Tragédias americanas

Ilustração: Zach Trenholm

Há dez anos, em Outubro de 1997, David Mamet deu uma entrevista a Richard Covington, para o site Mesmo, ou sobretudo, quando podem ser muito discutíveis, as ideias de Mamet (p. ex.: a visão, a meu ver, demasiado sumária de A Lista de Schindler, de Steven Spielberg) são absolutamente fascinantes, vivas e desafiadoras. Pela conversa passam o tema, emblemático na sua obra, da culpa interior dos judeus, além de referências à relação de Hollywood com os escritores/argumentistas ou ao papel religioso dos "filmes de Verão". A certa altura, Mamet analisa o modo como a tensão amor/violência está expressa em Theodore Dreiser (An American Tragedy), sublinhando a sua perturbante actualidade:

You said in your recent book of essays, "Make Believe Town," that Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy" was your favorite American novel and that the story shows how violence takes precedence over love in America. Could you explain that a bit?
If you look at "An American Tragedy," which I've always considered the great American novel, the reason it's specifically an American tragedy is that the problem with the hero is that he sees love as basically a commercial endeavor. He wants to trade up. He finds this perfectly nice girl who wants to sleep with him and who loves him and whom he's very fond of and then he finds someone he likes better. And the only way he can get rid of the first girl is to kill her. That's the American tragedy.
How has that changed over time?
I don't think it has. It's still a problem of the national character. I don't think any country has it better than any other country. For example, in Scandinavia, they have to eat very, very salty fish. One wouldn't want to live like that either. But in America, our problem is we're a consumer culture and there's nothing we won't do if someone tells us -- or we intuit -- that it's going to make money, or it's going to make us happy through consumerism. That's our American problem. It's the American equivalent of the salty fish. We're constantly buying crap we don't need and devoting ourselves to endeavors which, perhaps on reflection, with a little bit of distance, would reveal themselves to be contrary to our own best interests.