The New York Times vs. David Mamet

MametThe New York Times is very good at what it does — which nowadays involves a lot of lying in service to a leftist agenda.  There are the outright lies (such as the paper’s recent distortion of a police bias trial to make the NYPD appear racist), the lies of omission (such as its lack of full reporting on the Obama administration’s fatal acts of malfeasance and dishonesty in, say, the Benghazi and Fast and Furious scandals), and the atmospheric lies (such as its rose-colored reporting on the disastrous economy in bluer-than-blue California).  Altogether, these lies combine to make the paper something like the Matrix: a plausible imitation of reality intended to deceive people so that their substance may be milked to feed an overweening state.

As in the 1999 sci-fi film that begat that metaphor, rebellion against the illusion results in swift retribution.  And nowhere does the Times rush to punish resistance so quickly as in the arts.  Times reviewers consistently give sympathetic treatment to leftist cultural works while attacking those of a conservative bent, often regardless of quality.

Which brings me to David Mamet.

One of the most important American playwrights of the last 40 years, Mamet, in 2008, at the age of 60, broke from the near-universal leftist conformity of the theater community and declared in an essay in the Village Voice that he was “no longer a brain-dead liberal.”  He followed this up in 2012 with a book entitled The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, which was nothing less than a conservative manifesto.

For the Times’ culture writers — and anyone else interested in preserving the left’s near-monopoly on our arts — Mamet’s political conversion presented a problem.  The Pulitzer-winner’s credentials could hardly be any more impressive.  He’s written mainstays of the modern theater like Glengarry Glen Ross and American Buffalo, and screenplays for such terrific films as The Untouchables and The Verdict.  His original mix of American tough-guy vernacular and Pinteresque allusion had a huge effect on stage writing throughout the last third of the 20th century.  He is an American master.

So the Times set out to destroy him.

The one time I met Mamet, I asked him if he had paid a price for admitting to his conservatism.  He laughed and replied that, after his Voice piece, the New York Times had given his next play not one, but two, bad reviews!  I do not believe the paper has given a new play of his a good review since.  When they praise his early plays, it is often to compare them unfavorably to his later ones.  And when his latest play, “The Anarchist,” opened on Broadway last December, they not only savaged it but celebrated its commercial failure with a nasty, slanted post-mortem.

While no one under the emotional age of 127 looks to the New York Times to set his cultural agenda, live theater is the one art form that remains somewhat dependent on the paper’s good opinion.  Manhattan is still the center of the theater universe and a review from the Times can be decisive.  So when Times chief theater critic Ben Brantley greeted “The Anarchist” with a childishly sneering, dismissive, and largely content-free pan, it was perhaps unsurprising that the play proceeded to close shortly thereafter.

The Times then followed its bad review with its subtly brutal obituary, “Behind a Flop, A Play(wright) Within a Play,” by Patrick Healy.  Healy opines that the rapid “demise of ‘The Anarchist’ raises questions about the theater business.”  These questions, according to Healy, are:  Did loyalty to Mamet and the hope of a big score lead the producers to rush the play to the stage?  Should Mamet have been allowed to direct his own work?  And — the big one, given a paragraph of its own:  “Does Mr. Mamet… still have something to say to a contemporary audience?”

Are these, in fact, the questions the play’s closing raises?  What about: “Can a Broadway dominated by musicals and revivals still support new, small, serious drama?” Or how about: “Has the Times’s politically-inspired sniping at the playwright cost him popularity?”

But no, to Healy, the questions are only:  is Mamet too influential, is he unable to direct, is he too old?

This last is a particularly vicious swipe in a culture world overeager for the young and hip — especially among Times readers, for whom the word “hip” is too often followed by the word “replacement.”  And since it often requires several decades for an artist to acquire the wisdom and courage to openly embrace conservatism, the charge that he is past his prime is usually readily available to his left wing detractors.

But never mind.  Let me try to answer Healy’s questions.

Over the last week or so, I’ve been steeped in Mamet’s latest stuff.  I watched the HBO drama Phil Spector, which Mamet wrote and directed; I attended the Los Angeles revival of “American Buffalo” at the Geffen Playhouse; and I read “The Anarchist” (a performance wasn’t available to me).

Phil Spector is a smart, entertaining bagatelle.  It’s largely worthwhile for Mamet’s superbly kinetic direction (answering one of Healy’s questions) and the brilliant speeches written for Al Pacino’s Spector.  (“Extraordinary accomplishments…  transform the grateful into an audience, and the envious into a mob.”)  It’s not a major work, but it’s a minor work by a major talent.  This and the fact that Mamet’s 2009 “Race” was a hit on Broadway despite more sneering attacks from the Times seems to answer another Healy question:  yes, Mamet can still bring it.

As for American Buffalo, it was great.  The Geffen revival is some of the best theater I’ve seen in LA (where the Los Angeles Times has also been waging an anti-Mamet campaign).  The story of three small-time thieves losing track of everything that matters in their illegal pursuit of an endangered American dream is as powerful and relevant today as it was in ’77.  The fact that a revival of this terrific play bombed on Broadway in 2008 (after another Times pan) reminds us that artistic and commercial success don’t always gibe on the Great White Way.

And what about “The Anarchist?”  My judgement here has to be provisional.  Mamet’s plays reveal themselves in performance more than on the page because…  well, because they’re plays.  All the same, I think I can safely say that this short, two-handed drama is a small but important work of the American theater.  It will be re-staged and reconsidered long after Ben Brantley, Patrick Healy and the paper they work for are all forgotten.

Like Robert Redford’s recent movie The Company We Keep, “The Anarchist” concerns a Weatherman style leftist terrorist (Cathy).  After 35-years in prison for killing two policemen during a politically motivated bank robbery, Cathy is brought before Ann, an authority figure who has the power to facilitate her parole.  Cathy claims that she has converted from Judaism to Christianity, and deserves her freedom.  Ann is suspicious.  The intellectual fencing match between the two women slowly reveals Cathy’s outlook and motivations.

Of course, it was the play’s politics that were going to get under the Times’ skin.  Redford’s movie, with its soft focus view of ‘60’s radicals, got a lukewarm but affectionate and sympathetic review from the paper, but Brantley brusquely dismissed Mamet’s tougher approach.  (“If you know Mr. Mamet’s politics… you know which way Ann leans.”)

This is not just biased, it’s dumb.  The play is informed by Mamet’s politics, sure, as Redford’s movie is informed by his, but “The Anarchist” is much more deeply informed by Mamet’s Jewish faith.  The verbal battle between Cathy and Ann is underscored by a bold critique of Christian forgiveness in light of the demands of Jewish justice.  In this, “The Anarchist” sings a sort of counterpoint to the Merchant of Venice.  Since Merchant – and much western culture — depicts Jewish justice as rigid and bloodthirsty while Christian mercy droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven, to see Mamet stage the argument from a Jewish perspective is radical and bracing.

It’s powerful intellectual theater, rich, deep and provocative.  It’s no surprise it had a short run on a Broadway dominated by musicals and paltry star vehicles — especially with the Times on the leftist warpath.

But whether my judgement of the play is borne out or not, the larger point perhaps is this.  An art world with only one opinion is an art world inhospitable to the arts.  David Mamet has come roaring into the maturity of his vision.  He is a conservative.  Perhaps the lockstep guardians of our political sensibilities should get over it and give him the honest consideration he deserves.   The New York Times’ ongoing treatment of one of America’s most important artists will determine whether the paper still has anything to say to a contemporary audience.

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  • Chezwick

    "An art world with only one opinion is an art world inhospitable to the arts."

    As that goes….

    An academic world with only one opinion is an academic world inhospitable to educating.

  • Rifleman

    I couldn't imagine the nyt wondering if bill ayers is too old.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      bill ayers is to old – young people can't identify with him.

      Send bill ayers to Guantanamo for a little R and R.

  • Glennd1

    Wow, more writing like this at FrontPage and I'll become a fan again. Thanks so much for a thoughtful critique of the criticisms of Mamet. I'm a huge fan of his, I think Glengarry Glennross may be one of the best plays I've ever seen. It's faithful reproduction on film was a tour de force, an epic – to my thinking. But I'm not as formally steeped in the arts as the author, so I appreciate a guided tour with some context. It's great the way he separates his criticism of Mamet's critics from his opinion of Mamet's work. I got a lot out of this article.

    Thanks.

    • pt sargent

      Me too! It was a tour d'force piece that stays with one. Most appreciated.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

    "… a bold critique of Christian forgiveness in light of the demands of Jewish justice …"

    That certainly piqued my interest. This is the kind of review that brings me to the theatre. Too bad the Times killed the play. Perhaps a revival elsewhere …

    • Mike Sullivan

      Amen.
      I'm not smart enough to understand what I think when presented with a dilemma like that. I am happy that God created men like Mamet who can challenge me to think at that level. I don't suppose the Ashland Shakespearean Festival in Oregon would be bold enough to touch it???

  • troonbop

    This is a bit of good thing for Mamet – he gets to be a cultural outsider again, which is a legitimate stance for an artist. And his critics at the times? The Times is written by people who wish they were Mamet.

    • http://alsbach-art.com Floyd Alsbach

      Amen! The NYT is Wannabe heaven.

  • mkg

    I would love to see the play. I hope it will play some place or in movie format.

  • stern

    Great piece. Mamet, of course, also wrote "The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, self-hatred and the Jews". And as you point out, in the Anarchist, he again takes a Jewish view. Yet more fodder for the NYT.

  • Rostislav

    "The New York Times’ ongoing treatment of one of America’s most important artists will determine whether the paper still has anything to say to a contemporary audience". But of course, it hasn't (that is – if we do not speak about the usual NYT's audience of ever-contemporary leftists). The left grey lady is on the brink of her natural death, anyway, but the situation raises a question of the right young ladies' long-awaited birth: where are they? When Soviet authorities were pecking our own gifted authors and artists, their efforts were often supported by the Western leaders, press, parliaments. Nothing like it today – I mean not the presence of gifted authors here or in yours, but the absence of their support by the independent press. Just online, but, as this good article shows, offline sources, though being no more independent, are still quite important in forming public opinion (the biased one, alas). What does prevent the arrival of the unbiased right influence in offline press? Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    One dare not cross the left's propaganda media machine – or any of its surrogates – if one is ill prepared to become tarred as either mentally ill, or infused with some other form of dementia.
    They march arm in arm with Islamists because they both adhere to totalitarian thought control. This is the way it is. But it should not matter a whit to those who see things for what they are. Therefore, Mamet comes out the winner, even though the "paper of record" panned him for thinking for himself. http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/07/01/leftist-dogma

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • logdon

    Non more vindictive than lefties feeling betrayed.

    Dylan nails it for me.

    From that horrible intro at Newport by the fat woman who proclaimed , 'he's yours' to having the electricity hacked off by an apoplectic Tom Paxton when they realised he was determinedly not theirs nor any other manipulated chattel of the left.

    It's how they are. All ideology and no substance.

    • tagalog

      Dylan belongs to the left; don't be fooled. But he's more honest than most, although you can see his own self-delusions if you look – but he knows it most of the time, so one can tolerate him. He just won't play the games of the bourgeois left because he can't stand how they lie to themselves.

      But if you want to see Dylan at his self-deluded, self-aggrandized best, watch his moment with the Time reporter in the documentary "Don't Look Back." He thinks he's so smart in that moment and he comes across as a sophomoric boob.

      • logdon

        Good reply.

        I have the Scorcese DVD which gets an airing every now and then. Plus all of the records (cds, now) from the early days.

        Ballad of a Thin Man and the phoneyness described could easily be about todays left.

        And once he'd entered the period of Bringing It All Back Home/ Highway 61 / Blonde on Blonde his affiliation could have been anyones guess.

        • tagalog

          There's lots of Dylan songs about not going along with the conventional wisdom. It's clear that he thought of a lot of what people were doing and saying back in the day as "the herd of independent minds."

          I agree with your choices, and I'd like to suggest "Positively 4th Street" as another in that Dylan sub-genre.

      • Jim_C

        Don't be so sure about Dylan. He refused to be the Left's poster boy at many junctures. The big exception maybe being his benefit for Hurricane Carter. Don't Look Back depicts a young man on an upward arc being told at every juncture how "important" he is, and being asked the same clueless, moronic questions at every stop on tour. He's clearly heard enough hype, so when he says "I'm just a song and dance man"–it's not disingenuous: he means it. But yeah, at some point, he's had enough of the "What are your songs really saying?" (from people who haven't listened to any of them) and "What do you think about Vietnam?" questions, and he snaps.

        I don't know if you've read his autobiography, but there's a great passage where he describes not wanting to get trapped with the "protest singer" tag:

        "There was no point arguing with Dave (Van Ronk), not intellectually anyway. I had a primitive way of looking at things and I liked country fair politics. My favorite politician was Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who reminded me of Tom Mix, and there wasn't any way to explain that to anybody. I wasn't that comfortable with all the psycho polemic babble."

        Elsewhere: "When I was in Woodstock, it became very clear to me that the whole counterculture was one big scarecrow wearing dead leaves," Dylan said. "It had no purpose in my life. It's been true ever since, actually."

        • greatj

          Jim,
          Dylan great song said 'sooner or later one of us must know'

          • tagalog

            My vote for Dylan's greatest song of his Obscure Lyrics Period is "Visions of Johanna."

          • Jim_C

            My fave of his.

          • tagalog

            "The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face."

            I bet you $20 Dylan wrote that line with Toulouse-Lautrec's painting "At the Moulin Rouge" in mind.

          • Jim_C

            You may just be right.

            In his autobiography (which is self-serving, no doubt, but not in the obvious ways that, say, the dreadful Clapton autobiog is) he recounts how in a short time period while he was doing the protest-singer thing in NYC, he heard an early acetate of Robert Johnson (whose recordings were not public yet) and had also been very affected by seeing Threepenny Opera. Thinking of that weird Delta hellhound mixing with Brecht and Weill's shifty street dwellers mixing with Guthrie's Whitman-esque verbiage, it's like, "Oh, THAT'S how he did what he did."

        • tagalog

          Of course, Dylan early on was perfectly content to be a "protest singer," as such songs as "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," "Hollis Brown," "Only a Pawn In Their Game," "The Ballad of Emmett Till," "Masters of War," and a host of others will readilty attest. Being a "protest singer" gave him a stage that his awful voice and obscure lyrics never could.

          Oh gosh, I forgot my favorite protest song, "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall." I'm not being sarcastic – I agree that you gotta know your song well before you start singin'. I also forgot "When the Ship Comes In," (Joan Baez claims that Dylan tapped that one out in 2 hours after being inspired by getting bad service at a motel), "With God On Our Side," and "Chimes of Freedom" (The Byrds did the best version). Also, even in his transition between Protest Singer Period and Obscure Lyrics Period, he did songs like "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" and "I Pity the Poor Immigrant." My mom wouldn't let me play that song in the house – it made her seethe with anger.

          I have read several biographies of Bob Dylan. I haven't read his autobiography because 1. I've lost interest in Dylan, and 2. Dylan's autobiography is surely full of self-serving lies, as all autobiographies are, except that Dylan's life isn't interesting enough to justify trying to penetrate the lies. 3. Dylan is rapidly fading away; it won't be long before he is like Sarah Bernhardt to newer generations – they might know the name but nothing else.

          I also lived in New York City during the last gasp of the folkie years (that's where I found out how small-sized a person Judy Collins is) and hung out at the Folk Center. I even went to Koerner, Ray, and Glover concerts a time or two. I even still like the song "Children of Darkness" by Richard Farina and Mimi Baez, as well as their song "Morgan the Pirate," about Dylan. My favorite book on Dylan and the folk era is "Positively Fourth Street," a work that pretty well nails the time and place as well as the people. My favorite movie about Dylan is "Don't Look Back," which reveals him in my opinion most realistically, except that it misses his fanatical urge for notoriety.

          • Jim_C

            He was ambitious, no doubt. Is that bad? There is a certain degree to which he used the folkies. He was always angling to have a rock band like he did back in Minnesota; but as a Guthrie acolyte he saw the opportunity to "start his business." You just needed a guitar and something to say.

            As to his famous "protest" songs, they are 1. Far better than most and 2. Less overtly "left" than most.

            Where (e.g.) Joni Mitchell's cache is already limited mainly to people her age, all roads in the last 50 years of popular music lead back to Dylan and the Beatles (and James Brown). Of course, it's not the sound of the music with Dylan so much as the feel of the songs, if you know what I mean. I didn't get into him until my 20s for that reason.

          • tagalog

            Dylan's ways aren't bad, just not terribly interesting. He wrote interesting songs for the time and place. Their problem insofar as art is concerned is that they're very topical and relevant to their time, but not to later times. No one thought that in the day, but it's turned out to be true. Those obscure songs are the perfect expression of what Marxists classify as "bourgeois self-indulgence." Not that they're not good – you and I agree on "Visions of Johanna." That one is Dylan at his very best. I would say "Rimbaud-esque," but like many a person who compared Dylan to Rimbaud all those years ago, I've never read his poetry.

            Interestingly enough, his interpretations of the old folk songs are almost always very good and original. I bet they will live as long as there's interest in folk music. He's at his best when he's not being self-consciously arty.

            In the first year of Dylan's popularity, I didn't like him. By 1962 I was a fan. "Desolation Row" and "Subterranean Homesick Blues" knocked me out. I was a fanatic by the time of Blond on Blond (Blonde on Blonde? I forget – anyway, his best album) – what was that, 1966? Hard to believe that was almost 50 years ago. I had a short-lived radio show at the NYU college station that was all Dylan. I kind of lost interest in Dylan after Nashville Skyline, but revived a less intense interest when he issued Blood On The Tracks, then lost interest again, only to have a mild second revival when Good As I Been To You came out. Now I'm back to indifference.

          • Jim_C

            I'm not envious by nature, but I must say it must have been cool to hear all that music when it came out in the context in which it came out. I agree with your assessment of the Dylan catalog. His new stuff is highly overrated by overly pious critics, but it does still show a fire in the belly and I can only think of Neil Young of his generation who still seems to have that passion to create something other than lullabys and MOR dreck.

            The sad truth is that period you were lucky enough to witness was the watershed of popular music as "art." More great popular music was made between, oh, 1965-1972 than at any time since. For all its attendant social flaws, it was a real renaissance, and music for that short time occupied an exalted place.

            Now it is pretty much back to just being entertainment. That's OK, too. Once the music started to strain after Significance it got lousy.

            Gotta love Marxism: "Bourgeois indulgence"–as opposed to? Slave chants? Bach partitas? Sea chanties? I'm not a fan of the Grateful Dead, but as Jerry said: "Of ocurse our music is self-indulgent. If it wasn't self-indulgent, I wouldn't do it!"

          • tagalog

            "If it wasn't self-indulgent I wouldn't do it."

            Good one – God bless Jerry Garcia!

            Back in those old days, you never knew for sure what would last and what wouldn't. I had a friend I used to listen to music with (he turned me on to Dylan) who was certain that Tommy Sands's music was going to last forever. I was a big fan of a group known as The Silkie. Who remembers them now? In a time when a pop singer's career, if it was REALLY good, lasted about 3 years (remember Buddy Holly!), it was hard to tell. But Dylan was special. I hate to say it because I never really saw it, so was Elvis (in his own way).

            Speaking of the Grateful Dead, they seemed to have a visible destiny. I am proud to say that I was an early fan, and one of the high points of my musical interest is the time they performed at the New York Pavilion left over from the 1964 World's Fair in Queens. I was one of only about 300 people who showed up. New Yorkers didn't know much about them at the time. I kept shouting for them to sing "Cream Puff War," but they ignored me. The opening bands were even more unknown at the time: Joe Cocker and Leon Russell.

    • Guest

      That was Pete Seeger, not Tom Paxton. And Seeger is a giant douche.

      • tagalog

        Pete Seeger, the self-admitted Stalinist Communist. No wonder it was he who pulled the plug. Right in the Stalinist Communist mode. If you don't like it, destroy it for everyone.

        • logdon

          If you've ever seen Thatcher describing socialism in Parliament she points this out perfectly.

          With her pair of hands, the left palm up and the right, palm down and above, she demonstrates that the aim isn't to raise the welfare of the poor (with that the left hand moves up) but to reduce the wealth of the rich (with that the top hand moves down).

          She was right.

          It sounds so simple yet like Netanyahu's UN Iranian bomb sketch of a red line it was immensely effective.

      • logdon

        You are right. I tussled for a brief moment and picked the wrong one.

      • KarshiKhanabad

        When is Seeger the unrepentant Stalin-worshipper going to croak? Answer, never; he made his pact with Satan long ago, and the Devil always delivers.

        • tagalog

          The Devil always delivers but his interpration of your sales contract may not be yours. I recall the story of the guy who sold his soul to Satan in exchange for eternal life but forgot to get Satan to stipulate that he'd be eternally youthful, so he just kept getting older and older for all eternity.

    • Guest

      The Dylan song "Maggie's Farm" was his response to being treated like a slave to the left when he stopped being a "protest singer" and became a rock artist.

  • retired

    Counter attack,get even with the N.Y. TIMES!
    Bring Howard Beale & Paddy Chayefsky to the live theatre in a remake of "Network".Rename the play "The NY Times Story" & Change Howard Beale's name to Walter Duranty!

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

  • Jim_C

    Be the audience for Mamet and conservative artists you like. That's the best comeback.

    Mamet is one of our great dramatists, but I do think his work has struggled in recent years. In this he is no different from any other artist; in some ways, he's created his own tough act to follow.

    • Toa

      Well stated. If blockbuster plays/movies were easy to turn out, they'd ALL be great; MST3K would never have gotten started.

  • Guest

    I sure wish Red Eye would bring back "Pinch," their New York Times correspondent.

    • Guest

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • tagalog

    I really liked "Oleanna." It didn't have a pat ending and contained considerable subtlety. I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned in this commentary.

  • ltcdmward

    David Mamet first popped up on my scope when I saw the movie 'Spartan', which he wrote and directed. Unknown to a bunch of white slavers, they kidnap the President's daughter who ditches her Secret Service protection and spirit her off to be used in a brothel in the Mideast. A black operative — played by Val Kilmer — is sent to rescue her in the Mideast as he and his select team have to navigate around political intrigue and betrayal from the very people who sent him. Superb and, I think, best and most unique of the genre.

    • Questions

      Oh, yes. I saw that when it came out in 2004. Mamet directed. Val Kilmer was scary tough as a black ops contractor. And William H. Macy, one of our best character actors, was fine as a controlling bad guy.

    • christolicious

      "Spartan" is a fantastic piece. "Red Belt" is another of his films that bears watching multiple times. Great stuff, writ sort of small on the screen, but smacks you in the head with ideas that just might be worth considering, long after the lights go up.

  • Guest

    I'm surprised the tv show Justified has done as well as it has so far. One of the actors on it, Nick Searcy, is a conservative and he's not afraid to admit it. I guess the show wouldn't do as well if Timothy Oliphant was a Republican.

  • greatj

    David Mamet is a great American playwright.He is being attacked by the leftist media and the Democratic party because he does not believe their ideas.

  • Chiggles

    Another of Mamet's "sins": creating the CBS series The Unit, which I really wish had gotten a final season.

    • tagalog

      I liked The Unit too.

  • Lan Astaslem

    I've always been a fan of the brilliant Mamet – now I have another reason to admire and support this courageous and talented man.

  • Doug Mayfield

    Alan Dershowitz got roughly the same treatment form the Left over his support of Israel.

    The Left is dedicated to discarding reality and facts on behalf of their political agenda
    which is, among other things, destruction of all values including freedom, individual
    rights, and the corollary, limited government.

    Anyone who ever begins to think, and therefore leaves the Left's 'chosen path',
    is immediately condemned and vilified.

    I admire both Mamet and Dershowitz for thinking for themselves and taking the
    flack which comes with doing so.

  • Piers Quare

    There's hope. Mamet is inspiring an upcoming generation. Check this out — Glengarry Glenross with an all-girl teen/preteen cast – http://funhousetheatreandfilm.com/.

  • MC1215

    Mamet's "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture" is a book that must be read, a most important book.
    The author, a former liberal puts forward our culture, conservatism, and more while exposing liberals for what they are.

    • tagalog

      There's a pithy quote on every page. I know because I wrote them down in a notebook as I read them.

  • Jake Tobias

    "House Of Games" is my favorite. And "State And Main" as I recall, is in part a parable for McCarthyism. But I mostly remember laughing at the satire part of Hollywood movie making. Such as wanting to call it "The Old Mill," or something, but there isn't one, because they had to flee their first location because of the behavior of the star, played by Alec Baldwin. At the time, I only knew Hollywood's version of McCarthyism, so would like to see it again. I don't remember the politics being strident or anything, just funny.

  • hmurveit

    Why does the TImes have a good rep?

  • WilliamJamesWard

    I was going to comment on the Times but what for, waste of time, they are no longer and
    for a long time no longer trustworthy reading………………..William

  • Olavo

    The NYT is a stinking corpse.

  • http://twitter.com/fporretto @fporretto

    I must hasten to add to Klavan's thoughts that "Christian forgiveness" does NOT set aside the requirements of justice. Moreover, only God's forgiveness is offered for the price of repentance alone; the rest of us are entitled to demand restitution, or failing that, retribution

  • mighty rich

    Red eye should have mamet as a guest! Just ordered his book.

  • guest

    If NYT dislikes his work, it must have value.

  • enubus

    The OLD YORK TIMES mirrors the Catholic Papacy in the 16th Century. If you don’t follow the politics of the Church you will be forced to recant or be burned for blasphemy. The Times hates the fact that Mamet is now a Conservative so burn him verbally at the stake and then castigate his failure, with relish! Hope springs eternal, that the Times goes under sooner than later. The people that attend plays in NYC are nothing more then sheeple following the fake reviews of the Times.

  • Obama Guy

    The Times is not out to destroy Mamet, his work has gotten worse since 2008. It figures.

    • Jill

      And what works have aided to this “worse” trend that supposedly Mamet is on? I feel that you’re just saying that because you have nothing better else to say.

  • IanDeal

    The left is very good at recognizing existential threats and relentlessly attacking them. This is a component of its fragile hold on the minds of millions of people who have not thought too hard or too deeply about what the left actually stands for and believes in. Mamet represents an existential threat because he was celebrated by the leftist gatekeepers of the culture. This validation has always been bi-directional, like the First Council of Nicaea, where the state validates the church so the church can validate the state. By anointing Mamet, the NYT assumed that the author would in turn validate the left's cant. By declaring himself no longer a brain-dead liberal, Mamet became apostate.

  • Maggie

    I love Mamet's work and have seen most of it. I long ago cancelled my New York Times subscription. I just with there were more brilliant people in the Arts like him.

  • http://twitter.com/shadeybaby @shadeybaby

    Or perhaps they gave those plays a bad review because they legitimately didn't like them? Anyone ever think of that?

  • PacRim Jim

    Can America qua America survive the lies?
    A second American Revolution might be necessary.

  • Paul

    Has Neil Simon dropped in NTY esteem as his politics changed?

  • http://j33x.com/tag/al3ab/ al3ab

    Donald Mamet is a superb National playwright. He or she is being attacked from the leftist mass media plus the Democratic party because this individual doesn't feel their own suggestions.

  • lee

    Many years ago, before Mamet's VV "coming out," I wrote a paper for a grad school class about Jewish Identity in Mamet's plays. I had read EVERYTHING Mamet had published by that point in time, and had read many interviews with him. I got reamed for my conclusions, one of which was that deep down, he was conservative, and he struggled with that. After his Village Voice piece, I was tempted to send it, along with my paper to my old prof, with a brief note reading, "Ha!" (BTW, when I wrote the paper, I myself was still a brain-dead liberal. But I was starting to wise up, at this point, though my eventual wake-up call was 9/12.)

  • Bruce

    Bravo! Your honesty and respect for the wonderfully creative and fierce individuality of David Mamet deserves a true,deep nod.