Q. What popular parlor game contains a serious error?
A. Trivial Pursuit.
That's right, the game that's threatening to outrate television as home entertainment is misleading the 40 million Americans who play it, with a wrong answer to an important question about American history.
"What Amendment to the Constitution did the Hollywood Ten invoke before the House Committee on Un-American Activities?" The answer, according to Trivial Pursuit, is "The Fifth."
Actually, the Ten chose not to invoke the constitutional safeguard against self-incrimination. Some of them cited the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech; others, the entire Bill of Rights. They did so because they believed the state had no right to stigmatize people by probing their political beliefs, activities and associations.
Because of that stand, the Hollywood Ten went to prison and the next group of witnesses called by that most un-American of Congressional committees was advised by lawyers to take the Fifth in order to avoid a similar fate. Thus, a generation was deprived of an education in the meaning of the First Amendment and came to regard the invocation of the Fifth Amendment as an admission of gult. A valuable lesson in the legitimacy of political dissent was lost--all too relevent in these days of First Amendment chill.
Trivial Pursuit is only a parlor game, but this misinformation is anything but trivial.