Tennessee Williams on Robert Altman's "Nashville."

Interview with Tennessee Williams
Conducted by James Grissom
New Orleans

America is always in a state of revision. There is always tomorrow, a new day, a new leaf. We will turn to God; we will lose weight; we will spend more time with our children; we will learn--at long last--what it is for which we were placed on earth. New faith; new face; new foundation on which to stand. Myths are always on sale, and let us always be searching for new ones. Look at that final scene, with everyone--except for brilliant, committed Barbara Harris--sinking along with their shattered foundation of belief. The soldier who finally understands the lies of America, as well as the lie that he can protect anyone, least of all himself. The starlet, the untalented starlet, leaning against that tacky replication of ancient Greece, suddenly aware that fame will never come, nor does it ever come with guarantees; Henry Gibson suddenly realizing precisely where he lives and with whom. And there is Barbara, throwing out blood-spattered roses to a new crowd, a hungry crowd, who mourn the loss of their idol, but who have traveled, who have taken time off, who have hauled the kids to a cultural event. Things must move forward. Concessions must be consumed. The American way is to deny, to forge ahead, to lie one more time, for one more day. Nashville--and all of of America--sees itself as the seat of civilization, and will go so far as to build a model of a true seat of culture and discovery. Don't tell anyone it is not superior to the original. Don't tell anyone it is a lie. Sing. Pray. Adapt. It is the American way.

© 2015 James Grissom


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