Thursday, July 29, 2010

David Mamet and Me - Some Things No Longer Apply

As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.

These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied them in my life. . . . I had been listening to NPR and reading various organs of national opinion for years, wonder and rage contending for pride of place. Further: I found I had been—rather charmingly, I thought—referring to myself for years as "a brain-dead liberal," and to NPR as "National Palestinian Radio."This is, to me, the synthesis of this worldview with which I now found myself disenchanted: that everything is always wrong.
Playwright David Mamet ( click my post title)

I was reminded of David Mamet's two year old piece in The Village Voice by a woman much smarter than me and in all matters my moral superior. No, not E. J. Dionne, but an Ohio-bred thirty year resident of the hometown to Mamet and me - Chicago. Closer to home David Mamet and I are close in age (Mamet is 63 and I am 58) and south siders - we grew about along 79th Street. I believe he was from around 77th & South Yates. We both swam at Rainbow Beach in Chicago's torrid summers and probably drank quarts of cold Drewry's Beer out on the rocks near the water-treatment intake in close proximity to one another. Mamet is Jewish and I am Roman Catholic. we are both children of the heroic generation that defeated fascism and the Great Depression, but, much more importantly, built the American Standard of Living, after WWII that is the marvel of human history and now being dismantled by the spoiled children of our generation.

Mamet became a world famous playwright, producer, director and film-maker. My late wife Mary and I went to his plays at Victory Gardens Theatre. I had read LakeBoat which I picked up at the old Kroch's on Wabash, in my freshman year at Loyola in 1970-'71. It was wonderful! I read more of Mamet's plays and found that he cursed and profaned like a Catholic! Nothing is more sacred to my literary sensibilities than the discerning application of tasteful obscenties in speech and prose. I became a teacher.

As young men, we could both be considered Democrat liberals. Both of us have become somewhat conservative - I remain a Regular Democrat. We tend to view PBS/NPR as a propaganda organ and generally a bore. We both seem to have returned to our religious roots. While David Mamet is a highly regarded intellectual and artist, I remain a blue collar, working-stiff, helot school teacher - pretty damn good at my craft. While I no longer teach a full load, I still have my chops and fill-in when needed.

I am not ashamed to call myself a Catholic, though I tend to be a horrific sinner. Rather, Catholics need to tell the nitwits who have diminished the Faith to take a seat at the kiddies table and allow the adults to carry on. Our liturgy, our core beliefs and our collective sense of self was corrupted by parsing Progressives and none of us bothered to call them out on their idiocies from 1964 to the present.

Likewise, David Mamet has taken the flail to self-loathing, secularist Jews who dance with The Devil in the hopes that the coming Holocaust will somehow give them a pass. Jews and Catholics have much in common, besides an artificially created antipathy. Created by Progressive Catholics and Secularist Jews.

David Mamet wrote a very powerful dismissal of childish things, that seem silly at this point in our lives, 2008. Barack Obama plotted to be President and liberal world was aswoon! I had met the President on three occasions when he was State Senator and quiet frankly I was unimpressed by Barack Obama. I backed John McCain, much to the contempt of most of my family who are rock-ribbed labor people. I felt that Obama was no friend to labor - other than SEIU and Mandarin Andy Stern -and seem to be proven correct by Obama's history of diminishing labor and shrinking the American Middle Class. Barack Obama and his camp strike me as pampered intellectuals who manage to ridicule anyone or institution that opposes them.

David Mamet confirmed my suspicions in 2008.

For the Constitution, rather than suggesting that all behave in a godlike manner, recognizes that, to the contrary, people are swine and will take any opportunity to subvert any agreement in order to pursue what they consider to be their proper interests.

To that end, the Constitution separates the power of the state into those three branches which are for most of us (I include myself) the only thing we remember from 12 years of schooling.

The Constitution, written by men with some experience of actual government, assumes that the chief executive will work to be king, the Parliament will scheme to sell off the silverware, and the judiciary will consider itself Olympian and do everything it can to much improve (destroy) the work of the other two branches. So the Constitution pits them against each other, in the attempt not to achieve stasis, but rather to allow for the constant corrections necessary to prevent one branch from getting too much power for too long.

Rather brilliant. For, in the abstract, we may envision an Olympian perfection of perfect beings in Washington doing the business of their employers, the people, but any of us who has ever been at a zoning meeting with our property at stake is aware of the urge to cut through all the pernicious bullshit and go straight to firearms.

I found not only that I didn't trust the current government (that, to me, was no surprise), but that an impartial review revealed that the faults of this president—whom I, a good liberal, considered a monster—were little different from those of a president whom I revered.

Bush got us into Iraq, JFK into Vietnam. Bush stole the election in Florida; Kennedy stole his in Chicago. Bush outed a CIA agent; Kennedy left hundreds of them to die in the surf at the Bay of Pigs. Bush lied about his military service; Kennedy accepted a Pulitzer Prize for a book written by Ted Sorenson. Bush was in bed with the Saudis, Kennedy with the Mafia. Oh.

And I began to question my hatred for "the Corporations"—the hatred of which, I found, was but the flip side of my hunger for those goods and services they provide and without which we could not live.

And I began to question my distrust of the "Bad, Bad Military" of my youth, which, I saw, was then and is now made up of those men and women who actually risk their lives to protect the rest of us from a very hostile world. Is the military always right? No. Neither is government, nor are the corporations—they are just different signposts for the particular amalgamation of our country into separate working groups, if you will. Are these groups infallible, free from the possibility of mismanagement, corruption, or crime? No, and neither are you or I. So, taking the tragic view, the question was not "Is everything perfect?" but "How could it be better, at what cost, and according to whose definition?" Put into which form, things appeared to me to be unfolding pretty well.

Obama Campfire Girls like E.J. Dionne and the Journolist Orwellians continue to bleat -

The simple truth is that the wealthy in the United States -- the people who have made almost all the income gains in recent years -- are undertaxed compared with everyone else. . . .I'm a chronic optimist about America. But we are letting stupid politics, irrational ideas on fiscal policy and an antiquated political structure undermine our power.
Pampered Pundit E.J. Dionne

Not really, Eugene . . .E. J., read David Mamet.

1 comment:

Max Weismann said...

>But we are letting stupid politics, irrational ideas on fiscal policy and an antiquated political structure undermine our power.

Shades of Alice in Wonderland!