I ended up explaining McCarthyism to one of the people with whom I saw Harry Potter the night it opened. For cause, I went with "mass insanity."
I really, really want to see the movie today (my boyfriend's day off), but he doesn't. Sigh. He doesn't like dramas.
According to my best friend, test screening audiences loved the movie, but they felt the actor playing Joe McCarthy was a little over the top. And, of course, there was no actor playing Joe McCarthy; it was all actual footage.
"Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"
"You can't erase icing."
"I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"