David Mamet Shocker: Rich Person Discovers He Is a Republican

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May 16 2011 11:14 AM

David Mamet Shocker: Rich Person Discovers He Is a Republican


David Mamet talked to the Weekly Standard about how

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. This is going to really bust up the intelligentsia, you see, because liberals believe anybody who uses "fuck" in a work of art has got to be a fellow traveler.



Andrew Ferguson describes a Mamet speech at Stanford that drove the faculty—men with "wispy beards" and women with "hair shorter than their husbands'"—to walk out, shocked by his scathing attack on higher education:


He compared four years of college to a lab experiment in which a rat is trained to pull a lever for a pellet of food. A student recites some bit of received and unexamined wisdom—"Thomas Jefferson: slave owner, adulterer, pull the lever"—and is rewarded with his pellet: a grade, a degree, and ultimately a lifelong membership in a tribe of people educated to see the world in the same way.

"If we identify every interaction as having a victim and an oppressor, and we get a pellet when we find the victims, we’re training ourselves not to see cause and effect," he said. Wasn’t there, he went on, a "much more interesting .??.??. view of the world in which not everything can be reduced to victim and oppressor?"

See, in fact, the slaves

totally owned Jefferson

. But anyhow: higher education, it makes people stupid, and wrecks their gender identities, right? No one has ever made that risky observation before. And now Mamet is coming out with a

.



Mamet's big conceptual breakthrough, Ferguson writes, was about money. Bertolt Brecht claimed to be a Communist, but he "always took care to copyright his plays." Of this, Mamet writes:


The public’s endorsement of his plays kept him alive; as Marx was kept alive by the fortune Engels’s family had made selling furniture; as universities, established and funded by the Free Enterprise system .??.??. support and coddle generations of the young in their dissertations on the evils of America.

That's Free Enterprise with a cap-F, cap-E. Free Enterprise is a person, and David Mamet had discovered that he is a great guy, Mr. Enterprise, once you get to know him, have a few beers, appreciate his mastery of his craft. (Maybe he'll put you on that

.)


"I never questioned my tribal assumption that Capitalism was bad," he writes now, "although I, simultaneously, never acted upon these feelings." He was always happy to cash a royalty check and made sure to insist on a licensing fee. "I supported myself, as do all those not on the government dole, through the operation of the Free Market."

This is an amazing contradiction that Mamet caught himself and everyone else in. Rush Limbaugh brought up the same point a few weeks ago, when he was talking about Wisconsin—how those stupid protesters didn't even realize the irony that their own pension fund was invested in Koch Industries. People who say they oppose capitalism (er, Capitalism) turn out to be totally participating in the Capitalist system. When will someone

about that?



Anyway, David Mamet will be blowing all the liberals' minds really soon now. How will they survive this betrayal by an Artist? Eh, Ezra Pound was a Nazi; the poets still somehow get up in the morning. The mystery of political conversion narratives is why claiming that you used to believe the wrong thing, because you were stupid, moves you to the front of the line to talk about the new, correct thing that you believe, now that you are smart. Can we just skip ahead to the Zef Chafets profile of Mamet in the New York Times Magazine in the spring of 2012?

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

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