Given that Ray Bradbury's novella The Fireman (which would eventually become Fahrenheit 451) was written in response to the McCarthy HUAC hearings, it might not be a surprise to learn that the FBI kept a file on him. The contents of that file have been released under the FOIA, and shows that the FBI apparently held a dim view of science fiction, since it could "frighten the people into a state of paralysis or psychological incompetence bordering on hysteria which would make it very possible to conduct a Third World War in which the American people would seriously believe could not be won..." [emphasis mine]. (via).
The UK's National Archives has today released the formerly secret files detailing MI5's monitoring of the British Marxist historians Eric Hobsbawm and Christopher Hill [PDF downloads available]. The Guardian reports. An official historian explains. [more inside]
"Untold History of the United States challenges the basic narrative of the U.S. history that most Americans have been taught.... [Such history] is consoling; it is comforting. But it only tells a small part of the story." Instead of clips of modern people pondering the past, Oliver Stone's ten-part series relies heavily on archival footage and clips from old Hollywood films, with narration by Stone. Towards the end, he gets into the assassination of JFK, "but that should not detract from a series that sets out to be a counterweight to the patriotic cheerleading and myth-making." [more inside]
The Homosexual Atom Bomb
Such absurd equations show how homosexuality became a floating signifier, associated with whatever political tendency one most disliked. Rather than representing a certain group of people, it represented everything that was wrong—whatever that meant. America’s Red Scare bled into its Lavender Scare; the Soviets associated homosexuality with capitalism and fascism. But empty as it was, the political use of the trope of homosexuality had a devastating effect on real people from both countries."Homosexuality Is Stalin's Atom Bomb to Destroy America" is on display at the Winkleman Gallery in NYC. [more inside]
Milo Radulovich, RIP --thrown out of the Air Force during the Red Scares, he fought back--Radulovich's case (and the new medium of TV) showed millions the impact McCarthy was having and the absurd lengths he was going to. He himself wasn't ever accused of being a Communist himself tho: [more inside]
In 1955, at least twelve men in Boise, Idaho were arrested for "infamous crimes against nature.". In the resulting dragnet, the vice president of the Idaho First National Bank was sentenced to seven years in prison, while national magazines fomented a McCarthyite Lavender Scare with headlines such as Male Pervert Ring Seduces 1,000 Boys. This dark chapter in Idaho gay history was documented in both John Gerassi's 1966 book, The Boys of Boise and the recent film, The Fall of '55, by documentarian Seth Randal, but neither Gerassi nor Randal could identify The Queen, a closeted but politically connected homosexual who allegedly used his massive clout to stop the witch hunt.
The SF Chron's big Sunday story is a very timely and huge package about a Republican Governor who went on to become president cooperating with overzealous intelligence agencies to quash dissent. Revelations: Reagan plotted with the FBI against the President of UC-Berkeley, he wanted to mount "psychological warfare campaign" and the old rumor about Reagan getting some fellow Hollywood artists blacklisted turns out to be true. Synposis.