David Mamet, Crypto-Conservative All Along?

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Not long ago David Mamet admitted that he is a conservative, and in his latest book,  Theatre, he attempts to integrate his newly articulated politics into his view of the theater. But as Terry Teachout points out in this essay for Commentary:

“The only unexpected thing about this conclusion is that it took the author of American Buffalo (1975), Glengarry Glen Ross (1984), and Speed-the-Plow (1988) so long to reach it. In these hard-headed plays, which established him as a major voice in American theater, Mamet respectively portrays small-time crooks, unethical real-estate agents, and ambitious Hollywood executives as engaged in identically savage battles for power over one another. His foul-mouthed characters behave like scorpions in a bottle, determined to sting or be stung. They have no past or future, only the unremittingly bleak present, though they somehow manage to entertain us—if that is the word—because of the manic energy with which they do their frenzied dances of death.”

Teachout’s essay goes on to trace the way Mamet’s views on Israel, Judaism, and the Middle East are of a piece with his newly-articulated libertarian views.

(via Conversational Reading)


Jeremy Hatch is a writer, musician, and professional bookseller leading a cheerful, aimless life in San Francisco. He is the Junior Literary Editor of the Rumpus and has a blog which he updates once in a while. More from this author →