Culture

Keep Your Mouth Shut and Your Eyes Open

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With the caveat that I am not the world's biggest fan of political Road to Damascus confessionals (on the theory that anyone younger than 95 years old who was ever a Trotskyist, let alone a Maoist, just should not be preaching to me about political judgment), this David Mamet mea culpa is pretty entertaining, and not only because he's going libertarian on us. A selection:

I wrote a play about politics (November, Barrymore Theater, Broadway, some seats still available). And as part of the "writing process," as I believe it's called, I started thinking about politics. […]

[My play is] about the polemic between persons of two opposing views. The argument in my play is between a president who is self-interested, corrupt, suborned, and realistic, and his leftish, lesbian, utopian-socialist speechwriter.

The play, while being a laugh a minute, is, when it's at home, a disputation between reason and faith, or perhaps between the conservative (or tragic) view and the liberal (or perfectionist) view. The conservative president in the piece holds that people are each out to make a living, and the best way for government to facilitate that is to stay out of the way, as the inevitable abuses and failures of this system (free-market economics) are less than those of government intervention.

I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind.

Whole thing here. Maybe it was all that time in Santa Monica.

NEXT: (The Melody Haunts My) Reverie or, Can We Bring the Troops Home and Send Them Directly to Scranton to Take Out This Choir?

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  1. It’s funny sometimes that a guy like Mamet, who is simply a genius when observing behavior and crafting a dramatic conflict, can have such utterly pedestrian political insights.

    That whole column reads like something your Uncle Ed would say at the family reunion – not like something that a first-class mind would come up with.

    Come on David, can’t you do any better than “As I got older I saw how things worked so I became more conservative”?

  2. It must be popular, because I can’t get it to load this morning. Does it mention anything about coffee being for closers?

  3. Wait, didn’t we hear yesterday that people become more “liberal” as they age?

  4. Second place only gets you a set of steak knives, Dave.

  5. Matt – you seriously have to link to somebody else’s piece to show your opinion because you deleted something that had a perma-link (judging by the structure of the link in that blog post) on your site?

    I’m not saying I never (or even, rarely) did that myself, but /ouch/. And now I’m denouncing you for it!

  6. “…leftish, lesbian, utopian-socialist speechwriter.”

    I’m so glad that Dave has cleared his mind of cliches. Since the American people have been voting for “liberal” policies for the past 70-odd years, I guess that proves that we’re a nation of lesbians. Oh, and who is calling for government intervention in the current failure of the free-market system? That’s right, Wall Street.

  7. I myself dabbled in pacifism, not in ‘Nam of course.

  8. Is Mamet just talking about switching to libertarianism, or is he speaking about leaving liberalism?

  9. Alan, pointing out that businesses like to suckle the government teat hypocritically isn’t exactly a shocking statement for H&R, and I am not sure what the hell a financial bailout has to do with David Mamet.

    And I, for one, welcome our new lesbian overladies.

  10. Alan, stick to reviewing Glengarry Glen Ross; at least then you might make some sense.

  11. Market failures are like cancer, best left for nature to deal with. Down with government and medical intervention! Let the divine plan unfold as it will. No contraception either!

  12. I cannot appreciate the American style of humor! Too hide for me! But , laugh!

  13. Maybe when he grows wiser he’ll realize that “abuses and failures” are inevitable, regardless of political affiliation or loyalty or lack thereof, and regardless of government intervention or lack thereof. One person’s abuse is another’s accomplishment, and one person’s success is another’s failure.

  14. And I, for one, welcome our new lesbian overladies.

    Shouldn’t that be “overpersons?”

  15. Market failures are like cancer, best left for nature to deal with.

    Market failures are more like getting turned down for a date, nobody needs to fix it for you. Nobody’s gonna die over it unless they kill themselves.

  16. Jesus, guys! Never fucking forget my fucking middle fucking name!

  17. He’s got an mma themed movie coming out pretty soon.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3701723268495739089

    It looks kind of cheesy… good trainers are more like John Kreese than Mr. Miyagi. I’m sure that I’ll watch it anyway.

  18. Market failures are like cancer

    How, exactly? I would have thought an overweening state was much more analogous to cancer.

  19. Market failures are like cancer, and government intervention is like a good leeching.

  20. Matt – you seriously have to link to somebody else’s piece to show your opinion because you deleted something that had a perma-link (judging by the structure of the link in that blog post) on your site?

    No; I had a server disaster on my personal site that wiped out two years of blog posts. I don’t think I’ve ever purposefully deleted anything, aside from a typo here and there, and a bunch of spam comments about horse-penises.

  21. a bunch of spam comments about horse-penises.

    Sorry about those, Matt. I just thought you’d be interested.

  22. Matt, sorry for the spam. Someone jacked my puter and attached personal pics of me to some spam.

  23. Human beings are natural fixers. Irrigate arid land to grow stuff. Improve nutrition to live better and longer. Design buildings that are wheel chair accesible. Genetically modify vegetables to resist insect blight. Apply salve to diaper rash. BUT DON’T FUCKING TOUCH THE DIVINELY ORDAINED MARKET!

  24. Can any of you “natural fixers” do something about gravity? It would be so great not to hit my head when I fall.
    And I’m not so crazy about “pi” either.

  25. And I’m not so crazy about “pi” either.

    We’ll just legislatively redefine it for you. That work?

  26. David, no offense, but shut up and write more plays.

  27. Yeah, gravity and the market are so much the same thing. Sort of like Catholic doctrine and algebra or monogamy and the laws of physics. Libertarians are so scientific.

  28. David, no offense, but shut up and write more plays.

    can have such utterly pedestrian political insights.

    Why all the hostility to a fairly a straight up “Hey I am a libertarian” piece?

    When did the comment section become a troll swingers bar?

    URKOBOLt?

  29. BUT DON’T FUCKING TOUCH THE DIVINELY ORDAINED MARKET!

    You can touch the market all you like the way you like….Why do you want the government telling me how to touch it?

  30. Why won’t you libertarians just recognized that government has solved the problems of choice and scarcity and we don’t need to deal with economics anymore? Sheesh. Get out of your box, ideologues.

  31. Fuck you, you fake St. Milton. Government isn’t perfect, but neither are we. The market IS perfect. We just have to worship it.

  32. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Bureaucrats have feelings too!

  33. Mamet was a Trotskyist?

  34. Is the lesbian character one of those latex lesbians like I see on the internets, or one of those chain-wallet and flannel shirt lesbians like I see at the hippie food coop?

    If it is the former I’ll go see the play.

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