The United States is a “dumb puppy that has big teeth,” according to American actor Johnny Depp.
I say we should make certain this scumbucket never works in America again.
That’s right. I mean it’s time to bring back the Hollywood blacklist.
In fact, I’d very much like to start compiling the blacklist right now – and I welcome your suggestions for additions. I’m sure I’m missing some real anti-American zealots.
Depp may be the latest offender, but he’s such a lightweight on the intellectual scale that he hardly deserves to be first. So, let’s reserve that position for Michael Moore.
Harrison Ford may not be the biggest offender in terms of statements he’s made and actions he has taken, however, because of his star status, he is more than worthy of being on the list.
Then there are Martin Sheen, Mike Farrell, Sheryl Crow, Janeane Garofalo and the Dixie Chicks. There’s Richard Gere and Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover. George Looney – I mean, Clooney. Jane Fonda’s been quiet lately, but throw her on to the list for past offenses. She belongs in the Hollywood Blacklist Hall of Shame.
Who am I forgetting? Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, of course. Ed Asner, even though he’s a has-been.
Alec Baldwin and Barbra Streisand probably belong in the Hall of Shame as well.
There are many more, and I’m sure you will help jog my memory. But it’s time to do something. It’s time to silence these people. It’s time to force them to get real jobs and perform real work and learn the unusual and undeserved blessings America has bestowed upon them.
I know. I know. You’ve heard the Hollywood blacklist of the 1940s and 1950s was a horrible thing – a great injustice. Nonsense. It was a good thing. It was the right thing to do at the right time in history. And, as America finds itself beleaguered in the world against – literally surrounded by – enemies who seek to destroy it, we cannot allow traitors privileged status in the entertainment industry.
Some of the brightest and most well-educated people in America today don’t grasp the truth of what has become romantically known in the industry as “the Hollywood blacklist era.”
That truth begins with this fact: Every single member of the “Hollywood 10” had indeed been members, or past members, of the Communist Party.
They never denied it – not under oath. Instead, they refused to answer the straightforward question from the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947: “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”
Many in Hollywood today cling to the belief that their collective refusal to answer was based on a bold, principled stand against an inquisition into artists’ personal political convictions. Almost no one understands that the refusal had nothing to do with principles and everything to do with Communist Party politics and self-preservation for the Hollywood 10.
As each member of the Hollywood 10 – Ring Lardner, Adrian Scott, Edward Dmytryk, Lester Cole, Dalton Trumbo, John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Alvah Bessie, Samuel Ornitz and Herbert Biberman – refused to answer the key question, committee investigator Louis J. Russell, a former FBI agent, was called to the stand to produce the number of that person’s Communist Party registration card for the year 1944. And, yes, each and every one had been a card-carrying member of the party.
Remember, this was during Josef Stalin’s bloodthirstiest days in the Kremlin.
Why not tell the truth and defend your beliefs and associations? Why didn’t they avoid contempt of Congress charges and jail terms by simply admitting they were party members? What were they ashamed of? What were they hiding?
Well, as it turns out, the refusal to answer was merely a tactical ploy, a matter of political expediency. You see, unlike today, when most in Hollywood and even many average Americans don’t see communism or totalitarianism as particularly threatening to our national security or way of life, the situation was much different in 1947. Americans had just fought a world war with one brand of evil totalitarianism represented by Adolf Hitler and were prepared to fight another one with the evil represented by Josef Stalin. Everyone understood the Communist Party in the United States was an active agent of Soviet policy.
So, why did the 10 refuse to talk? Listen to what Ring Lardner himself said in an interview with Film Comment magazine in 1988: “We decided it was not a good idea to deny membership in the Communist Party, although some of our colleagues had done that before the California State Un-American Activities Committee. We just felt that there were too many stool pigeons and various other ways to find out, and you could get yourself in a much worse situation for perjury; it would be very hard to organize any sympathy around that.”
Notice there was no discussion of simply telling the truth. The Communist Party was a secret subversive organization. Revealing yourself was not an option. The purpose of membership was to advance the cause of international socialist revolution in America by whatever means necessary. Hollywood, because of its wealth and influence, was a prime target.
While many in Hollywood today decry the effort to root out the communists as “censorship” and the unfairness of the blacklisting that followed, they conveniently overlook the fact that the communists instituted those practices in the movie industry. The challenge to the party arose principally because anti-communist writers, actors and directors of the late 1940s were infuriated by the highly secretive clique of communists systematically discriminating against their work.
Lardner, for instance, was among those who circulated a petition at MGM to halt production on a film he didn’t like for political reasons. Trumbo, for example, boasted in a bylined article in the Communist Worker that, while Hollywood produced few “provocative” or “progressive” films, agents within the industry were able to spike “reactionary” and anti-Soviet scripts.
Ronald Reagan, Adolphe Menjou, Roy Brewer, Morrie Ryskind and others charged that the communists conspired to create opportunities in the industry for their political allies and to destroy them for their enemies.
Screenwriter John C. Moffit, for instance, commended the House committee for “taking steps to end the most dangerous censorship that has ever occurred in the history of the motion-picture industry and in the history of American thought.”
But the tactics of the Hollywood 10 paid off in the long run. Yes, it’s true they served brief jail terms for contempt, and those with studio contracts were fired. Most, however, managed to continue writing for the silver screen under pseudonyms. And just over a decade later, the forgetful and forgiving nature of the American people had allowed them to receive screen credits again. Now they are heroes. All except for Dymtryk, who was sincere in his denunciation of communism. He served the longest prison term of the bunch even though he had left the party before the committee hearing.
Real communists may be few and far between in Hollywood today. But there’s a new breed of anti-Americanism deserving of punishment. A price needs to be paid for biting the hand that feeds Hollywood so well.
I don’t think people should go to jail for their anti-American views. I just think they should never work in the entertainment industry again. If they like it better somewhere else, let them make films and television shows and records in that country.
I don’t expect the Hollywood studios and the multinational entertainment conglomerates to stop hiring these reprobates. So, this time, America, the blacklisting is up to you. Make your list – and stop supporting movies, TV shows, TV sponsors, record companies, etc. which hire these louts.
Personally, I’m starting with “Pirates of the Caribbean.”