Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976)
“Trumbo” reminds us that tyranny doesn’t produce any heroes or villains. There are only victims.
Nobody wins. Everybody loses.
But some victims lose far more than others, and arguably no collective group of artists suffered more hardships during the fear-ridden Red Scare of the mid-1950’s than the famed or infamous “Hollywood Ten” — the adjective depending upon one’s political leanings. Those receiving subpoenas to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities and later convicted of “Contempt of Congress” charges included successful screenwriters and film directors who were not just blacklisted, but later imprisoned in some cases. Guilty of thought crimes for once allegedly being members of Communist Party USA, or suspected sympathizers who refused to name their so-called conspirators, the Hollywood Blacklist imposed by all the major movie studios for more than a decade ruined careers, caused bankruptcies, broke up families, and even instigated suicides.
The first book I remember reading from cover to cover was a prematurely scripted ten-year history of the Dallas Cowboys during their formative years of the 1960’s.
“Dallas Cowboys” Pro or Con?,” penned by the late Dallas Morning News sportswriter Sam Blair, was released in 1970. It’s long since out of print, and beyond dated. To give some perspective, this is a book that came out during the first year Monday Night Football went on the air. Nonetheless, almost 45 years after being absorbed by the narrative, passages of the book remain imprinted upon my conscious, leaving lasting memories which has instilled great affection for traditions that remain with me to this day. Why so?
Fracking the Media: Does shrinking and therefore dividing news sources sabotage our common understanding of reality and impede compromise? Might this spell the end of democracy?
Writer’s Note: Today’s essay is a continuation somewhat of yesterday’s topic, “Are Twitter and Facebook Flaming Out?” which can be read HERE.
You won’t believe what they’re burning.
What books would be okay to burn? Are there any?
If so, name them.
Are some books so gravely perilous — both to the reader and to society — that burning them could be construed as a righteous act?
What about books throughout our history that have triggered terrible political tyrannies, or world wars responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of innocent people? What about books with highly-objectionable content we might consider revolting? Are there books on subject matter so vile, that torching them would be acceptable?
No matter what the number — whether you live to be 25 or 55 or 95 — life’s way too short.
Indeed, time is our most precious resource, because it’s constantly diminishing. No one thinks about this in their teens. Only a few may consider this prospect in their 20’s or 30’s. One begins pondering diminishing opportunities by their 40’s, and by the 50’s the prospect of mortality becomes very real. I’m not sure exactly how one views time in their 60’s or 70’s, and beyond. Let’s just say I hope to get there and write about it, someday.
There’s never enough time in the day, the week, the month, or the year to do all the things that interest us. Not enough time to learn to play a musical instrument, and then practice at it to get better. Not enough time to learn another foreign language. Not enough time to meet all the people we want to see. Not enough time to visit all the places we want to go. And certainly not enough time to consume all the fascinating books out there, on a variety of different subjects just waiting to be picked up and read — horizons potentially broadened and outlooks sometimes changed by the printed word.