I see that Arthur Miller has entered immortality. His Death
of a Salesman is a masterpiece of the first magnitude. An
essay he wrote in 1974 about Richard Nixon entitled “One of Us”
argued that Nixon had ruined himself by refusing to admit that he
had human faults and then, when those faults were revealed, Nixon
was ruined by the comparison against the template he had created.
Nixon, Miller argued, was really just “one of us” with all our
It was a brilliant piece and I feel the same way about Arthur
Miller. He wrote a great play about selling, and I think of it
every day I am traveling and selling myself on a smile and a
But Arthur Miller, the demigod of artistic integrity, prided
himself on defending the system of Stalin and the Gulags and the
worst mass murders of all time against the system of Jefferson and
Washington and Eisenhower. He considered himself above mass culture
and celebrity and yet married Marilyn Monroe. He berated capitalism
for its hard-heartedness yet he had a child with Down syndrome whom
he consigned to an institution and never once visited.
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