Breaking through The Twilight Zone

By Donnie Casto II

“It has forever been thus: So long as men write what they think, then all of the other freedoms – all of them – may remain intact. And it is then that writing becomes a weapon of truth, an article of faith, an act of courage.” – Rod Serling

The Twilight Zone broke new ground in the format of media, television and writing when it first aired back in 1959. Rod Serling broke uncharted ground in television by tackling issues that up to that point had remained subject to censorship or were a taboo ‘elephant in the room’ no one would dare discuss at the family dinner table. Serling, along with other writers, including the great Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, and a host of others, covered themes such as racism, government, war, society and human nature in general in a horror and sci-fi format. This format had previously been mastered by such great authors like George Orwell with his classic works Animal Farm and 1984, Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray, and H.G. Wells’ social class epic, The Time Machine.

Despite a series of revivals of the classic television show, all have failed to come close to the epic potential of Serling’s vision. Very few in television, writing, or journalism have come close to Serling’s consistent plethora of visionary writing that offered entertainment along with enlightened critical thinking, and did so in a format that captured the viewer’s attention while making people aware of the relevant social issues of the modern day.

Current writing such as Harry Potter, the Twilight series, or even such drivel as 50 Shades of Grey have brought an element of fluff and entertainment with no remedy for the ills of society. Unfortunately, many websites that promote the ideal of a revived vision of legends long gone have done so as well. Most shows, writing and reporting today offer the medium of image, popularity, bubble gum gloss with a glimpse of a utopian world of top model high sheen perfection, duck lips, and twerk videos. None of these tackle or discuss the relevant issues that a minority of awake and aware human beings in the world hunger to see others speak out about, be it a deep seeded fear of stepping out on a new branch of a path already broken out before us or perhaps this golden calf hero idol worship of the greats that some have made a priority. The one universal question to be asked is simply, “Where are the visionaries whose words literally expose the impending reality of a world on the cusp of the ever present boot prepared to stomp on the faces of hunmanity today?”

The collective divine finger of these visionaries whose time and presence left the writing on the wall of the hearts, minds and souls of an entire society they tried to awaken is no longer a superstition to be argued or debated. These literary shamans like Rod Serling, Ray Bradbury, Alfred Hitchcock, and George Orwell wouldn’t get a five minute infomercial in today’s image worship society. Bread and circus on the fast track to the draconian democide we are on the edge of seems to be the flavor of the month. Worse is that television and writing are not immune from the fluff and entertainment that Billboard and other money machine industries will tell you, the individual, to buy, download, or spend your hard earned dollars on.

The corporate media, bent on marketing ploys and the fast food illusion of fitting in, long ago sold out whatever empathy or base morality could be summed simply as ‘The Golden Rule’. It was this same rule that a great visionary highlighted in parable stories that began the destruction of the mighty Roman Empire over 2,000 years ago. Even the followers of this visionary seem to have missed the point he tried to make. The heart has become a dry barren desert, absent of the living water from the well of wisdom. It has been replaced by pulpit pimps who long ago were sold on the idea of making people simply feel good. These pulpit pimps preach that the ticket to heaven is easy to gain. As long as one stuck a fish on the back of their car, bore a WWJD bracelet on their wrist, and faithfully sent in their monthly donation to contribute to their pastor’s empire of million dollar churches, high speed jets, and $3,000 Armani suits they will gain entrance to the pearly gates. It has become no different in the various websites promoting the ideal of other visionaries that have forgotten the premise of a well written story with a plot and a crack in the open door of the individual conscience to reflect on the genuine horror or sci-fi story happening right outside their front door.

Fear, it is a horrible bane on the essence of humanity. The visionaries from before and the few who have been cursed with the talent to take up the mantle of that title from the legends of a time no longer in the present moment, each and every one of them, seem to find themselves knocking at the door of mankind, only to be left standing outside in the downpour of conformity, the tit of entitled convenience and the state.

In the rat race to accumulate hits on Google or to fit into a fold of a label or an icon whose legacy has been prostituted by those who hold only a rank or attachment to a branch in the great magnet of conscience, at the peril of wanting to be a visionary, these individuals have ignored the beating at the door that the visionary’s message conveyed to the spirit, mind, and creativity of humanity. Take what was done once before and make it better or an extension of something uniquely our own. The opiate of fluff and regurgitated tidbits of the dead have replaced the harsh pill of those visionaries whose voices are present now and those whose insight echoes through the timeless eternity of insight and imagination.

Perhaps, in the journey of searching for the reincarnated, inspired visionaries that hear the call of the Rod Serlings, Ray Bradburys, George Orwells, Issac Asminovs and other groundbreaking shamans of vision, the final question to be asked of those whose sole promise and promotion to the readers promised news, writing, music and a medium to such vision is, “Why?”

Why are you are selling yourselves short in the rat race of being another collective fandom reserved to the annals of boy bands and cosplay? While being completely ignorant to the impending boot ready to stomp the heart and mind of society as it prepares to do today, as it did in the annals of prophetic visions of the past that we’ve been warned about before. There is no longer a middle ground or a fence to sit on the sidelines anymore. Either the voices and visions of those legends will be answered by those whose heart has been touched by a creative calling as a word of warning, or we sit in line playing our individual part. We will either be the collective face being bruised, or the boot doing the stomping which marches others to the democide of entertaining fluff, bread, and circus.

In a world in dire need of men and women of vision today, where are you Rod Serling? Are you itching to come out of the voice and a new line in the path of another? Or have the censor pricks pimping out the deceptive lies of corn syrup entertainment forever condemned you to the dark purgatory of a Kardashian/Jenner Twilight Zone? Has the knocking on the window of the conscience of humainty been ignored because the pied piper of the state is in a proverbial DEFCON 1? The potential that the writing on the wall of these men and women of vision who have become the lone voices screaming to the dead and hollow trees of planet earth might fail to wake the sleeping giant that is the virtue of mankind. These visionaries stand on the cusp of planting seeds that will one day become the mighty trees of stories, shows, and music that will one day become the shade that removes the leaning and dying sun symbol of naïve illumination from shows like 19 Kids and Counting or Honey Boo Boo . Would they lead the masses to believe we are at the peak apex of what matters in the minds of humanity? A humanity who is still blind to being sold out long ago by marketing and idol worship with no heart, no soul, and no substance?

Are the haunts and redundant day in and day out habits of celebrities the opiate and religion that the collective hope of humanity has been bought and sold by?

Is the number of hits on YouTube regarding Antoine Dodson’s “Bed Intruder Song” or Grove City, Ohio’s, own collective of young ladies singing about ‘Sausage’ the new heroin or crystal meth of the world? Have writing, music, television, and journalism become so worthless? These corporate marketing sponsors, that Serling once called “pricks” because singing rabbits talking about toilet paper removed precious time from putting substance into a medium that brings people to the moment of meditation when they are immersed into a book, show, or song.

Truth, logic, and justice it seems have become enemies to the marketing of distracting the masses. In the goal of taking the golden gospel of influence that planted the seeds of vision in the minds of men and women who rise to carry that vision, it is often forgotten that, for as much as we place value on that truth, the messenger often is made the centerpiece of attention and the message is ignored and avoided. It is an empty wish and a grievance to those of vision who look from the realm of the beyond to see their words or testament to the individuals willing to listen. The attempt to make something unique and better at the expense of the comfort of the collective has made the men and women of vision obsolete to the whims, profit, and deaf complacency of towing the line instead of steering the vessel away from the rocks about to crush us.

In the search we all must embark on within the confines of our own mind and creativity, where are you, men and women of vision? How much more fluff will you stand idly by and allow the world to drown under before the taste of this shit fills your own mouth?

Where are you my men and women of vision? Where are you?

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About Donnie Casto II 34 Articles
Donnie Casto II is a senior staff writer for Gonzo Today. He has lived in the tri-state area of West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Along with his work at Gonzo Today, he is also a tireless advocate for The Fathers Rights Movement in Ohio and Supporters of Ohio Equal Parenting, which promote family law reform and equal custody rights for fathers. He is the proud father of three children: Elijah, Victoria, and Michael. He has an Associates Degree in Business and is currently on break from his Bachelors Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.