Talk:Unamerican activities

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How do we end up with a one-sentence article and a full page talk! Please someone put some of this in the article itself. --rmhermen

It seems to me that my original has been edited to make the history more palatable to the American ears. Many people who were persecuted during the show trials of the UnAmerican activities were not shown to be involved in political activities funded by the Communist Party. Arthur Miller for instance wrote The Crucible as a result of his experiences. He refused to testify against other people as he believed that their political views where no body elses business. For this he was black listed. There was no evidence that Arthur Miller was funded by the Comintern, nor was there evidence presented that those he protected were funded in this way.

Similarly with Charlie Chaplin who was exiled from what he had made his home. He was indeed "left wing" in one sense. The Great Dictator was a biting parody of fascism. His early work reflected the alienation of a factory workforce, and the pain of his own separation from his mother in a British workhouse. He was also one of the richest men in the US, and the personification of the American dream. "Radical leftist political beliefs". I think not. He simply reflected the confusions and contradictions in American society at the time. It is this that makes Chaplin (and US history of the time) so fascinating.

However you look at the McCarthyite period it was a period of intense paranoia by the American political elite (and yes you have a political elite even in the US) in their attempts to ensure that Hollywood only produced propagnda venerating their arguments. It resulted in severe consequences for many citizens of the US despite the lack of a proper trial and with little or no right of appeal. If you look at the output of the American film industry before and after McCarthy you can also clearly see how "successful" he was.

To my mind this period stands out in US history as one of the most serious mass violations of human rights. I would rank it along side the forced eugenic sterilisations of the early 1900's, and before that the treatment of native Americans.

The US has a short but turbulent history. In that time it has done great things. It has also done terrible things, and to airbrush these out of the history we place here is to my mind both sad and runs contrary to the ideology of a neutral point of view.


Gareth: I remember reading a play in school - it way by Arthur Miller - "Salem"; it was about witchhunts in the 15th century and supposedly referred to the McCarthy era - or so my Eng Lit teacher told me - WP

"The Crucible" -- Miller was interviewed by HUAC under suspicion of being a communist, and wrote it 2 years later.

The article is an awful lot better than it was now, as it recognises that many were falsely accused, and that failure to bear witness was in effect considered a crime which could result in black listing.

I'd like to thank Gareth who seems to have done such a good write up, which has addressed most of my concerns. I would say that the use of the word "witch hunt" is fine because a) the sentance starts off "to many", and b) the trials are often described as "the McCarthite witch trials". I belive that the allusion came about because of the Crucible, but I don't know for sure other wise I would put this in.

In answer to why I wrote a full page talk to a two sentance article, its simple. I was somewhat annoyed by the way the original had been changed in a way which to my mind sanitised it. I am aware that I have a distinct political bias as does everyone so generally its nice to have other people modify what you write. It tends to average out. In this case I felt this had not happened. Under the circumstances it makes more sense to express my opinion and let someone else resolve the differences. Which Gareth seems to have done.


Wow its changed massively overnight!

I'm not sure thats its better or worse. Its definately funnier though :- "those who were believed to hold radical leftist political beliefs by those with radical rightist polical beliefs. ". Great stuff.