The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 16 – Nothing in the Dark

A very old woman lives alone in a condemned building in a run-down area of a city.  And she is afraid of every one she meets so she won’t open her door to anyone.

Outside her apartment she sees a policeman in the alley so she hides in her room.  Shots are fired and a car speeds away.  She hears the voice of a man crying for help.  She tells him to go away and leave her alone.  He tells her that he’s been shot and his name is Officer Harold Beldon and he needs a doctor right away.

The old woman is in a panic.  She is frightened to death of the man but she is moved to help an injured person.  She overcomes her fear and goes to him.  When she touches his shoulder, she is amazed.  She says aloud, “how am I still alive?”  The old lady helps the Officer into her apartment and tries to make him comfortable on the bed and makes him some tea.  Now that she is safe back in her room, she tells the Officer about herself.  She says that one time on a bus she saw a man come up to a very old woman and in the course of picking up something she dropped, he touched her hand and a little while later she died.  At that point she concluded that the man was actually Death there to take the old woman away.  The old woman tells the Officer that a few more time she saw Death take away old people.  Now she avoids everyone because Death can take any form.  But she is miserable.  She loves the sunlight but now lives always in darkness.

Later on, a knock comes at the door and she refuses to open it.  The man at the door says he is a contractor responsible for demolishing the condemned buildings that include the one the old lady lived in.  When she refused to open the door, he brakes it down.  When he enters the room the old lady collapses to the floor.  When she comes to, she is once again amazed that Death has not gotten her.  The contractor tries to comfort her and explains that his job is not evil.  He’s clearing the ground so new homes can be built to replace the worn-out buildings.  The old lady asks Officer Beldon to help her explain to the contractor that she needs to stay inside but the contractor is confused by her words and leaves warning her she must go.

When she thinks about what happened she realizes that the contractor couldn’t see the Officer.  Beldon tells her to look in the mirror and when she does, she can’t see him in the mirror.  Now she knows that he is indeed Death.  In confusion she asks him why he did not kill her when she let him in.  He explains to her that he is not there to hurt or frighten her.  He is only there to guide her to the next phase of her existence.  He implores her lovingly to take his hand and after initial fear she does.  When nothing seems to happen, she is relieved and she asks him when she will die and he asks her to look at the bed.  There she sees her own body in repose.  And now Death says to her, “What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end is the beginning.”  Death leads the old lady out of the darkness into the sunlight.

Gladys Cooper as the old lady and Robert Redford as Death are very good.  The drama is sentimental and emotionally charged but effective.  I enjoyed it.  B+

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 15 – A Quality of Mercy

In the last days of the WW II a platoon of exhausted American GIs is performing surveillance on a mortar team trying to destroy an enemy position inside a cave in the Philippines.  Sgt. Causarano and his men are discussing the weakness of the Japanese force in the cave.  They approximate it to be twenty men most of whom are injured and therefore unlikely to mount any offensive operations against the Americans.  In addition, because of their good defensive position extracting them will definitely require American casualties.  They decide the best strategy is to bypass this target and move onto a more dangerous force that is less difficult to assault.

At this point a new officer arrives to take command of the patrol.  Lt. Katell informs Causarano that he is going to run things by the book and the first order of business is a frontal attack on the cave.  The Sgt. respectfully advises the Lt. that at this late stage of the war a frontal attack on a target that isn’t a threat is overzealous and a waste of American lives.  Katell states that in a war killing the enemy continues from the beginning of the war right until the very end.

The men reluctantly prepare for the assault but just as he is preparing to call the charge Katell drops his binoculars and as he is looking down at them a confusing change occurs.  Instead of being night it is broad daylight and instead of Causarano, the sergeant picking up the binoculars is in a Japanese uniform and is addressing Katell as Lt. Yamuri.   Panicking, Katell (who looks and is dressed as a Japanese officer) bolts away from the Japanese encampment and runs toward a cave.  But as he approaches it an American soldier inside the cave sprays machine gun fire toward him and is answered by a Japanese machine gunner firing back at the cave.

In the next scene Katell/Yamuri is trying to understand what is happening but he is very confused.  He learns from the Sgt. that the year is 1942 and the scene is near the battle of Corregidor in the Philippines.  At that point a senior Japanese officer appears and admonishes Yamuri for not finishing off the American force in the cave.  He tells Yamuri that it is a small force of twenty men, most wounded and would be easily overwhelmed by a frontal assault.  Now it is Yamuri (Katell) trying to convince an officer that bypassing the cave would be prudent.  But the officer accuses him of cowardice or battle fatigue.

As they prepare to storm the cave, the scene shifts back to the American camp in 1945.  But before Katell can get his bearings a messenger announces the dropping of the Hiroshima bomb and orders to suspend hostilities.  After his disorienting experiences Katell seems greatly relieved not to have to pursue the attack he earlier demanded.

As we’ve noted earlier, Rod Serling served in an infantry outfit in the Philippines during WW II.  His disdain for needless loss of human life probably matched the feelings of many men who had served in the war.  The acting in this episode is very good.  I especially enjoyed the characterization of Sgt. Causarano.  His war weary but professional attitude was very appealing.  Dean Stockwell as the Lt. was also good.  Of interest is a cameo as one of the soldiers by Leonard Nimoy in his pre-Spock era.  B+

What’s Right

(My Understanding of the Current Composition of Non-Leftist America)

This is an update to my earlier column back in November 2017 “Defining the Space Between NeverTrump and the Alt-Right,”  that appeared on the American Greatness website.  At the time I declared that I was a red-pilled normie.  Of course, I was quickly corrected by someone surely far to my right with the news that there are many red pills and I had a ways to go.

Here we are another eighteen months later (more or less) and my learning curve has flattened out a little and I have a better understanding of the nuances and distinctions on the non-left half of the socio-political spectrum.  And the world has changed a great deal too.

Back in 2017 the NeverTrumpers were still in the ascendancy in Washington.  Paul Ryan was still the Speaker of the House and the National Review and the Weekly Standard were still considered conservative magazines by some Republicans.  Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham were still more likely to side with Chuck Schumer than President Trump on any particular issue of the day.  And every fresh rumor from the leakers on the Mueller investigation was trumpeted on the front page of the Times and Post as if impeachment and conviction were only hours away.  How the mighty have fallen.

The point to all this is that the categories of the Non-Left have not changed much over time but the sizes of these constituencies have shifted radically.  Let’s start with the left most extreme edge of the Non-Left.  Here are the liberal civic nationalists or “Centrists.”  These are the swing voters that can vote Democrat or Republican depending on circumstances and really don’t have much claim to be grouped with conservatives.  They are socially liberal and fiscally pretty liberal too.  But to the extent that they can vote Republican they are Non-Left.  This is a fairly large group of people in the Mid-West and probably a large number of them would be capable of voting for Joe Biden or President Trump in 2020 depending on circumstances.  But considering the changes in the economy and the news (like the conclusion to the Mueller investigation) it seems likely that President Trump’s rising popularity probably stems from the changes in opinion of this group.  So, to the extent that they are shifting rightwards let’s say that this constituency is growing.

Next to the Centrists moving rightwards are the so-called “Establishment Republicans.”  Here are the business people who expect the Republican party to stand for capitalism, low taxes and fiscal restraint.  This is the JEB! crowd.  They trooped over to the NeverTrump movement en masse as soon as they found out that Trump didn’t think globalization was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  This group doesn’t shrink or grow.  It’s a population that inhabits the same stratum with the elite Left.  In fact, they’re the same people.  They’re just a little less strident in their social opinions.  But they have moved away from their virulent anti-Trump positions as of late and at this point, they’re more neutral in their attitudes about the President.  Personally, they still despise him but on a practical basis they concede that they may have to deal with him for another term and they are trying to figure out how best to take advantage of that.  An exception to this trend is the Neo-Cons.  These War-Hawks are now synonymous with the NeverTrumpers.  Bill Kristol and Max Boot are the most virulent of the bunch but as a group they have drifted so far from even the remaining Establishment Republicans that they are now essentially Leftists.

The next big class of people are the Conservative Civic Nationalists.  This is the bulk of the Non-Left.  These are the normal people who have always believed in God and Country and that America was the land of freedom, opportunity and fairness.  They believed that all Americans were lucky to be living in the greatest country on God’s green earth.  They believed that the rule of law under the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights is what made this the closest thing to heaven on earth and anyone living here should be supremely grateful to the Founding Fathers for inventing it and his own ancestors for coming here.  This is the group that has had the biggest change occur in the last couple of years.  But to define the change let’s break this group into two sub-divisions.  Let’s call them Sleepwalkers and the Red-Pilled.  Back in the early 2000s all the Civic Nationalists (including myself) were Sleepwalkers.  We believed that the Bush family was conservative.  W told us he was a religious conservative.  We thought he meant that he believed in the social conservative beliefs.  We thought he would defend and protect the traditional values that formed the basis of the support that allowed him to send millions of young men half way around the world to primitive lands where they would put their bodies in harms way to fight his wars.

But the more we defended W, the more he embraced the programs and policies that exposed his constituency to impoverishment through globalist financial policies and replacement by illegal migration.  By the time the Bushes had come to publicly embrace the Clintons and the Obamas it was becoming plain to a small part of the Civic Nationalists that we were being played.  This group decamped and became the Dissident Right (some called themselves the Alt-Right).  Others were just confused and demoralized that all the loyalty and sacrifice that went into the Afghan and Iraq Wars was completely lost on the Neo-Cons and the Republican Establishment.  But during the run up to the 2016 election the information that the Dissident Right had decoded started becoming disseminated and a small group of the Civic Nationalists became “red-pilled.”  They realized that if Jeb Bush was the Republican candidate there was no hope of turning around the Anti-American program that Obama had started.  In fact, none of the candidates, even ones who believed in the conservative agenda could stand up to the combination of Left-Wing journalism and their own fears of being called racists if they dared campaign against globalism and replacement migration.  No one except Trump.  And as these red-pilled normies saw the lengths to which the Establishment Republicans and the Left would go in order to defeat Trump they became convinced that the only way to save the country was to destroy the old order.  Business as usual would mean the end of our republic as we knew it.

And here is the other big change that has been happening for the last year and a half.  The ratio of the Red-Pilled to the Sleepwalkers has been growing.  My information is based on the acquaintances I have who have shifted over that time.  It is a steady trend and it only goes in one direction.  This shift isn’t too important short term because even the Sleepwalkers have accepted Trump and will support him in 2020 but the importance of the Red-Pilled contingent lies in the post-Trump era.  The Red-Pilled are far less likely than their Sleepwalking brethren of being fooled again, no more Bushes for them.

To the right of the Red-Pilled Normies lies the Dissident Right.  These are the people that are so disillusioned with America that they feel that the only way for them to live free is for the United States to be divided between the Left and the Right.  To a large extent these folks feel that racial differences and resentment will prevent the various ethnic populations from living in harmony.  They believe that the Left’s use of identity politics will spread to the white population and will splinter the unity of the American nation into racial components that will want to separate to provide each group freedom from oppression by the other groups.

The Dissident Right is a disturbing group to follow.  Their theory paints a bleak picture of human nature and the future they predict doesn’t hold much hope for a happy place where America is now.  But one thing that cannot be denied is that they understand the Left and how it has been dominating the world for about a century.  They understand the psychological and sociological tactics and strategies that the Left has been successfully using to destroy almost every facet of life that we held dear.  They’ve destroyed the laws, education, corporations, social institutions, churches, the family, sex roles and now they are even redefining what it means biologically to be a man or a woman.  They can predict what the Left will say and do and they can define tactics that will work against these people.  That’s pretty hard to argue with.

For myself, I tend to agree with what they say is wrong with our society.  But I presume that if the practices are changed then the result will change too.  For instance, I think that the anti-male, anti-normal and anti-white rhetoric and governmental policies that the Left has enshrined and which breed animosity between people can be eliminated.  Once these things are removed the reasons for resentments will be eliminated too.  But I also will admit that I can’t be 100% sure that they are wrong.  After all they have seen things when others didn’t.  For me the jury is out on their predictions.  But I hold onto my civic nationalist beliefs.

So that’s what I see to the right of the Left.  The biggest chunk is still the Civic Nationalists and, in that chunk, the Red-Pilled Normies are growing and the Sleepwalkers are slowly waking up.  The Centrist are on our side at the moment but as always, they blow with the wind.  The Establishment Republicans are useless and in it for themselves but they’ll go along if a strong man drags them by their purse strings.  The Neo-cons have returned to the Left where they belonged.  And finally, the Dissident Right is the Angry Cynic who sees the Con-Man on the Left shaking down the Idealists and warns the rest of us to prepare for a fight.