A clarifcation

Published: 5/14/2019 10:58:31 AM

It was Arthur Miller, of course, who wrote “The Crucible (1953),” responding to McCarthyism and the brutality of puritanical ignorance. And it was Henry Miller, first published by Jim Cooney of West Whately, who wrote “The Tropic of Cancer (1934),” which was banned when it fell victim to the brutality of puritanical ignorance.

That Marguerite Willis confused the two Millers in her May 4 “My Turn” column is a small thing. Everyone slips up. More serious, however, is Willis’ confusing fact with fiction and confusing history with the novel, especially when it comes to the ongoing brutality showed to indigenous people.

Lisa Brooks of Amherst College and Christine DeLucia of Mount Holyoke College are great sources on all this. Both are historians and their non-fiction is readable, clear and devastating in its portrayal of the misery dealt out to indigenous people right here, largely by good Puritans.

The late Tony Hillerman and his daughter, Anne Hillerman are fiction writers and are, at best, not great sources.

In appropriating Native American images and culture at Mohawk and elsewhere, we appropriate and ratify the contours of their murder and their destruction – not their ethnic recipes, as Willis suggests.

This, I can say without fear of “hypersensitivity,” is a brutality that continues to this day.

Wesley Blixt


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