Hollywood Goes Full Blacklist and Fails to Grasp the Irony

Brad Pitt, Joaquin Phoenix and Barbara Streisand pop to mind as representative examples. All three are eager to  lecture the American public on the need for equality and non-discrimination. Yet, not one of the recipients of the Oscar gift bags worth $225,000 spoke out against that extraordinary excess nor demanded that the money spent purchasing these “gifts” be used to benefit the poor and the homeless. Nope, take the money and run.

It is especially galling to see how the Hollywood Community has embraced the era of red-baiting Joseph McCarthy as the new standard for what is acceptable. There was a time that a few brave souls in Hollywood (I am thinking Lucille Ball, Kirk Douglas and Gregory Peck), spoke out against the blacklisting of actors, writers and directors for their past political ties to the Soviet Union. Now I have lived long enough to see the so-called liberals in Hollywood rail against Donald Trump and his supporters as “agents of Russia.” Many in Hollywood, who weep crocodile tears over the abuses of the Hollywood Blacklist, are now doing the same damn thing without a hint of irony.

If you are a film buff (and I consider myself one) you should be familiar with these great movies that remind the viewer of the horrors visited upon actors, writers and directors during the Hollywood Blacklist:

  • The Front–a 1976 comedy-drama film set against the Hollywood blacklist in the 1950s. It was written by Walter Bernstein, directed by Martin Ritt, and stars Woody Allen and Zero Mostel.

  • Good Night, and Good Luck–a 2005 historical drama film directed by George Clooney, tells the story of Edward R. Murrow fighting back against the hysterical red-baiting of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

  • Trumbo–a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Jay Roach that follows the life of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted but continued to write award winning movies in alias (e.g. Spartacus).

This was an ugly, awful and evil time in America. It was a period of time fed by fear and ignorance. While it is true that there were Americans who identified as Communists and embraced the politics of the Soviet Union, we scared ourselves into believing that communist subversion was everywhere and that America was teetering on the brink of being submerged in a red tide.

Thirty years ago I reflected on this era and wondered how such mass hysteria could happen. Now I know. We have lived with the same kind of madness since Donald Trump was tagged as a Russian agent in the summer of 2016. And the irony is extraordinary. The very same Hollywood elite that heaped opprobrium on Director Elia Kazan for naming names in Hollywood in front of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, are now leading the charge in labeling anyone who dares speak out against the failed coup as “stooges” of the Kremlin or Putin.

Hillary Clinton’s crazy rant accusing U.S. Army Major and Member of Congress, Tulsi Gabbard, as a Kremlin puppet is not a deviation from the norm. Clinton exemplifies the terrifying norm of the political and cultural elite in this country. Accusing political opponents of being controlled by foreign enemies, real or imagined, is an old political tactic.

Makes me wonder what Edward R. Murrow or Dalton Trumbo would say if we could bring them back from the dead.

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