Death of a
salesman (1985) - starring Mr.
This is a movie for great fans of
Dustin Hoffman as it is a movie in which he would in my view be
miscast. There is too much of a youthful vigour to his charms to be believable in a role
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
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
the sort that give you a sense of connection that go to the core of your being in your existence. Very
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
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
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
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
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
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
love them dearly so!
Michael Rizzo Chessman