Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame during the era of silent film. Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona "the Tramp.” His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy. (from Wikipedia)
Chaplin of course, is widely known. What is not widely known is that Chaplin left the United States, where he had achieved great fame (and was a resident but not a citizen), and moved to Switzerland, because he said, there was in the U.S., an “ . . . unhealthy atmosphere in which liberal-minded individuals can be singled out and persecuted.” Congressman John Ranking who helped establish the House UnAmerican Activiites Committte told Congress as early as 1947, that Charlie Chaplin’s “very life in Hollywood is detrimental to the moral fabric of America. [If he is deported] ... his loathsome pictures can be kept from before the eyes of the American youth. He should be deported and gotten rid of at once.”
In class today you were also presented with images and information about the Spanish Civil War, in context with World War II, and the beginnings of the not-so-cold Cold War. This included discussion of Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica. In talking about the Cold War, I explored with you the history of McCarthyism and its focus and impact on artists and others. This led us back to Ronald Reagan who figured prominently in class last week with MK Czerwiec. In class today, you heard the voice of President Reagan's press secretary, Larry Speakes, talking with journalists. That video is on Youtube HERE. Although Chaplin was neither Jewish nor African-American (two groups who came in for more than their share of persecution during the ‘witch-hunt’ for communists in America), he as attacked and made to feel unwelcome.
If you would like to comment on this post, you have two basic options: write about the whole notion (idea, or concept) of there being history that once one hears about it, seems of great significance — but is relatively unknown by many people. Pick ONE topic you have begun to learn about at any time this semester in ANY class in DEARTS. The topic can be a person, or a work of art or an event. Discuss this topic in the following 3 ways (#1 - #3) and label your posted comments Option A.
Begin by saying what the topics was, and what you learned. Proceed by saying why this subject is of some importance to you.
Why do you think you never learned about it before? Do you think that you should have, and if so — do you place responsibility for not knowing about it on yourself, or on others?
Does the discovery of chapters of history that may be new to you, make you look at our culture today in a new way?
NOTE about the questions above. College a time to learn new things — about people and events one may not have heard about. This is a good thing — a wonderful thing. I don’t want my questions above to make you suggest otherwise. This post is a subjective one about your experiences, and point of view. If you don’t want to discuss this, feel free instead to write about any topic presented in TODAY’S class. In that case, answer this question: Why was this topic of special interest to you, and what did you learn about it? If you do this question label it Option B.
This post opened Wednesday at about 9 pm. It will remain open unti 10 pm on Sunday.