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.