s pleasures in life requires someone’s torment. There’s probably plenty of maids in heaven, tidying up the palatial homes the wealthy will inhabit. And in an out-of-the-way section of heaven, poor kids will work 20 hours a day to produce the limitless supply of fashionable clothing people will wear and the electronics they’ll use to pass the time. This is how we define heaven here in the U.S. Why would we expect it to change in the after life?

And if it did, if everyone lived simply and peacefully without rampant consumerism and materialism, most people would find it intolerable. They can’t imagine life without ‘coon hunting. Can you?

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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Social Commentary


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