PRINT February 2007


Robert Altman

IS NO ONE GOING TO SAY that Robert Altman was a great pothead? Let me, then. Robert Altman was a great pothead. In the war on drugs, he won. To look at his work without thinking about marijuana’s specific gifts and poisons . . . umm . . . specific . . . What was I saying? Oh. Right. Altman. Robert Altman. I met him, did I tell you that already?

Or as Fernando Pessoa says, “But he must be on fire somewhere. Otherwise, he will not cook the goose of his human inferiority.”

Six years before The Player (1992), I stopped smoking pot, for the typical reasons, but not the least of them was paranoia. And it was the ’80s, the parentheses of aerobics between the cocaine years and the advent of the age of caffeine. After Altman signed on to direct the film, I worried that I would break my abstention, which was private; I wasn’t in the program, but it held me well for that time. And Altman’s pot didn’t

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