211: Naming Names

211: Naming Names

May 3, 2002
Stories about what happens when you name names. When you turn someone over to the authorities, it can set into motion lots of huge, unintended consequences. A reporter turns over an interviewee to the FBI. A group of teachers turn in their principal. A director turns in his Communist colleagues to the United States Congress.
  • We hear excerpts from two autobiographies which each describe the same moment, but in very different ways. Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller agree that they met with each other in 1952, around the time Kazan named the names of his old friends to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. But they don't agree on what the conversation was like. Kazan describes it in his memoir, A Life, as cordial, supportive. Miller describes it in his Timebends as quietly calamitous. And after this moment, each man went on to defend his position in later work—Miller with The Crucible, about the dangers of bandwagon accusation; and Kazan with On The Waterfront, containing perhaps the single greatest testimony to squealing in the history of film. (11 minutes) GovernmentLiterature

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