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Arts and Culture

The Con’s on David Mamet

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Posted on Aug 18, 2011

By Louise Rubacky

“The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture”
A book by David Mamet

David Mamet’s most recent book, “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture,” is a mind-blower, especially to one like myself who has read and watched and appreciated his work for years.

It’s also repetitive, tedious and illogically inconsistent, a cranky collection of essays from a grumpy guy. This diatribe about What’s Wrong With Liberals reveals—partially through its overuse of Capital Letters—that he has become irrational and reactionary. Humorless, too. Talk about a loss for America.

Mamet’s plays, films and essays, memorable as dissections of human character and dramatic process, were for many years among my favorites. He has long been impatient with the silliness of various cultural beliefs and behaviors, and a good deal of his work has a blunt-force quality. Macho at times, always provocative, this writer of amazing fictional dialogue peeled back the layers of venality common to personal relationships and placed high value on hard work, discipline and precision. He was also ardent about his crafts, which relied on observation, common sense and wonderful doses of humor and heresy. How can one not appreciate a guy who also loves the hilariously smart movie “My Cousin Vinny”?

A taste of Mamet: Go to the end of this review to see a short excerpt from “The Secret Knowledge.”

But reading the 39 essays constituting this book is a bit like visiting a smart, powerful teacher or parent who has devolved over time into a font of recurring and inaccurate pronouncements. Mamet—the man with the vast imagination, sharp ear and iron-tough work ethic—has degenerated into a barker of absurd generalizations. What the hell happened?

Hard to know for sure, but Mamet rages more times than I could count about liberalism as a substitute for religion, the road to slavery and tyranny, the end of wisdom, and a bastion of work haters and victims—basically the biggest loser idea ever known to sentient beings, even though it’s been only a few years since he was part of the liberal tribe. Subjects that drive Mamet crazy—taxes, social justice, Israel, to name a few—are revisited so often that at times I thought I’d lost my place and was rereading a section. He reminds us of better times when the genders knew their places, tracks back to Jane Fonda’s big blunder in North Vietnam and informs us that we won in Vietnam. It was a long slog through thin pickings.

Mamet is serious about economic reality, and refers to economist Friedrich Hayek and his book “The Road to Serfdom.” He uses Hayek’s authority to legitimize such major new thoughts as: There is a price and trade-off for everything. Well now, no kidding? That concept can be heard daily in such worn-out phrases as “there’s no free lunch” and “something’s gotta give.” One needn’t follow Hayek or advocate unbridled capitalism to understand this. If your parents did not burn this into your brain, life experience probably did.

 

book cover

 

The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture

 

By David Mamet

 

Sentinel HC, 256 pages

 

Buy the book

One of the book’s organizing principles, which relates to the title, is that cultures evolve unconsciously, without benefit of reason. And, as cultures are understood best by their own members, they mirror and address their needs naturally and, well, at their own pace. Not new ideas, but Mamet also scolds the liberal that it is useless to try to change or advance cultures through reason or with the assistance of government. (Also, that diversity, like liberalism, is idiotic and gives false comfort to its advocates by allowing a congratulatory self-view of being caring and compassionate.)

Moreover, while repeatedly holding up our nation’s laws as plentiful and adequate to any task, he acknowledges that cultures get it wrong about things like, say, slavery and racism. (This just in: There is no more racism in America. And we are reminded by Mamet that all societies had slavery. He’s just saying. …) It took a lot of fights on the street and in Congress to get to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but culture alone is unacceptably slow and complacent, and does not police itself well. Government was essential to move the culture forward from its stuck “traditions” that allowed discrimination for a hundred years after slavery ended.

Similarly, though involving less violence, the Clean Air and Clean Water acts were passed, and the Environmental Protection Agency was established during the Nixon administration after activists pushed to stop industry from continuing to dirty the air and water. The market has never regulated itself so that air and water are kept clean, and now many conservatives would like to remove those protections, conserving money over essentials for a functioning society. Like those who insist that the market is a good self-regulator, Mamet closes his eyes to the huge tax, served up by various industries, that the public pays and that stays completely off the books: destruction of the commons.

But the author crows that the exploitation of natural resources is central to our national prosperity, and we must live with trade-offs. Unsurprisingly, he also has contempt for the very idea of global warming, with the certainty of one who knows. Never mind the 98 percent of peer-reviewed climate scientists who chart the relationship between carbon emissions and climate change. For a guy who harps about reason and rationality, it’s odd that he stands with the 2 percent who disagree, and those in the news business who repeat false data that secure public belief.

Among other fights that he incomprehensibly takes on, Mamet thrashes away at college as being hopelessly useless, a network of left-wing clubhouses for the work-allergic and reality-immune. There are reasonable arguments and discussions to be had about the merits of college, but they are not found here. Also absent is any evidence that could support his case. A June 2011 New York Times article covered a Georgetown University study, and the findings are contrary to his beliefs. It showed that those with a college education are paid 37 to 45 percent better than those without, even at the low-skill end of the job scale. That’s a lot of money over an adult’s life.

And in a review for The New Yorker of two recent books with differing views about college and its value, Louis Menand notes the results from a test called the College Learning Assessment (CLA) involving 2,000 students from 2005 to 2007: The students who showed the most improvement two years into college were the liberal arts students; the ones who showed the worst improvements were business majors. In addition, 60 percent of college students are not liberal arts majors, and business is the top college major today. Mamet’s contention that college is a refuge of the liberal class where a student can hide for four years without ever being exposed to a conservative thought seems very unlikely if there is any validity to the CLA results.

It’s not that Mamet says nothing that rings true (I related to and enjoyed his comments about working on movies), but it’s where he veers from a starting notion that often jump-starts the nonsense meter. For instance, Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair” was indeed well done and captivating. Then Mamet rails that Al Sharpton rails about Asians exploiting African-Americans by setting up businesses that cater to them exclusively. Sharpton has acted like he’s off his rocker for decades. So what? He is not the voice of liberal or black America. He is one guy with a lot of passion and opinions—kind of like Mamet, without the writing talent. Rock’s film is interesting and entertaining, but Mamet uses it as a comparison of immigrant entrepreneurship versus liberal craziness. A more worthy thought set forth in Rock’s doc is this: Maybe it is not a great idea to regularly pour toxic chemicals on your or your developing kid’s head to obtain “good” hair.


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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

What vote is not romantic?

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By diamond, September 2, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

“People who do not cast anti-corporate protest votes waste elections.”

Ah, the Greens. How romantic. Useless, but romantic.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, August 31, 2011 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, diamond:

“Riiight. So that would be a vote for the Republicans or Ralph Nader or the marijuana party. In other words a wasted vote or a vote for a party so close to the Nazi party in its present incarnation that it really doesn’t matter. You still have no alternative course of action to voting for the Democrats that makes any sense or will prevent the Nazi Party from returning to power.”
________________

I argue against those who are senseless, and those who are consummately evil who use fear of the Republican Brownshirts to intimidate people into affirmatively supporting the Democrat Blackshirts.

The devious (D)s may not smell of the (R)‘s beer hall, but they lead people to the same ends. The Republican wolves push the sheep toward the pen, and the Democrat wolves in sheep’s clothing seduce the sheep into the pen. It’s team work.

Retrograde conservative Republicans and depraved liberal Democrats, join in solidarity together in the slaughter provided by every corporate-state pre-determined installation (aka “election”).

People who do not cast anti-corporate protest votes waste elections.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, August 31, 2011 at 4:48 am Link to this comment

Clearly, in an election where millions of votes are cast, the chance of one single person’s vote affecting the outcome of the election are infinitesimally small, that is, effectively zero.

So one has to have some reason for voting other than a rational consideration of one’s ability to affect the outcome.

Protest could be one of them.

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By diamond, August 31, 2011 at 1:46 am Link to this comment

“By the way, I didn’t advocate not voting, but the only votes that are actually not wasted are protest votes.”

Riiight. So that would be a vote for the Republicans or Ralph Nader or the marijuana party. In other words a wasted vote or a vote for a party so close to the Nazi party in its present incarnation that it really doesn’t matter. You still have no alternative course of action to voting for the Democrats that makes any sense or will prevent the Nazi Party from returning to power. I don’t consider urging people not to vote because ‘that’ll teach ‘em’ a constructive plan. It’s the plan of a saboteur, it’s the Samson option, pulling the temple down on top of everyone even if it kills you too, not the plan of someone who believes in civil society.

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By jesus666, August 31, 2011 at 12:17 am Link to this comment

Well, what’ve we got here—another zionist jew!

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, August 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Quote, diamond:

“All not voting does is make it easier for them to steal the election.”
____________

Federal “elections” are **NOT** policy determinant. All the elections are fraudulent… all stolen by the corporate party that you serve.

The Democrat Congress and your Obamanable POTUS should have have made that quite transparently clear to anyone too slow to not have understood that reality decades ago.

By the way, I didn’t advocate not voting, but the only votes that are actually not wasted are protest votes.

A liberal is a person who never wastes the opportunity to ensure that an election will not serve any good purpose.

The “Principles” of Liberal Voters:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=491&Itemid=1

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By diamond, August 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

“Liberals refuse to consider the possibility that having people not support any fascists might be a better answer to The Problem.”

If all the liberals refuse to vote, the Republicans will win because their supporters, their fanatical, hardcore base (around 25% of the voters) ALWAYS VOTE, you can count on it, as Bush said in another context. All not voting does is make it easier for them to steal the election. That’s why Reagan was elected on 31% of the vote. If you’re happy for another version of George W. Bush to occupy the White House and do everything Bush did, only worse, militarily, socially and economically, then don’t vote, and spread the despair around so that no liberals vote. That’s exactly what the conservatives want you to do because they know low voter turn out only favors them, since registered democrats outnumber registered Republican voters by around 20 million.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, August 30, 2011 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, diamond:

“All you can do when there’s a Republican government is pray they don’t get re-elected”
______________

A liberal is someone who claims they hate fascists, but spends their life supporting (D) fascists they favor… the fascists they hope will be more friendly to them.

Liberals refuse to consider the possibility that having people not support any fascists might be a better answer to The Problem.

If Jonathan Swift lived now, in our times, he’d say, “It is useless to attempt to reason Democrats out of what they’ve never reasoned themselves into.”

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By diamond, August 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

“Elections haven’t and won’t serve any good purpose, because a supermajority of the electorate refuses to use them for any good purpose.”

Right. So your plan is? The Libya option? Not that I condemn that outright but I know you’re not going to do it and neither is anyone else in America. Anyone who tried it would be mowed down with the same detachment with which they mowed down the World War I veterans who had marched on Washington to demand their war bonus in cash during the depression.

As Shelley wrote in ‘The Mask of Anarchy’:

‘Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
which in sleep had fallen on you.
You are many, they are few.’

But however few they are, they have all the weapons of mass destruction and the law on their side. If you resist by violence they will call you a terrorist, if you resist by non-violence they will slaughter you without a second thought or call you seditious and lock you up. The situation can’t be changed by elections alone but refusing to vote or participate in the electoral process means retiring from the field of battle and leaving the spoils to the victors. All you can do when there’s a Republican government is pray they don’t get re-elected, but they usually do. You don’t seem to understand that, and have no credible alternative plan -or at least none that doesn’t require bloodletting at some level. Petulance and withdrawal is not a substitute for clear thinking.

“It’s not at all clear that John F. Kennedy was killed by fascists for insufficient fascism.”

I would say it’s abundantly clear that that is exactly what happened, not only to him but to Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, too. John Kennedy was on a path to withdrawing US troops from Vietnam, because he had come to the conclusion that the war was unwinnable. The Mafia hated both the Kennedys by then because Bobby Kennedy had said he was going to shut them down and he was backed by his brother. Take at look at some of the faces of the mobsters appearing at the committee investigating organized crime, which Bobby Kennedy ran, and tell me they didn’t want him dead.

If you don’t call the Mafia, the Pentagon and the CIA fascists, then you must have an incredibly high standard of fascism. Bobby Kennedy was on his way to the White House in 1968. They knew he was going to be elected and he had made it clear that he was going to reopen the investigation into his brother’s death and would withdraw US troops from Vietnam. He had to go. Martin Luther King had spoken out against the Vietnam war and the treatment of black Americans and was a compelling. charismatic figure even a possible future political candidate. The ‘I had a Dream’ speech was the last straw, especially when they saw the crowd he had attracted.

Thomas Noguchi, Medical Examiner of Los Angeles, said that according to his autopsy, Bobby Kennedy was shot in the back of the head from less than three inches away. Problem? Sirhan Sirhan was in front of him and never closer than three feet away. He had an eight chamber gun but they found at least ten bullets at the scene of the shooting and in bodies. And we all know about the ‘magic bullet’ from the scene of John Kennedy’s shooting, a bullet that performed the impossible so that they could claim there was only one shooter involved. Joseph Milteer, a wealthy right wing radical, told a Miami police informant, on tape, fourteen days before John Kennedy’s assassination that a hit on Kennedy was ‘in the working’. Milteer also phoned the same informant two days after the assassination and told him the Oswald had been framed but it didn’t matter because ‘Oswald doesn’t know anything’.  It seems a lot of people still don’t.

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By Anarcissie, August 29, 2011 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

It’s not at all clear that John F. Kennedy was killed by fascists for insufficient fascism.  In raising the number of American military personnel in Vietnam from the 1100 there at his inauguration to 15,000 he seems to have been making a fairly aggressive move toward explicit imperial war, which should have pleased your average fascist.  Outside of that, Kennedy seems to have stayed well within the bounds laid out for presidents by the ruling class, although a bit to the Right, as did his predecessors and successors.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, August 29, 2011 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, diamond:

“you don’t offer a credible alternative to the Democrats. Only a brain dead moron would vote for the crazies in the present Republican party”
______________

There’s no viable electoral alternative to evil because 99% of those who vote reliably always free-will restrict themselves to choosing between corporate person selected fascists.

Elections haven’t and won’t serve any good purpose, because a supermajority of the electorate refuses to use them for any good purpose.

The “Principles” of Liberal Voters:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=491&Itemid=1

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By diamond, August 28, 2011 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

Nice grab bag of lies, disinformation, distorted history, rumour and innuendo David J. Cyr. If Kennedy was such a fascist why was he killed? Clearly not fascist enough. And you can play with words as much as you like re who is liberal enough to be a liberal by your standards but you won’t change the story. They’re still just as dead and they were killed by fascists and the military industrial complex going all they way back to 1890. And you don’t offer a credible alternative to the Democrats. Only a brain dead moron would vote for the crazies in the present Republican party and there is no one else who can form government except the Tea Party - the genuine Christo red neck fascists. No patriot would wish them on America nor their Republican masters.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, August 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE, diamond:

“you have to add to that all the liberal actors, actresses and directors who were hauled up in front of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee to be humiliated for their ‘cultural Marxism’ which is what the lunar right now calls liberalism.”
________________

Having abysmally ignorant Tea Party people claim that liberals are Socialists, or in the Left, doesn’t make it so.

The post-war House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) inquiries demanded to know if the too intelligent to be trusted people dragged before it were, or ever had been (or had ever known anyone who was, or had been) a member of the Communist Party (or a Socialist sympathizer) — **NOT** whether they were members of the liberal faction of the corporate party (Democrats).

HUAC’s 1st chair was NJ Democrat Edward J. Hart. Note that during HUAC’s earlier inquires it was Democrats who insisted that the Ku Klux Klan should not be investigated… because to many Democrats considered the KKK’s activities to be acceptably American. The most infamous Red hunter, Joseph McCarthy, was loyally supported by the Kennedy family, both during and after HUAC. McCarthy was godfather to Bobby Kennedy’s first child. Bobby collaborated with McCarthy. He was assistant counsel to McCarthy on HUAC, until McCarthy’s transparency fell out of public favor and the Democrats in HUAC decided to reassemble the committee to proceed in a less transparent manner. Rude crude Republicans stir up trouble. Sophisticated Democrats are all about getting evil done nice and quietly.

By the way:

Malcolm X was a martyr, but not a liberal one.

Orson Welles was an anti-capitalist Socialist sympathizer — not a liberal. The liberals named names. Welles didn’t.

Paul Robeson was a socialist who openly sympathized with and publicly defended communists being persecuted by the (R)s and (D)s. Robeson was not a liberal. Liberals persecuted Robeson because they were pro-capitalist (anti-socialist), and because he had personal and political integrity they didn’t.

John Brown was definitely not a liberal. He was a by any means necessary revolutionary.

Joe Hill was a member of the IWW… a trade union organization of socialists and anarchists. He wasn’t a liberal.

The Kennedy brothers were liberal gangsters, who made fascism seem so fashionably cool that liberals will always love them. Liberals excitedly voted for Obama because he could make their corporate party fascism JFK fashionable again. They got what they voted for. It’s not unusual for gangsters to be murdered by their rivals. Considering all the victims of John Kennedy’s School of the America’s, and his “anti-communist” fervor that resulted in over 3 million Southeast Asian peasants being mass murdered… JFK got the gangster death his life deserved.

Republicans deserve no respect. Democrats deserve every disrespect.

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By diamond, August 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

The problem with ahistorical liberal voters is that they keep thinking they are the lesser evil, when they have always been the greater evil… the bigger part of The Problem.”

What a completely ridiculous statement. I know you can’t justify it but here’s some brainfood for you.

Martin Luther King, liberal - killed
John Kennedy, liberal - killed
Bobby Kennedy, liberal - killed
Malcolm X, black American dissident - killed
Gabrielle Giffords, liberal - shot in the head
John Lennon, liberal - killed
Mahatma Gandhi, liberal humanist activist - killed
Orson Welles, liberal genius actor and director - reputation destroyed and driven out into the wilderness
Paul Robeson, liberal activist and singer, persecuted, reputation destroyed
John Brown, anti-slavery activist, killed
Joe Hill, labor activist, killed

And, of course, you have to add to that all the liberal actors, actresses and directors who were hauled up in front of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee to be humiliated for their ‘cultural Marxism’ which is what the lunar right now calls liberalism.

According to people like you, all of these people, being liberals, were part of the greater evil and therefore their fate was well and truly deserved. Take a look in the mirror. I think there you will see the greater evil. It’s an old right wing trick to do evil and then blame it on those who have put their lives on the line to stop you doing evil. The speciality of the right is to praise the right for doing monstrous things well while they attack the liberals for not doing the right thing perfectly. Old story but one that’s gone right over your head. And please, enlighten me, who do you want these ‘ahistorical liberal voters’ to vote for? Ralph Nader?

There are 55 million registered Republicans in the US but there are about 72 million
registered Democrats. Is this what you mean by the ‘greater evil’. If you want 72 million people to switch their vote you had better come up with something better than Ralph Nader, Ron Paul and Kucinich. Now you might understand the desperate measures the Republicans resort to, such as complete control of the mainstream media: they have 72 million reasons to do it.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, August 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE, diamond:

“And of course the corporate state was created to make crimes legal, I know that, but the question is, who created the corporate state, the party that represents labor or the party that represents capital? It’s a no-brainer. Of course it was created by the party that represents capital because it’s a CORPORATE STATE - isn’t it screamingly obvious?”
_________________

Yes, it was the corporate (R) & (D) party: the one corporate party with two factions; one for conservative fools, and the other for liberal fools… both ever obediently serving the corporate-state’s interests, in solidarity together.

There was a party that well represented labor, and made unions strong. It was called the Socialist Party (see Eugene V. Debs). Democrats murdered it and destroyed the unions, for the corporate-state.

Boomer liberals had the opportunity to support and help build the non-corporate Green Party that was effectively a convergence of a resurgence of all the old antiwar Socialist Party international labor goals with the modern movements (Civil Rights, Environmental, Feminists, LGBT), but liberals (aka “progressives”) were — and too obviously remain — (D) dedicated to supporting the corporate-state’s Democrats, who cleverly get whatever greater evil done that incompetent Republicans can’t.

The problem with ahistorical liberal voters is that they keep thinking they are the lesser evil, when they have always been the greater evil… the bigger part of The Problem.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, August 26, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

diamond—As I said before, I think Mamet can write dialogue and set up dramatic situations; I don’t think he can do political, sociological or cultural analysis.  In the material I saw, it was clear that he had no well-defined idea of what he was talking about.

The corporate state is the outcome of four hundred years or so of liberalism-capitalism.  If you don’t like it, you need to think about replacing liberalism-capitalism.  David Mamet is totally irrelevant to this question.

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By diamond, August 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

“Lots of bright people with lots of facts think Nixon was a liberal; I posted URLs; I rest my case.”

David Mamet’s a bright person but he still thinks liberals have dismantled this magic thing he calls ‘American culture’ which is manifestly untrue and even laughable. The arts are chock a block with liberals and American culture has been largely the achievement of liberals. Perhaps what he calls culture is the military/intelligence/triumphalist cabal that starts wars. But even that makes no sense because liberals have no control over them whatsoever, never mind being able to destroy them.

If Nixon was a liberal why did he run the White House as if it was the Reichstag? Why did he act like a Nazi? Or do you claim that Cheney and Rumsfeld are liberals too? And of course the corporate state was created to make crimes legal, I know that, but the question is, who created the corporate state, the party that represents labor or the party that represents capital? It’s a no-brainer. Of course it was created by the party that represents capital because it’s a CORPORATE STATE - isn’t it screamingly obvious? Any Democrat president has to operate in the corporate state since only the people themselves can dismantle it and Americans are so brainwashed and, to be fair, so overworked and underpaid, that they don’t even understand that they live and die under corporate fascism. Every Democrat president has to operate in a system that takes most of its elements from the Mafia and one of those Democrat presidents was killed by the right and the mafia. I guess he was too liberal. He should have known better and been a liberal the way Nixon was a liberal. Namely, join the Republican Party and serve the corporate state. And that Democrat president never should have de-segregated the South either. The corporate state didn’t like that. But they didn’t like it when Clinton signed off on a balanced budget in 1997 either. Why? Because the corporate state is a psychopath that wants a one party state and liberals in camps. The corporate state is pretty much an abomination and Nixon was its devoted servant all of his political life. How that makes him a liberal remains a mystery. Mamet is blaming liberals for the mess America is in because he doesn’t want to blame the corporate state which, let’s face it, has been good to him.

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By Anarcissie, August 26, 2011 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

diamond—I suppose it depends on how you want to define ‘liberal’.  For instance, people complain that Nixon had an aggressive, militaristic foreign policy—but so did Truman, Marshall, Acheson, Kennedy and his entire cabinet, Johnson, Carter, the Clintons, and now Obama, to name but a few.  But you can always play the game of ‘No True Scotsman’ and exclude them all from liberalism.  Forgive me if I find such games a waste of time.  Lots of bright people with lots of facts think Nixon was a liberal; I posted URLs; I rest my case.

That Nixon was a crook, kept an enemies list, and tried to spy on and make things inconvenient for his opponents has no bearing on the issue of whether he was a liberal or not.  What do you think politicians do?

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, August 26, 2011 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

Quote, diamond:

“Liberals don’t believe that when the president breaks the law it’s not illegal. Fascists believe that.”
_______________

The laws of the corporate state are designed to ensure that the greatest crimes are legal.

Liberals believe it’s not fascism when Democrats do it… legally… calmly, and cold-bloodedly.

The Devolution of Liberalism:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=496&Itemid=1

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Egomet Bonmot's avatar

By Egomet Bonmot, August 25, 2011 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

I think one night in the late 60s Mamet and his friends were passing a joint around their dorm room, when Dave suddenly had a brainstorm:  “Hey guys, guys, GUYS!  Shut up a minute!  Let’s make, like, a PACT, ok?  If anyone of us gets famous then when we’re, like, sixty we’ve gotta write, like, a REPUBLICAN MANIFESTO!!!!  Oh man this is too effin funny!  Guys, who’s with me?”

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By diamond, August 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

“Noam Chomsky has called Nixon, ‘in many respects the last liberal president.’ Garry Wills went further and called him ‘the last liberal.”

Noam Chomsky also says 9/11 wasn’t an inside job. He’s not infallible. Nixon was not a liberal, that’s a completely nonsensical thing to claim. He was, however, a liar and a man completely devoid of ethics. So much so that he authorized a CIA burglary to steal Daniel Ellsberg’s medical records from his psychiatrist’s office so he could be smeared and depicted as crazy. Purely and simply because Ellsberg had finally located his conscience and stolen the Pentagon papers so Americans would at last know how their government had lied to them and continued an unwinnable war. Nixon’s record, not only as president, but as a politician was disgraceful. He lied about ending the Vietnam war, and got re-elected on the lie. After which he attacked Cambodia and Laos as well as Vietnam. He was a drunk, he ate anti-depressants like lollies and he often called Henry Kissinger in the middle of the night, off his face, to order him to drop nuclear bombs on Vietnam. Fortunately Kissinger went back to sleep and ignored him. Not on moral grounds, you can be sure, but because he knew Nixon was drunk and off his face and Kissinger didn’t want the blame.

Nixon’s doctor gave him the anti-depressants without a prescription in bottles almost as big as a coke bottle. The only hero in Nixon’s story is his wife, who should have been given a purple heart for not leaving him. The suggestion that Nixon was a liberal would probably have made her snort with laughter. Liberals don’t believe that when the president breaks the law it’s not illegal. Fascists believe that. Think Dick Cheney, who was part of Nixon’s administration, as was Donald Rumsfeld. Birds of a feather, flock together.

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By Anarcissie, August 25, 2011 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

Welfare is capitalism tax, not slavery tax.

Racial feelings among the voters have probably served to reduce Welfare outlays by identifying Welfare (somewhat incorrectly) with disliked minorities.  On the other hand, by imposing irrational distortions on the labor market, employment, education and so on they probably increase the size of the problems Welfare is supposed to address.

I don’t know what can be done about the situation at this point.  Political and legal impediments based on race, ethnicity, religion and so forth have been removed, at least in theory, but it seems impossible and repugnant to impose equality by force of law on the myriad small personal choices which make up most of human social life and result in serious categorical disparities of wealth, political power and status.  These will continue to vex us and, in a period of austerity, may become far more intense and troublesome than they are now.

This takes us well beyond Mamet’s whining and cranking, however.

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By nf, August 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Interesting read by John Derbyshire.


http://takimag.com/article/can_we_still_afford_the_slavery_tax#axzz1VtzC3GFh

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By nf, August 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

If only we could get Gary Johnson elected.

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By Anarcissie, August 24, 2011 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

Nixon invented Affirmative Action.

Nixon went to China.

Nixon said, ‘We are all Keynesians now.’

Nixon invented ‘black capitalism’, to be advanced by federal loans, set-asides, and private business contributions.

Noam Chomsky has called Nixon, ‘in many respects the last liberal president.’ Garry Wills went further and called him ‘the last liberal.’

http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/06/01/reviews/wills-nixon.html

http://wonkette.com/227457/richard-nixon-americas-greatest-liberal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism_in_the_United_States#Nixon_and_the_liberal_consensus

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x6430618

http://www.virtualclassroom.net/tvc/Nixon/sld007.htm

Just scratching the surface here.

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By diamond, August 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

“Not that I’m trying to convert you or anything like that.  I’m just here for the joys of abstruse philosophical schmoozing.”

I’m not so sure about that. 

“By and large, they are now more conservative than Eisenhower and Nixon and Taft ever were.”

Nixon was not a conservative, he was a reactionary, a radical in other words. He was also a crook.

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By Anarcissie, August 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

nf—Actually, you can’t give away your money to escape the estate tax or ‘death tax’ or whatever.  In any case, I’ve been noticing a contradiction between your beliefs about Welfare, entitlements, and so forth, which are one form of social engineering, and estate taxes, which are another.

By the way, I think if you examine contemporary Democrats you will find that they are not your father’s Democrats; they have become far more conservative.  By and large, they are now more conservative than Eisenhower and Nixon and Taft ever were.  Not that I’m trying to convert you or anything like that.  I’m just here for the joys of abstruse philosophical schmoozing.

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By OzarkMichael, August 24, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

steve in oakland starts with a lament about the state of public discourse, which i thought for a moment meant he was going to elevate the discussion.

But no, instead he quickly devolves into an opinionated rant (which every properly indoctrinated Leftist does reflexively). It doesnt take any brains to parrot such drivel, so steve’s rant is about as sophisticated as a cicada buzzing, which i might add requires no education whatsoever.

steve finishes up with his curriculum vitae, as if that puts a little gold star on his forehead and turns his parroting into original thinking. After explaining earlier in his post that we are products of circumstance, he then seeks to show that HE has a real opinion, one earned by thought and study. As i said in my post, a Leftist never turns reduction upon themselves.

steve is so hilarious that i will copy the lament, the rant, and the gold star he gives himself at the end:

This is typical of the pathetic state of public discourse in this country. There are perfectly reasonable positions on public policy that might be considered “conservative.”  The problem is that, almost without exception, there is no rational, honest “conservative” public voice today.  The Tea Party is a hodgepodge of ignorance and racism, fueled by the Koch boys.  It’s a movement of people who are unschooled and sufficiently naive to believe that they share lucid ideas that, in practice, would benefit themselves and the country.  Barry Goldwater would disavow the movement entirely (I read Conscience of a Conservative and thought his ideas were great…when I was young, and before my world expanded by 3 years of the Army and many years of college).

oh noes! Conservatives beware! Its the Educated Man! His thoughts are formed by coherent rational means and his opinion was formed from free choice!

What chance do we have against him? We, whose thoughts are merely products of circumstance, We, whose opinion was not derived from his remarkable breadth of experience, (a whopping 2 years at a community college) whereby his ‘world expanded’. My world is so small by comparison, my capability is so limited, what shall I do?

Only one answer… FLEE!

eheheh, steve. My posts are original. Yours… not so much.

You will be fun to play with ‘cause you are look smart with that gold star on your head.

good luck!

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By nf, August 24, 2011 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, the wealthy have plenty of time prior to death to distribute their wealth as they see fit, after death I think that the government can step in.

As far as becoming a democrat - no way. The democrats are way too consumed with entitlements. They seem to want to abet the growing underclasses to the detriment of us
all. The concepts of uncontrolled food stamps, welfare, subsidized housing, free cell phones, Medicaid and collective bargaining for civil servants are going to bring this
country to it’s knees at the feet of the Chinese. The poor must be helped, but in
measured doses.

Yes I am an atheist but so are many other republicans, they just don’t make it public.
Remember democrats have the black, Hispanic and Jewish blocs, we cater to the nutty
bible belt to try to make it even.

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By Anarcissie, August 24, 2011 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

nf—I understand the idea of estate taxes: leveling.  I don’t understand your affection for such, given your other statements here.  Why shouldn’t rich people dispose of their property as they please?  Why should they be socially engineered?  I’d say you’re in danger of becoming a Democrat.  Especially with that atheist thing going.

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By nf, August 24, 2011 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, I can see allowing say 1 million to be passed on to each child and unlimited
to a spouse but to make billionaires and multi-millionaires our of children simply
because of birthright doesn’t make sense to me. I think that the heirs should use their
own gifts to make their own way in life.

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By john crandell, August 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

Well, it now appears that there’s only one resolution to this conundrum known as
David Mamet. He and Jon Voight should run off and elope to Puerto Valarta.
Perhaps Alan Keyes should go along, as bridesmaid.

Perfect. Storybook ending.

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By Anarcissie, August 23, 2011 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

nf—Given some of your other statements, I don’t understand your fondness for the estate tax.

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By Ehrenstein, August 23, 2011 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

Tickets to what? In 1951 I was taken by my parents to see “Guys and Dolls” with the original cast. I was four years old. Whe Stubby Kaye got up in the last act to sing “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” (one of the greatest of all “11 O’Clock Numbers”) MY LIFE BEGAN!

And what do they have today?

Don’t ask. The theater is Dead.

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By Octopodian, August 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

One thing college does do well is to perpetuate new generations of theater-goers.  Who pay money.  For tickets. Right?

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By nf, August 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

SarcastiCanuck, it really doesn’t matter too much if global warming is real or not ( I believe it is real ), the negative or perhaps positive effects of it are not fully understood,
and in any case there isn’t realistically anything we can do about it at this point.

Anarcissie, I am referring to the reinstatement of the estate tax at higher levels.

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By Ehrenstein, August 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

It’s an utterly dubious proposition and you are by no means a crank.

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By SarcastiCanuck, August 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I couldn’t give a rats ass if Mamet is a liberal or a conservative.If he denies the fact that global warming exists,then he is a fucking retard.With all due respect,of course…

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By Anarcissie, August 23, 2011 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

nf—You’re saying that people who acquire wealth should not be permitted to dispose of it as they please?  They usually want to pass it on to their children, don’t they?  People who believe that significant differences of wealth are a good thing usually say that the prospects of doing so incite people to work harder, which is also supposed to be a good thing.  (I think this is a dubious proposition, but I’m something of a crank.)

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By Ehrenstein, August 23, 2011 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Well then I’LL be the one to say.

The Rich are different.

THEY HAVE MONEY AND THEY WANT ANYONE WHO DOESN’T TO DIE IN AGONY!!!!!!

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By EmileZ, August 23, 2011 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

@ nf

Perhaps you may be missing the point, but who I am I to say??? Thank you for your reply.

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By nf, August 23, 2011 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

EmileZ, the sarcasm is perhaps justified, however, the pampered lives of those born into priviledge perhaps does a poor job of preparing them for the realities of life. That,
coupled with the sheltering evident in many upper class households can sometimes make dealing with a competitive marketplace a challenge for them. I am not apologizing
for the fortunate in our society, but merely pointing out that their’s is not always a bed of roses either.

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By EmileZ, August 23, 2011 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

@nf

I agree we must enforce character building initiatives so that heirs and heiresses can live more satisfying lives.

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By nf, August 23, 2011 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, you seem to be saying that followup generations in wealthy families are not as likely to regain wealth if it were lost and I agree with you. This is one of many areas where I depart from my conservative friends. Wealth should be mostly confiscated from estates once the generator of that wealth has passed. Although unpleasant for those involved it certainly would help level the playing field for future generations. A specific example would be a family like the Waltons that is composed of several billionaires due
to the fantastic legacy of Sam Walton. Perhaps in a case like this the estate tax should be substantial while at the same time leaving a generous share for the heirs. Besides,
making ones own way in life is one of the experiences that is character building as well
as satisfying. I find it hard to believe that the benefactors of large estates live personally
satisfying lives without having earned their financial success.

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By Anarcissie, August 23, 2011 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

nf, August 22 at 6:59 pm:

‘Anarcissie, to say that someone could despise another because he/she is defenseless is to say that that someone is pathological. ...’

Well, lots of people are pathological, at least from my point of view, and the society as a whole seems to be pretty pathological as well.  I think that requirement can be met pretty easily.  Despising somebody seems to be a common practice, anyway, and if you’re going to despise people and otherwise do them harm, the best targets are clearly going to be those who can’t fight back—the poor, the destitute, certain minorities, distant foreigners, and so on.

It’s nice that you’re surrounded by such nice people.  I grew up on the periphery of a large, mostly upper-middle-class and upper-class family, and went to the best schools, so I got an excellent opportunity to study the elites, but my anecdotes would only sadden you were I to recite them.  People would go to large parties where they sat around despising their inferiors to one another.  It made quite an impression on me.

Incidentally, I often heard the same proposition you recited about how, if the wealth were divided equally, the same people would come to the top.  This theory is a great comfort to those on the top, but there is little evidence for it.  Certainly the top-dwellers I observed did not possess unusual intelligence, talents, energy or determination, although they did possess unusual money, social position and, I suppose, dermal albedo.  But when we look at the history of less happy countries than ours, usually, after a considerable social upheaval where class differences are broken, different people come to the top.  Miraculously, they work out the same theory!  And get on with the business of despising.

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By Ehrenstein, August 23, 2011 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

“an atheist, slaved in the muck lands of upstate New York for 60 cents an hour, worked and supported a wife and kids while in college, never missed a day of work in 45 years”

Then why are you a Republican?

“never got a check from any government”

Well Mother Pin A Rose On You!

“(maybe next year)”

Well maybe you shoudl send it back! That’s how Republicans posture—as they grab every government check that isn’t nailed down!

As for Catholicism (I escaped at confirmation) that pedophile cult is just one example of the nonsense we’re required to pay fealty to. The Fundies and the Mormons rule America these days.

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By mrfreeze, August 22, 2011 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

One would imagine that someone who believes himself to be so “fucking brilliant” would have a far more insightful perspective on what’s wrong with the world other than blaming “liberals” for all the problems that exist.

Mamet has done some incredibly good work over the years, but that doesn’t disqualify him from being awarded the “I’m-a-fucking-asshole-playwright” trophy….which he can (gently) shove up his ass.

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By diamond, August 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

“Diamond, what is it about your life that you don’t like ?”

It’s not my life I don’t like. I’m extremely fortunate and I know it, unlike people like you and Mamet. What I don’t like is fascism,  social injustice, manufactured wars, greed, corruption and the desire of capital to return every worker in the world back to the situation they had when they had slaves balin’ cotton in the South. Capitalists ARE fascists, where the hell have you been for most of the 20th century and now this one? If you don’t call what they do fascism what do you call it? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Fascists believe the people exist to serve the state, democrats believe the state exists to serve the people. Take a good look at the Republican party and tell me they’re not fascists since they only regard the masses as ‘units of labor’ or cannon fodder and are always happy to start a war as long as they can make money out of it with no regard for human beings whatsoever since they cheat them out of the necessities of life without a twinge of guilt to buy more weapons. On the other hand, don’t waste both our time.

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By nf, August 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, to say that someone could despise another because he/she is defenseless is to say that that someone is pathological.  I know lots of republicans, none of whom I
would say has that pathology. They tend to be people who work very hard, save for the future, give to charity, enjoy their families, many do belong to religious cults (I mean all
religions by that), and avoid trouble - probably like a lot of democrats. But they also tend to be more self sufficient and generally avoid working for civil service/governments - too stifling.

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By nf, August 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

Ehrenstein, I’m republican and an atheist, slaved in the muck lands of upstate New York for 60 cents an hour, worked and supported a wife and kids while in college, never missed a day of work in 45 years, never got a check from any government (maybe next year), and I hate cults especially the catholic one.

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By Anarcissie, August 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

nf, August 22 at 5:23 pm:

‘I can’t speak for all Republicans, but i’m sure that most don’t despise the poor. That simply doesn’t make sense. Why would they? ...’

Because they’re defenseless.

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By Ehrenstein, August 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

Indoor plumbing, nf? Is that the height of our civilization. Huge numbers of our third world SLAVES (and I do not use the word lightly) don’t have it.

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By Ehrenstein, August 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

“I can’t speak for all Republicans, but i’m sure that most don’t despise the poor. That simply doesn’t make sense. Why would they ? “

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS A RELIGIOUS CULT! ISN’T THAT SCREAMINGLY OBVIOUS? WHAT DO YOU NEED? FLASH CARDS???!!!

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By nf, August 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

Diamond, what is it about your life that you don’t like ?Assuming that you are referring to the capitalists as fascists (a very strong word),  are they not the ones who created the
miracle that is the modern, industrialized, product rich, food rich, indoor plumbing equipped, envy of the world country that we live in ? You certainly wouldn’t give credit to the socialist civil servants that make everyone’s life miserable, would you?

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By nf, August 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

Oh, Ehrenstein,  I like the pipe suggestion, it will certainly be among the top 3 options if the occasion arises for such a need.

Thank you

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By nf, August 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

I can’t speak for all Republicans, but i’m sure that most don’t despise the poor. That simply doesn’t make sense. Why would they ? I would suggest that they mostly feel sorry for the truly poor but also understand that the socialist solutions don’t solve their problems - they just make the poor more dependent. Keep in mind that the fruit of our used-to-be mostly capitalist system produced a dramatic increase in the standard of living of the poor. Socialism had nothing to do with it.

Those that became wealthy by their own ingenuity and hard work have nothing to apologize for.  Ultimately most wealthy people wind up giving a large
share of their wealth to charity and other worthwhile causes.

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By Ehrenstein, August 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

“If all of your lives are so miserable that instead of admiring Mamet for his intelligence and success you seek instead to destroy him because he takes a realistic view of the human situation, let me suggest that there is a way out for you, the local pharmacies are well stocked with pain killers and other such permanent (when taken in sufficient doses) solutions to your problem.”

And I would suggest that you TAKE THE GAS PIPE!

Mamet’s “success” is a farud. He is a hollow shell of a man with nothing to say—and nothing to do but despise the poor.

Like all Republicans.

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By diamond, August 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

“Let those like Mamet and others who actually work and produce alone, they ask nothing of you, you didn’t make their success.  By the way, if you somehow were able to divide all of the wealth of the successful amongst yourselves, in short order it would be back where it started.”

No one is saying he shouldn’t work, what they’re saying is that he should go and dig ditches on the road for a while and live on the money he earns by doing it. Then if he still wants to blame the glaring and indeed obscene injustices and deliberate, calculated inequities of the United States on liberals that will only prove that he is actually quite stupid. As he must be to blame those who have tried for many generations to correct America’s fascist tendencies for the crimes the fascists have committed. He must also know next to nothing about the bloody and protracted war that raged between capital and labor in the United States in which no one was spared, including women and children (look up the Ludlow Massacre).

And that old class envy thing is getting very tired. I hear it constantly from those who want to defend the status quo come hell or high water. As a defense of crimes against humanity it stinks, as does Mamet’s logic - if you can call it that. Any writer who claims that human progress isn’t based on reason is in a race to the bottom and that’s fine, so long as he doesn’t expect me to go with him.

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By Nf, August 22, 2011 at 10:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If all of your lives are so miserable that instead of admiring Mamet for his intelligence and success you seek instead to destroy him because he takes a realistic view of the human situation, let me suggest that there is a way out for you, the local pharmacies are well stocked with pain killers and other such permanent (when taken in sufficient doses) solutions to your problem. Let those like Mamet and others who actually work and produce alone, they ask nothing of you, you didn’t make their success.  By the way, if you somehow were able to divide all of the wealth of the successful amongst yourselves, in short order it would be back where it started. Be thankful for those that
can make our lives better through their ingenuity, intelligence and hard work. We are all
in a better world because of them.

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By Pete C, August 22, 2011 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mamet’s 2005 review of “The Night of the Iguana” showed he was tone-deaf, if not brain-dead. Later he announced that he was no longer a brain-dead liberal because he turned off NPR and turned on Glenn Beck. Plus he reads books!

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By Seanachie, August 22, 2011 at 7:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From this excerpt of Mamet’s, it’s a safe guess he’s become a sort of lay acolyte of U. of Chicago’s Milton Friedman’s economic theories, rehashed into polemical mode a la Hollywood kitsch-speak.  What can we say?  Mamet’s become a true believer here.  This should provide for interesting reinterpretations of AMERICAN BUFFALO, GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, etc. But not, alas, any valuable insights into our current economic stagnation and its impact on the non-wealthy electorate, of which he is an abdicating member.

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By Tobysgirl, August 22, 2011 at 5:36 am Link to this comment

Climate change deniers should be willing to move to Dallas and live without air conditioning.

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By Tobysgirl, August 22, 2011 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Ehrenstein.

Why do we expect anything else of people who live in PRIVILEGE? Mamet the Asshole never has to live in the real world, deal with real problems, or do REAL WORK.
The older I get, the more important I believe it is for people to be involved in the realities of life. I have tremendous respect for artists, but it is never healthy for human beings to have someone else prepare their food, wash their clothes, clean their houses, and wipe their bottoms.

Would this garbage be published if the author’s name wasn’t David Mamet? I’m surprised we don’t package and market the vomit and shit of celebrities.

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By werdy, August 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t accept his or his type imagining themselves conservatives. They are crybaby imperialists that started crying very loudly when they found out the empire can be taken from them.

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By Ehrenstein, August 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

David Mamet has always been a two-bit fascist. Why it has taken people so long to recognize this simple fact is a mystery to me.

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By Myshkin, August 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

A reasonable response to the new Mamet can be lifted straight from one of his better lines of dialogue:

“Hey, you’re better than an aquarium, you know that? There’s somethin’ happening with you every minute.”
(Homicide, 1991)

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By mackTN, August 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

You know, I just don’t want to know more.  I happen to enjoy Mamet the
screenwriter/director—Heist, Spartan, Redbelt, Glengarry Glen Ross, etc. 
Lowering myself into his political muck jeopardizes my enjoyment of his artistic
work.  To this day, I still cannot enjoy a Woody Allen movie, not since all that stuff
about fooling around with & marrying his stepdaughter and being suspected of
something with his infant son. 

Not to say that artists shouldn’t have a political/personal life and express the
range of their thoughts.  But there are risks when these things are put on display.
Simply put, if people found out some writer or actor, even businessperson, was a
Nazi or member of the KKK, it’s likely that person would lose some fans.

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By Peggy Luhrs, August 21, 2011 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr Mamet reminds me that attitudes toward women are always the canary in the
coal mine. That Mr Macho is now railing against women and liberals is not that
much of a surprise. When Christopher Hitchens went off the rails around abortion
it wasn’t that much of a surprise to this feminist that he would wind up
supporting neo cons wars. Long ago Gloria Steinem told us that the male
trajectory is toward more conservatism in older age and women’s more likely
toward radicalism. Since older white men are the ones with the most power in this
system they are liklier to embrace the status quo than we they are younger and
closer to being cannon fodder for that state status. How tired tired is macho
everything and how ultimately impotent in producing anything but death.

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By blogdog, August 21, 2011 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

RE:“A true conservative, OTOH,  promotes wars and sends other people to fight it, while they profit.
Everything’s a business, ya know.

Chickenhawks rule!”

———————-

Absolutely - in the Capitalits’ Paradise it’s all business all the time - as for Chickenhawks… they
rule, because we the people let them - as for these petty fights (Liberal vs Conservative) - that’s
exactly what the Oligarchs want - they’ve got no ideology and no allegiances, only their money, their
power, armies of plutocrats to carry their water and legions of useful fools to distract the rabble

now, rather than whining about unwitting shills like Beck, Palin, Bachman, Limbaugh and now
Mamet, get all the chicken-shit, so-called progressive, Left Libs like Moore, Goodman, Chomskey,
Rothstein, Code Pink, Moveon.org, et al, and their followers to join forces with all under classes and
take a real fight to Wall Street, City of London, Zurich, Frankfurt, et al, right into the teeth of the
Global Finance Oligarchy - those served by the Military Industrial Complex and global intelligence
nexus (CIA/MI6/MOSSAD/ISI/RAW) and its phony Global War Of Terror - especially on its
upcoming 10th anniversary, demand that your Prog-left-lib heros challenge the 9/11 myth:
lynchpin to the GWOT…

don’t expect it - book deals, lecture tours, foundation funding is at stake… “Everything’s a business,
ya know.”

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By Peterell, August 21, 2011 at 11:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As my grandmother used to say:  “Give a man money, see him act funny!”

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By steve in oakland, August 20, 2011 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OzarkMichael—

I doubt that anyone had you and your feelings in mind when it was suggested that people might change their social and political views as their social and financial circles change.

The fact that Jim Brown (of the Cleveland Browns), Count Basie and Sammy Davis Jr., became outspoken Republicans wasn’t due to their reading Ayn Rand, Edmund Burke or Adam Smith in their later years.  It was because they made money and were surrounded by the sort of people who advocated policies that would ensure their continued unimpaired enjoyment of that wealth.

Just as people change with parenthood, becoming more conservative as a result, there is nothing in acknowledging such change that should cause you to complain, “In other words, if you reduce another person’s ideals, attributing their ideals to some base and unprincipled cause, an unthinking, lowest imaginable motivation…”

You ask, “Answer me this: Do you also believe that your ‘conversion’ to Anarchism or whatever it was supposed to be going on… was it due to some sort of personal failing or your part? maybe its just financial pressure? change in social environment?”  Did your own beliefs spring from the Void?  Or, did you learn the beliefs of those in your family and social circle, and make them your own?  As you matured, did you change your beliefs as you enlarged your experiences?  I think that’s what happens in most people’s lives.

Mamet has been a staunch, automatic defender of Israel for decades, reacting at any criticism of Israel, by seeing it as antisemitism.  This latest writing suggests that he is losing the fight to distinguish other issues on their merits, and instead, is circling his intellectual wagon to wage war with the Liberal Other.

This is typical of the pathetic state of public discourse in this country. There are perfectly reasonable positions on public policy that might be considered “conservative.”  The problem is that, almost without exception, there is no rational, honest “conservative” public voice today.  The Tea Party is a hodgepodge of ignorance and racism, fueled by the Koch boys.  It’s a movement of people who are unschooled and sufficiently naive to believe that they share lucid ideas that, in practice, would benefit themselves and the country.  Barry Goldwater would disavow the movement entirely (I read Conscience of a Conservative and thought his ideas were great…when I was young, and before my world expanded by 3 years of the Army and many years of college).

The “liberals” are relatively silent as Obama proves to be the most conservative Democratic president in 100 years.  He continues the policies of his predecessor, but gets a free ride from those who consider criticism of him to be automatically racist.  So the Patriot Act is renewed; offshore drilling and “clean coal” and nuclear power plants are proposed and underwritten; Gitmo remains open; no Union check-off provisions are proposed; the health care bill became a health insurance company prosperity act, ignoring the dramatic cost savings that would have been realized by single payer care for all…while those who dare criticize are called “fucking retards” by the White House.

The fact that you’ve never heard of David Mamet or seen any of his movies suggest to me that you’re either awfully young, incarcerated or don’t get out much.  It’s easier to understand other peoples opinions when you share the same popular culture. Try Glengarry Glen Ross, Spanish Prisoner or House of Games.  I really love some of his writing, but I also admire Olympia and Triumph of the Will. 

Finally, consider taking a course in night school, jr college or other venue, in Argumentation or Debate.  It’s a lost art in this country for most people, but it’s a great tool for discussing issues on their merits, and not on the emotions generated by, and in, the participants and audience.

Good Luck!

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By KMG, August 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@blogdog,
A true conservative, OTOH,  promotes wars and sends other people to fight it, while they profit. Everything’s a business, ya know.

Chickenhawks rule!

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By Anarcissie, August 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—My reasoning on Mamet goes like this.  His denunciation and scolding of what he thinks ‘liberalism’ is read like the complaints of one of my older, squarer relatives.  It lacked what I call ‘analysis’.  Nothing odd in that—most people do not examine, and cannot justify, their opinions and prejudices—except Mamet is supposed to be this hip Broadway playwright who previous had ‘liberal’ views.  (I have to use a lot of quotes here—sorry.  Or, ‘sorry.’)  So if Mamet lacks ‘analysis’, what caused him to change his views?  Well, he’s older, richer, better known, of higher status, and may have found himself in a more, shall we say, ‘conservative’ social environment.  (More quotes.)  One sees this sort of thing all the time.  The usual move is from Left to Right, although the complementary move isn’t at all unknown.  Maybe I should put ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ in quotes, because when people refuse to reason or obtain facts it’s hard to categorize their political ideas.

If Mamet had come out with a reasoned, factual analysis of the defects of liberalism, I might be more inclined to believe his transition was due to something internal, like thinking.  That isn’t unknown either.  But he didn’t—not in the material I read.

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By diamond, August 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

I saw one of his movies once. It was talky and lame and strangely old fashioned and I imagine his book is much the same. It’s hilarious that he thinks ‘liberals’ are the problem. Where the hell has he been for the last forty years? Has he ever read anyone else’s work but his own? There are plenty of books that explain the agenda of American conservative corporatists and the power they have to stymie or destroy any social progress whatsoever. I really doubt that anyone could see what the Republicans recently did over the debt ceiling as some fatal flaw among liberals. Even Standard and Poors acted with contempt towards the theatre of the absurd that the Republicans were responsible for. And it’s just not possible to claim that the mess America is in was caused by liberals and be taken seriously. Not by people who know what’s really been going on. Are liberals behind the disaster of the coal seam gas mines all over America? I suppose it’s Al Gore’s fault that the mainstream media has turned him into a figure of fun instead of taking the fact of climate change on board. Twelve American states are acting on moving to renewables but I can guarantee you almost none of them have ‘liberal’ administrations. And there is no more serious question we face for the future than climate change and moving to renewables because without a planet we don’t exist. I’m sure Mamet has an explanation for how those greenie hippie Liberals caused climate change too or some explanation that says they’re lying about it because they’re secretly Communists. Not a serious man and not to be taken seriously.

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By OzarkMichael, August 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

I do not know this Mamet, i never heard of him. He might be great or terrible at his work, and his book might be great or awful. That is not my point today.

Anarcissie said: “His ‘conversion’ to ‘conservatism’ or whatever is supposed to be going on is probably no more than a change of social environment due to getting older or having more money.”

That is a common tool for Leftists to attack conservatives with. Answer me this: Do you also believe that your ‘conversion’ to Anarchism or whatever it was supposed to be going on… was it due to some sort of personal failing or your part? maybe its just financial pressure? change in social environment?

In other words, if you reduce another person’s ideals, attributing their ideals to some base and unprincipled cause, an unthinking, lowest imaginable motivation, then I want to know if your own ideals ought to be reduced as well. Can you make your own self and your own beliefs into an unthinking leaf that just happened to be blown by the wind to a place not of your choosing, and thats the only reason why you are an Anarchist?

(i hope you dont. i believe your thoughts and ideals are meaningful, that you arrived at them by deliberative choice and not merely by happenstance)

As one who has been the subject of several Leftist reductions(in life and on Truthdig) I have yet to see the ‘reducer’ apply the same method to him/herself.

Yes, you could say that is just human nature, everyone does it, not just Leftists.

Ah! In light of that, I now propose that whenever someone reduces someone else, it is not a wise and knowing attack on someone, no! It is a mechanism that the reducer isnt choosing, does not control or employ for some high logical purpose. No! For by the theory of reduction itself, a reduction is probably performed to uphold the illusion that the reducer is above nature, and by that i mean rational.

Just like the snake who ate its tail until it vanishes, the reducer and even reduction itself is dissolved into the irrelevent void.

Except I just used a reduction, and that means that i too-

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By upgradeyourlife, August 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

All the talk about “liberals” and “liberalism” or even conservatism gets old quick, you would think by now there would be a more developed public vocabulary. But then the media thrives on confusion and blanket terms.

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By blogdog, August 20, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

True Liberal: first person to leave the room when a fight breaks out

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By EmileZ, August 20, 2011 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

@ Magginkat

Over time, what has become clear to me is that different people have different ideas about what a liberal is.

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By Magginkat, August 20, 2011 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

I suspect that Mamet is doing what most conservatives do and projecting his own muddled feelings onto Liberals. Likewise for several, apparently conservative responders have dished out their personal lack of knowledge onto liberals regarding this column.  I have discovered over the years that most people who try to describe a Liberal don’t have a clue.  They express their own hatred and intolerance as liberalism.  They don’t have a clue.

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By EmileZ, August 20, 2011 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

@nf

I too went through such a difficult transformation and I think you are a childish butthole.

I see things as they really are. You should all respect this.

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By nf, August 20, 2011 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

David Mamet is simply another individual that grew tired of lying to himself. It is a difficult
transformation as it requires seeing things as they really are as opposed to as you may
wish them to be. I too went through the change. Facing reality is part of growing up.
Some of us never achieve adulthood but instead behave as children forever. Perhaps in
this sense ignorance is manifested by idealism.

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By EmileZ, August 20, 2011 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

@ Creech
All that about “society’s right to expect” and artistic freedom no matter how inconsistent,illogical or just plain stupid, is, well… who gives a fuck anyway.

I maintain that individuals have a right to criticize, insult, and heap ridicule upon all artists for any reason at any time.

Anyhow, if you are writing essays, and you are inconsistent, isn’t that asking for it??? Isn’t it in fact the duty of all responsible intellectuals to point out your inconsistencies???

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By Anarcissie, August 20, 2011 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

People love it, though.  And he wears a baseball hat.

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By Morri Creech, August 20, 2011 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Society has the right to expect many things from its artists and writers; ideological consistency is not one of them, however. Mamet should be free to pursue whatever political ideas he wishes, however onerous or illogical. I see no reason why one must agree with a writer’s worldview or political affiliation to admire his art (think of W. H. Auden’s communism, for instance, or Ezra Pound’s fascism); nor do I see any reason to take seriously the ideological extremities of a playwright unless his positions shed light on his work. Still, an artist posing as an ideologue is nearly as disconcerting as an actor inhabiting the White House, which we have seen. Neither is palatable to anyone with a modest degree of sense.

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By EmileZ, August 20, 2011 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

David Mamet’s snappy dialogue is LAME LAME LAME.

Not a fan.

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By Anarcissie, August 20, 2011 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

I’ve read one rather tedious article by Mamet denouncing ‘liberalism’ and if you come across it I think you may well come to the same conclusion I did.

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By OzarkMichael, August 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

I suppose one can always find a low, non rational motive or economic pressure to explain anything. I’ll remember that the next time someone converts to your way of thinking, Anarcissie.

as for Pierce and his remark about a brain tumor, I have news for you: the Left already has plenty of haters. All the seats are occupied in that section, so you will have to wath the game from the parking lot.

as for noteasybeing green, who said: “Needless to say, I won’t be buying this book.”

funny, when I was young, i sought out and read books I disagreed with. But i am a conservative and we approach opposing ideas with some curiosity and enough courage to investigate it.

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By Anarcissie, August 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment

Mamet is capable of writing dialogue and setting up dramatic situations, but I have never seen anything by him that indicated that he was capable of political analysis or even intuitive political consciousness.  So I don’t know what the big deal is.  His ‘conversion’ to ‘conservatism’ or whatever is supposed to be going on is probably no more than a change of social environment due to getting older or having more money.  It’s insignificant.

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By Catburglar, August 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

Well, either Mamet is being logically inconsistent, or he is indeed utterly illogical, but if he has truly gone so far as to be “illogically inconsistent”, perhaps we can indeed blame a brain tumor.

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By stephen shuttleworth, August 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My dear traynorjf,

I’ll see your Dos Passos and John Steinbeck, and raise you one H.L. Mencken and a Saul Bellow.

Some of my favorite writers lose their minds as they lose their talent (or belief in said talent).  It’s sad.

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By bowwowboy, August 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A common figure of American freaklore is the creative
artist who, late in his or her career, decides that
he or she can morph into something like a sage,
dispensing hard-won insights into the causes behind
the declining body politic. The results of this self-
delusion are usually as comic as they are pathetic.

Clearly someone has convinced Mamet (or more likely
he has convinced himself) that in his encroaching
dotage he has earned the right to this exalted
status. He probably fancies himself a “public
intellectual.” 

He is not. He has often been a brilliant anatomist of
American self-delusion, but his gifts are primarily
visceral, not cerebral. He apparently has no ability
to marshal facts (as opposed to unsubstantiated
opinions) into something at least a resembling a
coherent argument and thus falls back on foaming-at-
the-mouth rhetoric whose unhinged tone reminds you of
the ravings of one of his fictional characters (or
avatars?) in extremis. His scattergun shoot-
em-up reminds me of what T.S. Eliot said of another
writer: “His brain swarms with ideas; I see no
evidence that it thinks.”

As for evidence of great writers who can think
about political/social/economic issues on a larger
scale and actually make sense of them, read Gore
Vidal’s essays on our waning empire, or those of Mark
Twain on, say, the Spanish-American War. The gap
between the quality of their polemics and Mamet’s
would span several dozen Grand Canyons.

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By James M. Martin, August 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

People, like things, change.  If you ask a rock group why their music changed radically between CD’S, and that “some people” (straw man) claim the music is not as good, they will tell you “those people” just couldn’t keep up.  That’s what Pink Floyd told me when I asked about the effect of Syd Barrett’s departure.  It would appear that Mr. Mamet, one of America’s finest playwrights (in the Pinter tradition only), changed.  It’s possible he watches too much TV and saw Eric Cantor one time too many.  Mamet wrote a book about internalized antisemitism.  Many of the Bush neocons were Jewish.  The days of Jesse Jackson calling NYC “hymietown” are long gone, and one finds increasingly that Jewish people are abandoning traditional Dem affiliation for GOP membership.

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By Don Bates, August 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mamet is like a lot of writers when they get old. Their ideas tire.  Their audience shrinks.  Their failings become clear.  They turn to exaggerated pontification and naive ideas of innocence and loss.  I don’t mean to put Mamet at the same level - far from it—but remember Solzhenitsyn’s ravings at the end.  Sad, truly sad.  In Mamet’s case, it’s also a matter of his fairly recent re-conversion to Judaism.  Converts always become conservatives regardless of the religion involved.  Maybe in admiring him as a playwright and scriptwriter, we didn’t realize we were actually buffaloed Americans.

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By norman harman, August 19, 2011 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Mamet’s belief in the “Free Market” is laughable. His analysis of FDR’s
(progressive movement-pushed) programs is a joke. He either has no
understanding of history or is a disingenuous fool.

I suspect he’s merely suffering from the standard old man’s “you kids get off my
lawn!” syndrome.

Once again we are reminded that an artist’s brilliant work should never be
confused with an artist’s brilliance.

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By NotEasyBeingGreen, August 19, 2011 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I had the same thought as Pierce (that Mamet perhaps has a brain tumor), but I think it likely that traynorjf is actually more on the right track. There is a somewhat worrying trend in aging that one’s mind hardens, or perhaps one’s heart in Mamet’s case, but regardless, his current thinking is a load of %^&*.

Another theory I have is that the shock of 9/11 turned Mamet into a right-winger; that certainly happened to Dennis Miller. Turned me from a liberal into a passionate progressive, but I’m much younger than Mamet and Miller. Needless to say, I won’t be buying this book.

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By Egomet Bonmot, August 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

Some good artists have the seeds of their own mediocrity on view from the beginning.  Mamet was always a plodder—great at ersatz macho, he rode the eighties well and got his name in the papers—but no one ever left the theater with their world shattered.  Steak knives, no Eldorado.

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By Pierce, August 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I see two possibilities here.  Either Mamet is
pandering to the knuckle dragging right and will some
day announce that he was making fun of the morally
disadvantaged or he has actually drunk the kool aid and
his talent and humanity have dissolved in the cesspool
of anti-life idealogy. Or maybe it’s a brain tumor.

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By traynorjf, August 19, 2011 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

Mamet has apparently joined Dos Passos and Steinbeck; ‘liberals’ who aged into vinegar. Not uncommon, I understand.

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By David J. Cyr, August 19, 2011 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Louise Rubacky:

“Mamet has come to the conclusion that liberals are the true believers who behave with the fervor of fanatics, but his accusation of lock step thought and behavior is nowhere more destructively played out than in the House and Senate, where a moderate Republican is tough to find at voting time and ultraconservative pledges are used as blackmail.”
____________________

The lock-step thoughtlessness of fanatic liberals is amply evidenced by their constant claims that they can’t do the good they would if they could, because the nasty Republicans won’t let them.

Liberals are what Democrats do… or don’t do.

When liberals in 2006 and 2008 got the Democrat control they fervently wished for, the Democrats could have ended resource wars, provided a sensible single-payer healthcare system, and proceeded to rapidly redeploy America’s workforce away from perpetual war support and into an energetic mitigation of climate change.

Perhaps the reason that “ignorant” conservatives despise “intelligent” liberals is because the clever liberals are always getting the conservatives’ goals accomplished… better.

The “Principles” of Liberal Voters:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=491&Itemid=1

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