Oct 24 2011

#177 “To Serve Man”

From Heidi in Texas

If you’ve never seen the episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “To Serve Man” which was based on the short story of the same name by Damon Knight, please allow me to recommend it to you. It’s one of the greatest episodes in the history of the series and was one of the only episodes in which the fourth wall was broken down and an actor spoke directly to the viewing audience. Besides this, though, the story is cleverly constructed and is just twisted enough to walk that fine line between being disturbing and entertaining.

Here’s the gist of what happens: (1) Aliens come to Earth (2) The aliens are really swell guys and they say that their whole purpose in visiting earth is “to serve man.” (3) The aliens even bring a really neat book on how to serve man, but it’s written in an alien language and no one can translate it. (4) People start moving to the alien planet by the truckload (or spaceship load) in order to become the gods they think they will be treated like when they arrive (5) As all of this is happening, the book finally gets translated, and lo and behold…. It’s a cookbook! Ahhhhhhhhhhh! “To Serve Man.” Get it?

Zing! What a twist!

As cheesy as all of this sounds, the episode delivers a fairly overt admonition for us to keep our pride in check and to use our brains instead of stroking our own egos. Also, at the end of the episode when the actor breaks down the 4th wall, he says, “We’re all of us on the menu… All of us.” The message in this statement is clear: Regardless of how advanced or how intellectual we may become, we’re still a part of the food chain, and when push comes to shove, we may very well be at the mercy of creatures that are more powerful than we are.

Am I a misanthrope who hopes that Mother Nature and her army of animals will repay us for the evil crimes that we have committed against her? Certainly not. But I also don’t think we should become too cocky. Take the illustration above, for example. While the exact circumstances are a bit unclear, one thing that we know definitively know is that a complete role reversal has taken place, and man is now being served in much different way than he is used to.

In the end the choice is yours: Serve others… or be served, yourself.

Aug 1 2011

#93 “July Contest Winner!”

From Colin in Rockville, Maryland

Congratulations to Colin for his fantastically unique rendering of a wolf perched triumphantly atop a man-eating shark. The lord of the land meets the king of the seas in this breathtaking masterpiece. I’m not sure if the picture above does justice to the original copy, but I hope that it will suffice for your viewing pleasure; I only wish that you could lay eyes on the original, that you could feel the soft roughness of the parchment between your own trembling fingers and smell the mild spiciness of the aged paper. It smells like home. It looks like heaven on earth.

In the end, Colin’s work proved worthy of taking home the coveted howling wolf cookie jar because of its uniqueness and creativity in a variety of aspects. Let’s face it: the idea was groundbreaking. The rendering was talented and nearly flawless. And finally, the package itself (sealed elegantly with wax and stamped with a majestic “C”) was so aesthetically appealing that I felt transported to another time and place in which wolf art was truly the crowning achievement of society.

Here it is. Here is the winner of the July contest. I would heap more praise upon it, but the welling tears have blurred my vision.

Thanks for your contribution, Colin. I’ll have the cookie jar in the mail by the end of the week.

And finally, be on the lookout for another contest starting soon!