Krugman: Right on the economy, clueless on classic TV
While every other pundit gets busy analyzing John Robertsâ vindication of the Affordable Care Act, I feel itâs my duty to focus on another public-policy proposal thatâs drowning in misinterpretation: economist Paul Krugmanâs plan for a faked alien invasion.
Important forums like PBS News Hour and The Daily Show have recently revisited Krugmanâs suggestion that the appearance of an enemy from outer space could trick Congress into working together to provide the jump-start our economy needs. Quote:
âThere was a âTwilight Zoneâ episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time, we don’t need it. We need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.
âAnd then after we’re fully recovered, we can say, whoops, sorry, not actually coming.â
This, of course, is patently ridiculous, and simply unworthy of a thinker of Krugmanâs stature. As any serious student of history knows, the storyline he alludes to played out not on The Twilight Zone, but onÂ The Outer Limits.
In the 1963Â Outer Limits episode âThe Architects of Fear,â scientists pick one of their own (Robert Culp) to pose as an extraterrestrial and mount a simulated attack on the United Nations. Itâs their hope that this perceived menace will inspire the superpowers to put aside their differences and work together against a common foe, thus averting a global thermonuclear war.
The Twilight Zone, meanwhile, never aired anything remotely similar.
So I think I speak for all of us who once looked up to Krugman when I say: Nice going, egghead. What in the heck were you doing in 1963, anyway? WatchingÂ Ben Casey?
Further, as many observers have noted, the plot of âThe Architects of Fearâ turned up two decades later as the climax of Alan Mooreâs seminal graphic novelÂ Watchmen. This time, the alien impostor was a genetically engineered giant squid. The comic even pays tribute to the knockoff by showing a character watching âThe Architects of Fearâ on TV.
Olâ Squiddly Diddly, and the Big Lie he represented, constituted one of the only major story elements missing from the otherwise faithful 2009 film adaptation ofÂ Watchmen. Which raises the disquieting notion that our best and brightest only know what Zack Snyder deigns to show them.
Next thing you know, weâll be learning that Warren Buffett has never even heard ofÂ One Step Beyond. Lightweights.