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Anything to Please the Media

"SKIP: --But I should think if he is confident that he is about to . . . like meet his father in heaven, you could put it to him as a test of his faith that he not scream on camera. The camera, you see, tends to magnify everything and screaming on camera could easily seem in questionable taste.

FELIX: I understand. I will certainly try to discuss it with him."

~page 49 of Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues

I'm not going to lie. When I first read this part, four words went through my mind: are you kidding me? The sad thing is, it is comical in its own demented and very wrong way simply because they want to ask him not to scream as nonchalantly as if they are asking him what time it is. I hope that real people are not this bad. That's all I can really say about that.

That part aside, I thought it was interesting how the media--mostly the news/movie crews, since the advertisements were just shown as the annoyances that they are--were portrayed in this. The people in the news/movie crews, minus the notable exception of Emily Shapiro, all seem as if they could care less that they were hired to sensationalize a man's (not just any man's, but Christ's) death as it is occurring. They treat it as if it is merely the sporting event of the year. I know that this play was a satire, but do you think this was an author's exaggerated comment on how he viewed the media or was it just a random dark comical element he chose to throw in?

Comments (2)

I don't think that anything in this play is random in terms of the "message" Miller wanted to convey with this play. His use of exaggeration with these characters is interesting because in the other plays I've read by him he normally stays very close to realistic behavior. I think it's almost heavy-handed at times; there are many movies and plays that lampoon the media and its obsession with celebrity and sensationalizing violence, etc. But I think he's also trying to point out the flaws of humanity as a whole; the media wouldn't want to do something as outrageous as televise a crucifixion for entertainment value if there weren't a public out there that would willingly consume things like that. Not just the media but the rulers of the country are at the mercy of greed and selling out the principles for profit. In his other plays Miller depicts a lot of character flaws but he normally does it in a more subtle realistic fashion; it's interesting how he chose to do it in a broader and more exaggerated way in this play.

Christopher Dufalla:

Pondering about Miller's mind makes me think more about another play of his, "The Crucible". "The Crucible" and "Resurrection Blues" are very contrasting in tone, but did he truly dislike the media? True, the Salem Witch trials did not have TV or newspapers, but John Proctor was told to sign his name to a public confession in exchange for the right to live. This paper was an outrage to him, and he refused to sign saying that his name was all that he had left after the ordeal and that he would not have it slandered on the document. Advertising guilt and confession...similar to advertising guilt and execution? The elaborate set-up for Charley's crucifixion is just as annoying and pathetic as the document in "The Crucible". Perhaps Miller did find a certain distaste with the presentation of events by the media.

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