In Contentious Minds, Ben Pleasants targets Hollywood writers and intellectuals who tried to suppress news of a European genocide -- Stalin's holocaust. Contentious Minds dramatizes a series of encounters between Mary McCarthy and Lillian Hellman between 1946 and 1982, the two women arguing about men, art, and politics--with McCarthy accusing Hellman of lying to cover up Stalin's genocide. Screenwriter and playwright Lillian Hellman defended Stalin through to her death in 1984. Mary McCarthy was a critic, writer, and anti-Stalinist leftist . The two literary lionesses' decades-long clashes culminated on October 18, 1979, when McCarthy said on PBS's Dick Cavett Show: "Every word [Hellman] writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.' " Hellman filed a libel suit against McCarthy, Cavett, and the Educational Broadcasting Corp. Pleasants says that his play deals with "the coverup of Stalin's crimes in America by writers like Hellman and John Howard Lawson, who attacked writers like Dos Passos and Koestler when they attempted to bring forward the murders of their friends, and the torture and execution of others writers in the USSR. After the HUAC, Hellman and Lawson were placed on Mount Rushmore as martyrs. They should be remembered as gangsters." Contentious Minds reminds audiences that HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) was founded in the 1930s to investigate American Nazis--and that HUAC was supported by American liberals and Leftists until it turned its attention to Communists a decade later. Liberal support for HUAC--even from Hollywood screenwriters--is one of the uncomfortable truths that Contentious Minds forces its Hollywood audiences to confront.
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Ben Pleasants is a noted playwright. His plays include The Gluttons (1970), Winter in Mongolia (1975), The Hemingway/Dos Passos Wars (1998), Contentious Minds: The Mary McCarthy/Lillian Hellman Affair (2001), and Ghosts of Pumpkin Park (2011). His novels include Spearmint Leaves (2010) and The Victory of Defeat (2011).
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Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 112 pages. 9.00x6.00x0.29 inches. This item is printed on demand. Bookseller Inventory # zk1490440542