September 12, 2006

Olbermann Quotes Serling

And long ago, a series called “The Twilight Zone” broadcast a riveting episode entitled “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.” In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm.
Suddenly his car — and only his car — starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man’s lights go on.
As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced.
An “alien” is shot — but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help.
The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials areseen, manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there’s no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, “they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it’s themselves.”
And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight.
“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 its own — for the children, and the children yet unborn.”

When those who dissent are told time and time again — as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus — that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American…
When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have “forgotten the lessons of 9/11”… look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:
Who has left this hole in the ground?

Read it here or watch the video on YouTube.

And while we’re at it, Be Afraid. Some details on the midterm re-elect the Republicans strategy.

Posted by James at September 12, 2006 7:41 AM
Create Social Bookmark Links

Hah! I wrote about this on my blog this morning too!

Posted by: Chuck S. at September 12, 2006 8:31 AM

BTW the "Be afraid" link seems to be broken.

Posted by: Chuck S. at September 12, 2006 8:33 AM

Wow - bad cut and paste! Thanks for the heads up, Chuck.

Posted by: James at September 12, 2006 9:59 AM

The Sci-Fi channel always includes this episode when they do a holiday weekend T-Zone marathon.

Witch hunts and scapegoating go back for so many centuries, and are so easily provoked, that I really do wonder whether there's any hope for humanity. If we, as a group, haven't managed to recognize and control these familiar and well-documented instincts yet, will we ever be able to do so?

Posted by: Julie at September 12, 2006 10:05 AM

The ramp up to the use of tragedy as political tool started this weekend. I was in the shower listening to NPR when a story came on about Cheney et al. talking about the fact that we haven't seen another attack is proof that their policies are right, just, and good.

I stood there yelling at the radio "How do you prove a negative?"

Well, this gentleman must've heard me screaming (Carlisle is close to Stow) and wrote this letter to the Boston Globe today:

Cheney's logic
September 12, 2006
ONE OF the few college textbooks I still have is "Introduction to Logic" by Irving M. Copi. When I read Vice President Cheney's argument that because of the war in Iraq, "there has not been another attack on the United States" ("Cheney defends hard-line role," Page A9, Sept. 11), I pulled that book from the shelf. Sure enough, there it was -- a logical fallacy so old that it has a Latin name (post hoc ergo propter hoc, or "false cause") . The example Professor Copi gives is remarkably apt: "Certainly we should reject the savage's claim that beating his drums is the cause of the sun's reappearing after an eclipse." How sad that so many people still allow themselves to be gulled by sophistical reasoning like Mr. Cheney's.

Posted by: Patti M. at September 12, 2006 1:19 PM

Blunt and to the point. Keith Olbermann's well-chosen words are a shaming long overdue.

Posted by: Patti M. at September 12, 2006 1:36 PM

Copyright © 1999-2007 James P. Burke. All Rights Reserved