[Marxism] Heaven, Hell and McCarthyism in satire: "The Investigator"

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at hunterbear.org
Thu Oct 22 08:24:47 MDT 2009

Apropos of the off and on discussion on RBB about Heaven and Hell and More, I toss this out to several lists:

It's unlikely that many RBB members have ever heard of the truly excellent satire on McCarthyism that emerged as a extremely popular record in the pits of the mid-twentieth century Red Scare: "The Investigator." Reuben Ship, accused of being a Communist by HUAC and deported back to his native Canada, developed this extremely creative work. Cornet and Reber and Edward may be among those who recall it. I am sure David McReynolds and Bill Mandel on the Bear list will immediately remember it. I loved it -- as did Eldri who I was yet to meet some years later. Sadly, our [phonograph] records deteriorated over time.

In it, the McCarthy figure, killed in a plane crash, arrives in Heaven. It isn't long before he pulls together a strikingly nefarious investigating committee to deal with subversion in "Up There" -- Heaven. The Committee includes Titus Oates, the anti-Catholic; Torquemada, the anti-Protestant; "Hanging Judge" Jeffries of the Bloody Assizes. Guided by the Investigator -- the McCarthy figure -- the Committee moves swiftly to deport to "Down There" a goodly number of illustrious folks -- among them, Martin Luther, Jefferson, Milton -- many! A signal strength of the work are seminal quotations of the deportees: e.g., one of Canada's great rebels, William Lyon MacKenzie: "Let the farmer leave his husbandry, the mechanic his tools, and pour forth your gallant population . . ."

The Committee founders a bit on the Karl Marx situation -- realizing that there are many Up There of that name -- but, true to its embracive lights, it deports All of Them -- e.g., the piano tuner.

It isn't long before the extremely angry Master of Down There appears personally at the gates of Up There to demand, "Stop sending those crackpot reformers Down There!" Turns out that the rapidly swelling group is causing much trouble in their new setting.

At the same time, [and with a barely veiled reference to Eisenhower], the Investigator then calls for an attack on The Chief of Up There. Panicking, his Committee objects, he gives no ground.

And then the Investigator is, with apparently no due process, summarily dumped Down There. Up There returns to pleasant normalcy and, If I recall correctly, the many victims of the "Scare" are restored to Heavenly citizenship.

It's a great piece of work -- timeless.

See http://www.lib.unb.ca/Texts/TRIC/bin/get.cgi?directory=vol10_2/&filename=Gross.htm

Solidarity, Hunter Bear

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