Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The Plot Against America

There are many Twilight Zones in which an individual nightmare becomes a collective experience. “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” (March 4, 1960) is just one example. A groundless rumor of an alien invasion becomes an inquisition. Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” which appeared in the June 26, 1948 edition of The New Yorker is similar, a writer’s waking nightmare of institutionalized insanity becoming an imaginative reality. Neither Rod Serling nor Shirley Jackson could probably have dreamt up an apocalyptically contentious presidential election amidst a pandemic with trucks full of goons cruising through towns and even going so far as surrounding the opposition’s campaign bus. Call the police? The hijackers may be member of the Oath Keepers, a right wing organization made up of former cops and military. In the case of the town of Northport on Long Island,  a member of a Trump caravan thought nothing of pulling out a gun to subdue a heckler (and it was the heckler who was arrested) The German SS created a similar atmosphere of intimidation. Is this America or some alternate universe where the Axis powers have really been holding sway like say Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle or Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America?

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