The Enduring Moral Insight and Satirical Power of Charlie Chaplin and The Twilight Zone

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Today we dive into old cinema and television, looking at the films of Charlie Chaplin and the television show The Twilight Zone, both of which have recently been the subject of essays in Current Affairs by Ciara Moloney. Ciara has written for Current Affairs on subjects ranging from the 2020 Democratic candidates' range of merch to Hollywood's depictions of George W. Bush. Her essays on Chaplin's films and The Twilight Zone make the case that while both have become enduring cultural tropes and cliches, going back and viewing the original works shows them to have incisive and enduring satirical power. Today Ciara joins us to talk about how Chaplin skewered modern capitalism and how Rod Serling depicted anti-Communist hysteria, and why each showed the capacity of film and television to generate empathy. We also talk about how valuable it is to go back and view things that are old and neglected, since they are often fresher and more relevant than one would expect.

The other films Ciara mentions in the episode are:

More of Ciara's writing on film, television, and music can be found at The Sundae. The "feeding machine" sequence from Modern Times can be watched here.

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