Category Archive 'David Mamet'
15 Mar 2022
Andy Hardy had a nice house.
David Mamet, in National Review, explains that Super heroes like Superman and Batman were invented by Jews and are themselves Jewish, and notes that the old-time white-picket fence WASP Pre-Lapsarian America we all look back to with nostalgia was also a Jewish invention. The immigrant Jews who came here escaping the Tsar were hyper-American patriots. Alas! the bulk of their descendants have turned into Woke communists.
The Jewish creators of Hollywood fled antisemitism in Eastern Europe. Barred from traditional professions here, they invented new ones. The hucksters who made a living projecting the cinematograph on a sheet in 1905, in Rivington Street, went west and became known as Mayer, Goldwyn, Laemmle, Warner, and Fox.
In the beginning they were exhibiting short films, whose star was the technology itself: a depiction of a moving train, a kiss, and so on. When they began making their own product they turned first to (silent) renditions of stage plays and classics. Then they moved to Hollywood and confected the fiction of the White Picket Fence.
We remember Metro as the studio with “more stars than there are in heaven”; but the studio’s moneymaker was not Garbo but Mickey Rooney. His Andy Hardy series of 16 films ran from 1937 to 1946 and funded Metro’s excursions into Class. It was the bar brand to their call liquor, and it paid the rent.
These films are the avatar of the White Picket Fence. Here the Regular American Family, Mickey, Judy Garland, Lewis Stone, and two veg, encounter simple, charming incidents on the road of adolescent life: Andy Hardy Comes Home, Love Finds Andy Hardy, Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, Judge Hardy’s Children, and one gets the idea.
The phenomenon continued into the television era, with each network creating its own domestic-flavored mush, Father Knows Best, The Life of Riley, Bachelor Father, The Danny Thomas Show, December Bride, ad infinitum.
The genre is soporific, and it flourished, legitimately, as such, for we all could use a break. But, being human, and, so, not very smart, our continued exposure to a soothing fiction brought us to take it for reality. But we young viewers, looking around, found the vision we had imbibed nowhere around us; and for all our indictment of the sufficient nuclear family, it was against its absence in our homes that we middle-class children rebelled, outraged by our first interchanges with the actual world.
12 Aug 2019
Andrew Mahon reports that David Mamet’s new play, Bitter Wheat, upset the establishment critics.
David Mametâ€™s latest play Bitter Wheat opened in Londonâ€™s West End in June to largely negative reviews, which is somewhat surprising, because itâ€™s terrific. Then again, maybe itâ€™s not so surprising. Most theatre critics are bleeding-heart leftists, and following his embrace of a more conservative attitude, they simply regard David Mamet as a traitor. Itâ€™s petty, but it really is that simple. …
John Malkovich is appropriately disgusting in the lead role of Barney Fein, clearly inspired by Harvey Weinstein, a loathsome, vile human being, who treats everyone around him like crap, manipulating and blackmailing his way to money, sex, fame and awards. He has no redeeming qualities â€” his appearance (complete with a flabby fatsuit) is grotesque. I would surmise that Mamet and Malkovich both have enough of a personal acquaintance with Harvey Weinstein that this comic exaggeration isnâ€™t all that far from the truth. Weinstein signifies the apex of the rotten, moralistic, hypocritical Hollywood money-making machine, and Bitter Wheat is a damning indictment not only of Weinstein, but of all of Hollywood-NY-liberal-progressive-Democratic-leftist elitism. …
Many leftists are obviously more virtuous than Weinstein on the personal side but on the corporate side, they canâ€™t match his credentials. He supports all the “right” causes with his considerable fortune. A brief look at Weinsteinâ€™s Wikipedia page reveals that he has been active in fighting poverty, AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and multiple sclerosis, and has served on the board of the Robin Hood Foundation, while advocating for gun control laws and universal healthcare. Heâ€™s a left-wing saint. In the play, Fein supports a charity for immigrants, passionately rejecting the term “illegal immigrant,” and lauds the bravery of migrants seeking a better life. He expresses his corporate leftist virtue most directly when heâ€™s trying to persuade the reluctant young actress, played by Ioanna Kimbook, to sleep with him, commenting with dismay, “Iâ€™m not sure you realise just how much money I give to the Democrat Party.” The audience exploded with laughter; Iâ€™ll bet the critics fumed.
26 Jan 2013
According to US Dept of Health and Human Services
There are roughly 700,000 employed physicians in the U.S
There are roughly 120,000 accidental deaths caused by physician per year
That means there are roughly 0.171 accidental deaths per physician per year
According to the FBI
There are roughly 80, 000, 000 gun owners in the U.S
There are roughly 30,000 gun-related deaths (accidental/non-accidental) per year
That means there are roughly 0.000375 deaths per gun owner per year
David Mamet takes on Gun Control in Newsweek no less:
The Left loves a phantom statistic that a firearm in the hands of a citizen is X times more likely to cause accidental damage than to be used in the prevention of crime, but what is there about criminals that ensures that their gun use is accident-free? If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors, would it not make sense for the government to arm all criminals, and let them accidentally shoot themselves?
Read the whole thing.
15 May 2011
In the Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson takes the occasion of the imminent release of The Secret Knowledge, a collection of essays representing a combination of anti-liberal rant with conversion memoir by David Mamet to talk with the playwright about his new book and why he has changed sides politically.
Mametâ€™s parents were divorced when he was young, and he spent most of his childhood after the breakup with his father, a highly successful labor lawyer. The faith in unions that his father instilled in him didnâ€™t survive the screenwritersâ€™ strike of 2007-08â€”one of the most heavily publicized events in Hollywood history and the most quickly forgotten, so abject was the ineptitude and ultimate failure of the writersâ€™ union. For Mamet it was another turn of the ratchet away from the left.
â€œThey were risking not only their own jobs but the jobs of everyone who had nothing to gain from the strikeâ€”the drivers and scene painters and people who are on set 14 hours a day working their asses off. These working people were driven out of work by the writersâ€”10,000 people losing their jobs at Christmastime. It was the goddamnedest thing I ever saw in my life. And for what? They didnâ€™t know what they were striking forâ€”just another inchoate liberal dream.
â€œThe question occurs to me quite a lot: What do liberals do when their plans have failed? What did the writers do when their plans led to unemployment, their own and other peopleâ€™s? One thing they canâ€™t do is admit they failed. Why? To admit failure would endanger their position in the herd.â€
One of Mametâ€™s favorite books has been Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, published during the First World War by the British social psychologist Wilfred Trotter, inventor of the term â€œherd instinct.â€
â€œTrotter says the herd instinct in an animal is stronger even than the preservation of life,â€ Mamet said. â€œSo I was watching the  debates. My liberal friends would spit at the mention of Sarah Palinâ€™s name. Or they would literally mime the act of vomiting. Weâ€™re watching the debates and one of my friends pretends to vomit and says, â€˜I have to leave the room.â€™ I thought, oh my god, this is Trotter! This is the reaction of the herd instinct. When a sheep discovers a wolf in the fold, it vomits to ward off the attacker. Itâ€™s a sign that their position in the herd is threatened.â€
Mamet runs into the herd instinct every day.
â€œIâ€™ve given galleys of The Secret Knowledge to some friends. They say, â€˜Iâ€™m scared to read it.â€™ I say, â€˜Why should you be afraid to read something?â€™
â€œWhat are they afraid of? Theyâ€™re afraid of losing their ability to stay in the herd. Thatâ€™s what I found in myself. It can be wrenching when you start to think away from the herd.â€ …
After lunch we walked back to his office, and on the way he told me of new projects. I wondered how Mametâ€™s about-to-be-exposed rightwingery will affect his workâ€”and, among critics and colleagues, the reaction to his work. Show business, like all of popular culture these days, is ostentatiously politicized. Actors, directors, producers, and the writers who write about themâ€”all behave as though they received a packet of approved political views with their guild card. Theyâ€™ll be alert for signs of ideological deviationism in Mametâ€™s stuff from now on. They may not have to look too far.
Mamet mentioned a screenplay that he hopes will soon be produced involving a young rich girl who applies to Harvard. When sheâ€™s rejected she suddenly declares herself an Aztec to qualify for affirmative action. Presumably high jinks ensue. A new two-character play opening in London this fall, The Anarchist, is a â€œverbal sword-fightâ€ between two women of a certain age, one a veteran of 1960s radicalism, jailed for life on a bombing charge, and the other a reactionary prison governor from whom the aging radical hopes to receive parole. Regardless of the playâ€™s true merits, we can expect the word didactic to get a workout from critics.
After reading The Secret Knowledge in galleys, the Fox News host and writer Greg Gutfeld invented the David Mamet Attack Countdown Clock, which â€œmonitors the days until a once-glorified liberal artist is dismissed as an untalented buffoon.â€ Tick tock.
Read the whole thing.
13 Mar 2008
JayReding has a thoughtful response to David Mamet’s admission of becoming conservative and ceasing to be a “brain-dead liberal.”
Mamet hits on the fundamental difference between liberalism and conservatism as political philosophies in 21st Century America. Liberalism is an ideology that seeks perfection: we have to give everyone healthcare, we have to end poverty, we have to make everyone in the world â€œrespectâ€ us, we have to stop all semblances of racism. Those are the imperatives of liberalism. On their own, and as abstract goals, thereâ€™s nothing wrong with them at all. Who wouldnâ€™t want to end poverty? Who wouldnâ€™t want to see a world without racism, war, oppression or dominance?
Where liberals fail to understand conservatism is that they seem to think that conservatism stands for the proposition that war, racism and poverty are all fine and we shouldnâ€™t care about them. That facile misunderstanding is why liberals never really seem to be able to engage with conservatives on a fundamentally deep level, and why liberals tend to ascribe all sorts of sinister motivations to conservatives.
Mamet, however, hints at the real basis for conservatism. We canâ€™t cure war. We canâ€™t end all poverty. We canâ€™t make people into angels when they are not. The fundamental principle of conservatism can be roughly summed up into this: â€œsometimes life just sucks.â€ Even if we could fix the problems that create war, poverty, racism and injustice to do so would be to have a society robbed of free willâ€”because the root of all these problems are found in human nature itself. Thatâ€™s why Mamet rightly describes conservatism as the â€œtragicâ€ view of human nature and liberalism as the â€œperfectionistâ€ view of human nature. Conservatives recognize that there is no permanent solution for the ills of mankindâ€”there are only advances which can ameliorate our conditions. We canâ€™t create heaven on earth, we can only fumble around as best we can.
Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.
12 Mar 2008
In the Village Voice, no less, playwright David Mamet recounts finding himself responding to NPR’s liberal rants with profanity, and coming to the shocking realization that he had become conservative.
I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind.
As a child of the ’60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.
These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied them in my life. How do I know? My wife informed me. We were riding along and listening to NPR. I felt my facial muscles tightening, and the words beginning to form in my mind: Shut the fuck up. “?” she prompted. And her terse, elegant summation, as always, awakened me to a deeper truth: I had been listening to NPR and reading various organs of national opinion for years, wonder and rage contending for pride of place. Further: I found I had beenâ€”rather charmingly, I thoughtâ€”referring to myself for years as “a brain-dead liberal,” and to NPR as “National Palestinian Radio.”
This is, to me, the synthesis of this worldview with which I now found myself disenchanted: that everything is always wrong.
But in my life, a brief review revealed, everything was not always wrong, and neither was nor is always wrong in the community in which I live, or in my country. Further, it was not always wrong in previous communities in which I lived, and among the various and mobile classes of which I was at various times a part.
And, I wondered, how could I have spent decades thinking that I thought everything was always wrong at the same time that I thought I thought that people were basically good at heart? Which was it? I began to question what I actually thought and found that I do not think that people are basically good at heart; indeed, that view of human nature has both prompted and informed my writing for the last 40 years. I think that people, in circumstances of stress, can behave like swine, and that this, indeed, is not only a fit subject, but the only subject, of drama.
Read the whole thing.
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