A Non-Newtonian Fluid (maddening) wrote,
A Non-Newtonian Fluid

Arthur Miller


Vanity Fair ran a story two weeks ago about Arthur Miller's hidden son. The above is a NY Time "exposé" on the story. Basically the son was born (his name is Daniel) to Miller's third wife. She wanted to keep him, Miller said they wouldn't and put him in an institution where he lived his entire life. He never mentioned the kid, not even in his big auto-biography. And then finally a few weeks before he died he rewrote his will, splitting his estate equally among his children, including Daniel.

People online (because having a blog makes you important) are falling all over themselves to shit talk him because of this. His plays were about the evils of being inhuman toward each other, the importance of understanding, and frequently indicted common people for being willfully ignorant or lacking compassion. So many people see this as a dirty secret from a hypocrite. Others say that Daniel was born well after most of Arthur Miller's well known plays were written and that after that time his work was never really up to par. These people draw a correlation between the secret kid and the dip in the quality of Miller's plays, implying that guilt made him incapable of the self righteous fire he previously employed.

Either way - I don't think people understand how common the "it's deformed, put it in a home" phenomenon was in the '40's, '50's, and '60's. Probably because it conflicts with the dumb Rockwellian ideal of what that time period was.

I want to say it doesn't matter. That his plays are his plays and are separate from who he was as a person. But then - I can't listen to Bo Diddly because I think he's a piece of shit. So does an artist's work stand alone or does who they are as a person have a hand in not just how they are seen, but how they *should* be seen? I don't think there's a standard equation for that.

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