Finally, a word about how the Left sees the series. In The Nation, historian Jon Wiener insists that,
The best thing about The Americans, the new spy show on FX, is that the Soviet spies are not Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. They are a different married couple — Russians, sent by the KGB from Moscow to Washington, DC. The show begins shortly after Reagan takes office.
Wiener asks why there isn’t a drama about American spies in Moscow, and answers his own question: there really were not any, especially during World War II, when Moscow infiltrated our own government and we did nothing to spy against the Soviets. He does not know, evidently, that there were American spies in Russia at the time, but they were Americans who spied for the Soviets and defected to Russia, namely Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant. As Steven Usdin revealed in his excellent book about them, the two used their expertise to set up the Soviet version of Silicon Valley and helped build up the Soviet military establishment.
Wiener also writes that “Ron Radosh, David Horowitz and Co., [evidently we are now a firm] will be unhappy with this show.” He never thought of e-mailing me or picking up the phone before writing those words. As he now knows, I like the program a lot, although dramatically, it does not come near to Homeland or MI-5 in quality. He adds that we will not like it “because the spies in question are not American communists,” and to be snide, also writes that we “are unhappy about so many things.”
Well, there are things to be unhappy about, and much to be pleased with and very happy about. That is the human condition, and will be even if the socialism Wiener believes in were ever to be created. Actually, if that was to be built, there would be a lot to be unhappy about, and even Jon Wiener would quickly learn that. So, maybe in writing the TV series, Mr. Weisberg and his team have socialist Jon Wiener as the perfect audience — a man who hopes the Soviets will triumph in TV land in a way they never did in real life
Thank God it’s only television we’re talking about!