Magazine article New Criterion

David Mamet Grows Up

Magazine article New Criterion

David Mamet Grows Up

Article excerpt

We had always assumed that the playwright David Mamet was, as he described himself recently, "a brain-dead liberal." But, lo! it is the season of Easter, miracles are abroad, and Mamet, in the pages of The Village Voice no less, revealed himself to have undergone a political metanoia. Mamet's account of his achievement of what a friend of ours calls "political maturity" is noteworthy. It is a chrysalis-to-butterfly evolution we've witnessed often in intelligent people of good will and sound instincts. "I took the liberal view for many decades," Mamet admits, "but I believe I have changed my mind."

    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.
      These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as
   increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable?
   Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied
   them in my life. 

Mr. Mamet goes on to guy NPR and other politically correct "organs of national opinion." But his political maturation has involved more than revulsion against the media. By his own account, it has involved a revolution in the way he regards--well, just about everything, including the United States and its place in the world.

    I'd observed that lust, greed, envy, sloth, and their pals are
   giving the world a good run for its money, but that nonetheless,
   people in general seem to get from day to day; and that we in the
   United States get from day to day under rather wonderful and
   privileged circumstances--that we are not and never have been the
   villains that some of the world and some of our citizens make us
   out to be, but that we are a confection of normal . … 
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