Him Too? How Arthur Miller Smeared Marilyn Monroe and Invented the Myth of the Male Witch Hunt.

These days, the people with the most vociferous fears of the hunt are those who’ve always been the least likely to be hunted: Powerful men.

“There is a bit of a witch hunt happening too… There’s some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee, or something, and suddenly they’re being dropped from their programme, or something,” said actor Liam Neeson, who once starred on Broadway as the morally agonized but ultimately righteous hero John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

Neeson went on to explain that he is supportive of women, of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, and of justice. That of course there are men who are monsters, like Harvey Weinstein, but that there is also a real threat of girls and women falsely accusing innocent men, or getting men harshly punished for deeds that don’t warrant it.

 As a novelist specializing in the ways that history has depicted transgressive women, I spend a lot of time analyzing how stories about female victims are routinely transformed into stories about male heroes, tragic or otherwise. That’s how Miller approached Salem in The Crucible, still required high-school reading that’s shaped how many of us think about mob panic and life-ruining accusations. I read it for the first time in a history class, and I thought it was amazing, subversive protest art, written to shine a light on the injustice of Joseph McCarthy’s Communist hunt. It wasn’t until I saw the 1996 film that I began to wonder about the nature of the way Miller portrays the women in the story. Lately, listening to discussions of #MeToo, I’ve been thinking about Miller’s versions of history again.

Source: Him Too? How Arthur Miller Smeared Marilyn Monroe and Invented the Myth of the Male Witch Hunt.

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