Thursday, March 24, 2011

The truth about mendacity

Tennessee Williams' play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opened on Broadway on this day in 1955.

Here is the character Big Daddy, played by Burl Ives, talking to his son, Brick:

"Mendacity. What do you know about mendacity? I could write a book on it...Mendacity. Look at all the lies that I got to put up with. Pretenses. Hypocrisy. Pretendin' like I care for Big Mama, I haven't been able to stand that woman in forty years. Church! It bores me. But I go. And all those swindlin' lodges and social clubs and money-grabbin' auxiliaries. It's-it's got me on the number one sucker list.

"Boy, I've lived with mendacity. Now why can't you live with it? You've got to live with it. There's nothin' to live with but mendacity. Is there?

"You and Skipper and millions like ya are livin' in a kid's world, playin' games, touchdowns, no worries, no responsibilities. Life ain't no damn football game. Life ain't just a bunch of high spots.

"You're a thirty-year old kid. Soon you'll be a fifty-year old kid, pretendin' you're hearin' cheers when there ain't any. Dreamin' and drinkin' your life away.

"Heroes in the real world live twenty-four hours a day, not just two hours in a game.

"Mendacity, you won' won't live with mendacity but you're an expert at it. The truth is pain and sweat and payin' bills and makin' love to a woman that you don't love anymore.

"Truth is dreams that don't come true and nobody prints your name in the paper 'til you die..."

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