You're next! You're next!!
That was the warning from Kevin McCarthy's small-town California doctor character in the 1956 sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Directed by the great American B-movie auteur Don Siegel and co-starring Dana Wynter, the film depicts Earth people being covertly transformed into inhuman, emotionally dead "pod people" when they go to sleep. I would include a few minutes from the movie, but embedding has been consistently blocked. You can see clips on YouTube.
(I smell a Fox News conspiracy here!)
After this movie was released in 1956, there was a lot of writing about Cold War and McCarthyist paranoia. Although the greatness of Siegel's film has never been questioned, critics both right and left sensed political allegory, although the author of the source material, novelist Jack Finney, denied any such thing.
The right, at the time, wrote about the dehumanization of people under communism. The left wrote about the regimentation of Americans in the era of McCarthy-style blacklisting. I think an argument can be made in both directions: Fanatical ideologies of any mold have the potential to dehumanize the believer.
In 2010, I offer a new spin on it. Everyone I know who watches Fox News consistently displays a certain glazing of the eyes, and astounding, stupifying suspension of reason. It's a world of its own, quite divorced even from the reality of the lives of those viewers. They can be wage slaves, toiling for little more than minimum wage for rapacious corporations. Or, they can be people who make good salaries and benefits working for that vicious socialist government. Or, they can be retirees who live largely off "Socialist Security," yet see no conflict with being Tea Party activists.
They see no problem with their willingness to throw anyone and everyone who doesn't look like them, talk like them, worship like them, vote like them, etc., out into the street -- even if they aren't doing so well themselves. In that case, they blame it on people they perceive as below them, not the real culprits in higher
If that doesn't describe "pod people," I don't know what could.
And in passing, let's pay respect to a great American actor who never quite got his due. Kevin McCarthy (no relation to the late alcoholic right-wing senator) left us several days ago at the ripe old age of 96. Few obituaries noted that his sister was the late novelist Mary McCarthy, who wrote The Group. And although Kevin never quite became a star, his career on celluloid and stage was long and distinguished.
I hope the prophesy of Kevin's character in Body Snatchers will be heeded. One thing that's crucial is to understand what Fox News is: a right-wing version of the old Soviet state TV, or the newspaper Izvestia. If that's not obvious, then ...
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas (surrounded by pod people).