Apparently, David Mamet has always been a conservative hiding among the liberal intelligentsia of Hollywood. At the very least, he has recently completed a lifelong journey from the liberalism to which he was born and within which he worked to the sanity of conservative ideology. Mamet has come out as a Fox-News-watching right-winger.
Mamet is the author of over 22 plays, 10 films, works of both fiction and non fiction, and 1 television show.
Perhaps one can trace the evolution of his political thought from the small-time criminals of American Buffalo, who are "exposed not only for their entrepreneurial greed but for their complete inadequacy to carry out even a simple robbery", to the military heroics of television's The Unit. He has certainly come full circle from exposing greed to dramatizing the exploits of "a covert team of Special Forces operatives as they risk their lives on undercover missions around the globe, while their families maintain the home front, protecting their husbands' secrets".
Either way, Mamet is now a card-carrying conservative who spouts conservative ideology as if he were the first person to ever put these ideas forward. To be sure, Mamet is a gifted dramatist and an accomplished author. What I would give for even a portion of his talent. His latest work, however, is not being well received by the "liberal Media".
From the New York Times, Christopher Hitchens review of Mamet's latest tome:
This is an extraordinarily irritating book, written by one of those people who smugly believe that, having lost their faith, they must ipso facto have found their reason.
THE SECRET KNOWLEDGE On the Dismantling of American Culture, also from Hitchens' review:
On one page affirmative action is described as being “as injust as chattel slavery”; on another as being comparable to the Japanese internment and the Dred Scott decision. We learn that 1973 was the year the United States “won” the Vietnam War, and that Karl Marx — who on the evidence was somewhat more industrious than Sarah Palin — “never worked a day in his life.”
from the book: “Part of the left’s savage animus against Sarah Palin is attributable to her status not as a woman, neither as a Conservative, but as a Worker.”
From the LA Times, David L. Ulin's review:
David Mamet's "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture" comes with a built-in get-out-of-jail-free card: Dispute it and you're part of the problem, a defender of the liberal orthodoxy. Such is the case, I suppose, with any polemic, but here the author is especially adamant.
[H]e tells us no fewer than three times that FDR did not end the Depression but rather prolonged it, a conservative trope that derives from a 2004 UCLA study by economists Lee H. Ohanian and Harold L. Cole — one of the few interpretations of Depression-era economics to suggest that Roosevelt played anything other than a beneficial role.
from the book: "The struggle of the Left to rationalize its positions is an intolerable, Sisyphean burden. I speak as a reformed Liberal," he declares in a statement deemed significant, or inflammatory, enough to reproduce across the bottom of the book's cover.
Mamet may be best known for Glengarry Glen Ross, a paean to the life of a salesman. The movie is remembered for Alec Baldwin's famous speech in which he declared, "Coffee is for Closers". Baldwin absolutely tears into the role of Blake, a sales executive who comes in from "downtown" to motivate the sales team of a small time real estate outfit.
Warning: some of the content of this speech is offensive. It contains an anti-gay slur:
I always thought that Baldwin's character was the bad guy. Turns out, apparently, that he is the conservative hero of the piece. Somebody tell Mitch and Murray.
Could it be true that Mamet's conversion is due to the Tea Party?
The Tea Party Patriots [are] one of the largest and most prominent Tea Party organizations. It’s mission is “to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.”
Mark Meckler (refuse to link), co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, has been touting the expansion of conservative ideals into the realm of the arts. From Mother Jones magazine, "Meckler suggested that Mamet's conversion was a direct result of the tea party movement's success at spreading the conservative gospel".
What are we on the Left to do now that Mamet has switched sides? I will grant you that his defection may be more significant than that of Dennis Miller but I think that we will survive.
I am also not too concerned about the opposition using Mamet as a weapon in the ideological war being waged by the Tea Party. Mamet's work, his theatrical and literary body of work, is dense and contains many layers of meaning. It does not lend itself to the Fox News short-attention span theater school of polemics.
As far as his conversion's usefulness to conservative intellectuals goes, I ask you which conservative intellectuals? The Republican Party has been engaging in a game of appealing to the least common denominator of intellectual discourse for, well for a decade at least. There is no more William F. Buckley on PBS. The best that the movement has to offer these days is columnist David Brooks. And, no matter what you think of Buckley's politics, Brooks is no William Buckley.
So, to David Mamet, I say:
Good riddance. I tried to watch The Unit and I really wanted to like it. I thought that delving into the lives of the wives at home would have made great television. Of course you abandoned that type of storytelling very early. I guess it didn't garner ratings. Best of luck in the world of conservative drama.