In the National Review (February 23) Ronald Radosh reviews Blacklisting Myself: Memoir of a Hollywood Apostate in the Age of Terror (Encounter) by Roger L. Simon.
Simon was a Left-Hollywood writer who had second thoughts and his book explores the world he knows and has left behind. Simon was a co-founder of Pajamas Media.
From Radosh’s review:
Liberal-Left politics, [Simon] observed, had become “the accepted norm, a ticket to employment or, if not that, a safety net for those already employed.” Where once it was primarily the writers who were leftists, this zeitgeist began to permeate the entire community, including the once-conservative executive suite. Simon attributes this to the arrival in Hollywood of the “baby moguls” — heirs of 1960s campus radicalism who broadcast their left-wing credentials while owning multiple homes.
Simon is certain that a blacklist against conservatives exists in Hollywood today, but that it is different from the old one in the days of HUAC. Today, he writes, “an almost invisible thought control” exists “where ‘liberal’ conformity is so pervasive that a formal blacklist is unnecessary.”
He points to the ritualized “Bush bash” as an example. A studio executive might have a meeting with, say, a writer or director and begin with some chit-chat. It would probably begin with something like, “Did you hear what the idiot said today?” Everyone would know whom “the idiot” referred to.
If you differed from this orthodoxy, according to Simon, you had essentially three choices: You could argue and be unemployed; you could ignore it and stay in the closet, “in which case you felt like a coward”; or you “could stop going to the meetings altogether — you could, in effect, blacklist yourself.”
This last is what Simon chose to do. It is Hollywood’s loss.
Of course, you don’t need to visit Hollywood to find a working blacklist.