I have friends who are reading a just-published book about the execution of Ethel Rosenberg for espionage in 1953. On the left, every issue from which more mileage can be driven remains alive forever and is stoked to the fullest extent thereafter. Of course, there is no doubt whatsoever that her husband, Julius, had passed on information on the building of the atomic bomb to the Soviets at a time when the Soviet Union was imposing communist regimes on each of the nations it had overrun at the end of World War II, and that she had assisted in the espionage. This is from Wikipedia which like most other sources of “information” on the net is heavily weighted to the left.
For decades, the Rosenbergs’ sons (Michael and Robert Meeropol) and many other defenders maintained that Julius and Ethel were innocent of spying on their country and were victims of Cold War paranoia. After the fall of the Soviet Union, much information concerning them was declassified, including a trove of decoded Soviet cables (code-name: Venona), which detailed Julius’s role as a courier and recruiter for the Soviets. Ethel’s role was as an accessory who helped recruit her brother David into the spy ring and did clerical tasks such as typing up documents that Julius then passed to the Soviets.
Guilty, guilty, guilty.
So why bring this up? Because of this movie review which I saw in The Age today: Being the Ricardos is near flawless – and Nicole Kidman is magnificent. “Being the Ricardos” is a new film starring Nicole Kidman about Lucille Ball and her husband, Desi Arnaz. And this is the first line of the review:
The idea that Lucille Ball was suspected of being a communist tells us more about America in 1952 than it does about Ball, which is of course why Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) made this movie.
So in 2021 they made a movie about someone who had been suspected of being a communist almost seventy years ago. And why did they suspect her? Because she had registered as a member of the communist party for the American election of 1936. Here are the facts, but from a different source.
In 1952, HUAC accused Ball of being a Communist. Ball had registered to vote as a Communist in 1936. But Ball explained to the committee that she only did so to placate her dying grandfather, who was fond of Eugene Debs, a labor organizer and Socialist Party candidate for president. The committee subsequently dropped the charges.
Imagine suspecting that someone who had registered to vote for the communist party of being a communist. Did not seem to stop her from achieving lasting success and enduring fame.
The Age article goes on with the usual ignorant discussion which never seems to vary.
This is Sorkin’s handbook for writers interested in comedy or drama. That’s as much its purpose as the politics of McCarthyism….
This movie shines with a beautiful silver light; the kind of movie brilliance we haven’t seen since that other HUAC-kicking masterpiece, Good Night, and Good Luck, in which politics, history and culture entwined.
Senator McCarthy was in the Senate. HUAC stood for the House Un-American Activities Committee. McCarthy was a Republican Senator. HUAC was a committee in the House of Representatives dominated by Democrats. Virtually everything of significance McCarthy ever said has since been demonstrated to have been true. That HUAC was filled with Democrats has been written out of the script in the same way that Lucille Ball actually having voted for the Communist Party in 1936 is passed by.
If you would like to read the absolutely best book available on all this, I cannot recommend more highly Diana West’s astonishingly fascinating and comprehensive American Betrayal.
Meanwhile, inconvenient FACTS, such as that Jussie Smollett faked his supposed attack by Trump supporters has virtually entirely disappeared from the news. We truly do live in an Orwellian world.