JF Ptak Science Books Post 1489
Some things are complex, and complicated and pretty--you don't realize that they are this involved, exactly, because of the elegant way in which they are presented. An anti-gravity undertaking by Brunelleschi, in creating his dome, was an enormous challenge, solved with circles within circles, a series of nine of them enclosed in a polygon, the result being one of the most beautiful and iconic achievements in the history of architecture (and engineering).
And then sometimes things are complicated and complex and look and behave that way, their messiness outdistancing their own necessities.
Which gets us now to this game, a mass of entwined spaghetti, which was a tongue-in-cheek poke at the Army-McCarthy Hearings of the spring of 1954, a popular review in the tradition of Thomas Nast that is very effective.. The "Army" was the U.S. Army, and the "McCarthy" was Senator Joesph McCarthy, of Appleton, Wisconsin, a man who was about at the end of a short, meteoric career of vast unsubstantiated accusation, discord, lies and fraud. The hearings were supposed to sniff out Communists in the Army and the defense industry, because that's what McCarthy did, being a rabid impersonator of a man with a decent mission. The hearings were long, involved, and traveled nowhere fast although much ground was covered.
The bottom line to the whole affair was that as the first televised Senate hearings, McCarthy drew a huge audience, estimated at some 80 million people over the course of the event. And what happened was that “Tail-Gunner Joe” (an appellation he gave to himself that among many other things in his personal and public life were exaggerations) found out that he was seen better int eh minds of Americans when he was not being televised. In short, he was outed for many as a crude, threatening liar, and his career of ruining people in his quixotic quest for deeply-rooted Commies was about over when the last lights in the hearing room went out.
Joe McCarthy would be dead in about three years, his liver failed, evidently (as his biographers say) from too much drink. He was a dangerous and divisive man, but one who had many friends and supporters to keep him re-elected and in power. (He was a darling of the Kennedys, being a favorite of Joe Kennedy, the godfather of Robert Kennedy's first child, and one who dated two of the JFK's sisters. Being Catholic and a vehement Commie-hunter went a long way with Joseph Kennedy, who had his own set of issues with power and rule.)
[Image source: LIFE magazine, 21 July 1954, page 42.]