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 best 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