I'm home with a cold today, so I'll have lots of time to catch up on blogging. The Sox were off last night, so we watched a movie. Later in the season, when there's a night off, I make sure we get out of the house. But with only three games played, I'm not going stir-crazy yet.
We saw "Good Night, And Good Luck.", George Clooney's movie about McCarthyism, and how CBS Newsmen Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly stood up to the little scummy demagogue who was terrorizing the US. It's filmed in a velvety black-and-white that gives it a very authentic feel, and allows the actual footage of the McCarthy hearings to blend in. (Because wasn't the world black-and-white in those days?)
Two people who were part of the Murrow news team, Joe Wershba and Shirley Wershba, played by Robert Downey, Jr. and Patricia Clarkson, were consultants on the film.
The cast is excellent. If you're a John Sayles fan, as I am, you're very familiar with the great acting of David Strathairn. This is a real tour de force for him. (I used to know Strathairn from theatre days. If you're wondering, his usually-mispronounced last name is said "stra-THA-rin", the "a" in THA sounding like "that".) Clooney is terrific, as is Patricia Clarkson.
The McCarthy era is a very shameful time in US history. Often compared to a witch hunt (at least once in literature), it ruined careers, wrecked families, and ended lives. The parallels to our present time are inescapable; you just substitute "terrorism" for "Communism". But even without the parallel, it's a story that needs to be told.
A factoid I picked up from last night's movie is that the oft-quoted line from McCarthy's downfall, surely one of history's great political rejoinders, is usually quoted incorrectly. What Army attorney Joseph Welch actually said was: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
This line has enjoyed new fame from its appearance in "Angels In America," which, if you haven't seen, you must.
Famous speeches are often edited ever-so-slightly to sound better in retelling. Lou Gehrig's famous farewell speech was not quite as perfect as the version people know from "Pride of the Yankees", although the movie script's editing is barely perceptible. Martin Luther King, Jr. improved on Theodore Parker's famous quotation when he said, "Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." (I love that line. If only I believed in a moral universe...)
"Good Night, and Good Luck." is part of the Participate.Net website, as was the last movie I blogged about, "North Country". I was also very happy to see "Murderball" on the site! Participate.net links movies with activism. What a fantastic idea.