Rod Serling on censorship and where it really comes from

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From this and similar interviews with him I was always struck on how erudite Serling was – and how the various social critiques that were presented in the Twilight Zone weren’t just accidental asides from the monsters and cursed items.


Coincidentally, I just watched “Submitted For Your Approval”, the Rod Serling documentary this past week. The irony here is that the format of “The Twilight Zone” was created as a way to get around censorship. If social commentary was disguised as tales about aliens and monsters then it was easier to get past execs and sponsors; we might not have “The Twilight Zone” if not for Serling having to find a way to work around them.



He has a good point, but I don’t think the whole audience facilitates censorship. It’s an arena where the most fearful and prudish person wins. As soon as somebody mentions The Children, the rest are forced to shut up.


That’s pure self-censorship. Very rarely is anybody actually “forced” to do anything.

How I think this works is that all communication involves risks, many of which people take for granted. So when somebody’s ideology brushes against their usual way of living, they often complain that they can’t freely do something. This is because people often internalize the expectations of others. The risks were present before, only that they were not consciously evaluated.

It’s not that you can no longer do/say that thing, it’s that you can’t do so without a risk to yourself. But it may have been naive to assume that those risks were not always present.


Phenomenal, and to double-up on @jhbadger’s thought, Sterling had erudition in spades. My Dad introduced The Twilight Zone to me and I’m forever grateful for it.

“Carol for Another Christmas”:


The relationship with children, censorship and South Park is notable.

And as a result of the influx of mail, many of the cards, incidentally as Sheldon tells it, were postmarked at identical moments all in the same handwriting, but each was counted as a singular piece of mail. And as a result, the directive went down that there would be no shows having anything to do with puppies, that is in the actual birth process.

Wow, DDoS via snailmail.


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