I have a new article out today in Slate magazine examining Joe McCarthy, Tucker Carlson, and UFOs in light connection with masculinity issues and pop culture.
On a cold December night in 1950, red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy spent a charity dinner at Washington’s Sulgrave Club trading insults with liberal journalist Drew Pearson. McCarthy had attacked Pearson on the floor of the Senate, calling for a boycott of his radio show. Pearson had attacked McCarthy on air and in his newspaper column, accusing the senator of lying about communist infiltration of the American government. McCarthy had recklessly accused the State Department of harboring hundreds of communists, sparking a massive investigation and an ongoing purge. After dinner, the two ran into each other in the cloakroom and their conflict turned physical. McCarthy kneed Pearson in the groin, and Sen. Richard Nixon had to pull McCarthy off Pearson.
Read the rest at Slate magazine by clicking here.
2/12/2021 01:27:30 pm
Your link didn't work.
2/12/2021 01:49:58 pm
Link doesn't work
2/12/2021 05:28:11 pm
Succinctly put in a way that we can hope will spur more attention to the crazy-mushroom cellar that is cable tv's UFO fringe. Although in the US, I have to say, the fringe seems to have overtaken the fabric.
2/12/2021 05:31:29 pm
The semen theft story never gets old. Would love to see that incident covered in a Drunk History style reenactment.
2/12/2021 08:19:18 pm
I didn't realize so many college girls were communists. Scary. My wife was a communist until, I married her. It's cool. Due to kent, she no longer reads this blog.
2/12/2021 09:38:08 pm
Another 1951 film with references to Cold War / McCarthyism / Homosexual sub-text is Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers On A Train".
2/13/2021 02:07:44 am
Good article. Pity it is both preaching to the choir and unlikely to change anyone else’s mind.
2/14/2021 12:51:30 am
Maybe I’m missing something here, but sometimes a bad movie is just a bad move. And Tucker Carlson taking about UFO’s is just a ratings grab and not some complicated right wing conspiracy theory trying tie into 1950’s low budget science fiction movies.
2/14/2021 11:57:15 am
"he died a broken, forgotten alcoholic" Ah, the Giuliani gambit, decades before Ted Kennedy.
OK, Tucker Carlson is more into this than I initially thought. Good to know. It has all to be brought to light.
2/14/2021 06:40:51 pm
Or, maybe it is just a cash cow for attention whores.
Jim, please give my thought a try. As Jason Colavito pointed out, liberal journalist Drew Pearson used the UFO theme against McCarthy, i.e. against establishment. My hypothesis works quite well, I would say.
I meanwhile found that CG Jung had indeed a theory of the phenomenon of UFO belief. But it is not what I thought. In this German article from 1958 he compares UFO sightings with the manifestation of god or saints to believers, and that they project their longings into the UFO belief.
2/15/2021 03:09:08 pm
Robert Wise was a director, not an actor. Marlon Brando, James Dean, Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Rock Hudson, all leading men of the 1950’s wouldn’t do science fiction. And Tony Curtis would dress in drag and John Wayne would play an offensive, cringeworthy Genghis Khan before either would don a space suit and chase aliens. Production wise, the two biggest sci fi movies of the 1950’s were “This Island Earth” and “Forbidden Planet”. Starring Rex Reason and Leslie Nielsen respectively. Hardly in the same class, or box office draw, as the aforementioned actors.
2/15/2021 06:45:46 pm
As it happens, James Dean actually did do science fiction, on television. He was in an episode of a sci-fi anthology show. He didn't refuse to do science fiction movies. Like the other actors on your list, he considered himself an A-list actor and only did A pictures. He nearly refused "Rebel without a Cause" because it was originally slated to be a B-picture. The issue isn't about celebrity but that studios considered most science fiction to be B-pictures, which would not attract A-list actors. That, too, was a product of the times, when the prestige pictures had very limited range and genre films were almost all consigned to lesser roles.
2/16/2021 02:27:11 pm
The equation of communists and gays was not entirely negative. Many outspoken communists were idealist dissenters. Allen Ginsberg– though not a communist per se– voiced communist sympathies and happily fostered a reputation for being America’s worst nightmare. In the 1950s America started to see a transformation in the public perception of homosexuality. With people like Ginsberg, gays began to be viewed less as child molesters and more as heroic outsiders– paving the way for the social changes that came 25 years later.
2/16/2021 12:02:43 am
I said "did", not "acted in". We'll just ignore Patricia Neal shall we? And guide our lives by "What would John Wayne do?"
2/15/2021 07:51:07 pm
Blame for the problems Mr. Colavito identifies lie more with news media than with woo-woo TV shows. Most news stories are straight propaganda, and many headlines have no connection to the stories which follow. ‘Respected’ news outlets left and right publish trash that a few years ago would make the tabloids blush. They entirely ignore significant events that do not support their predetermined conclusions. Reporters fail to ask obvious questions and get basic arguments wrong– we can’t tell if they are disingenuous, lazy, or stupid. And to top it off, a pseudo-history piece won a Pulitzer Prize this year.
2/16/2021 02:08:02 am
You make a good point. Janet Cooke's "Little Jimmy", l'affaire Jason Blair, quick think of some white people! Woodward and Bernstein's lies, Walter Cronkite playing military analyst, NBC's Brian Williams, Dan "Forged Documents" Rather...
2/18/2021 07:00:43 pm
Walter Pidgeon was a character actor. Not a leading man. While Patricia Neal had a nice career, she’s hardly in the Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Day category of 1950’s actresses. The discussion was about leading men in sci fi movies. As far as Joe McCarthy, one man’s tyrant is another man’s hero. It all depends on your perspective. We obviously disagree.
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