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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • There's a far cry between McCarthy accidently being correct on the basics and the ridiculous, extremist manner in which he carried out his attacks. His "lists" appeared to be a product of his imagination and even some members of his own party hated his extremism and felt they could not trust him, though this was usually only expressed privately due to fears of how the public would react. Of course, once McCarthy started to fall, they were quick to draw their knives.

    Interestingly, from what I've read abo

    • by pudge (1) on 2005.05.04 2:00 (#40172) Homepage Journal
      There's a far cry between McCarthy accidently being correct on the basics and the ridiculous, extremist manner in which he carried out his attacks

      The point is that McCarthy was right about his broad claims, and comparing someone to McCarthy is implicitly saying there is likely truth in the claims being made. I am not justifying the methods McCarthy used, but his methods were performed in a specific context, one in which there was a very real threat. To apply that to something where there is no real threat, such as Arthur Miller did in The Crucible, is senseless.

      I actually liked The Crucible, but only as a story about the actual witch trials, not as an allegory to the Red Scare. Again, yes, McCarthy was dead wrong about many of his specific allegations, but there was a larger truth that simply didn't exist in the Witch Trials, thus making the comparison shallow.

      So, while this artist is upset that the government is building a case against him, you feel his accusing the government of McCarthyism is suggestive of his guilt?

      No, I was being facetious: even if the government is acting "McCarthyite," that doesn't mean he is innocent, which is what such an accusation is usually intended to imply; i.e., that a witch-hunt is necessarily bogus. So I noted the opposite, for effect.

      That said, what I read about the case on the man's web site makes me think the government is full of it (on the other hand, "The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him." (Proverbs 18:17)). I am not attacking the man, just the cries of McCarthyism. As best I can tell, he is likely innocent; however, I am more likely swayed by sober examinations than by pejorative comparisons of methodology.
      • omparing someone to McCarthy is implicitly saying there is likely truth in the claims being made

        Certainly not : comparisons are made in context. Comparing someone to Hitler is usually not implicitly saying that this someone is a great strategist.

        • Certainly not : comparisons are made in context. Comparing someone to Hitler is usually not implicitly saying that this someone is a great strategist.

          But you're only making my point, which is that the comparison is a bad one, since nearly every comparison of someone to Hitler is ridiculous.
          • Not quite. Comparing McCarthy to Hitler is accurate on a point -- both were conspiracy theorists (the first with Commies, the second with Jews), which is a well-known and effective totalitarian propaganda technique to distract citizens from democracy.
            • Comparing McCarthy to Hitler is accurate on a point

              So is comparing Hitler to Ghandi. They were both compelling public figures who changed the world. But the comparison is not accurate on the salient points, the points that make Hitler so notably bad in our minds. Joe McCarthy was right about the threat of the commies and Hitler wasn't right about the Jews, McCarthy wasn't a murderer and Hitler was, etc.

              It's like when someone calls "blogging" "journalism." In a sense, it is, but only if you widen what
          • "Winston Churchill was almost as good an orator as Hitler" :-)
      • I actually liked The Crucible, but only as a story about the actual witch trials, not as an allegory to the Red Scare.
        You might also enjoy Animal Farm. As a story about animals, on a farm.
        • The difference being that Orwell was a good writer.

          Allegory is hard to do without sucking. It's why many writers abhor it, such as Tolkien did. Miller sucked at it. I wouldn't call Animal Farm and 1984 allegory per se, but if you must, then it is an example of good allegory.