12/12/19: FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES – THE ROAD TO GERONTICIDE
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
The other day we got a call from Bill Mumy’s manager—Ron was excited to tell me that Bill was interested in appearing on the show to talk about a music project he was involved with. Many people may not know that Bill Mumy is one of the founders of the group, Barnes and Barnes – the guys who brought is the song Fish Heads from the Dr. Demento Show.
I was excited because Mumy played Will Robinson in the TV show, Lost in Space and Lennier in the space saga, Babylon 5.
However, there was one role you may not remember him playing – he played a 6 year old boy named Anthony Freemont in the episode of the Twilight Zone called “It’s a Good Life.”
“It’s A Good Life” is one of those famous Twilight Zone episodes; one of those episodes where it’s hard to find much to say that hasn’t already been said. It is one of those episodes where Rod Serling steps out of the fog to tell us in his dry voice that there is yet another monster that we will be acquainted with.
However, this monster is isolated in a small Ohio town and is a young boy. It is one of those horrific twists where a child is the face of evil where adults become the scapegoat for all of his problems – Anthony has what can be determined to be “godlike” powers.
He creates horrible creatures, such as three-headed gophers, which he then kills. Everybody is under his rule, even his parents. The people live in fear of him, constantly telling him how everything he does is “good,” since he banishes anyone thinking unhappy thoughts into the otherworldly cornfield from which there is no return. Never having experienced any form of discipline, Anthony does not even understand that his actions are wrong, and is confused when his father tells him that the neighbors are reluctant to let their children play with him after he banishes several of his playmates to the cornfield.
One night each week, Anthony gives the townsfolk one hour of television, which he creates and projects onto the family TV set. The adults gather around in the Fremonts’ living room, squirming uncomfortably as Anthony shows them a vision of screaming dinosaurs, engaged in a gory battle. Unable to voice their real feelings, they tell Anthony that it was far better than what used to be on TV.
Eventually during a birthday party one of the adults snaps and calls the child a monster and a murderer.
While Anthony’s anger grows, one of the adults suggests that someone should attack Anthony from behind and end his reign of terror. Aunt Amy tentatively reaches for a fireplace poker, but no one has the courage to act.
Anthony transforms his attacker into a jack-in-the-box, causing his wife to break down. The adults are horrified at what Anthony has done, and his father asks him to wish Dan into the cornfield, which Anthony does.
He then causes snow to begin falling outside. The snow will kill off at least half the crops and the town will face starvation. Anthony’s father starts to rebuke Anthony about this, but his wife and the other adults look on with worried smiles on their faces. The father then smiles and tells Anthony in a terrified voice, “…But its good you’re making it snow. A real good thing. And tomorrow… tomorrow’s gonna be a… real good day!”
For as much as we mythologize childhood innocence, the truth is that almost all kids are impulsive and spontaneous and they are without tact.
They are prone to sticking their fingers in psychological wounds and wriggling them around. The job of a parent, then, is to funnel all of those normal emotions into a direction that will be more socially acceptable, to turn a child who doesn’t feel empathy for others into someone who will function in a system that’s often predicated on everybody doing their best to work together as a unit.
But parents have this leverage over their children not just because they brought their children into the world but also because they’re bigger and stronger than their children and because they provide everything their children need to survive.
It’s a symbiotic relationship, and when it works at its best, the child transitions to adulthood just as the parents are able to let go. At that point, hopefully the child knows enough to make it on their own.
When Serling made “The Good Life” he wanted to show what happens when all those advantages are taken away from the adult and places them in the hands of the child.
In this particular episode Rod Serling gives a rather short narrative:
“No comment here, no comment at all. We only wanted to introduce you to one of our very special citizens, little Anthony Fremont, age 6, who lives in a village called Peaksville, in a place that used to be Ohio. And, if by some strange chance, you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet Anthony, you can be sure of one thing: you have entered The Twilight Zone.”
Yesterday when I saw that TIME Magazine had chosen Greta Thunberg as the person of the year I realized that we indeed have entered into the Twilight Zone.
It’s a place where adults have made children their leaders, either because of virtue signaling or political intimidation.
The willingness of adults to listen to teenagers rather than themselves is a sign that we are in a sort of Twilight Zone, where the “Wisdom of a Child” is supposed to supplant the “Wisdom of the Elders.”
The transformation of a teen schoolgirl into the global conscience for Climate Change is driven by the imperative of reversing the relationship between adults and children.
Greta and her message really did not faze me up until the point she spoke at the World Forum and began to scold everyone for not doing enough for Climate Change. Her demeanor went from hubris to anger in seconds and the most chilling of all is that after she scolded everyone in the room especially the adults they applauded just like the adults that acquiesced to the young boy in the Twilight Zone.
It was surreal and when I or anyone else attempted to explain how this was not normal we were met with derision, being told that we are threatened by a little girl or that we are picking on a little girl.
No, there is no threat to me or anyone else – it is just a threat to the order of things where a child tells an adult or a group of adults what to do.
She like any other child at that age is at that moment where what she wants is more important than what others want –and that no one should get in her way.
I can’t believe that anyone can see this as beneficial let alone giving this girl the person of the year award. We were all at that age – the age where we would not take no for an answer and demand to get what we wanted, ASAP – or else.
My parents would not tolerate that. Sometimes my mom and dad would negotiate. However it was certainly not a trait that you wanted to carry into adulthood –and my parents taught me well.
In the case of Greta Thunberg, many people are of the belief that she truly cares about Climate Change when in reality all she is doing is virtue signaling and simply refuses to think about anybody outside of herself and has hijacked the moment to make it all about her – I guess we can chalk it up to typical teenage bad behavior but this time she has been given a lofty designation for it.
After seeking out more information on Time’s person of the year I found out that Greta forced her parents to adopt a vegan diet and bullied her mother to give up her career because it involved air travel. But her parents get a little revenge on exploiting Greta’s fears and making her TIME’s Person of the Year.
However there is a deeper problem that this being illustrated with this “award” or this adoration by the climate cult and that is the authority of adulthood is in crisis. Adulthood is increasingly associated with negative attributes and grownups feel less and less able to provide guidance to young people.
The flip side of the erosion of adult authority is the tendency to look to young people for solutions and answers. That is why Western society’s depreciation of adulthood coexists with adulation of the supposed wisdom of children.
Again this is certainly or Twilight Zone moment where the manifestation of this trend is the spectacle of politicians and dignitaries intently listening to Greta at high profile international meetings.
To add to the creepiness of it all, a thunderous standing ovation is guaranteed by the mere appearance of Greta. She could stare blindly into an audience and grunt and it would be seen as a brilliant message for all to hear.
What people fail to see is that what she really represents is an infantilized political culture that has lost its way and ironically needs a child to tell them what to do.
What terrifies me is that when the political culture allows this to happen – they don’t take into consideration that when you bestow upon a child so much power – you are saying that it is okay to condemn the older generations.
Greta has been more than ready to rise to the occasion. The theme of adult irresponsibility has been her most common refrain – appearing in her lecture to the United Nations climate change summit as far back as a year ago, and in every major speech she has made this year.
“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago,” she said last December. “We have to understand what the older generation has dealt to us, what mess they have created that we have to clean up and live with.”
This has sparked a whole cadre of young Green demonstrators that have readily embraced the narrative of adults are the problem.
Posters declaring, ‘You’ll Die of Old Age, We’ll Die of Climate Change’ or ‘I Am Ditching School Because You Are Ditching Our Future’ point the finger of blame at slothful adults who are supposedly responsible for the imminent early deaths of their offspring.
Encouraging children to revolt against their parents, their elders and other adults sets a very bad precedent.
Greta represents that revolt – that attack on parents and elders.
Since it is wrapped in shiny political wrapping paper with a green bow – people who see where this is leading are shamed and told to shut up.
However, it has to be said that now that the boomers are in larger numbers – the young people see it as a threat and so do left wing law makers that believe they are losing a lot of their constituents to old age.
We live in an era where older people are becoming irrelevant and the old axiom of respect for elders is no longer applicable.
The young and the woke want to vote because they feel they are outnumbered.
Twenty countries have granted 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote. A handful of American cities have done the same for local elections. They can do this because states generally regulate their own voting laws, as do cities that are governed by their own charters. The 26th Amendment states only that 18 is the minimum age at which voting rights must be protected; it doesn’t prohibit cities and states from making it even lower.
In 2013, Takoma Park, Maryland, became the first US city to lower the voting age for local elections to 16, and early data points suggest that the experiment has been successful.
In an off-year local election that would normally yield a low voter turnout, 17 percent of the city’s voting-eligible 16- and 17-year-olds cast ballots. That might sound low, but it was was double the 8.5-percent turnout of those 18 and up.
The voting age in Oregon where I live is 16 years old.
The way people raise their children has much to do with how they were raised and the area that they live. Though people are raised with many diverse values, one common value is respect. Of course, this is in the past. Many people have strayed away from the tradition in the way they were raised. It is understood that not all tradition should be up held when time changes, but the foundation of tradition should be maintained.
The question should also be asked: Are parents more disengaged with their kids because of technology? Is this why there is this parental blaming being generated in the world?
In today’s age, it is not uncommon for a child or teen/ young adult to be contemptuous towards an elder. Disrespect was deeply feared in the past because there would be severe consequences in result of the flippant behavior towards adults.
The behavior of children today is more than just talking back. Toddlers and even small children yell orders at their parents or hit them if their desires aren’t met.
Even in these circumstances, there are no parental instructions that this is not to be done again. Teenagers rebel by putting themselves in harmful situations, doing drugs, and running away. Teachers have to deal with protestant, arrogant, and rude students because children no longer have any concern for the respect of elders.
One question to ask is, “where is this path taking us?” If the negative behaviors of today’s youth have escalated so much already, the problem is going to keep growing if not addressed.
An issue left unsolved does not dissipate.
In the U.K. treatment of the elderly, especially by men is getting so bad that they are actually considering making it a hate crime.
Ageism and Misandry have become subjects to be evaluated as of late. The elderly will be considered a protected class.
Could this be a future problem in the United States? Is it already a problem?
We also know that with concerns being brought up by the youth about overpopulation, we can only imagine what awaits the elderly in this country.
A time in the not too distant future where something like Euthanasia of the elderly could be presented as a viable option to pluck out those who are a burden on the planet.
Since Canada legalized euthanasia in 2016, there have been at least 6,749 cases of medically assisted deaths, with over 803 dead in the first 6 months of legalization. 2018 saw Canada’s euthanasia figures soar with over 3000 Canadians killed by their doctor.
In England, a poll was taken that showed nearly half of the British population is concerned that if the option of ending one’s life was made legal, some people would feel pressured into killing themselves.
It is becoming increasingly evident that suicide laws could lead to vulnerable people seeing suicide as a treatment option, so as not to be a burden to others or even a burden on the environment.
It’s a disturbing thought but not a new one. State-assisted mass suicide has been a recurring motif of postwar science fiction. As the impacts of pollution and resource pressures multiplied, it became easy to imagine a future hostile to the comforts and pleasures of old age – a future where the young see the old as a liability to climate and the survival of the planet.
The novel upon which “Soylent Green” is based, Harry Harrison’s 1966 “Make Room! Make Room!” depicts a state of open generational warfare that paints a grim picture of state sanctioned geronticide.
Its opening pages find a gangland version of the AARP called “the Eldsters” marching in protest from Madison Square Garden to Union Square. Their 65-year-old leader, Kid Reeves, urges militant protests against cuts to their rations of plankton-protein stores. Food riots in the city ensue and the older generations feel that they are being singled out for death because of resource depletion.
Soylent Green was set in the year 2022.
This all sounds extreme but how far can this adult and elder blaming go before we find ourselves on the road to geronticide.