January 19, 2018 | Rome, Italy | °C

On witches, Reds and Spacey

By Christopher P. Winner
Published: 2017-11-19

Like a Stalin-era prisoner, Stacey will likely be urged to confess his sins, beg forgiveness, and promise to cleanse his abhorrence through personal repair. He'll be asked to accept his ostracizing with grace and thank god America is now a secular state, sparing him the gallows. He's one less witch.

In the early 1950s, the House Un-American Activities Committee repeatedly interrogated Hollywood figures regarding alleged (that word again) Communist affiliation. On one occasion, Committee Chairman Parnell Thomas faced screenwriter John Howard Lawson, an avowed Communist. Their opening exchange made it clear that, once labeled, witches are witches and have nowhere to go.

Thomas: "Are you a member of the Communist Party or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?"

Lawson: "It's unfortunate and tragic that I have to teach this committee the basic principles of Americanism."

Thomas: "That's not the question. That's not the question. The question is — have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?"

Lawson: "I am framing my answer in the only way in which any American citizen can frame his answer to ..."

Thomas: "Then you deny it?"

Rarely was Thomas able to complete his thoughts. Soon after, he was blacklisted.

Print | Email | | | 1 2 | Full Page

AREA 51

Christopher P. Winner

Christopher P. Winner is editor and publisher of The American. His column appears weekly.

Remember the outhouse

Presidents can rage and rant against filthy interlopers but those who like what they hear would be wise to remember America's origins.

Sight at a loss for words

Vision metaphors are central to all aspects of speech, but they take for granted the precarious gift of seeing.

When soap was soup

The difference between chicken noodle and cleanliness once proved mystifying, even for pajamas.

At the mosaic, turn left

It's 1980. You need to get an urgent message home to far-away America. Here's what to do.

Unvarnished darkness

Anonymous confessions are not the answer when it comes to bringing abhorrent abuse to heel.

More Area 51

Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

Everything you need to know about visiting or moving to Tuscany, Italy.