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People: Mamet’s manly pursuits
David Mamet is unapologetically macho, says Alex Pappademas in GQ. The 60-year-old playwright and screenwriter says that for him, writing isn’t about toiling in solitude, trying to get in touch with his sensitive side. Rather, it’s a process of physically

David Mamet is unapologetically macho, says Alex Pappademas in GQ. The 60-year-old playwright and screenwriter says that for him, writing isn’t about toiling in solitude, trying to get in touch with his sensitive side. Rather, it’s a process of physically engaging with the world, and getting the testosterone flowing. Mamet’s pastimes—including jujitsu, target shooting, knife throwing, and other martial arts—help him maintain a part of himself that’s essential to his work, which often is filled with hard-boiled men struggling to hold on to their sense of self. “I grew up after World War II, and boys did different things in those days,” he says. “You went camping. You went hunting. You boxed. And the image of a writer, to someone starting off in those days, was not some schmuck who went to graduate school. It was Jack London, Nelson Algren, Ernest Hemingway.” This writing tradition was especially strong in Mamet’s hometown of Chicago, where, he says, writers were “knock-around guys” with real jobs. “I think the reason there are a lot of novels about How Mean My Mother Was to Me and all that s--- is because the writers may have learned something called ‘technique,’ but they’ve neglected to have a life. What the f--- are they gonna write about?”

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