Twilight Zone: Mr. Denton on Doomsday, 1959

Our man on the outside, Rod Serling, relies heavily on the idea of “Fate” as a creepy salesman who pushes us reluctantly into our role as deemed fit by some, usually malevolent force.  Sometimes it is Fate himself to blame and sometimes Fate is simply the postman.  Mr. Denton is force-fed a diet of “Shut the Hell Up!” by Fate and takes it in stride.  Later appears to have been duped when challenger gunslinger throws back the same magik-marksman potion in the same cool silver potion jar.  They shoot bb’s through each others’ hands and become friends.  Doc warns that he won’t be using that hand again for no gunslingin’.  Denton tells his almost executioner that he’s “blessed” because he can’t use his gun in anger anymore.  I get the feeling the guy (in his 20’s, early) feels like a neutered dog in a world full of hungry and sexually frustrated beasties.  He’s gotta be thinking about his possibilities of farming or being an artist or maybe taking up the arts and then he’s snapped out of it and realizing how fucked he truly is.  “Thanks to this shit-mutherfuckin pacifist salesman ‘Fate’ or whatever, arseface dipshiticus cut my fucking balls off and now I have to seriously think about the shittiest life imaginable whilst conscious.”  All those people he pissed off are gonna come gunning hard for his crippled ass.

What else could all this mean but, naturally, the conversion of nuclear apocalypse and the triumph of science in the dusk of Christian monotheistic influence?  What we now know was just another crescent of an oscillation between extremes…  Mix well, add in a dash of logical positivism, a touch of doubt, a heaping trashpile of sexual repression and “Fate” becomes an answer to failed mythology.  Why doesn’t Jesus punch a timeclock like the rest of us.  Do I really worship a cool, 2000 year-old Jewish guy?  That’s kinda weird.  Why not a Maytag man instead?  A janitor of the story–a guy that makes sure that no matter how fucking twisted our original story gets in order to fit my life and it’s particular problems (Please God, let Nancy’s tumor be benign, as you only know that poor woman needs a break.  Between that brute, Homer and her worthless, pee-smelling son, a slow, painful death is the last thing that woman needs…) it all makes sense.  He’s like the aether before relativity.  A reason that things MUST work, because I just can’t come to terms with the idea Jesus abandoned me.  He wouldn’t do that.  There’s a reason things keep coming at me and piling up.  There is a GODDAMNED REASON.

But why does there have to be?  There’s no reason.  Why couldn’t everything have always been here in one form or another, over and over?  Why not?  End of rant.

Fate acts like filler in these stories.  Lubrication.  It’s cheap.


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