Re: RARA-AVIS: Spillane - what's up with that?

Joseph M. Johnston (
Fri, 10 Jul 1998 23:35:17 -0400 On 10 Jul 98, at 0:33, Joshua B Lukin wrote:

> Dear Matthew,
> My guess would be that unlike that of Ayn Rand, who came from Russia,
> Spillane had no personal axe to grind on behalf of McCarthyism but simply
> saw the Commies as efffective villains.

He may have. Another issue is that there clearly was an historical issue
going on. There was an somewhat unholy alliance during WWII with
Stalin. When the war was over, USSR failed to retreat from the countries
they moved though. The countries of eastern Europe did lose their
sovereignty in a real way -- including the eastern half of Germany. The
Hungarian Revolution was another big point.

> Although historians seem to agree
> that there was no Communist threat to the American Way of Life after 1949
> (or possibly ever),

I am sorry, but this phrase is nonsense. In adddition to the issues cited
above there were real threats including the Cuban Missile crisis. I am not
interested in engaging in deconstructive rhetoric here. I am well aware of
missiles in Turkey. There were mutual things going on and that's why it
was called the Cold War. There is also no doubt there subversive activities
did occur.

> the Red Scare of the fifties resulted in 27,000,000
> Americans having to sign loyalty oaths as a condition of keeping their
> jobs, hundreds of imprisonments, at least a dozen suicides, and many
> mental illnesses.

Was the reality of the red scare justified? I doubt that I would say yes.
What I am not willing to say is that there was no threat; That there was no
justification for anti-communist feelings; That a communist leader didn't
really say "we will bury you."; That the repression on Czchoslovakia in the
mid 60s didn't happen; That the fear of nuclear war was not a major reality
of the times.

Take a look at Jim Thompson's _A_Swell-Looking_Babe_
> for a fictional account of how, in paranoid fifties society, the
> accusation of communism could destroy a person. For an easy introduction
> to the tenor of the times, try Michael Barson's _Better_Dead_Than_Red_.
> One of the earliest critiques of the phenomenon is Richard Hofstader's
> _The_Paranoid_Style_in_American_Politics_. Within the context of the
> fifties, Mike Hammer is simply being an all-Amurrican patriot.

Joseph M. Johnston, Ph.D.
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