Why is this incident touching to me? Because in any normal circumstances it would have been impossible for good feelings ever to be re-established between this boy and myself. The implied accusation of theft would not have been made any better, probably somewhat worse, by my efforts to make amends. One of the effects of safe and civilized life is an immense oversensitiveness which makes all the primary emotions seem somewhat disgusting. Generosity is as painful as meanness, gratitude as hateful as ingratitude. But in Spain in 1936 we were not living in a normal time. It was a time when generous feelings and gestures were easier than they ordinarily are. I could relate a dozen similar incidents, not really communicable but bound up in my own mind with the special atmosphere of the time, the shabby clothes and the gay-coloured revolutionary posters, the universal use of the word ‘comrade’, the anti-Fascist ballads printed on flimsy paper and sold for a penny, the phrases like ‘international proletarian solidarty’, pathetically repeated by ignorant men who believed them to mean something. Could you feel friendly towards somebody, and stick up for him in a quarrel, after you had been ignominiously searched in his presence for property you were supposed to have stolen from him? No, you couldn't; but you might if you had both been through some emotionally widening experience. That is one of the by-products of revolution, though in this case it was only the beginnings of a revolution, and obviously foredoomed to failure.
The House Committee on Un-American Activities (generally known as HUAC) also investigated communism within Hollywood, calling a number of playwrights, directors and actors known for left-wing views to testify. Although some of these, including film director Elia Kazan, testified for the committee to avoid prison sentences, the Hollywood Ten, a group of entertainers, refused to testify and were convicted of contempt and sentenced to up to one year in prison. Over three hundred other entertainers were placed on a blacklist for possible communist views and were thus forbidden to work for major Hollywood studios (many of these were writers who worked under pseudonyms at the time, including Dalton Trumbo and Michael Wilson). Arthur Miller was one of these blacklisted. The blacklist prevented these men from receiving screen credit during this time, until actor Kirk Douglas pushed for Trumbo to receive screen credit for his adaptation of Spartacus for Stanley Kubrick in 1960.
In fact, in November 2011 an international petition was formally launched to ask UNESCO —in the light of the increasing marginalization of the classical languages—to declare Latin and Greek a specially protected “intangible heritage of humanity.” I am not sure what I think about treating classical languages as if they were an endangered species or a precious ruin, but I am fairly confident that it wasn’t great politics, right now, to suggest (as the petition does) that their preservation should be made the particular responsibility of the Italian government. I think Mario Monti has rather too much on his plate already.