The Rank Hypocrisy of Movies About the “Red Scare”

 

If it was wrong for a committee of the US House of Representatives to simply ask Dalton Trumbo if he was a member of the Communist Party, why is it not wrong for the US government to publish online the names of everybody registered with the Democratic Party and/or the Republican Party?

If it was wrong for a committee of the US House of Representatives to simply ask Dalton Trumbo if he was a member of the Communist Party, why is it not wrong for governments to publish online the names, addresses, and places of employment of people who donate to political parties and/or political causes, such as ballot propositions?

If it was wrong for private businesses to refrain from doing business with writers due to their political affiliation, will Jay Roach and Bryan Cranston be making a movie about Brendan Eich any time soon?

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  1. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    anonymous:

    Percival: My personal theory is that McCarthy was being fed information by J. Edgar Hoover that the FBI gleaned from the then top secret Venona transcripts. Hoover didn’t want anybody to know what the source was, and Tail Gunner Joe was a convenient (if inebriated) front.

    An excellent post-Venona source on McCarthy is M. Stanton Evans’s Blacklisted by History. Such is the myth the Left has spun around McCarthy many people aren’t aware he had nothing to do with the investigation of Hollywood, which was conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. McCarthy’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (which still exists) investigated security policy and enforcement of the State Department and later the Army Signal Corps. In many cases the focus was not on identifying communists and other security risks, but rather investigating why individuals who had already been flagged as risks by the FBI were allowed to continue to work in sensitive posts or resign with no note in their personnel file, then be hired into sensitive positions in other agencies or international organisations.

    THIS!

    • #31
  2. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    anonymous: An excellent post-Venona source on McCarthy is M. Stanton Evans’s Blacklisted by History. Such is the myth the Left has spun around McCarthy many people aren’t aware he had nothing to do with the investigation of Hollywood, which was conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

    Which, by the way, is why I almost always say McCarthyism or McCarthyites rather than McCarthy.   I suppose I could also say HUACism, but today’s leftwingers wouldn’t be bright enough to figure out that I’m talking about them.

    • #32
  3. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Mark:

    Robert McReynolds:

    All one needs to do is compare a list of McCarthy’s targets to the spies uncovered through the Venona Program.

    So is there any overlap?

    There is quite a bit actually. I don’t have the checklist at my fingertips, but I can recall that the David and Ethel Greenglass spy ring was an overlap.

    • #33
  4. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    anonymous:

    Percival: My personal theory is that McCarthy was being fed information by J. Edgar Hoover that the FBI gleaned from the then top secret Venona transcripts. Hoover didn’t want anybody to know what the source was, and Tail Gunner Joe was a convenient (if inebriated) front.

    An excellent post-Venona source on McCarthy is M. Stanton Evans’s Blacklisted by History. Such is the myth the Left has spun around McCarthy many people aren’t aware he had nothing to do with the investigation of Hollywood, which was conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. McCarthy’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (which still exists) investigated security policy and enforcement of the State Department and later the Army Signal Corps. In many cases the focus was not on identifying communists and other security risks, but rather investigating why individuals who had already been flagged as risks by the FBI were allowed to continue to work in sensitive posts or resign with no note in their personnel file, then be hired into sensitive positions in other agencies or international organisations.

    According to Evans, while McCarthy drank, he did not become dysfunctional until the period between his censure by the Senate in 1954 and death in 1957 (he remained in the Senate until his death at the age of 48). While Mad Men exaggerated things, everybody drank in that era, and during the active period of his investigations, McCarthy didn’t appear to be impaired.

    Exactly right!

    • #34
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Great Ghost of Gödel:

    Robert McReynolds:

    All one needs to do is compare a list of McCarthy’s targets to the spies uncovered through the Venona Program.

    Darn, beat me to it.

    Post-Venona and having sponsored a Vietnamese boat family, I don’t want to read one more [CoC] word about how awful McCarthy was. The right thing to do with any self-identifying Communist, who make the Nazis look like open mic comedy night at the local coffee shop, is hang them from the neck until dead (which, if you aren’t an incompetent hangman, takes a fraction of a second… so use an incompetent hangman so they suffocate instead of having their neck mercifully broken).

    What I know about McCarthy I learned from Ann Coulter in her excellent book Treason.

    If ever there were a kill-the-messenger moment in world history, it was McCarthyism.

    • #35
  6. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    anonymous:

     

    An excellent post-Venona source on McCarthy is M. Stanton Evans’s Blacklisted by History.

    That was a very informative review.  I’m not going to be able to add a 600+ page book to my reading list anytime soon.  Which I guess is the problem.  This is, though, the single most infuriating thing about the issue -as was discussed on Claire’s thread last week.  We know what they did.  We know who the collaborators were, willing, unwilling, knowing, and unknowing.  And still we can’t do anything to them as they go on serving a dead evil empire in the very institutions that brought it down.

    • #36
  7. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    If it was wrong for a committee of the US House of Representatives to simply ask Dalton Trumbo if he was a member of the Communist Party, why is it not wrong for the US government to publish online the names of everybody registered with the Democratic Party and/or the Republican Party?

    If you’ll allow me to play devil’s advocate, in the 40s it was dangerous to one’s reputation to be a known communist that it isn’t to be known as a Democrat or Republican today. I think a better question would be, “If the Hollywood Ten were Nazi party members, would you still be bothered about the blacklist?”

    Also, can we please not make a Brendan Eich film. His ouster was terrible, but an Eich biopic sounds boring. Art made with an agenda tends to be awful.

    • #37
  8. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Recommend reading Haynes & Klehr (authors of the Venona Program book that Robert McReynolds linked to above):

    First, on the general topic of communist spying and how it is remembered today.  An excerpt:

    Debate in the academic world on this issue is limited. Anyone whose knowledge of the historical literature was based on a reading of articles published in the Journal of American History and the American Historical Review, the two leading journals in the field, would believe that there was nothing to debate. Not a single article published in the Journal of American History and the American Historical Review in the last thirty years has taken a critical stance regarding the American Communist movement or a benign view of domestic anticommunism. In the same thirty-year period dozens of articles in these journals have taken a reverse stance: a benign view of the CPUSA or depicting domestic opposition to communism in highly negative terms. In these journals there has been no debate: only one side is heard from.

    For their view on McCarthy and Venona read this.

    They also take a less benign view of McCarthy than Evans or Coulter.  See this piece.  An excerpt:

    By the time McCarthy was making his allegations, however, the most significant Soviet espionage networks had been all but destroyed and/or neutralized thanks to defections, American counter-intelligence, the FBI’s full-court press against the CPUSA, and President Truman’s loyalty-security program for government employees.

    • #38
  9. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    RightAngles:

    The victors write the history books though.

    Unrelated to this conversation, but I can’t stand this cliche. It’s invoked anytime someone wants to portray America as the villain in any of the wars it won. Same with Holocaust denial.

    • #39
  10. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Cat III:

    If it was wrong for a committee of the US House of Representatives to simply ask Dalton Trumbo if he was a member of the Communist Party, why is it not wrong for the US government to publish online the names of everybody registered with the Democratic Party and/or the Republican Party?

    If you’ll allow me to play devil’s advocate, in the 40s it was dangerous to one’s reputation to be a known communist that it isn’t to be known as a Democrat or Republican today. I think a better question would be, “If the Hollywood Ten were Nazi party members, would you still be bothered about the blacklist?”

    Also, can we please not make a Brendan Eich film. His ouster was terrible, but an Eich biopic sounds boring. Art made with an agenda tends to be awful.

    Well, I guess we are bored with the vast majority of films that are made now. Perhaps growing up in the era of political correctness, like a fish not noticing the water, you don’t see the agenda in almost everything that comes out.

    It is impossible for me not to notice. An Eich film would be anything but boring. It would simply take a miracle to get it made. I suspect that it would make a great deal of money as there are many many people that hate political correctness. That is why the politically correct would try anything to have it not made.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #40
  11. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    James Gawron: It is impossible for me not to notice. An Eich film would be anything but boring. It would simply take a miracle to get it made.

    I think the best way to do it would be as a comparison piece. Have scenes about the HUAC story intercut with scenes about the Eich story.

    • #41
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Cat III: Also, can we please not make a Brendan Eich film. His ouster was terrible, but an Eich biopic sounds boring. Art made with an agenda tends to be awful.

    If you study the way Soviet filmmakers did it during the last couple of decades of the Soviet era, you will learn there are ways to make it interesting and entertaining.  These filmmakers had to be very subtle about it, which I think is one reason they did it so well.  A lot of the stuff these same filmmakers made after they were free to do anything they wanted is awful.

    • #42
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Misthiocracy:

    James Gawron: It is impossible for me not to notice. An Eich film would be anything but boring. It would simply take a miracle to get it made.

    I think the best way to do it would be as a comparison piece. Have scenes about the HUAC story intercut with scenes about the Eich story.

    Yeah, sort of. Good idea. But if you let any leftwingers into the process, all the bad stuff that happens will have the label “Nixon” stamped all over it.

    • #43
  14. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    The Reticulator:

    Misthiocracy:

    James Gawron: It is impossible for me not to notice. An Eich film would be anything but boring. It would simply take a miracle to get it made.

    I think the best way to do it would be as a comparison piece. Have scenes about the HUAC story intercut with scenes about the Eich story.

    Yeah, sort of. Good idea. But if you let any leftwingers into the process, all the bad stuff that happens will have the label “Nixon” stamped all over it.

    He’s as good a liberal to blame as any of ’em.

    ;-)

    • #44
  15. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Cat III:

    RightAngles:

    The victors write the history books though.

    Unrelated to this conversation, but I can’t stand this cliche. It’s invoked anytime someone wants to portray America as the villain in any of the wars it won. Same with Holocaust denial.

    I came across what may be a better cliche while reading a biography of Henry Clay by David & Jeanne Heidler.

    Rather than the often repeated adage that the victors write the history of an event, the story of anything is actually determined by the unswerving adoption of one version of it, and the telling of that version by a determined cadre of writers. In time, the version with the most persistent adherents becomes the “truth.”

    • #45
  16. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Mark:

    Cat III:

    RightAngles:

    The victors write the history books though.

    Unrelated to this conversation, but I can’t stand this cliche. It’s invoked anytime someone wants to portray America as the villain in any of the wars it won. Same with Holocaust denial.

    I came across what may be a better cliche while reading a biography of Henry Clay by David & Jeanne Heidler.

    Rather than the often repeated adage that the victors write the history of an event, the story of anything is actually determined by the unswerving adoption of one version of it, and the telling of that version by a determined cadre of writers. In time, the version with the most persistent adherents becomes the “truth.”

    In other words: “Those who write the history books are the victors.”

    • #46
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Misthiocracy:

    The Reticulator:

    Misthiocracy:

    James Gawron: It is impossible for me not to notice. An Eich film would be anything but boring. It would simply take a miracle to get it made.

    I think the best way to do it would be as a comparison piece. Have scenes about the HUAC story intercut with scenes about the Eich story.

    Yeah, sort of. Good idea. But if you let any leftwingers into the process, all the bad stuff that happens will have the label “Nixon” stamped all over it.

    He’s as good a liberal to blame as any of ’em.

    ;-)

    Yeah, but LBJ should get some of the credit.

    • #47
  18. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Cat III:

    RightAngles:

    The victors write the history books though.

    Unrelated to this conversation, but I can’t stand this cliche. It’s invoked anytime someone wants to portray America as the villain in any of the wars it won. Same with Holocaust denial.

    mmkay sorry.

    • #48
  19. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Cat III:Also, can we please not make a Brendan Eich film. His ouster was terrible, but an Eich biopic sounds boring. Art made with an agenda tends to be awful.

    I agree.  On a related note in the Trumbo film he is the hero and the villain is Hedda Hopper, the now forgotten Hollywood columnist but I’ve read that in the original screenplay John Wayne was the villain but the producers realized that he’s still so popular they’d have difficulty framing Trumbo as a hero so they changed to Hopper.

    • #49
  20. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Mark:Great point. And yes, NAACP v Alabama is the governing case.

    And you can’t make a movie about Brendan Eich since he’s part of the oppressor class. Don’t you know that?

    Dalton Trumbo was a repugnant figure. A Commie Party member taking orders from a foreign power which wanted to overthrow the government of the U.S. An apologist for both Stalin and Hitler. The man was a moral black hole.

    In defense of Trumbo, he seems to have repented a little. “There was bad on both sides” is a pretty strong statement when you’re being lionized as a hero. He’s also one of the clearer sources for the awful harm the commies did in Hollywood.

    Doing awful things and repenting doesn’t make you good, but it does, I think, make him a superior breed of pond scum to his unrepentant  colleagues.

    • #50
  21. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    How was the Red Scare merely a “scare”?  There really were Communists in Hollywood, some of them were directed by Moscow, and they were successful in, among other things, suppressing anti-totalitarian works.  From Wikipedia:

    Trumbo was a member of the Communist Party from 1943 until 1948.[23] The scholar Kenneth Billingsley found that Trumbo wrote in The Daily Worker about films which he said communist influence in Hollywood had prevented from being made: among them were proposed adaptations of Arthur Koestler‘s anti-totalitarian works Darkness at Noon and The Yogi and the Commissar, which described the rise of communism in Russia.[24]

    • #51
  22. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    James Of England:

    Mark:Great point. And yes, NAACP v Alabama is the governing case.

    And you can’t make a movie about Brendan Eich since he’s part of the oppressor class. Don’t you know that?

    Dalton Trumbo was a repugnant figure. A Commie Party member taking orders from a foreign power which wanted to overthrow the government of the U.S. An apologist for both Stalin and Hitler. The man was a moral black hole.

    In defense of Trumbo, he seems to have repented a little. “There was bad on both sides” is a pretty strong statement when you’re being lionized as a hero. He’s also one of the clearer sources for the awful harm the commies did in Hollywood.

    Doing awful things and repenting doesn’t make you good, but it does, I think, make him a superior breed of pond scum to his unrepentant colleagues.

    I’m willing to bet you that the movie as a whole presents him as a noble figure while those who were anti-communists will be the villains.  I have no idea of his views in later life but I’m pretty confident how the film version will look.

    • #52
  23. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Mark:I’m willing to bet you that the movie as a whole presents him as a noble figure while those who were anti-communists will be the villains. I have no idea of his views in later life but I’m pretty confident how the film version will look.

    Sure. I was offering a highly qualified defense of Trumbo, not the contemporary filmmakers. Maybe the film will be less bad than Truth, but it seems likely that they will in some senses worse than the objective supporter of Hitler they’re describing.

    • #53
  24. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    To all,

    My first comments were to look to the positive and see where we might be doing better by supporting people on the right who have been persecuted like Brendon Eich.

    However, I think I’ve got to say something about Trumbo. It’s one kind of thing to have a strong belief and actively pursue it even if others find that belief repugnant. On the other hand, when one is literally taking orders from a foreign power and actively engaging in espionage, subversion and sabotage, then this is totally different. Treason is treason and will be treated as such. Anyone who swears allegiance to ISIS and plots to attack this government or its citizens is acting in a treasonous manner. This is why I think my insistence on the concept of Jihad is important. Someone who is committed to the literal interpretation of Jihad and is actively encouraging others to participate is by definition subversive.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #54
  25. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    James Gawron: Someone who is committed to the literal interpretation of Jihad and is actively encouraging others to participate is by definition subversive.

    If you watched videos of Assad murdering children, and you believed this to be a bad thing, so you went out and you joined the Kurds or the FSA, supporting the internationally recognized government of Syria, or if you were similarly appalled by ISIS atrocities and undertook a similar response, and advocate others doing so, too, are you by definition subversive?

    Muslims are not all on the wrong side of every armed struggle, and Muslims who fight for broadly American values as part of their efforts to live lives of faith do not seem intrinsically subversive to me. The calculus for whether a Muslim or a Christian fighter is pursuing a subversive, or an evil, path seems similar to me. There are more Muslims following evil paths than Christians at the moment, but there are also more Muslims fighting against ISIS and Assad.

    • #55
  26. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    I just saw Bryan Cranston interviewed on The Tonight Show, and he claimed that Trumbo’s incarceration was unjust because he hadn’t committed any crime.

    He also said that Trumbo was a Communist because he had to be one in order to be involved in labor issues.

    Both claims are risible.

    There’s always a rationalization when liberals describe their Communist brethren. “He was a Communist because that’s what one did when one wanted to oppose Fascism and Nazism.” “He was a Communist because that’s what one did when one wanted to support worker’s rights.”

    That’s funny: my father carried German shrapnel in his body to his dying day as a result of his fighting against Nazism, and I don’t ever remember his saying anything about being a Communist.

    • #56
  27. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/362876/will-new-trumbo-movie-rehash-old-myths-ronald-radosh

    • #57
  28. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Johnny Dubya:I just saw Bryan Cranston interviewed on The Tonight Show, and he claimed that Trumbo’s incarceration was unjust because he hadn’t committed any crime.

    He also said that Trumbo was a Communist because he had to be one in order to be involved in labor issues.

    Both claims are risible.

    There’s always a rationalization when liberals describe their Communist brethren. “He was a Communist because that’s what one did when one wanted to oppose Fascism and Nazism.” “He was a Communist because that’s what one did when one wanted to support worker’s rights.”

    That’s funny: my father carried German shrapnel in his body to his dying day as a result of his fighting against Nazism, and I don’t ever remember his saying anything about being a Communist.

    I love the argument make on his Wiki page that one had to be a communist to support equal rights for African Americans.

    • #58
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Misthiocracy: I love the argument make on his Wiki page that one had to be a communist to support equal rights for African Americans.

    I wouldn’t buy that.  But I can excuse Ned Cobb (alias Nate Shaw) of Theodore Rosengarten’s oral history, All God’s Dangers, for accepting help from the Communist party in protecting his private property in Alabama in the 1930s.  Cobb ended up going to jail after a shootout with local law enforcement officers who weren’t interested in protecting the property rights of African Americans.  The Communist party paid his wife a small stipend to help her make ends meet while he was in jail.

    I’m sure the CPUSA was not ultimately interested in protecting private property rights, but Cobb was desperate and needed to protect his property in the short-term.

    When I was bicycling in Alabama 9 years ago, I visited a number of roadside scenes of Cobb’s life, including the courthouse location where he had been put on trial, and the road in front of the Julia Tutwiler prison, where Cobb spent about ten years.  It was being transformed into a women’s prison while he was there.  One of my Spokesrider articles is here.

    • #59
  30. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    The Communist party paid his wife a small stipend to help her make ends meet while he was in jail.

    I’m sure the CPUSA was not ultimately interested in protecting private property rights…

    Indeed.  Just as when the Mafia or al-Qaeda engage in similar acts of “charity,” one can be sure that there are self-interested motives at work.

    • #60
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