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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

David Mamet: National Treasure

As in, about as logical and substantial as the film National Treasure.

Let's check in on the state of one of our great American playwrights:

1. Makes TV shows and movies about the military
2. Next film is about... jiu-jitsu.
3. Latest New York stage offering: harmless Nathan Lane sketch comedy about the Presidency after perhaps the most egregious Administration in the history of the US.
4. Is no longer a "brain-dead liberal." As if he represented, until now, deeply liberal values.

I'm sorry, but is liberalism so prevalent in this country that it needs to be rebelled against? One of the world's most intellectually lazy stances must be "I'm against everyone."

Mamet, is, as usual, mooing about himself.


Mac said...

Freeman, this link ruined my day. Now I'm going to be angry all day instead of getting work done.

Not only is this essay as poorly argued as it is pretentiously worded, his understanding of what liberalism is bears no resemblance to the liberal thought I've been reading all my life. He actually seems to reach the conclusion that thing will just work themselves out in the end. No, idiot! Things work out - if they do work out - because PEOPLE WORK THEM OUT!

I mean, I get really frustrated by the stupid, doctrinaire leftism that can sometimes feel prevalent in the artistic world, I understand that, but Mamet's response is to come back at it with this idiotic, hyper-passive libertarianism that lets him off the hook of responsibility for anything.

I mean, this has been Mamet's M.O. for years. He's found this smug rhetorical style for his essays that kind of *sounds* incisive but in close analysis, is usually (though not always, to be fair) incredibly lazy.

And there's this quote:

"I referred to my own [experience]—take away the director from the staged play and what do you get? Usually a diminution of strife, a shorter rehearsal period, and a better production."

Is there something I don't know about? Has there been a recent David Mamet production that didn't have a director?

isaac said...

David Mamet has gone from having no understanding of liberalism and thinking himself a liberal to having no understanding of anything and thinking himself a conservative.

I wish he could just be more open-- I fucking hate arabs and want to ethnically cleanse Israel of them, so I'm a conservative now-- instead of couching it in anything approaching mock-intellectual-rigor. I mean, referring to NPR as "National Palestinian Radio"? What the fuck is he even talking about?

Joshua James said...

Comparing Kennedy to Dubya and stating they are essentially the "same" is one of the worst cases of specious reasoning out there, and a damned disgrace.

This is not to say that Kennedy didn't do things he should be held accountable for, rather that Mamet's position (Kennedy did it, so it's cool for Dubya) is a ball full of shit.

And "National Palestine Radio"? Please!

David Mamet said...

Go fuck yourself you fucking fuck.

John said...

Now that's the David Mamet I know and respect.

David Johnston said...

I wish Mamet had fired the director of "The Cryptogram." It was the most boring thing I've ever seen in my life. Seriously. My friend Liz and I have for ten years now used "The Cryptogram" as the yardstick for boring, as in 'that was almost as boring as 'The Cryptogram."

Oh wait. He directed it himself. Never mind.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he should've fired the writer too?

RLewis said...

Does this mean that we'll never see a sequel to Binky and the Space Pandas? I'm so bummed.

Ken said...

I generally love the guy's work, but this essay sucks ass. How intellectually dishonest. Is it any coincidence that he comes to this conclusion now, and not in 1977 or 1983? Isn't it obvious that he is today a one-man industry, internationally lauded and wealthy, and so thinks (not without reason, given this society) that he has arrived at a socio-economic class where the mundane woes of the world cannot touch him? He may be right about that, but Dave, don't try to put one over on us by disguising this retreat from engagement with the world as something noble.

David D. said...

If only- halfway through the essay- Terry Gross had run into the ring and hit him with a folding chair. By God, I'd buy that for a dollar!