Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Commanding Heights and Hollywood

Here Mark Steyn points out that a liberal, Hollywood great has been vilified because he determined that stating who had been Communists with him in the 30's and were not owning up to it in the Hollywood of the 50's was a moral duty, not some cause for complaint. Both Bud Schulburg and Eli Kazan have been written out of the list of the right and good for stating, truthfully, that they were Communists and the other people were communists too. There is not one accusation that either man ever named a person who was not a Communist as a Communist. This is not McCarthyism, it is truth in labeling.

Further, there was no black list if you did not want to be on it. Nancy Reagan met Ronald Reagan precisely because she wanted to know how you got off the blacklist. There was a procedure, supported by Reagan and John Wayne and other of the Hollywood anti-communists to clear the names of non-communists or former communists. The one thing not allowed was to continue to be a secret Communist.

Basically, you could work for Jack Warner or Joe Stalin, but not both.

The Left hates this. Studio heads did not want their pictures being used by agents of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union directed its adherents to cling to secrecy. A knock down drag out fight over control of both SAG, and the the west coast longshoreman's union fomented by Harry Bridges went on between free labor and the Communists.

and see:

I'd bet dollars to donuts that's how Kazan and Schulberg came up with the longshoreman's analogy of On The Water Front.

In any event, since at least Woody Allen's "the Front" New Hollywood has preened and capered about how horrible the "blacklist" was. In fact, it was a reasonable request: if you want to work in this industry reaching millions of people we insist you break all ties with a murderous, atheist movement bent on the destruction of United States.

Oh yeah, also stop trying to kill John Wayne.


Dave S. said...

Nancy Reagan met Ronald Reagan precisely because she wanted to know how you got off the blacklist.

Evidently one way was to get Ronald Reagan off.

MLR said...

Further, there was no black list if you did not want to be on it.

But then you continue to say only former or non-communists could get off the list. So if you believed in communism, you could not get off the list....

I think freedom of religion or from religion was one of the tenets of this country's founding (I'm referring to your atheist comment.)

jjv said...

MLR-Communism at that time was the plaything of a foreing power. To be an open member of the Communist Party was to serve the interests of the Soviet Union. To be a secret member was to do so even more assiduiously. This was not the Kiwanis club.

Further, I need not get into the dispute about whether atheism and American institutions are compatible to simply note that Communism is, in fact, attempting to expunge religion and freedom thereof. Just as in Mexico to our south during the Cristeros war, atheists in power kill a lot of people who don't want to be atheist. Moreover, it was the avowed, stated purpose of Communism to bring down this Country and its institutions. One can hardly complain if those institutions don't hire you.

MLR said...

I guess I'm figuring most Hollywood types had as much political influence as they do now -- which is none -- thus who cared what party they belonged to. I don't believe (and it's probably my view of the foolishness of actors) that those in the party then wanted to bring down America, but just believed in the idea of communism in the, er, socialist theory way, not in the Giant World Power way.

I don't know enough about atheism to effectively counter your comments on that subject, but my gut says that atheists don't seek to impose their ideas on others, but maybe seek to keep religion out of government (something I strongly support as a supporter of freedom of religion).