My Dissertation (in the News)
“A World in Which Everything Hurts,” a profile of Arthur Miller in The Forward, gets bonus points for mentioning, in a single paragraph, three of the authors I’m writing about in my dissertation:
In contrast, for example, to Tony Kushner, whose humanism seems to spring from a secular engagement with Jewish religion and history, Miller seems to come to his universalism only through the abandonment of the Jewish tradition. And in his rejectionism, he fails to display the depth or nuance of Philip Roth, whose own critique of Jewish life — however damning — reflects an intense, intimate confrontation with his subject.
Another key figure from my project, Norman Mailer, shows up in The New York Metro, discussing the upcoming Republican Convention with his son, John Buffalo Mailer. Apparently I’m right on track in looking back to the fall of the New Left (and books like Mailer’s Armies of the Night) in trying to make sense of the contemporary Left’s problems:
The march on the Pentagon even ended up having a final effect that was impressive. I think it was the beginning of the end of the war in Vietnam, and for a very simple reason: Lyndon Johnson saw 50,000 mostly middle-class people come to Washington to stage a set of demonstrations that were going to be opposed by troops and police. LBJ knew people well. From his point of view, most middle-class people were hardly full of physical bravery. If they were going to pay their own money and come by car or bus or train to march into the possibility of being hit over the head with a cop’s club, then there had to be millions of people behind them.