Stay Home! Remembering ‘High Noon’ and its Back-Story

Go Lean Commentary

When there is a ‘Climate of Hate’, conditions in society can easily go from bad to worse. We have a lot of lessons from history that supplant this assertion. Consider this lesson from America in the 1950’s.

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A revealing new book High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic uncovers the back-story of the classic Western movie ‘High Noon’; it details the grim time in American history, when a bad community ethos permeated, McCarthyism and the resultant blacklist. “These events from the 1950’s have a special resonance today.”

The movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean has consistently related that the United States function as a Great Society but it has two societal defects: Institutional Racism and Crony-Capitalism. These societal defects can easily create a ‘Climate of Hate‘ and in the 1950’s, the US had it bad … with their stereotyping and “witch hunts” of McCarthyism.

McCarthyism include the speeches, investigations, and hearings of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy (in office 1947 –1957); the Hollywood blacklist, associated with hearings conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC); and the various anti-communist activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under Director J. Edgar Hoover. McCarthyism was a widespread social and cultural phenomenon that affected all levels of society and was the source of a great deal of debate and conflict in the United States.

CU Blog - Remembering 'High Noon' and its Back Story - Photo 3McCarthyism was the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.[1] It also means “the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.”[2] The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from 1947 to 1956 and characterized by heightened political repression as well as a campaign spreading fear of influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents.

McCarthyism soon took on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts. The term is also now used more generally to describe reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries. During the McCarthy era, thousands of Americans were accused of being communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists. Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person’s real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment and/or destruction of their careers; some even suffered imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned,[4] laws that were later declared unconstitutional,[5] dismissals for reasons later declared illegal[6] or actionable,[7] or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute.
Source: Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia; retrieved February 26, 2017 from:

As related in the foregoing, “many people suffered loss of employment and/or destruction of their careers”; this was definitely the case in Hollywood. Consider the experience of the screenwriter Carl Foreman, best known for the film classic Western ‘High Noon’. See the Book Review and related AUDIO-Podcast here:

Book Title: High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic
By:  Glenn Frankel
From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Searchers, the revelatory story behind the classic movie High Noon and the toxic political climate in which it was created.

CU Blog - Remembering 'High Noon' and its Back Story - Photo 1It’s one of the most revered movies of Hollywood’s golden era. Starring screen legend Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in her first significant film role, High Noon was shot on a lean budget over just thirty-two days but achieved instant box-office and critical success. It won four Academy Awards in 1953, including a best actor win for Cooper. And it became a cultural touchstone, often cited by politicians as a favorite film, celebrating moral fortitude.

Yet what has been often overlooked is that High Noon was made during the height of the Hollywood blacklist, a time of political inquisition and personal betrayal. In the middle of the film shoot, screenwriter Carl Foreman was forced to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities about his former membership in the Communist Party. Refusing to name names, he was eventually blacklisted and fled the United States. (His co-authored screenplay for another classic, The Bridge on the River Kwai, went uncredited in 1957.) Examined in light of Foreman’s testimony, High Noon‘s emphasis on courage and loyalty takes on deeper meaning and importance.

In this book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel tells the story of the making of a great American Western, exploring how Carl Foreman’s concept of High Noon evolved from idea to first draft to final script, taking on allegorical weight. Both the classic film and its turbulent political times emerge newly illuminated.


AUDIO-PODCASTWhat A Classic ’50s Western Can Teach Us About The Hollywood Blacklist –

Posted on February 21, 2017 – Author Glenn Frankel tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross that the government was “looking to see or to prove that there had been communist infiltration in Hollywood, that this was part of a mass plot engineered by Moscow to take over our cultural institutions.”

Many who appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee were put on a blacklist that made it impossible for them to work in show business. Among the blacklisted was screenwriter Carl Foreman, whose 1952 classic western High Noon is seen as a parable about the toxic political climate of the time.

This history highlights the bad consequence of societal defects; they can easily be exploited and society further hijacked with blatant malice (bad motives, bad messages and bad actions). This aligns with the Go Lean book’s definition of “community ethos”:

the underlying attitude/spirit/sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society.

The bad ethos of McCarthyism became a “widespread social and cultural phenomenon that affected all levels of America”. The US would not have been a welcoming society for those on the wrong side of this targeting. This truly demonstrates how a ‘Climate of Hate’ exacerbates societal defects, conditions easily go from bad to worse.

America is not much different today … in 2017 compared to the 1950’s. Yes, the laws of the land has been updated, but the attitudes of the people are still intact towards a ‘Climate of Hate’. There is the continuous need for vigilance and truth. The truth of the matter is that America has a lot of work to do to be the Great Society they project to the world. This country should not be the panacea of Caribbean ills. This commentary has consistently asserted that it is easier for the Caribbean member-states to reform and transform its own society than to flee to find refuge in America.

According to the foregoing, the American government turned on some of its most talented and productive citizens during the bad days of McCarthyism. This turned out to be just another extension of the country’s ‘Climate of Hate’. This commentary maintains that hate is in the American DNA.

Too strong?!

Just consider the experience of the nation’s Black-and-Brown populations. This has been duly documented and lamented.

Too old?!

If it is the contention that this is an indictment of the America of old, then consider the fresh experience of Muslim immigrants.

And yet … the people in the Caribbean – mostly Black-and-Brown – are beating down the doors to get out of their Caribbean homeland, to seek refuge in places like the US; (a smaller faction emigrate to Canada and Western Europe). This really conveys the sad state of affairs for the Caribbean eco-system. While things are bad for minorities in America (Black-and-Brown, Muslim, etc.), more Black people want to come in, instead of working to remediate the problems in their own homeland.

This is the reality of the Caribbean disposition: the region suffers from a bad record of societal abandonment. The reasons why people leave have been identified as “push and pull”:

“Push” refers to people who feel compelled to leave, to seek refuge in a foreign land. “Refuge” is an appropriate word; because of societal defects, many from the Caribbean must leave as refugees – think LGBTDisabilityDomestic-abuseMedically-challenged – for their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

“Pull”, on the other hand refers to the lure of a more prosperous life in the US (and other destinations); many times our people are emigrating for economics solely.

If only we can mitigate these “push and pull” factors, then we can dissuade our people from leaving in the first place. We CAN go from ‘good to great‘ here in the homeland. This is no easy task; and despite being necessary, it is hereby defined as heavy-lifting. This is the purpose of this commentary; this is part 1 of 3 in a series on “Why Caribbean people need to Stay Home“, positing that the “grass is not greener on the other side”. The complete series is as follows:

  1.  Stay Home! Remembering ‘High Noon’ and its Back-Story
  2.  Stay Home! Immigration Realities in the US
  3.  Stay Home! Outreach to the Diaspora – Doubling-down on Failure

The book Go Lean … Caribbean seeks to optimize the societal engines of Caribbean life; it serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU must employ better strategies, tactics and implementations to impact its prime directives; identified with the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines and mitigate internal and external threats.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these above engines, including a separation-of-powers between member-state governments and CU federal agencies.

Early in the Go Lean book, this need for careful technocratic stewardship of the region’s societal engines was pronounced (Declaration of Interdependence – Page 12 – 13) with these acknowledgements and statements:

xi.   Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii.  Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

This is movie season … and movies are an art form that imitates life, while life also imitates movies.

… The 89th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, honored the best films of 2016, and took place on February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, 5:30 p.m. PST. – Wikipedia

The lesson we learn from the back-story of the movie ‘High Noon’ and the foregoing Book Review, is that we have to ‘stand our ground’ to reform and transform our communities in the Caribbean; we have our own ‘Climate of Hate’. So the Go Lean book therefore details this series of community ethos to adopt, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute to forge a permanent transformation in the homeland:

Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Choices & Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Anti-Bullying and Mitigation Page 23
Community Ethos – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Manage Reconciliations Page 34
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision –  Integrate region into a Single Market Economy Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Department of Homeland Security Page 75
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid Page 115
Planning – 10 Big Ideas … in the Caribbean Region – Haiti & Cuba Page 127
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices Page 134
Planning – Lessons from East Germany – European Post-War Rebuilding – Attitudes Page 139
Planning – Lessons from the US Constitution – Progressive &  Evolutionary Page 145
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Empowering Immigration – Case Study of Indian Migrants Page 174
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Justice Page 177
Advocacy – Ways to Remediate and Mitigate Crime Page 178
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Gun Control Page 179
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Mitigate Terrorism – and Bullying Page 181
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering & Analysis Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights Page 220
Advocacy – Ways to Help Women – Mitigate Gender-based Violence Page 226
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Youth – Message new Community Ethos – Inclusion Page 227
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Hollywood – Power of Film Page 203
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Dominican Republic – Reconciling Neighboring Hate Page 237
Advocacy – Ways to Re-boot Haiti – Regional Climate of Hate against Haiti Page 238
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Trinidad & Tobago – Indo versus Afro Climate Page 240
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Guyana – Indo versus Afro Climate Page 241
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Belize – Cross Border Climate with Guatemala Page 242
Advocacy – Ways to Impact US Territories – Interracial Climate Page 244

Underlying the back-story in the foregoing Book Review is the classic Western film: High Noon. See the Appendix VIDEO.

That was a great movie about a man when faced with the choice of ‘fight or flight’, chose to stay and fight rather than fleeing for his own refuge. This film was thought-provoking and impactful … and celebrated. In fact, the film …

… was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and won four (Actor, Editing, Music-Score, and Music-Song)[3] as well as four Golden Globe Awards (Actor, Supporting Actress, Score, and Cinematography-Black and White).[4] In 1989, this movie was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. – Wikipedia.

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Movies are important in the roadmap to impact the Caribbean; a previous blog/commentary regarding Caribbean Diaspora member and Hollywood great, Sidney Poitier, declared that …

… “movies are an amazing business model. People give money to spend a couple of hours watching someone else’s creation and then leave the theater with nothing to show for the investment; except perhaps a different perspective”.

The contention is that we can do better in the Caribbean. This is based on one premise: it is easier to reform and transform the Caribbean that it is to reform and transform America. Yes, we can …

The points of effective, technocratic stewardship of the Caribbean have been detailed in these previous blog/commentaries: Learning from Stereotypes – Good and Bad Vision and Values for a ‘New’ Caribbean Time To Go: A 6-part series for the Diaspora in the US Respect for Minorities: Climate of Hate Going from ‘Good to Great’ Street naming for Martin Luther King unveils a ‘Climate of Hate’ Better than America? Yes, We Can! American Defects: Racism – Is It Over? ‘Prosper where Planted’ in the Caribbean

The issues addressed in this commentary are not related to America alone. We have our own ‘Climate of Hate’ in the Caribbean. While we can learn lessons from the American past and present, we still must do the required heavy-lifting ourselves.

The Go Lean book reports that the Caribbean is in crisis. Too many people leave … due to “push and pull” reasons. Thusly, the region is suffering a debilitating brain-drain estimated at 70% with some countries reporting up to 81%.

The Go Lean roadmap declares that we must, and can, do better. Truth be told, it is easier for the average person to remediate and mitigate defects in the Caribbean homeland than to prosper in foreign lands like the US. This message , while repeated here, must be loudly proclaimed and echoed throughout our Caribbean region.

Every stakeholder, everyone who live, work and play in the Caribbean are urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap to turn-around the region. The strategies, tactics and implementations proposed in the Go Lean book are conceivable, believable and achievable. 🙂


Appendix VIDEO – High Noon (1952) Official Trailer –

Uploaded on Dec 12, 2011 – Classic Western movie starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly.

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