Thursday, November 29, 2007

Selfish gene? How about the selfish GENIUS!

Playwright Arthur Miller turns out to have had a son who had Down syndrome, whom he deleted from his life, according to Suzanna Andrews, writing in Vanity Fair.
No photograph of him has ever been published, but those who know Daniel Miller say that he resembles his father. Some say it's the nose, others the mischievous glimmer in the eyes when he smiles, but the most telling feature, the one that clearly identifies him as Arthur Miller's son, is his high forehead and identically receding hairline. He is almost 41 now, but it's impossible to say whether his father's friends would notice the resemblance, because the few who have ever seen Daniel have not laid eyes on him since he was a week old. When his father died, in February 2005, he was not at the funeral that took place near Arthur Miller's home, in Roxbury, Connecticut. Nor was he at the public memorial service that May, at Broadway's Majestic Theatre, where hundreds of admirers gathered to pay homage to his father, who was, if not the greatest American playwright of the last century, then certainly the most famous.
Miller’s attitude is too bad. The best families I know have members with problems. That is because they have not cast them out. And that, in turn, is how they become the best families.

Look, I have no answers just observations. My second book, By Design or by Chance?, was dedicated to my childhood friend Johnny, who had Down syndrome. He died when he was eight (I was seven). That was fifty years ago. But I still remember him teaching me how to pound holes in the lids of mason jars, to keep captured butterflies alive. Johnny’s method of teaching was practical: He sat behind me and grabbed my hands in his hands, thus showing me exactly how much pressure to apply from the hammer to the nail. And it worked.