Tuesday, December 13, 2022

#348 / An American Witness

The person pictured above possesses what William Spiegelman, operating in his capacity as a book reviewer for The Wall Street Journal, calls "square-jawed good looks." Can you identify this person? What if I told you that his man was married to the most famous movie star of his time? Does that help? And what if I said that the person pictured was a playwright? Now you know, right? 

That is Arthur Miller, pictured above. If you don't know anything about Miller, one solution is to click that link to his name. That will take you to a Wikipedia write-up. Another way to find out some things about Arthur Miller would be to read a brand new biography, Arthur Miller: American Witness. The book, written by John Lahr, was reviewed by Spiegelman in the Saturday/Sunday, November 12-13, 2022, edition of The Wall Street Journal, with Spiegelman's review being titled, "Only Truth For Sale."
Probably, access to that Wall Street Journal review will be denied to anyone not a subscriber, but you can click on the link, and give it a try. If you are a Netflix subscriber, you could also hunt down "Blonde," the fictionalized documentary about Marilyn Monroe, which has some footage showing Miller in a rather lugubrious role. Actually, just to be clear, I don't want to be identified as anyone who is actually recommending that you watch "Blonde." I found it to be one of the most repellent movies I have ever seen.

This blog posting about Miller, and the new John Lahr biography, which is part of a "Jewish Lives" series, appears today for one reason only. My purpose is to quote a statement made by Miller (taken from the biography) in which Miller discussed his first plays, written in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while he was a student at the University of Michigan. 

I believe that the following statement - about the obligation we all have, as human beings - is truly an important and profound insight that applies to everyone. It applies to you. It applies to me. It applies to everyone. 
Let's not forget this obligation! I think Arthur Miller has said it well: 

My plays were revolving around the question of waking up an individual to what ultimately became a moral obligation to change the world.
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