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Stefan Kanfer
Curb Your Dogma « Back to Story
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Mamet desreves recognition for his careful, gorgeous, loving sense of language.His writing is a cross between the elegant and the vernacular, an ironic combination that is uniquely his own.He is an eloquent master of two-part harmony.An abundant gifted playwright, he brings new life to the theatre.
I think that if Mamet's book is genuinely worthwhile -- that is to say, well argued -- then those on his side, the City Journal side, will have to make a greater effort than they have to convince more people of its merits. A lot of heavy hitters (such as Christopher Hitchens in the NYT) have been brought in to demolish it, and since he is considered something of a Leftist apostate himself, that will be enough for most people. This review is a good start, but only a start. Either this book has true and lasting merit, in which case make a more serious effort to promote it, or it's (in reality) a slightly disappointing conversion tale by a well-known playwright. In which case, someone should say so and write a better one. And for God's sake not that over-hyped half-wit, Andrew Klavan. What he is doing in City Journal, I have no idea. He's not a poor man's Mark Steyn; he's a dying beggar's Mark Steyn.
Bravo to Mamet. It must have taken Herculean courage to pull away from the herd on this one. Celebrated as a playwright, Mamet knows better than anyone that stageplays reflect staunchly liberal views. Becoming an apostate from liberalism means he can and will be censured and punished for it. I have to admire this man. He found the truth and is brave enough to now speak it.
Mamet, though belated at 60, heaves a big rock into the cesspool of our PC society. Better late than never, as the poet said. Example: I met Howard Fast at a party, shortly after he had renounced Stalinism in very old age. I patted him on the shoulder, asking, How could you have lived so long, so illuded? He shook his head, and said he had been for all his life a sorry fool. How about yourself, he asked? I said I had read the transcripts of the Moscow Trials daily in the NY TIMES as a child of 7 and was permanently inoculated by 1938. Luckily so, to live free of Communist cant forever after, which cant is still to be heard pervasively masked in "Liberalism," long after Irving Kristol described the idiocies in a 1958 essay, and Harold Rosenberg in COMMENTARY in 1953 ["The Herd of Independent Minds"] Mamet's "Liberals" are tone-deaf and illiterate, ignorant of the plain fact that the Revolution was over in 1922. As are young "activists" to this hour....
Mark S. Devenow June 09, 2011 at 5:28 PM
An excellent review of a truly important book which liberals would rather no one read.
B. Samuel Davis June 09, 2011 at 4:32 PM
I was pleased to hear about Mamet's conversion, but knew, as he probably knows, that the consequences of his disclosure is that his career is finished - because that's what "open minded" Democrats (that's what they are, these days) do. And bully for him, but what newcomer on the entertainment scene would ever be so courageous?

And that's the reason why there is a need to for entertainment media devoted to conservatives. Fox, talk radio and all the rest have shown that news geared to conservatives is a money making proposition - but what about entertainment? How about being able to go to the movies and being able to avoid a story line that is always told from the point of view of a liberal/Democrat? Plus all the usual propaganda (why bother to describe it - it's convention these days) - it's so bad that we do not bother with movies or go anywhere near network television - or any television for that matter. But the desire is still there.

And when you come right down to it the key to making money in our (still somewhat capitalist) society is to find a need and fill it. It took someone from Australia to understand that Americans were conservative by nature and news geared to conservatives would make piles and piles of money. The same is true for entertainment, but the foreigner hasn't arrived on the scene yet.

Sooner or later someone - probably from overseas - will step forward and do us a favor and out compete the snots in the entertainment business who have been force feeding waste to Americans for decades. Under those circumstances perhaps Mr. Mamet's career will have a new life.
I enjoyed this piece and welcome Mamet's "conversion", which I first read about several years ago. But let's be strict -- and not too smug -- about this:

" deflate the Left’s True Believers by underlining their ovine behavior and their essential hypocrisy."

There are *plenty* of unreflective, true-believing sheep on the Right, too. That's not what distinguishes Right from Left.
In four years, the 64-year-old moved inexorably from left to right, like the hour hand on a clock.

Not the finest simile ever minted. I think you'll find that the hour hand on a clock, starting at 12, moves right and down, then left and up.
Excellent review. Very thoughtful and insightful.
"college courses in Western Civilization push the products of irrelevant dead white males."

Someone needs to remind college professors that Karl Marx is a dead white European male.