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March 12, 2008

David Mamet Is Very Clever and Very Charming

Here's David Mamet, in an article called "Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain Dead Liberal'," being clever and charming:

I had been listening to NPR and reading various organs of national opinion for years, wonder and rage contending for pride of place. Further: I found I had been—rather charmingly, I thought— NPR as "National Palestinian Radio."

Here are some more people who are clever and charming:

In late October, a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside the Al Arabiya compound in the Al Mansour neighborhood in Baghdad, killing five, wounding dozens and destroying the channel's Baghdad office... A group called the Jihadist Martyrs Brigades took credit for the attack. In its dispatches, members had criticized Al Arabiya for giving the new Iraqi government overly favorable coverage. They called Al Arabiya a "terrorist channel" and suggested that its name, which means ''the Arab,'' should be changed to "the Hebrew."

We're lucky to live in a world filled with so much cleverness and charm.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at March 12, 2008 11:58 AM

well, Mamet is a bore. Not as boring and charmless as this site, but boring nonetheless.

Unrelated note, our European electricity partner had high praise for my analysis of Russian electric restructuring, truly one of the most ambitious and complex transactions ever.

God, is it great being me.

Oh, and my little firecracker laughs convulsively at my Russian and Serbo-croatian language humor.

Posted by: xyz at March 12, 2008 12:36 PM

Funny, when I angrily turn off NPR in my car, it's rarely because of their praise for Palestinians.

Posted by: Mark Gisleson at March 12, 2008 01:08 PM

But wait - David Mamet? He lives in Vermont! This conflicts with my basic assumptions about how the world works....

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at March 12, 2008 01:19 PM

Ha-ha. It's also funny how he is so happy about (supposedly) adversarial relationships between the three (evil) branches of the US government, yet the corporations are just some entities that make stuff for us and the military is something that protects us.

Direct fight from Brain Dead Liberal to Brain Dead Right-Winger. Probably in the first class too. Nice.

Posted by: abb1 at March 12, 2008 01:33 PM

Does that mean that now he's a "Brain Dead Conservative"?

Posted by: darrelplant at March 12, 2008 02:09 PM

Rodney King and Michael Bloomberg walk into a bar and become David Mamet.

Posted by: weldon berger at March 12, 2008 02:37 PM

The link didn't work, at least not for me, but I found it via google.

And boy was it stupid. Once again someone makes a grand statement about human nature, which amazingly enough explains why the system should work for his benefit and keep the barbarians at bay. Funny thing is he could undoubtedly take the opposite viewpoint on human nature and still come to that conclusion.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at March 12, 2008 03:08 PM

I couldn't stomach more than a page and a half of that article. I'm glad David Mamet thinks he's witty and charming. I find him to be a droning, scattered bore.

He sure uses funny cusses though. Samuel Beckett he ain't.

Posted by: nate at March 12, 2008 05:46 PM

God, this kind of thing sets my teeth on edge. It's the same sort of fake contrarianism you see all the time at Slate - by twitting a liberal elite consensus that has been in full-bore retreat for at least three decades, you get to be radically centrist, boldly reassuring, controversial in defense of the status quo. It never seems to fail as a career move.

James Wolcott recently had at Mamet's new 'political' play, November:
It sounds like it achieves the impossible: making Tom Wolfe look subtle by comparison.

Posted by: Chris E. at March 12, 2008 06:51 PM

"Do I speak as a member of the "privileged class"? If you will—but classes in the United States are mobile, not static, which is the Marxist view."
And far less mobile than other developed nations. I always knew there was something I didn't like about his plays. Now I know why.

Posted by: bluestate leftist at March 12, 2008 06:59 PM

I hope Mamet keeps drawing his clever and charming political cartoons:

Posted by: Jason Morris at March 12, 2008 07:11 PM

I watched an episode of The Unit (the special forces series created by David Mamet and Shaun Ryan) that was written and directed by Mamet himself. Apart from one amusing line of dialogue, it was a nonsensical yarn about Afghan bioterrorists that could have been churned out by any hack screenwriter. For some reason, both Mamet and Ryan, whose series The Shield is an excellent portrait of self-righteous dirty cops, seem to lose their critical faculties about human nature when confronted by the glorious might of The American Soldier.

Posted by: Gag Halfrunt at March 12, 2008 07:28 PM

"When famous people like Mamet and Malkovich start to get called publicly over their anti-Arab racism, then we'll be getting somewhere. "

We're not there yet. Last Sunday's NYT Book Review carried a piece defending Martin Amis against the politically correct leftist hordes who were somehow offended by his racist statements about Muslims.


Posted by: Donald Johnson at March 12, 2008 09:38 PM

Just because a guy can write dialogue that crackles like lit powder lines don't mean he should be listened to when he don't count. Damn, his screenplays for THE UNTOUCHABLES remains among my favorite. I'm also looking forward to his thriller REDBELT later this year...

Posted by: En Ming Hee at March 12, 2008 10:31 PM

Glenn, I believe you meant 'Deconstructing Harry'? Not a great film, but it has some great scenes:

Burt: Do you care even about the holocaust, or do you think it never happened?
Harry Block: Not only do I know that we lost 6 million, but the scary thing is that records are made to be broken

Posted by: Jason Morris at March 12, 2008 11:03 PM
As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.

This is the ethos that he lived his life by for 40 years? I'd be interested in hearing observations about his early life and development; but it does appear that ethos served him well for at least a while.

As a child of the 70s, working class, I always assumed that government is corrupt, business is exploitative and that people are self serving, narcissists striving after their own (best?) interest. (But that was less of an assumption and more of a direct observation from the perch of minimum wage.)

So fundamentally, we only differed in that small area that formed our worldview. But stubbornly, I still hold to mine.


As I read that article, a number of McCain animations popped into the sidebar and inline. The Village Voice with McCain ads. It bodes well for us.

Posted by: angryman@24:10 at March 12, 2008 11:14 PM

Isn't it obvious? William F. Buckley died and came back as David Mamet.

Posted by: benabo at March 13, 2008 02:57 AM

First time I heard the phrase, "National Palestinian Radio," it was uttered by none other than Gene Simmons during an interview with some morning show DJs in Detroit.

Which tells me the man has less to offer intellectually than he does musically, if that's even possible.

Posted by: Paul at March 13, 2008 07:05 AM

I don't listen to NPR very much, but I suppose the "problem" is the same as the one Tom Friedman has had--on occasion they talk about Palestinians as though they were human beings with a few grievances, not simply as Crazed Terrorists. They may do so with condescension and contempt, but that's still too much empathy for someone like Mamet.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at March 13, 2008 07:52 AM

Funny, when I angrily turn off NPR in my car, it's rarely because of their praise for Palestinians.
Posted by Mark Gisleson

Mark, terrific comment, I hope I can find a way to use it (with credit, of course).

And I kept looking for Mamet's point. Is there one?

Posted by: catherine at March 13, 2008 11:27 AM

Mamet's point is that he hates Arabs and Persians, and since Republicans are usually better at killing large amounts of them indiscriminately than Democrats, he'd rather back them.

In other words, Mamet has won the victory over himself. He loves Big Brother Likud.

Posted by: Dan Coyle at March 13, 2008 03:39 PM

Dan Coyle, thanks for the explanation.

I've loathed Malkovich ever since he either wished he could kill, or wished someone else would kill, Robert Fisk. But I didn't know he was also an anti-Arab bigot. What fun for him.

Posted by: catherine at March 13, 2008 04:07 PM

Being Jewish means never having to say you're sorry. In this country, anyway.

Posted by: opeluboy at March 13, 2008 07:31 PM

Malkovich also wished George Galloway dead.

I would pay good money to see Mamet and Malkovich debate Fisk and Galloway on the issues.

Perhaps NPR could broadcast it.

Jason, you're right, it was Harry, which I agree was so-so Allen, but studdded with the occasional zinger.

'none other than Gene Simmons'

Those fools are currently over here in Australia. They looked silly 30 years ago in those togs, but seeing Paul Stanley's manboobs spilling out of them now is a bit sad. Confession: I went to see them when I was about 15, and from memory quite enjoyed it.

Posted by: Glenn Condell at March 13, 2008 08:44 PM

I would pay good money to see Mamet and Malkovich debate Fisk and Galloway on the issues.
Perhaps NPR could broadcast it.

But Glenn, since NPR is so "pro-Palestinian," Malkovich and Mamet would hardly be able to get a word in, don't you think? Would be terribly unfair.

Posted by: catherine at March 14, 2008 07:03 PM