The World According to David Mamet

VIDEO: Actor speaks in depth on the infamous 2008 incident

At the risk of biting the hand that feeds him, acclaimed playwright David Mamet has written a new book likely to enflame the liberal audience that has embraced him since his rise to fame with 1984's "Glengarry Glen Ross."

On the cover of "The Secret Knowledge On the Dismantling of American Culture," Mamet proclaims: "The struggle of the Left to rationalize its positions is an intolerable Sisyphean burden. I speak as a reformed Liberal."

Mamet, 63, who grew up the son of liberal Jewish immigrants in Chicago, came to his conversion late in life -- he says he spoke to his first conservatives at age 60 -- and got his schooling from folks like Shelby Steele and Glenn Beck.

"I didn't think about the world before," Mamet told ABC "I just didn't and I started to think about it. Where does money come from? What's free trade? Capitalism? How do people do business? The understanding that I came up with is we get money from fulfilling the needs of others."

For years, Mamet has entertained us. After earning a place as one of the country's top dramatists for plays "American Buffalo," "Speed the Plow" and the Pulitizer-Prize-winning "Glengarry Glen Ross," Mamet began writing screenplays ("The Untouchables," "The Verdict") and directing features ("Homicide," "State and Main") for Hollywood.

Now he's taking on Hollywood in his new book. "Less and less movies are made every year," he said. "California has taxed the movie businesses away. And it's a damn shame. It's a great biz."

Mamet isn't worried about alienating some of his audience with his new beliefs.

"My responsiblity is to entertain them," he said. "It's not my job to manipulate them, even if I knew how by catering to a political belief."

And his friends are sticking by him. They simply don't talk politics.

"I have no intention of reading his new book," comedian Jonathan Katz, who's known Mamet since college and co-wrote "House of Games" with him, told "It's not really my thing. If he put it to music, maybe."

Katz jokingly calls Mamet's conservative conversion a "stage he's going through."

Mamet's book, which is getting glowing reviews from conservatives and not so glowing ones from liberals, seems to say otherwise.

Mamet penned the book's essays after The New York Times panned his 2008 play "November" and he defended it in an article in the Village Voice. He wrote about political civility and referred to himself as a "brain-dead liberal," admitting he hadn't really taken the time to examine the other side. The Voice titled the piece "Why I Am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal," and it "enraged a lot of people on the left," Mamet said.

It also got him thinking about where his beliefs come from. Mamet spent the next few years reading economics and philosophy and listening to popular conservatives and formulating his thoughts in the essays which make up the book.

In "The Secret Knowledge," the "newly minted conservative," as he refers to himself, takes on everything from a liberal arts education to "Obamacare" to race and the film industry.

Here, the world according to Mamet:


"I never questioned my tribal assumption that Capitalism was bad, although I, simultaneously, never acted upon these feelings. ... I supported myself, as do all those not on the government dole, through the operation of the Free Market."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...