DID YOU KNOW THAT OUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PLAYWRIGHT IS A CONSERVATIVE?

Yep. In an industry dominated by cocktail-party progressives, David Mamet (author of my favorite contemporary play), is an outspoken conservative and advocate of the free market:

[Mamet] caused widespread consternation two years ago when he published an essay in the Village Voice called ‘Why I Am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal’ in which he announced that he had ‘changed my mind’ about the ideology to which he had previously subscribed.

Why?

Having studied the works of ‘a host of conservative writers,’ among them Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson, Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele, Mamet came to the conclusion that ‘a free-market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism.’

Here’s what he says about the role of the market in theatre:

The theatre is a magnificent example of the workings of that particular bulwark of democracy, the free-market economy … It is the province not of ideologues (whether in the pay of the state and called commissars, or tax-subsidized through the university system and called intellectuals) but of show folk trying to make a living.

And he’s not kind to NEA/university-supported playwrights:

Mamet dismisses state subsidy for the theatrical arts as no more than a means of propping up incompetent ‘champions of right thinking’ whose work would otherwise be incapable of attracting an audience. Such playwrights, he says, are purveyors of politically correct ‘pseudodramas’ that ‘begin with a conclusion (capitalism, America, men, and so on, are bad) and award the audience for applauding its agreement.’

He believes the plays such people produce are the opposite of genuine theater (a criticism that can, BTW, also be applied to goverment-subsidized poetry and fiction).

Très intéressant, non ?

Comments 1

  1. Marc Brown wrote:

    I saw the acclaimed Harold Pinter directed version of Oleanna in London. Quite something.

    That article from Mamet is two years old and pretty incoherent. Looks like the ramblings of as well-off sell out to me. As that commentator says:

    ‘…he [Mamet] is “hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government [has] led to much beyond sorrow,? and nowhere in that essay or the pages of Theatre does he betray any interest in the social issues that are central to the belief systems of most conservatives.’

    Critics also now reckon his best plays are behind him (and surely his best one was Glengarry Glen Ross, in which as Michael Billington says, ‘he depicts the way a group of salesmen are demeaned by a cruelly competitive, capitalist ethic’.

    Posted 01 Aug 2010 at 7:05 am

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