Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tools of conquest

"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 the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all 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."

Closing narration by Rod Serling from The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street. Read it again, and hear Rod Serling's voice and delivery.

The story? From here, 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 are seen, 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."

It was written in 1960. It could have been written today.