Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I'd pay to see Goody Daniel with the devil...

Some time last year I was walking into a movie cinema about to see the lovely film Goodnight and Good luck. I had dragged a friend to the movie at late notice and I was giving her a brief run down on the movie and what to expect.

I was in full angry-little-L-liberal rant mode, giving what I thought was a searing indictment of McCarthyism and how little times had changed when she surprised ten types of crap out of me by asking me what McCarthyism was. I… didn’t know what to say. I was quite genuinely shocked that anyone could not have heard the term (sorry anonymous blog-reading friend whose name I will never reveal!) but, as it turned out, she wasn’t alone. A quick survey revealed several people in my immediate social circle who had never heard of Joseph McCarthy or what he represented and it’s a real shame.

This isn’t intellectual smugness speaking but it’s a real, real shame if people today don’t know about our reasonably immediate past. The idea that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it a cliche but a good one. There are huge lessons to be learned from history and I really don’t feel that we as a society have learned very much at all. I’m not exactly breaking new ground in suggesting there has been more than a whiff of McCarthyism breezing through the western world in the past few years where people are accused of being unAustralian or unpatriotic for burning an Australian flag, not supporting a steady erosion of individual rights or wearing a burqa.

Anyway, all this is a long way of saying I’m looking forward to seeing The Crucible tonight in a big way. Obviously I’ve yet to lay my eyes on this particular production but, all things going well, anyone who hasn’t read the play or seen the movie would do well to make their way to the Playhouse for a play that is, tragically, just about as relevant today as it was 55 years ago.

Just as tragically this version will, I hear, not star Daniel Day Lewis. Curses!

UPDATE: It was good and well worth seeing. I agree with some of Dan’s comments boltongray.blogspot.com and I wasn’t blown away with this production per se (though I thought the set design was great) but the material is so good it’s a completely gripping experience.

5 comments:

Dave said...

I only really know about McCarthyism because I did history in school. And not too many people at my school did history, so it's not really that surprising...

my name is kate said...

Yeah for some reason I just assume everyone has the same nerdy interests as me. Naturally the friend I mentioned is incredibly brilliant in other areas and could make a mockery of me with her knowledge of things I am totally ignorant of.

Bolton Gray said...

No it doesn't have Daniel Day Lewis in it, in fact there is no-one attractive in it, but it is a brilliant production.
Thom and I saw the preview last night and I can tell you it is brilliant.
Perhaps one or two actors take the volume of righteous outrage too high too early, making it tedious every time they open their mouths, but that's all I could say to fault it.
I sat there getting more and more furious with the situation. As I often do when I see injustice before me. The fact Miller set it in the times of the Salem witch trials, the fact it was a parable for McCarthyism, makes it even more scary that it is EVERY BIT AS RELEVANT today.
Australians, westerners, are so bred and wedded to the idea of the politics of fear, that I fear we shall always fall back into this trap.
And the self-righteous, religious, smug, pious, and powerful, are likely to always win out.
Fear is easier to sell than reason.

my name is kate said...

Awesome. I’m such a fan of the play I was a bit scared they might fuck it up and ruin it for me forever. I’m sure I will be boiling over with righteous indignation by the time it’s finished.

Lindsay said...

I cannot wait to see it tonight. I think there are a helluva lot of texts that are just as/more relevant today that at the time. Crucible, 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World...