Of course “Attention Must Be Paid,” NOW more than ever when we have people in our society that would like to truly do away with minimum wage, Medicare, supposed “entitlement” programs which help people…how dare people need help from their government of the people, by the people for the people!–Lincoln, Gettyburg Address
This post started as merely a recognition of the great American playwright, Arthur Miller, born today in NYC (like yesterday’s Eugene O’Neill) in 1915. Oh how I loved his plays!!!! Arthur Miller may have gotten a bad rap when he divorced Marilyn Monroe, but, let’s face it, it doesn’t seem like she would be the easiest person to be married to and that’s not a criticism of Monroe, she was very talented and very smart. Like all artists, you are inspired by what you know, what you experience and after Miller came out with “After the Fall,” there were fireworks about how denigrating the play was to Marilyn. Have you seen the film, My Week with Marilyn? Loved that film!
In 1947, Miller appeared before HUAC and refused to name names. “A story is told that in 1955, after Arthur Miller had finished
A View from the Bridge, his one-act play about a Sicilian waterfront worker who in a jealous rage informs on his illegal immigrant nephew, Miller sent a copy to Elia Kazan, who had directed his prize-winning smash Broadway hits All My Sons (1947) and Death of a Salesman (1949), but had broken with him over the issue of naming names before HUAC. “I have read your play and would be honored to direct it,” Kazan is supposed to have wired back. “You don’t understand,” Miller replied, “I didn’t send it to you because I wanted you to direct it. I sent it to you because I wanted you to know what I think of stool pigeons.”–Victor Navasky, Naming Names, Viking Press, 1980, Chapter 7
In what is probably Miller’s most famous play, Death of a Salesman, salesman, Willy Loman’s wife, Linda pleas with her sons in Act I that, “Attention Must Be Paid.” I’ve used that phrase numerous times in my life whenever it was apt. It remains an iconic phrase that must be acted out in real life. Our elderly, our young, our immigrants…our vulnerable citizens, whether legal or illegal…vulnerability is vulnerability…attention must be paid. Elderly must be taken care of; Head Start and Universal Pre-K must be mandated for every young child…the earlier we begin interventions and education, the less we’ll feed the penal system with human bodies.
I remember reading Miller’s plays seeing his plays, and just being moved by the great emotion they evoked. Arthur Miller’s back story is great and if you can, read about him.