Jewish World Review March 7, 2003 / 3 Adar II, 5763
Home entertainment tips for pinkos --- no joke!
I read recently in the New York Times about an item recently
rediscovered by a Brandeis University historian as he was browsing
through the school's collection of radical pamphlets.
It was a fifteen
page manual called "Give a Party for the Party," published by the New
York State branch of the American Communist Party back in the thirties,
that gives home entertainment tips for pinkos.
One does not normally think of Communists as genial hosts of social
events, and this brochure -- at least from what the article reveals --
does nothing to dispel that impression. There are no suggestions for
floral arrangements, or what kinky fun ice cube shapes you could float
in the ice bowl.
No, in keeping with the goals of the proletarian struggle, the pamphlet
offers tips like, "cutting editorials from The Daily Worker into little
pieces and having guests compete to see who can put them back together
fastest; passing around pictures of party leaders and having guests try
to name them correctly; holding a mock convention on, say,
nonintervention in Spain." The pamphlet explains: "One guest is made
chairman. Another is Chamberlain, another Leon Blum, a third Mussolini.
A clever gathering can do wonders in political satire. It's grand fun."
And it does sound like grand fun, doesn't it? Nobody does Mussolini
impressions any more, at least not good ones. Throw in the Stalin Jell-o
mold, the vodka shooters and you could have hours of fun - then report
each other to the Committee, for false consciousness. More fun!
I don't know if Nazis at the time had a similar pamphlet, maybe
suggesting that members bob for apples while singing the Horst Wessel
song, or playing musical chairs while goose stepping, but it made me
I confess to having had a passionate dislike for theme parties in the
past, but I believe, comrades, that I have seen the error in my
thinking. Times have changed. We don't have the old ideologies that
fueled global conflagrations and kinky party favors, but the brave new
world we live in certainly suggests some themes that could liven up any
How about a paper-shredding fiesta? Bring your incriminating documents,
I'll provide the shredder and keg! On the other side of that coin, I
could host a whistle-blowing wing ding! Got something on your boss?
Bring the evidence to me, and I'll give you Mardi Gras beads, a little
plastic dinosaur, and a pink slip.
If none of that sounds appealing, we can always celebrate the New
Economy with an old standby --- the rent party! Bring the want ads and
your resume with you! We'll make confetti!
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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2001, Ian Shoales