Thursday, June 19, 2008

McCarthyism

This weekend I picked up Ann Coulter’s book, Treason. The first several chapters describe with multitudinous source notes the true history of the “Red Scare” in the fifties and what really happened when Senator McCarthy was in congress. In her typical sarcasm, Ann emphasizes that the alleged persecution inflicted on suspected (and actual) Communists and Communist spies in the Cold War was nominal, especially when contrasted with two extremes: the oppression of the people under actual Communist rule in the USSR at the time; and the normal shunning and ridicule of conservatives today who are not potentially feeding national secrets to our enemies.

This is an interesting contrast to the pet project of George Clooney, Good Night and Good Luck, about Edward R. Murrow, one of the first responsible for slanting the public’s view of Senator McCarthy. My brother’s community college professor recommended the movie to him, and so after the semester was over, Michael picked it up at the library and we spent the most boring hour of the month watching a whispering, black and white, dull, impersonal movie semi-documenting the press’ coverage of McCarthy, especially when he questioned Annie Lee Moss, the black Communist washerwoman who worked in the code room at the Pentagon. I think they even mixed actual press footage into the movie. (By the way, the Academy nominated this film for Best Picture, which is one of the most blatant evidences for their political agenda or at least favoritism, since it in no way compares to excellent classic films sharing that distinction.)

While Clooney wanted to do a movie refreshing the image of McCarthy as a man irrationally bent on censorship and discrimination, I argue the movie accomplished at least two opposite aims: First of all, the sheer boredom of the movie supposed to show the tragic suffering of those the Republicans arbitrarily decided to pick on, highlights how insignificant the hardships of Communist spies and sympathizers were; it didn’t even make a good movie. Secondly, I believe the movie, which focuses much more on the behind-the-scenes at the television station, generally portrays an accurate picture of the actual ambition and worldview of those who spun the myths about McCarthy in the first place. To know the real story the press was covering, and see how they portrayed the facts, is a much more entertaining display of liberal media at work. The moral of the movie to me is not: “See, those Republicans are mean!” but rather, “See, those liberals are miles from the facts again!”

Emboldened, however, by their success at distorting the history of McCarthy-“ism”, the liberals continue in their campaign to rewrite history as it happens. They use it in elections (usually between the casting of votes and the inaugurations, and then casually referenced as common knowledge attacking the legitimacy of whoever holds office that they don’t like), in propaganda about our enemies and defense, about economics, nature, and very frequently in the best-selling books they write after they leave office. From the fifties they learned Hitler’s policy of the thirties: if you tell a lie long enough and loud enough, the public will believe it. Let the example of Hollywood’s dramatization of a deceitful press contrasted with the thoroughly researched and footnoted book about history be a lesson for today.

To God be all glory.

2 comments:

Doc Op said...

OOps, since you are "moderator enabled, might you publish this one minus a glaring typo! thanks.


Might I suggest a little less "us" v "them" when it comes to Republican V Democrat themes. As is, I have the odd distinction of being a Republican who works for a Democratic administration. (My job is not related to the party as such.) And I certainly am opposed to many things that are part of the Democratic platform. But in the last year, I have seen many actions of Republicans through the eyes of my Democratic coworkers. The view isn't always pretty.

I will leave the specifics behind, but I think, that our sinful human natures pervade many of our human ventures, without respect to the party labels.

Of further note. Most Republicans today, are fully on board with the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. when it comes to judging a man by the content of his character, and not by the color of his skin. And we might rightly argue which political policies best capture that vision. Even so, I think we can be thankful for the many persons on the other side of the political isle who helped bring a cultural transformation about in the arena of race. I sometimes wonder if only Republican were at the helm, if we would have seen the undoing of the Jim Crow South. (And yes, many Democrats were part of that same system.)

All in all, I think you will find many things to lament under either (or any) party banner, and a number of things which we might also herald, or truly thank God for, as being a advanced by persons we disagree with other areas.

Ps.

I like your blog.

Ps Ps, Good Night, Good luck may be many things, but boring was not one of them. (You may have a better grasp of the film's agenda or inaccuracies) but as for production and story telling - First Rate. My jaw kept dropping at the quality of the film technique, vintage 50s lighting, and sharp editing. I found it riveting.

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Blogger is not intelligent enough to let me edit the comments I moderate. Or maybe that's a good thing. Otherwise I might get carried away. Sorry.

As far as the us v. them perspective, I was testifying to my perspectives. They're changing. Actually I first registered to vote as an independent until I couldn't vote in the primaries. Fixed that. I'm hoping that the parties are in a sufficient transition that we'll get a new party that represents my values better, or that is a party of statesmen rather than politicians. We'll see what happens.

But when I read history, I do see two Americas, like I wrote about.

I can't believe you liked Good Night and Good Luck. But if your description of non-boring is being entertained by lighting and camera angles, I guess I'll have to let your opinion stand. That never defines my idea of a good movie.

Thank you for liking my blog.
Thank you for commenting. It is always nice to know what I write is read.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn