Friday, November 01, 2019

Twilight Zone "I am the Night - Color Me Black," a message for 2019?

In " I am the Night - Color Me Black," the 26th episode of the fifth (and final) season of the initial Twilight Zone (airing March 27, 1964), one has a story of relevance to the year 2019.

One Jagger is about to be hung in the town square, supervised by the sheriff, for the murder of a cross-burning psychopathic bully. The date is squarely set as May 25, 1964. In the real world of 1964, executions were not by hanging (except maybe in Utah, and this location was referenced as a "remote little midwestern village) and they were not conducted by local authorities. But this is the Twilight Zone, and this is a symbolic lynching of a white man who killed a man who was hostile to blacks.

The attending clergyman is black (played by Ivan Dixon) who gives interesting final comments:

Now, you and i are a different faith, and obviously a different color, but you stood up for me and mine.
You spoke for us, and god help us, you killed for us.
And i feel you deserve some measure of peace.


When he came at you, Jagger did it feel good to you then? What difference? When you aimed that gun at his head, that wasn't such a bad moment, was it? Good, bad, who cares? When you killed him, Jagger, when you blew his head off, there were no regrets then, were there? You enjoyed that, didn't you? You know it! Yes, yes, i i know it now.
Now i know it too well.
You're guilty


Do you know why it's dark? Do you know why it is night all around us? Do you know what the blackness is? It's the hate he felt, the hate you felt, the hate all of us feel, and there's too much of it.
There's just too much.

Of an interchange of Jagger to the clergyman:

Jagger: It's important to get with the majority, isn't it? That's that's a big thing nowadays, isn't it, reverend? That's all there is, is the majority.
The minority must have died on the cross 2,000 years ago.
You seen the light, reverend.
You really seen the light.

As to omissions of fact:

But there's just a few disturbing facets about this case.

One the murdered man was not a decent man.
He was a cross-burning, psychopathic bully who attacked the man in there.
And two, Deputy Pierce here saw it happen and then perjured himself.
Now, wait a minute! Perjured is the word, deputy.
Now, you said jagger shot him from across the room.
No such thing.
The murdered man had powder burns all over him.

This might not have proven self-defense but it would've pointed to it and maybe helped it.
And you, sheriff koch, you saw the body.
But i didn't hear any comments on those powder burns when you gave your testimony.
And your courageous editor here in covering the trial didn't see fit to include this insignificant
addendum though he also knew at the time he was being very selective about what truths he was writing about, what truths he wasn't.

You're right, deputy.
Justice is being served on a platter with its tongue cut out just like the carcass of any dead animal.

One can have judicial opinions which are very selective about the facts they mention, and those they don't mention.

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