Playwright David Mamet wrote an essay in the Village Voice explaining how he switched from being a “brain-dead liberal” to a libertarian-leaning, free-market conservative. The essay includes a long and unfavorable comparison between President George Bush and former President John F. Kennedy, an erstwhile hero. “I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind,” he says. (The First Post)
What the commentators said
Mamet’s “confession” that he has “become—gasp—a conservative!” and “doesn’t like NPR,” said Ed Morrissey in the blog Hot Air, was a pleasant surprise, “both in content and style.” The digressive prose is strikingly different than the “minimalist phrases” that are a hallmark of the dialog in his plays and movies, and it is nice that he “opened his mind to new ideas” that helped cast off his “liberal straightjacket.” Still, “one has to wonder what this will mean for Mamet professionally,” both in ultra-liberal Hollywood and in the theater. Will they “punish him for his new perspective”?
It’s fair to ask if this is “just a cry for attention from Mamet or a real conversion,” said Lynda Johnson in New Zealand’s National Register. Does his “election year switch” mean, for example, that he’ll be “snuggling up” to Rush Limbaugh? That would fit with this year’s U.S. presidential race, since Limbaugh is “crossing over,” too, by urging conservatives to meddle with the Democratic primaries by voting for their nemesis, Hillary Clinton.
Good riddance, said the blog Simply Left Behind. “The last thing we progressives have needed is brain dead zombies.” The funny thing is that Mamet’s point is merely that government is too big. “In other words, he’s become a libertarian,” which is perfectly consistent with being a liberal, or “progressive or what have you.”
It’s pretty clear he’s “left liberal groupthink behind,” said Dean Barnett in The Weekly Standard’s Blog. But it isn’t as sudden a conversion as it might appear. In the past year and a half, Mamet released two “brilliant” and surprising “slim books,” one on a “ringing (and extraordinary) defense of his Jewish faith” and the other an essay on Hollywood. They showed that Mamet is “a brilliantly contrarian thinker,” and it seems unlikely this “genius” was “ever much of a groupthink kind of guy in the first place.”
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