Well folks, we’ve come to the conclusion of our “unlikely” journey together. Our series ends today with David Mamet, a Chicago-born Jew, Pulitzer-prize winning dramatist, screenwriter, director, essayist, novelist, poet, former Hollywood liberal … and the #1 Most Unlikely Sarah Palin fan.
Mamet, (pronounced MA-mett) arguably is America’s most influential playwright since his breakthrough in 1975, winning many major awards, most notably the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for Glengarry Glen Ross, which was later turned into a film in 1992.
In addition to his acclaimed and edgy plays, that include American Buffalo and Speed-the-Plow, Mamet wrote the screenplays for The Untouchables, Wag the Dog, and The Verdict, among others. He has written children’s plays and books, volumes of essays, three novels, and collaborated with his wife, the British songwriter Rebecca Pidgeon, on musical albums, as well as the television series, The Unit.
I first became acquainted with David Mamet when my husband and I saw The Winslow Boy in 1999 (great film) and later checked out his Arthur Miller-esque Glengarry Glen Ross, which coincidentally contained an unforgettable seven-minute tirade by our #15 Most Unlikely Palin Fan, Alec Baldwin.
Mamet, noted for his prolific F-bombs, shocked the world with another kind of “bomb” in March of 2008: a Village Voice essay titled “Why I’m No Longer a Brain Dead Liberal.”
But nothing compares to his dramatic confession this year that he is “crazy about Sarah Palin.” Mamet’s liberal neighbors in Santa Monica, must have been apoplectic when they saw this nugget from an interview with the Financial Times in June:
So who would [Mamet] prefer as president? He replies that he is “not current” with the Republican contenders until I mention Sarah Palin. “I am crazy about her,” he answers immediately. “Would she make a good candidate for president? I don’t know but she seems to have succeeded at everything she put her hand to.”
Mamet compares Palin to a late friend in Cabot, Vt., where he owns a “little cabin in the woods … I like to hunt. I like to fish. Cross-country ski. It’s in the middle of absolute nowhere. A dirt-track road, a 200-year-old post-and-beam house. Gorgeous.” His friend, he continues, was “a hardworking guy, a man of honor who was looking out for the town’s interests. I thought of him when I saw Sarah Palin. She started with the PTA and then became the mayor and then governor [of Alaska]. I thought, well, OK. That’s someone who knows how to work.”
Mamet penned a passage about Palin in his new book of essays, The Secret Knowledge: Dismantling American Culture:
Part of the Left’s savage animus against Sarah Palin is attributable to her status not as a woman, neither as a Conservative, but as a Worker. The intellectual elite which is the Left can preserve neither its hegemony nor its pretensions in light of facts, for the fact is that Government cannot create wealth. Wealth, and prosperity, is creatable only by workers, which is to say, by those who are going to employ their gifts, their time, and their energy and intelligence to create something others might want. Every worker knows this: work hard, and get ahead. (May the hard-worker be overlooked, or gulled from his just reward? Of course; but the potential reward for his applications is completely denied to his brother who will not work.)
Sarah Palin was a commercial fisherman. She actually worked with her hands, and so, like Harry Truman,was, to the Left, an object not only to be dimissed, but to be mocked. For the Left loves “the workers” only in the abstract; to find that they not only exist as individuals but are willing to bet their subsitence upon their principles of hard work and thrift– this, to the Left, is an unanswerable indictment of Socialism, Glovalism, and Statism. The enemy of the Intellectual is not the Capitalist, but the individual, which is to say, the Worker.
One last Palin-related quote from Mamet before we put a “wrap” on our series … From the excellent interview he gave to the Weekly Standard this summer:
“So, I was watching the 2008 debates. My liberal friends would spit at the mention of Sarah Palin’s name. Or they would literally mime the act of vomiting. We’re watching the debates and one of my friends pretends to vomit and says, ‘I have to leave the room’ I thought, oh my god, this is Trotter[‘s herd instinct]! When a sheep discovers a wolf in the fold, it vomits to ward off the attacker. It’s a sign that their position in the herd is threatened.”
“What are they afraid of? They’re afraid of losing their ability to stay in the herd. That’s what I found in myself. It can be wrenching when you start to think away from the herd.”
Can you think of a better way to end a series about unlikely Palin fans than THAT?! Kudos to David Mamet, and all of our “unlikely fans” for displaying the courage to break free from the herd mentality, if only temporarily, in some case. (It gets easier with practice.)
And please do check out the full interview in the Weekly Standard where Mamet details his conservative conversion, which was apparently aided by heavy discussions with his L.A. rabbi, Mordecai Finley, as well as an illuminating encounter with Jon Voight, and big doses of Milton Freidman, Paul Johnson, Thomas Sowell, Friedrich von Hayek, Shelby Steele and Whittaker Chambers.
So that’s it, folks … and how nice that America’s pre-eminent playwright is crazy about Sarah Palin, huh? The woman derided as a complete illiterate must be doing something right. Or maybe Mamet, having miraculously escaped the Hollywood herd instinct, just sees what we see in Palin …
Common sense, courage … and a servant’s heart.
Thanks for following our series. If you missed any part of it, just click on the “25 Most Unlikely” tag at the bottom of each of the posts in this series to see the whole portfolio. And maybe, if you’d like, send along your suggestions for the next series! I’m sure Damian would love a chance to redeem himself.
I’m only kidding! Damian did a great job! It was an honor and joy to work with him.
UPDATE: Damian is obviously keeping us in suspense with #2. We haven’t heard from him since Friday. Hope everything’s ok. Sorry we got out of sequence. I thought he was posting his #2 last night when I scheduled mine for today. (I take Sunday’s off). At any rate … when he eventually does post #2, you’ll understand why she could have been #1. So, it’s all good. Meanwhile, come BACK, Damian!