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October 19, 1990 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-19

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The Michigan Daily Centennial Edition - Friday, October 19, 1990 - Page 7

Arthur Miller:

staffer turned playwright

by Gil Renberg
Over the years, the University of
Michigan has produced many tal-
-nted graduates, such as Gerald Ford,
Mike Wallace, Clarence Darrow and
krthur Miller. What Ford was to
olitics, what Wallace was to televi-
Sion news and Darrow to law, Arthur
Miller has been to literature.
Miller, who graduated from
V4ichigan in 1938 and majored in
English, is regarded as one of this
:entury's leading playwrights. While
attending Michigan, he devoted him-
,elf to writing five plays, two of
which won Hopwood awards for out-
;tanding dramatic writing. He also
;pent roughly a term working for the
Daily as a reporter and Night Editor.
"I spent my time writing plays,"
he said. "I wasn't spending too much
time at the Daily."
Still, being on the Daily "was a
very educational experience" for
Miller. "I had to meet a lot of objec-
tions to my way of thinking from
very intelligent people. That taught
me to broaden my own view," he
said.
Miller remembered the Daily as
( being "a very confrontational news-
paper... We were into all kinds of
issues, like fascism and labor unions
and racism, which had never been

part of the Daily's interest."
This change in the newspaper's
content was caused by a power shift
that occurred around 1937, Miller
said. "For the first time it was not in
the hands of the fraternities... (that)
had handed it down one to the
other... The paper was captured by
the radicals in 1937... and it became
an extremely interesting newspaper,"
Miller recalled.
While under the control of the
"fraternity guys," the Daily was "a
conservative and extremely boring

their struggle for control of the
newspaper," he said.
Among Miller's most memorable
experiences at the Daily were the
meetings at which the paper's edito-
rial policies were decided upon after
hours of debate. Miller said, "We
used to spend whole nights argu-
ing... That sharpened your wits, be-
cause there were all kinds of editorial
fights as to what position we should
take... There was one vital issue af-
ter another."
For over fifty years, Miller's

'(The Daily) was a very educational
experience. I had to meet a lot of objections
to my way of thinking from very intelligent
people. That taught me to broaden my own
view'
-Playwright Arthur Miller

"His works are examinations of
American society," said University
English Prof. James Gindin, who
specializes in 19th and 20th century
fiction.
Miller has written approximately
20 plays, as well as several short
stories, screenplays and novels. He
won the Pulitzer prize for "Death of
a Salesman," which opened in 1949.
He said that he does not have a fa-
vorite from among his works, but
added, "I'm terrifically proud of "The
Crucible."
"The Crucible," which Brater
called "a very great play," is about
the Salem witch trials, which were
held in Massachusetts in 1692.
Many people believe the play was
meant to be a thinly-veiled criticism
of the communist witch-hunts or-
chestrated by Senator Joseph
McCarthy in the 1950s. Miller de-
nied that the play was specifically
aimed at McCarthy and his support-
ers.
Said Gindin, "It gets at some of
the issues in the McCarthy hear-
ings... (But) it had broader applica-
tions... (it) was saying something in
a broader way about America."
Brater said that the "climate of

fear and intimidation" during the Red
Scare concerned Miller and inspired
him to write "The Crucible." "He
saw (in the witch trials)... a very
appropriate analogy to the hysteria
that was going on in the United
States," Brater said.
Miller's response to
McCarthyism was not confined to
his writing. In 1956, he stood up to
the powerful House Committee on
Un-American Activities by refusing
to divulge the names of associates
who were communist. "My con-
science will not permit me to use
the name of another person and bring
trouble to him," he told the commit-
tee. Miller was convicted of con-
tempt of Congress, although the
conviction was overturned two years
later.
Miller had been called before the
congressional committee to talk
about his connections over the years
with colleagues who were allegedly
communists. "I had signed a thou-
sand things over the period of twenty
years before that protesting this and
that, and I had attended a couple of
meetings with Communist writers,"
he said.
However, Miller believes that the

hearing was called for a different rea-
son. "It was basically a publicity
thing... a way of getting elected and
riding the wave of anti-Soviet" sen-
timents, he said.
"Before my hearing... the chair-
man of that committee agreed to call
it all off if he could have a photo-
graph taken with Marilyn Monroe
(to whom Miller was married for
four years)," Miller said.
Miller, who was born in New
York City, lives in Roxbury,
Conn., with his third wife, Inge
Morath, and has four grown children.
Although he turned seventy-five last
Wednesday, Miller is still writing. A
new play, titled "The Ride Down
Mt. Morgan," will open in London
in a few months. Miller refused to
describe his most recent work.
"Well, you'll just have to wait and
see," he said. "It's a contemporary
work about living in this mad-
house."
Having worked at the Daily for
half a year, Arthur Miller is certainly
qualified to write about life in a
madhouse.

newspaper," Miller said. "When the
Depression hit in the early thirties
there was a lot of dnhappiness that
the paper didn't really deal with the
main issues of the day... The new
people who came in were really in-
terested in that kind of stuff... Those
people were finally victorious in

plays have addressed such vital is-
sues as family relationships, depres-
sion, hatred and political persecu-
tion. "I think he writes about ques-
tions of ethics and morality that we
face in a materialistic society," said
Enoch Brater, a University Professor
of English and Theater.

Investigatory skills honed at the
Daily used to land Pulitzer Prize

WHAT THEY

DO NOW

0..:
S.

Daily editors Jim Tobin and Anne Marie Lipinski get a chuckle over a story. Tobin works for the Detroit News, Lipinski for the Chicago Tribune.

by Geri Alumit
In September, 1974 Ann Marie
Lipinski climbed a few small steps
with nervousness and apprehension.
But because she ascended those
stairs-which happen to lead up to
the Daily's offices-today she is
able to climb steeper stairs-those
of the Chicago Tribune-with confi-
dence.
"Working at the Daily is the best
job I've ever had. You don't realize
it until you get out of there. But for
most people in journalism,. the op-
portunity to run your own newspa-
per never comes again," Lipinski
said.
Fresh out of Ann Arbor in 1978
with a degree in American Studies,
Lipinski began a summer internship
at the Chicago Tribune. This tempo-
rary job became permanent in the
fall and eventually led her to the po-
sition of Investigations Editor.
In October 1987, Lipinski and

two other reporters did a series of
stories on corruption within
Chicago's City Council. The fol-
lowing year, as a result of this se-
ries, Lipinski won the Pulitzer Prize
for Investigative Reporting.
Hailing from the Detroit suburb
of Trenton, Lipinski was at first
overwhelmed by the challenges of
the Daily, but she quickly adjusted
and overcame her fears.
One of her first positions at the
Daily, which helped her sharpen her
investigative skills, was City Hall
beat reporter.
"It was an exciting time politi-
cally for Ann Arbor because it was
when the first Black mayor was
elected," Lipinski said. "It prepared
me a lot for this job because it gave
me a chance to learn about govern-.
ment."
Lipinski said she is now able to
appreciate the huge amounts of re-
sponsibility the Daily gave its

"news-pounding pupils."
In 1976, the Daily sent Lipinski
to cover the Democratic National
Convention in New York City. "It
was such a kick for me because I
was 19 or 20 and it was something
that older journalists wait a long
time to do."
"The Daily gave us all a chance
to be real journalists; we were all
out there competing with big time
newspapers, and television stations,"
Lipinski said. "We all took the
Daily really seriously and we tried to
make it as professional as possible."
Lipinski said she was always far
more stimulated by the Daily than
the classroom. "It is an activity that
made you feel like a significant
member in such a big school. A lot
of my friends then were envious of
my experience.
"My education at the University
was the Daily - it taught me about

the people, I learned about the
world," she said.
The Daily provided her with
some of her dearest friends, many of
whom she still keeps in close con-
tact. Lipinski said she had recently
returned from visiting another former
Daily reporter, Sarah River, who
now works for The New York
Times.
"The Daily has produced a lot of
the people I really admire in this
profession. They are doing the kind
of reporting that I really look up to,"
she said.
"I don't know anyone who will
look back and say their time was not
well spent in that building.
"In some perverse way we were
almost like a family," she said. "We
would not have been there if we
didn't want to be. It was an experi-
ence that expanded all of our hori-
zons."

the newspaper1

business and through

talking about the changes he's seen over
the years.
"There are some structural trends that
should give one pause, and worry one."
He holds up three fingers to count off the
trends.
"One, the decline of voting, particu-
4 larly among those who are the have-nots.
Two, the massive increase of special in-
terest spending in politics. Three, the de-
cay of the media from principled journal-
ism to sensationalism.
"These trends taken together make it
difficult to visualize American taking the
lead in promoting significant change as
opposed to just responding. Most people
don't even think of how America should
be leading the world in an idealistic direc-
.* tion."

cal television studio, where Hayden is
appearing on a political talk show ("it's a
show for political junkies", says Hayden,
grinning).
The panel consists of two journalists,
two pollsters, a campaign reform lobby-
ist, and a politician. Despite Hayden's
stated criticisms of the media, he is ob-
viously enjoying himself on the show.
During the taping, an almost yin/yang
clarity emerges between Hayden and the
panelists.
in 1982. But just as Hayden the radical
always had establishment connections,
Hayden the legislator has not been assim-
ilated into the power structure. Few of
his bills were passed into law under con-
servative governor George Deukmejian,
and he threw himself into environmental

of changing the environment on the indi-
vidual, as if the individual is to blame, or
is the cause.
"I think it's institutional power struc-
tures and patterns that are the problem."
Once again, Hayden has run into an
institutional brick wall. Proposition 128,
if passed, would phase out 20 cancer-
causing pesticides (and direct $40 million
to research on alternative pesticides), re-
duce certain fuel emissions by 40 percent
by the year 2010, and set aside $300 mil-
lion to purchase California's ancient red-
wood forests.
Chemical companies (such as ICI,
who manufacture some of the carcino-
genic pesticides) and agribusiness have
poured $1.5 million into an advertising
campaign opposing the proposition,
dn~hhinor it bTh Huj'pn Tntintve'inth

shrivelled and more expensive. But noth-
ing happened."
Hayden maintains that Californians
are very aware of environmental issues.
"What we're trying to do is transform.
environmental consciousness in this
state, transform it and translate it into ac-
tion - a choice at the ballot: people ver-
sus special interests."
Hayden is virtually guaranteed re-elec-
tion to his Santa Monica-based assembly
seat, and although his name is now ir-
reparably tied to Proposition 128, he re-
mains philosophical about it.
"If it passes, I won't get any credit for
it, but if it fails, I'll get all the blame",
he says, laughing.
Even though his opponents have been
quick to tie his name to the proposition,

shreds. Hayden comes across as serious
thinker answering ideologues.
On the way back from the studioi
ask him what his political plans are.
"Well, I'm killing myself right noW
trying to make this (proposition) pasĀ§
I'm not sitting back thinking about who
I'm going to do the next day."
Nov. 6 sees a coalescence of a number
of factors that will affect Hayden's polit-
cal future. Apart from his own campaign
and Proposition 128, the voters will &-
cide upon their next governor. Demo-
cratic candidate Dianne Feinstein has en-
dorsed Proposition 128, while Sen. Pete
Wilson, the Republican candidate, has
opposed it.
Has he had enough of Sacramento and
the legislature?
rnnld AhP i'coid hi " he savs

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