Monday, April 29, 2013
The Twilight Zone (3/4) Mason Riley G2 H01
Eye of the Beholder
Our first glimpse into this episode is a woman in a hospital bed with bandages covering her face.
The nurse at her side and she have a conversation about whether the operation had worked. She then reminisces on how, as a child, other people would turn away screaming or run away from her, and she admits that she never wanted to be pretty, she just wants to fit in. An aspect of this episode that is evident immediately is that no persons' face is shown, but the nurses constantly talk about how they could never live with a face like the patient's. It is revealed that she has tried this operation eleven times, and all have failed to take effect. They have tried all techniques, and plastic surgery is not viable for her, so this is her last chance at having a better face. The doctor tells her that every person only has so much time afforded them to look normal, and that her time is at an end. He relays to her that if it has failed, they can move her into a state run facility for people of "her kind" since she will be unable to live in society with her face the way it is. She complains that the state has no right to punish people for the way they look and make ugliness a crime. The doctor and nurse contemplate ugliness and why it is not accepted in society as much as beauty, but the nurse reminds him that the conversation is treasonous. The leader comes on the television and talks about "glorious conformity" while the doctor is removing the bandages.
As he removes them, he tries to talk her into living with others of her kind, away from society, if the operation has been unsuccessful, and possible extermination if she so desires not to live with her "disability." It is finally revealed that her "ugliness" is what people in our society and culture would consider beauty, and the "normal" people possess grotesque, distorted faces with upturned noses like pigs and twisted upper lips.
The dictator is panned to once again and he talks about how conformity is the only way for society to exist, and that only when we are all the same can we have equality. She then runs into someone like her, a handsome man who takes her away to the
a location where people like them are free to congregate. Northern Village
He tells her a maxim that makes it easier to live with a facade like the one that they both were born with: "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
Socrates was famous for asking questions that were hard to swallow, and this episode makes me question where true beauty lies. A civilization constructed upon a different basis of beauty would be radically different and, although it is hard to imagine, all the things we know about beauty would be reversed. This episode shows just how superficial looks are, and the inane desire to look, dress, or be a certain way. I doubt Socrates broached this subject, but I'm sure he would have had he been able to watch a mere ten minutes of our television programming. Aristotle would have argued that she was wasting her time by trying so many procedures to procure youth, a thing so fleeting that it is worthless bothering to spend time that could be better spent preparing our lives to enjoy long lasting happiness. Freud would have chimed in about how this episode only offers a possible confirmation of how cultural norms are only psychological, and that any number of different realities could have come about had humans decided to pursue other avenues and either give in to the id more often or pursue the superego to a greater extent. All three philosophers would have had valid points, and it is only one more example of the worthlessness of chasing after eternal youth, as it always ends and cannot truly be eternal.
Word Count: 673
Total Word Count 1278+673=1951