The First Admendment and Dorothy Parker
The Bill of Rights and Dorothy Parker?
It is ironic today we are witnessing the intended power of the Bill of Rights being whittled down to nothing more than meaningless words. It appears that whatever political party is in power they find the Bill of Rights an inconvenience. Today with the TSA setting up road blocks on the interstate harassing travelers with probing searches and probing questions it is no wonder Americans are totally numb to the fact they have no more rights: Probably the strongest law, signed by President Obama and passed by the Democratic Senate, was NDAA. Essentially this law allows the federal government to pick up any United States citizen and detain them without charge indefinitely. It is by far the most oppressive law against the Bill of Rights ever. What's ironic is this has been done before! Back in the 1950s the Republicans (with some Democratic help) pursued perceived Communist in our government and the arts (mostly writers and actors). In particular they basically accused 150 actors and directors in Hollywood for being communist (i.e. socialist). Remember, no matter how much we disagree with another person being a communist, fascist, evangelical zealot, or any other true believer ideology, it isn't against the law. You have, under the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association (i.e. the Amish don't have to hang out with you). Under the witch hunt of the McCarthy era people were brought before Congress and were forced to testify under oath what they believed. Yes, many of these people were socialist and communist in their beliefs but, guess what, it's not against the law. When members of this list were brought to the House Un-American Committee or Senator McCarthy's Senate Committee they were basically blacklisted from further work in Hollywood for refusing to answer questions (First Amendment Bill of Rights). What these committees did was to attack the principle of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly, as it was enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Finally, Congress threw ten writers in jail for a year and about 150 were blacklisted from further work in Hollywood. (The blacklist was derived from a private publication titled the Red Channels). This blacklist was totally unconstitutional and illegal. The list was derived from a right wing Republican group who saw all liberal Democrats as anti-American Communist. Dorothy Parker, who's name was on the list, saw her career in Hollywood completely destroyed. She never recovered and never got to defend herself in a court of law. Essentially the big Hollywood studios caved in to the political pressure of the day and just ignored those who were on the list. About 11 years later some of the bigger writers eventually got to work under their real names again. In the meantime they had to work under pseudonyms for a fraction of the fee. In fact, why they put Dorothy Parker on the blacklist probably had more to do with her being a founding member of the Writers Guild with eight other Hollywood writers. It's interesting to note that half of the founding Writers Guild members were blacklisted. Sure looks and smells like union busting. It wasn't until Otto Preminger produced Exodus that a blacklisted screenwriter received a screen credit with his real name. (This was one year before Kirk Douglas' Spartacus which some researchers mistakenly believe was the first film to break the blacklist). Today the pendulum has swung to the other extreme with the far left of the Democratic party attacking the Bill of Rights. The NDAA is only one example of laws being passed by congress (in particular the Democratic Senate). A citizen can now be picked up off the streets and held without charge. They can also be tried by a military court! The list of lost rights that have been removed goes on and on. Why is it that extreme political believers always want to attack the Bill of Rights? Don't fret, the Bill of Rights always survives these attacks, because, in the end there is nothing else that works better for the people. The most effective tool in any world economy has been the freedoms stated in the Bill of Rights. As soon as they are restricted, as they are today, and Dorothy Parker's day, the economy starts to slow down. In the near future many of these restrictions on the Bill of Rights will be turned back and freedom loving people will get this economy moving again as they did back in Dorothy Parker's day. Few people remember Dorothy Parker today but in her time she believed in helping the poor, the blacks, the anti-Franco forces in Spain, and the anti-Nazi groups in the late thirties. More then ever, we need the humor and wit of Dorothy Parker today! The pendulum of power may have moved but the need for the Bill of Rights is needed more than ever.
Terrie Frankel is a writer and songwriter. She is a New York Time best seller author "You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again" and other books including "Tales From the Casting Couch"), "Unfinished Lives" and "I Know You Really Want To Tell Me" and was a ghost writer on the million plus seller,"Nicole Brown Simpson, Private Diary of a Life Interrupted." She has also written many songs. Her latest project is a film titled "Room Enough For Two - The Life of Dorothy Parker." She is a member of the Producers Guild of America (former Board of Directors member), Grammy's, and ASCAP to mention a few.
You can visit Terrie Frankel's Dorothy Parker one woman musical website. Terrie wrote all the music for the production and sings most of the songs. Terrie's favorite songs from the film is "Room Enough For Two" and "Fashionably Black List" (the later song being about Dorothy Parker's blacklist experience from her Hollywood screenwriting career due to the McCarthy hearings). She is currently working on her next book "Kiss Kiss and Tell Tell" which should be completed shortly. Terrie has travelled the world, belonged to the Circumnavigators Club, lived in the Orient and speaks Cantonese and Mandarin. She has also been featured in Marquis' Who's Who of America, Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who of the West and Who's Who of the World.
Facebook Fan Page URL