Monday, June 13, 2011

David Mamet in the Financial Times on Government and Politics

Stay with Plays, Movies and Directing Mr. Mamet, That is Something You are Great At

Every Saturday the Financial Times has an interview with someone they have taken to lunch.  Part of the interest in this feature is the lunch, what they ate, and how much it cost.  (Many times the news is in the cost of the lunch, that anyone could have to pay that much for lunch.)

This week  courtesy of Slate Magazine we have the Financial Times story on its lunch with David Mamet.  Mr. Mamet is one of the great contemporary practitioners of the visual arts, he is a movie director, playwright, producer etc.  His plays and movies are among the best that have ever been done in the late 20th, early 21st century. 

At the age of 63, with close-cropped gray hair and a beard, he is not only one of the most celebrated of American dramatists but one of the most prolific. From plays such as American Buffalo (1975), a Pinteresque drama about four petty thieves, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Glengarry Glen Ross (1982), an intense clash of competing property salesmen, to harrowing films such as The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) and the Oscar-nominated courtroom drama The Verdict (1982), to novels and essays, he rarely rests.

 He has, however, recently converted to Conservatism, and the lunch with the Financial Times provided some insight into his beliefs.  The interviewer asks

whether anything in particular prompted his change of heart and he cites the 2007-08 film and television writers' strike and The Unit, a TV show that Mamet created and produced. "All of a sudden, the show was off the air and everyone was thrown out of work—the stagehands, the grips, the costume designers, all the people who worked 16 hours a day ... I realized I had been screwed by unions as much as I'd been helped by them."

Wow, it is hard to see how such an intellectual giant would completely change his political philosophy based on one isolated incident in his life.  It does, however, give us an insight into the massive ego of show business people.  Note the “I had been screwed”, not “we had been screwed”  In their minds it is all about them.

Like many Conservatives and in particular Jewish Conservatives [Disclosure alert:  The Dismal Political Economist is Jewish] Mamet has become obsessed with attitudes towards Israel.

"There is a profound and ineradicable taint of anti-Semitism in the British ... The paradigmatic Brit as far as the Middle East goes is [TE] Lawrence. That's just the fact. Even before the oil was there, you loved the desert. It had all these wacky characters ... But there is a Jewish state there ratified by the United Nations and you want to give it away to some people whose claim is rather dubious."

A curious statement, since the founding of Israel was facilitated by the Balfour Declaration, a British Prime Minister’s bold and courageous promise to the Jewish people of a home in Palestine.  Israrel exists today in large part because of the British.  Not the stuff that anti-Semitism is made of.

Well, read the entire story.  For those of us who admire the work of Mr. Mamet, it is a little sad.

Oh, and lunch was at the Knickerbocker  Bar and Grill in New York, and cost $130.00 for two.  Sorry Mr. Mamet, you were screwed again.

No comments:

Post a Comment