tanti quantum habeus sis
"According to what you have - such is your value"

Death of a salesman (1985) - starring Mr. Dustin Hoffman

This is a movie for great fans of Dustin Hoffman as it is a movie in which he would in my view be
otherwise miscast. There is too much of a youthful vigour to his charms to be believable in a role as
a  bitter, aged man at the end of his career as a hosiery salesman.

"Death of a salesman" by Arthur Miller is a play I studied in a senior English course in high school and is
best intended for those that are academically inclined, the action is certainly slow for most other folks 
that might want to watch it.

This movie is yet another look at the emptiness of popular American culture. A culture fixated on some 
idea of success in which little is really achieved in the way of solid community ties, the sort that bind, 
the sort that give you a sense of connection that go to the core of your being in your existence. Very 
few European communities or elsewhere by contrast have as little a sense of genuine well being in that 
the "each man for himself" mentality is pervasive and "you are what you own" is altogether obvious at 
a level of relating that is hard to escape in its predatory sense of superficial connection.

That argument is most easily borne out when you look at the sales culture, and especially in "straight
commission" environments.

It causes the character of Dustin Hoffman to question what it is that really is his worth, when the sales 
stop coming in as usual, when his career is at an end and where he feels he has little to show for his life 
but that his son might rescue him to make a better name for himself and in this way have achieved 
what there is to be gained in the offerings of a lifestyle set in the culture I make reference to in what 
are the negative aspects mainly and unfortunately so.

In any community where folks don't care as much for one another or pull together during the long 
haul and in a spirit which says it was in caring for each other genuinely that they had the good life, a 
sense of emptiness is bound to result. And illnesses too, physical and emotional well being.

These aren't things that can be put in place if some basic ingredients are lacking. However wherever
they do exist it requires a re-examination of the culture, its values and the opportunities to connect on
 a way that truly leads to a sense of communal well being and a sense that you are truly among your 
own in a way that is demonstrated by the resulting sense of caring. This must be harnessed in each
member of the community in this respect and brought out in such a way that a new culture may be 
the result. A culture based on care and most Americans have a much better heritage than what is 
shown in the mores of this play, in that the sense of care for example that is known as kinship among 
the Irish (the greatest in number of those under discussion - Americans that is) has always been (perhaps 
the best example to us all everywhere). And wouldn't it be great to just recapture that spirit in America
 where each one says "I care" and I do so genuinely once again! That all said, America remains one of 
my most favorite places for the sheer numbers of beautiful people to be around. Nice folks indeed and 
I love them dearly so! 

Michael Rizzo Chessman
michael@moviesbyrizzo.info

 

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