Friday, April 26, 2013

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

The Monster Are Due on Maple Street (The Twilight Zone)
Imagine a state of total anarchy, the world that PD. James envisioned in Children of Men. What’s happened is that buffeted by continual and unsolved terrorist attacks, society loses it spiritual stamina. It becomes like a fighter who’s experienced a knock down and is unable or unwilling to get up. It’s a little bit like what happened after 9/11 when the very basis of civil society, the constitutional injunctions against cruel and unusual punishment and of due process were suspended. This was the plot of a famous Twilight Zone called "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." At some point along the way fantasy caught up with reality since this is also the story of Zero Dark Thirty, which dramatized the extreme measures used to capture Osama Bin Laden. But let’s say it grows even worse. Let’s say the Boston Marathon and World Trade Center bombings are  just the beginning.  Sports events and public gatherings are no longer safe and the financial world comes to a halt. Inhabitants of Syria and Iraq might say you have just described our lives. But let’s say frustration and starvation grow to biblical extremes with the biblical eye for an eye becoming the law of the land. The middle ages return. Those who are suspected of causing amputations get amputated publicly. The concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt also goes down the tubes. Society becomes a ravenous animal, its thirst for revenge even exceeding its hunger for food. Nameless bombers catalyze nameless revenge with no one even remembering where the cycle of death and destruction begins. Hey come to think of it, isn’t this what happened in Algeria and Northern Ireland. Isn't this precisely what's happening in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip today?

1 comment:

  1. jylle benson-gaussApril 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Thank you!
    One of the great ironies about the opposition to hydrofracking (issues of pollution of water/air and the consequent illnesses, ugly industrialization of rural areas) is that this is precisely what we (meaning USA-based oil companies) are already doing and have been doing in other areas of the world for decades. See the documentary 'Crude' at
    My first reaction to the Boston Marathon bombing was, "so this is how it felt in England during the 'troubles' with Northern Ireland."
    Thank you for helping to remove the blinders we Americans have been wearing for so long, and presenting some of the possible outcomes of our actions. We're not the only country whose self-serving actions have had horrific consequences elsewhere. By studying history (and the present) with our eyes wide open we can, perhaps, make better choices and insist on more reasonable, humane policies.


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