March 13th, 2008

Mamet: the end of the beginning

David Mamet’s Village Voice piece on his political conversion—”Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’”—has caused a minor sensation.

To me, of course, it’s an old story, not only because I experienced something of the sort myself, but because I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time analyzing the process.

Each such tale is unique in its details, but each one is also similar in broad outline. Mamet’s is getting a lot of attention because he’s a famous playwright who moves in artistic (read: highly liberal) circles, and the Village Voice venue (hey, I like that alliteration!) in which he chose to “come out” guarantees him high visibility. And it doesn’t hurt that his piece was linked by Drudge.

And so as a self-styled expert on the subject, I want to welcome Mamet to the fold.

His tale involves three important elements that I have found are almost standard in such stories. The first is a conversion to what he refers to as the “conservative (or tragic) view” of life versus the “liberal (or perfectionist) view.” I write “conversion,” but Mamet’s journey—like most such trips—involves not so much a change of mind as a realization of a viewpoint one may have already held for some time, but never known what it signified in political terms.

And that brings as to the second element: the willingness to open up the mind and actually read some conservative writers, often for the first time, with the subsequent realization that they make a certain amount of sense. And if they make more sense than the liberal stuff a person has been imbibing all those years, then there may be no turning back.

The third element is a rejection of the kneejerk idea, loudly vocalized in many liberal circles, that America is a mess and that nearly everything we do is wrong. Mamet found instead that he might just be in agreement with the statement (to paraphrase Churchill) that America has the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

But I submit that Mamet is only at the beginning of his journey—or rather, to paraphrase Churchill again, at the end of the beginning. His friends and colleagues, on the other hand, probably think it’s the beginning of the end for him, and might start acting accordingly. But he will find there’s a whole other world out there of simpatico people.

Mamet hasn’t shed some liberal assumptions that I see as incorrect. It is telling that he still spouts the old “Bush stole the election in Florida….Bush lied about his military service” routines. Perhaps some day he’ll do more reading and examine more of the facts in both stories and come to change his mind about both things; perhaps not.

Mamet’s stance on specific political personalities can be summarized as “Everybody is equally corrupt, and we might as well accept it and become conservatives and adopt the tragic view.” But although each side most definitely has its corruptions and distortions, that doesn’t mean that it’s all a perfect equivalence. Nor does it mean that the Party line (and in this case, the Party to which I refer is not only the Democratic Party but the MSM) on Bush and his “lies” is the truth.

When Mamet delved into conservative writings and opinion, he found that they meshed with his perceptions and experience of the world better than the liberal writings with which he’d previously been familiar. And so he changed. That is the risk (or the benefit?) of being openminded and honest enough to take in new information.

In the first paragraph of his piece, Mamet quotes John Maynard Keyes as saying, “When the facts change, I change my opinion.” In Mamet’s case, however, it wasn’t really new facts that he encountered so much as a set of philosophical viewpoints that fit better with the facts as he had already perceived them.

I applaud Mamet for his courage, and expect that he will continue to learn and his thinking continue to evolve. As a playwright, he probably knows that’s we’re all works in progress, anyway.

64 Responses to “Mamet: the end of the beginning”

  1. Bugs Says:

    Welcome to the real world, Dave.

  2. Sergey Says:

    An interesting theme arisen in Neo’s analysis is latent knowlege, which already exist but not understood in explicit terms. Than, suddenly, it became evident – and this moment is experienced as insight or, in religious context, as epiphany. This is possible because some conviction or presumption previously blocked this knowlege from surfacing to the conscience. It was emotionally or ideologically unacceptable and so suppressed. But to overrun the blockade some innate work need to be done, and this means some depth of personality, will for seeking truth. Only rare individuals posess these qualities, that is why not often we see such examples of a real intellectual growth. Most individuals change only when majority of their neibours change too, in swings of intellectual modes.

  3. R Says:

    Have you seen Adams’ Rounders Vs. Accumulators piece? I think he got tired of all the accumulators.

    http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/07/rounders-vs-acc.html

  4. Teri Pittman Says:

    The thing that turned me around was the realization that I was hearing the same thing said about every Republican president that was elected. How many times can you hear Nixon/Ford/Reagan/Bush etc. called stupid before you start to wonder? And then, of course, I had to take a second look at who I’d voted for. What possessed me to continue to vote for candidates like McGovern/Dukakis/Carter/Clinton? On review, they all looked very unappealing. The most amazing thing for me was rethinking Nixon. I started to read some scholarly books, without the liberal ax to grind, that disected some of the
    usual claims against him. He’s still not my favorite president, but I no longer think of him as some half crazed paranoid freak.

    You can drink the liberal Kool-aide only if you have a closed mind.

  5. Ike Says:

    You’re spot on. Mamet didn’t discover new “facts” that upset his apple cart. He finally opened to a new framework, a new story that better explained the facts and observations in his universe.

  6. harry9000 Says:

    Neo:
    “Mamet hasn’t shed some liberal assumptions that I see as incorrect. It is telling that he still spouts the old “Bush stole the election in Florida….Bush lied about his military service” routines.”

    It took me quite a while to accept the fact that the popular narrative of Vietnam, was not the literal truth. When people said we could have won Vietnam, Ive rejected that as revisionist.

    All this long after accepting myself as conservative.

  7. David Mamet, “Classical Liberal.” - UPDATED | The Anchoress Says:

    [...] Neoneocon, who made a similar voyage as Mamet has more. [...]

  8. robyn Says:

    But why must one who has had a change of mind, or heart, or whatever, then turn around and bash their former fellow travellors? Why must it be “brain dead liberals?” or “liberal kool aid?” How does that help advance one’s (newly found) cause?

    Also, I will be very interested in seeing how his change of perspective will affect his work. In general it is hard to imagine “conservative artist” as anything other than an oxymoron because…you know..aren’t artists supposed to be avant garde? Aren’t they supposed to challenge the status quo in a way that is new. And isn’t one definition of conservative that you want things not to change much or at all or in what some might call a backward way – looking back to a time when…

    I write this as an artist who certainly would be called very liberal by most of the readers of this blog. I look at this blog because I am curious about what people who call themselves things like “neo-con” have to say about events happening right now (and I really don’t know anyone in person who holds these views). I disagree with nearly everything said here but I have no desire to trash talk the writer. It simply makes no sense to me. But I suppose that would take the fun out of blogging…

  9. DuMaurier-Smith Says:

    At bottom, poetry is inherently subversive in its indifference to social norms. So is science. But neither is necessarily conservative or liberal. If I cite Eliot’s observation that a poet’s task is not to express personality (or politics) but a medium, does that sound too retro, too pre-Marxist to you? Marxist politics are dead along with . . . no, not God . . . Satan. Why does the attitude survive?

    Oh, go ahead Robyn. Trash some writers. But I don’t think it’s going to work. At the conservative core is hard, cold reason. At the modern (it wasn’t always that way) liberal core is soft, warm feeling. I’ve yet to see that dialogue work. If you disagree with everything said here–and that’s pretty sweeping–you’ve done a vast arrat of logical analysis in a very brief time. What I suspect you meant is, you dislike nearly everything said here.

    Finally, I don’t know where you found all these moral oughts for arts and politics in a morally dead liberal universe, but let me speak for one element of conservatism. I think constitutionally guaranteed (not granted) rights and liberties are worthwhile to conserve, whether against the encroachments of the state or the political correctness of liberals pandering to minorities in exchange for political power. To all of those too sensitive to live in a free society where ideas of all sorts are freely expressed I have but one suggestion: get tough or die. To the rest I say, let them go. They are too frail for life.

  10. Thomas Says:

    robyn Says:

    March 13th, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    “But why must one who has had a change of mind, or heart, or whatever, then turn around and bash their former fellow travellors? Why must it be “brain dead liberals?” ”

    I think his narrative is the same as Neo frames it. He knew he didn’t buy the old liberal line, but didn’t think about it / challenge it… ergo, he was a non thinking / ‘brain dead’ liberal [himself].

  11. stu Says:

    What we don’t want to change are those timeless values, or as Russell Kirk described them “the permanent things” that have made our society the most successful in recorded history. We value the principals embodied in our founding documents and the founders who understood human nature and the need to tame our lesser attributes in order to preserve the blessings of liberty. As an artist,one would think she would glory in the diversity and creativity afforded by our free capitalist ic and Judeo-Christian society.

  12. stu Says:

    Like Mamet, maybe she ought to read a little of Sowell,Friedman,ets.. I would start however with Hayek and perhaps Roger Scruton.

  13. Ike Says:

    Robyn, I don’t think Mamet was insulting those who arrive at different conclusions — just those who have conclusions whose origins they can’t trace.

    There are two reasons why an argument can be considered unsound:

    - false premise
    - invalid logic

    It’s quite possible for an argument to have a correct conclusion, yet stem from a completely invalid (or unexplored) line of reasoning.

    “Brain-dead” liberal is just as wrong as “Brain-dead” conservative. They both ended where they are without reason. Mamet admits he floated for a long time like a cloud — assuming, but never testing the validity of his convictions. Once he did, he realized those conclusions didn’t mesh, and he had to admit a shift (or at least explain it to those who couldn’t fathom it.)

  14. Artfldgr Says:

    Robyn,
    It’s a form of camaraderie through inside joking; they are not revolutionaries who hope to change the world with orations like Cicero and careful consideration of what they say. They are commiserating.

    To tell you the truth as far as his work is concerned I don’t think it will literally change it all that much. However the reviews the stories and how its portrayed in the news will most likely change. The suspension of disbelief in entertainment allows him quite a lot of leeway in what is up there and what it means. Though others have a lot of leeway in misinterpreting it and twisting meaning too, which I ultimately think will be more the problem.

    I disagree with nearly everything said here but I have no desire to trash talk the writer. It simply makes no sense to me. But I suppose that would take the fun out of blogging

    Well welcome. Why would you have to trash talk to understand or to explore each point and follow the point made by mamets rabbi?

    I could tell from your first paragraph what position you were on. If you were a big guy with some beers and that attitude, you would be considered looking for an altercation. That should be a bigger issue.

    However I bet there are some really rational debaters here, and we really are not singing exactly from the same choir. So you really might not know where each person you have experienced really stands on things. This is mostly because once you leave ideology land; you no longer have a play book. There is no rightist ideology that won them over; they just stopped looking at the world through a prism.

    Common sense and the desire to be finally rid of the cognitive dissonance once and for all is what does it.

    I am many things, and an artist is one of them. You only have to be a liberal artist today after the arts world became dominated by amorphous forms and things promoted as a counter or part of “socialist realism”.

    You don’t remember a time before that when the artists didn’t have a social agenda that way. Yeah, the ones the over promote to define the history are like that, but if you take a broader view, the majority were quite their own people.

    Though a lot of artists accept a socialist view in that a lot of them get their living begging from the public dole as the concept of patronage is gone. Mostly because what is promoted as high art is actually quite juvenile and unskilled, while the kind of skill that would be behind more uplifting and human works tends to go to commercial art as a requested skill. But this is just opinion and there is a lot of variance.

    It’s in your interest to be socialist and have the right world view rather than be your own person. Or haven’t you realized that you’re living your life through a simplified rule book that is so easy that all around you have the same mind. It’s like believing that newspaper horoscopes are really true multiplied out to everyone.

    To tell you the truth if you asked me to let you in on my ideological tenets, I couldn’t answer you. I could tell you what I think on an issue and the history, and justify my answer in detail that would put you to sleep, but it wont be the same as anyone else’s here, even if we agree on the material point.

    Just to lay out the real spectrum for you
    Communism is on the left, way left. Its never been achieved, so its called socialism.
    Move a bit to the right, and you loosen up communism the way Lenin did and then used that to find and crush those that responded. Go to the middle, and you have fascism. I know, you think it’s the far right.

    but that’s what your told, you haven’t gone out there and challenged the people that told you to see if they are worthy of your support. You only worried if your worthy of them, not if they are worthy of you. You wanted to be part of the group.

    Anyway. Fascism is in the middle. It’s what most western states are like now. Its what you get when you mix capitalism with communism. The state controls in a softer way with ideology rather than with a whip and no carrot.

    Here is an example. You work hard, you earn money, the state takes that money, and then says it will do things for you, you say yay and say cool they are giving me something for free like health care… waddle off you go…. Never realizing that they bribed you with your own money.

    Communists though wouldn’t let you have the profit from the job for them to take and certainlywouldnt have bothered bribing you when they could put you to work in a camp. By the way, they still have camps.

    Oy, what a problem. well farther right, you start to shrink the state. There is no more socialism, so there isn’t a reason to tax people so hard. They no longer try to crush the people between inflation and taxation as Lenin said.

    As you mover farther right your getting to the type of state we had before. A real republic. Didn’t you know that? We aren’t a democracy. Communists call themselves democracies, Americans used to realize we were a republic. A democratic republic to be more accurate.

    As you more more to the right you abolish the proportioned tax, and move to an apportioned one. where they take a percentage, remove operating costs for minimal government, and then redistribute the rest back by dividing it equally. If you aren’t befuddled by this math you might realize that it would redistribute wealth downward fairly with little paperwork, no jobs artificially created by bureaucracy that robs you of your tax money that they just said they are giving back to you for preparing your taxes.

    Hey, but if you don’t want to learn that the world is a lot more complex, and it has rules and those rules are knowable, but they don’t match ideology. Because ideology isn’t there for you to have a better life, its there to establish a totally socialist state in which you own nothing, and I mean nothing. you will be in the same condition as a drought horse. You will have a home (barn), you will have hay (food), you will have medicine (vet), and they will decide the quantities and locations of them.

    It will seem to start off great, then it will decline, as it declines they will blame you. its not their fault, its not the ideologies fault, its your fault pigs don’t fly and if you don’t make them fly then you are doing that to hurt the state. Right now you are happy with them doing that to people you don’t like, your even happy to give them that right, but the government that can do anything for you is the state that can do anything to you.

  15. harry McHitlerburtonstein the Extremist Says:

    Robyn:
    “Also, I will be very interested in seeing how his change of perspective will affect his work. In general it is hard to imagine “conservative artist” as anything other than an oxymoron because…you know..aren’t artists supposed to be avant garde? Aren’t they supposed to challenge the status quo in a way that is new?”

    I thought about that as well. I’m currently attending a community college which is just so happens to be featuring a showing of “Political Art” in one of its galleries these last couple of weeks. I could tell you without looking at this gallery at the outset what its themes were likely to be, but I did go and check it out. There were no surprises.

    Much of the artwork was quite good, if not predictable; 3 ceramic figures of George Bush as a monkey. 4 paintings depicting him as a fascist dictator, numerous artwork equating militarism with consumerism, art containing people displaced, ignored and despondent presumably due to an ignorant and uninformed, uncaring average American for which the artwork is aimed at.

    I wondered myself what would be the balance if I could also presume conservative minded artwork would be allowed to hang along side these paintings. I’m sure there are plenty of conservative artists out there. I just dont think we’re as angry or a strident as liberals are.

    Another thing: Why must “avant garde” be rude and insulting? Why must art be hysterical and manipulative to be considered “challenging”? I think it because liberals are currently the guys who gets to make the definitions of “challenging” “thought provoking” and “avant garde”. Im hoping that changes sometime soon, but I realize how unlikely that will be.

  16. Artfldgr Says:

    harry,
    read the ballet post, or search for The Naked Communist by Skousen W Cleon, and read the list of 45 goals. i posted a few of them, and i dont want to be a hated nuisance.

    22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”

    23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”

    if the plan is to promote ugliness, then i guess being rude and insutling fits the bill no?

    oh.. skousens book has other things in it than a prescient list (it was printed in 63)…

    “If you study it carefully, you will find that practically every major problem facing the United States today is related in some fundamental way to a violation (or series of violations) of Constitutional principles. We had a great system going which somebody has betrayed.”

    the next question is will neo decide to read the works of the others who changed their minds? from the anarchists who realized what they wrought in th soviet union, to carters right hand man, to draper, and the list goes on…

  17. Beverly Says:

    Not really OT, but did everyone see that ABC has discovered Obama’s racist, America-hating minister?

    “Obama’s Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11″

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4443788&page=1

  18. gcotharn Says:

    Welcome, Robyn. I would love to have lots of liberals who believe in civility dive into the comments of this blog. WELCOME!

    I’ve never even taken an art history course. I don’t know great or classical thoughts about the purpose or history of art. But I know some art touches me in a spiritual way. It touches at something which maybe cannot be expressed in any other way except through art. Art ignorant as I am, it doesn’t make sense to me that the purpose of art is to challenge some status quo. To me, the purpose of art is to express what cannot be as effectively expressed in any other medium.

  19. strcpy Says:

    “Also, I will be very interested in seeing how his change of perspective will affect his work. In general it is hard to imagine “conservative artist” as anything other than an oxymoron because…you know..aren’t artists supposed to be avant garde? Aren’t they supposed to challenge the status quo in a way that is new. And isn’t one definition of conservative that you want things not to change much or at all or in what some might call a backward way – looking back to a time when…”

    Artists do no such thing – do you *really* think you guys are out there fighting the status quo?

    Lets put it this way, if Hillary or Obama get to be the president how many art shows are there going to be fighting them (as they are then the status quo). How many of your fellow artists remotely buck your system – you say it yourself in how you think he will be treated because of his political beliefs.

    As of right now if you want to do something edgy that is likely to get you ostracized from the community do something remotely conservative or (even worse) Republican. See how far your fellow artists are willing to let someone buck the system.

    Artists do not do anything close to fighting the system and going their own way – they are like the “non-conformists” modern day goth movement that all read the same papers, dress the same, talk the same, and do everything lockstep with their peers while congratulating themselves on how original they are.

    It is amusing to think how the current art community would treat Da Vinci and Michaelangelo – the two were most certainly not modern day liberals (nor were they modern day conservatives) and (even in their day) were not making attempts to shake society up yet I think they mostly qualify for the title of “artists”. Though they totally fail your definition of what is required to be one.

  20. Perfected democrat Says:

    Teri Pittman Says:
    “You can drink the liberal Kool-aide only if you have a closed mind.”

    “Liberal Kool-aide”, that elixer providing a “high” like aspect of perverse and callously smug self satisfaction; A form of rationalization inspiring and enabling one to engage in crass hypocrisy and self absorbed justification of a double standard. There is a sociopathic aspect about it, common to people who engage in gratuitous violence, torture and intimidation, or who enable it by their expressed consent; Or the malaise of passive acquiescence, when not subject to significant intimidation. The key word and concept is “gratuitous”, and in an environment in which fear is not the over-riding motivation for the behaviour.

    Artfldgr Says:
    “the next question is will neo decide to read the works of the others who changed their minds?”

    The smug, projecting… unless I misunderstand the intent of that comment? Anyway, great series Neo, I reviewed most everything back to 2005, and couldn’t help but notice your comments concerning the Vietnam era related to naivete, leading to betrayal, and bitterness….

  21. douglas Says:

    “I write this as an artist who certainly would be called very liberal by most of the readers of this blog. I look at this blog because I am curious about what people who call themselves things like “neo-con” have to say about events happening right now (and I really don’t know anyone in person who holds these views).”

    Heh. I know people like you. They don’t know the scope of my views or how conservative I am. Why? Because I know how people like you react. They react like you did to Mamet. So we lurk in the weeds, keeping our politics to ourselves, maybe just throwing in a little question now and then to stir the ‘party line’ a bit- but don’t rock the boat. Oh, I know that routine well. I bet you actually know a few people who are center-right, perhaps even Republican!! They just don’t let you know for fear of creating problems they’d rather not deal with, over something as silly as your world view. Do you really know those around you? Don’t be so sure.

  22. Perfected democrat Says:

    P.S. If morality is as beauty (art) is in the eyes of the beholder, perhaps I (we) are just smug, rationalizing, callous and greedy capitalist s.o.b.’s? The answer to that is quite statistical; A comparison of body counts and common measures of human suffering makes it obvious, unless one is a historical revionist and dishonest…

  23. harry McHitlerburtonstein the Extremist Says:

    Artfldgr:
    “#22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”

    LOL! But what if you happen to like some “shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms”?

  24. SteveH Says:

    Drinking the liberal kool aid is equivalent to viewing life like a game of football, and thinking the hiring of the right referees is more important than actually having a great team.

  25. Janet Says:

    ” In general it is hard to imagine “conservative artist” as anything other than an oxymoron because…you know..aren’t artists supposed to be avant garde? Aren’t they supposed to challenge the status quo in a way that is new.”

    Robyn, I really appreciate your desire to learn more about others who think differently than you without feeling a need to name call. I am an artist who evolved into conservatism about 12 years ago.

    The idea that art is ALL about politics and upsetting the status quo is a fairly new one, I believe. Now, I’m not an art historian so I may be missing various movements in art history that were known to do that in other eras prior to the Impressionists or the Dada bunch.

    I believe it was all about truth and beauty. And truth didn’t necessarily mean ‘speaking truth to power’ in the political sense. More than likely it was about religious or philosophical truths.

    I think a lot of artists today, certainly young artists, do not think about art in terms other than the political or the shocking because that is all they have known in their lifetimes. But I do not believe that it means we have finally found the true meaning of art. Political art should be just one of many forms of artistic expression. It should not be art’s raison d’etre.

    “…And isn’t one definition of conservative that you want things not to change much or at all or in what some might call a backward way – looking back to a time when…”

    No, not really. Being conservative means not throwing the baby out with the bath water. It means you don’t feel the need to start from scratch every generation. You can still keep what is good and what works while changing what is not working.

    Finally, I have gotten to know many, many conservatives in the past twelve years and I can honestly say that they are far more open-minded and tolerant of others than the liberals that I know. For example, could you picture this conversation taking place on The Daily Kos?

  26. Trimegistus Says:

    Robyn:

    There’s a curious misconception you (and a great many other people) make about conservatives. That misconception is that being politically conservative makes one “conservative” in all other aspects of life. That’s just weird — because I voted for Bush I can’t enjoy new things? Huh?

    (Backhand snark: I sure don’t see liberals being enthusiastic about new things — their political ideas are frozen in 1973 or thereabouts.)

    Some examples of artists who were politically conservative but nevertheless highly avant-garde:

    T.S. Eliot
    Ezra Pound (he was a Fascist, which I actually consider part of the revolutionary left spectrum, but I know liberals love to call conservatives Fascists so we’ll count him)
    Henry James
    D.W. Griffith
    Charles Ives

    This is just a top-of-my-head list and ignores the visual arts because I’m not well-versed on the political views of painters and sculptors.

    The point is, one can be highly avant-garde without being a political liberal. There’s an interesting point in Eric Hoffer’s study of fascist followers, The True Believer, which is that genuinely creative people make poor followers of mass political movements — simply because their art is more important to them and provides them with a sense of identity. This suggests that the most stridently “activist” artists probably aren’t very sure of their own talent . . .

  27. Grimmy Says:

    Art is meant to entertain. Art is not meant to force social change, agitprop, destroy cultural norms, etc etc. It is meant to entertain.

    Tax payer subsidy has gone a long way towards destroying any value to art. Now it is used as hostile political indoc, rather than entertainment.

  28. SteveH Says:

    Whats sad is the number of conservatives that don’t express themselves through art because of the political lytmus test art institutions have imposed.

    As an artist myself, i can’t count the number of times i’ve had to sit around having cocktails with people who all think exactly alike, and to hear them fancy themselves as the epitome of non conformism.

    Its all rather bizzare actually.

  29. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Art includes humor.
    Humor includes offensive stereotypes.
    “Brain-dead liberal” is a true stereotype today.

    Jib-Jab in 2004 had a hilarious “This Land” parody, with Bush & Kerry (imitators) singing … “will surely vote for me”. But at the end, the “right-wing nutjobs” and the “liberal wieners” were able to stand with their arms around each other’s shoulders.

    I fear that too many Liberal Fascists are unable, in practice, to put their arms around current Republicans, or Iraq-war supporters, or pro-life advocates. And it is this militant, exclusionary intolerance that allows me to name them as “fascists”, whose biggest failing was their intolerance.

    I see the silly search for Unreal Perfection as a chief failing of current leftists, with irrational bitterness that anything not Perfect is crap. Like America. Or Bush. Or the Iraq war. Or tax cuts.

    Beauty & Truth — the essence of great art.

    But Ugly Truth can also be powerful. And the anti-Christian fascists did, and do, like power.

  30. SteveH Says:

    “I see the silly search for Unreal Perfection as a chief failing of current leftists, with irrational bitterness that anything not Perfect is crap. Like America. Or Bush. Or the Iraq war. Or tax cuts.
    Liberty dad”"

    Just look at the untold billions taxpayers have spent on Katrina. There is nothing short of waving a magic wand and putting all that destruction back exactly as it was that will ever satisfy liberals.
    I’m convinced they think the American Government has that kind of God like power.

  31. Gringo Says:

    In general it is hard to imagine “conservative artist” as anything other than an oxymoron because…you know..aren’t artists supposed to be avant garde?

    The “avant garde” was a creation of the latter part of the 19th century. The concept of the “avant garde” is not timeless, but rather dated. It appears to have been in part a response to scientific and technological progress: just as we “progress” in scientific and technological ways, we will also “progress” in artistic ways. The problem here is that science and technology are basically logical thinking processes to solve problems.

    Art is something else entirely. While science of the Ancient Greeks may be viewed from a modern perspective as “primitive” compared to ours, there is nothing primitive whatsoever about Sophocles’s plays nor Homer’s poetry nor about the sculpture of that era, nor about the architecture of the Acropolis. “Beauty is truth and truth is beauty.”

    The function of an artist is to create: create works of beauty. Homer. Louis Armstrong. Bach. El Greco. Etc. Works of awe. What do politics have to do with awe? Nada que ver. Nothing, unless you view the crowd mesmerizing tactics of a Hitler – a failed artist- as something desirable. Mao was also a poet. OTOH, Churchill dabbled in painting: but he never viewed his painting as anything but a pastime.

    To the degree that artists create political statements instead of works of beauty, they degrade themselves and their art. Who remembers Socialist Realism?

    To the degree that artists create intellectual statements instead of works of beauty, they degrade themselves and their art. I experience art as a transcendent experience, not as a statement about art criticism, for example.

    “Conservatives” tend to have more of a tragic view of life than “liberals.” Are you going to tell me that tragedy and art are totally unrelated?

    Enough ramblings.

  32. Dennis Says:

    Roybn,
    Art has absolutely nothing to do with political philosophy except where people use it in that manner. In the final analysis an extremely small number of the art that is created is limited by leftist dogmatic thinking.
    A large number of the very creative people I know are conservatives. My movement away from liberalism did not affect my creativity. In fact it, in many ways, it opened up many more ways of thinking that are, by your own description of your environment, limiting.

  33. Fredjr Says:

    Robyn,

    Have you ever taken a tour of The Democrat Underground, the Huffington Post, the DailyKos, and other Leftist sites? I can assure you that you would be shocked by what you read. I don’t go “over there” often but when I do I almost never leave any comments, because some people I know in the blogosphere who happen to not be on the Left have seen their comments deleted and their participation banned – all for simply being conservatives, not being obnoxious. So, why waste my time?

    I’m probably slightly right-of-center and in the circles I run in I’m a decided minority. In fact, it is rare that we even venture to express our opinions for fear of being shouted at or shunned.

    If you don’t know any converts like Mamet in the circles you run in, good for you. You’ve found a comfortable echo chamber that assiduously reinforces your beliefs.

  34. Promethea Says:

    A lot of artists on this thread. I’m one too.

    The “academy,” read “modern liberal,” has decided that contemporary art should be dark and disturbed. Contemporary music is also almost universally written to fit this template too. This is the result of the dead hand of tradition in music and art schools of today. I know a young composer who had to go to a jazz school to learn harmony because they didn’t teach harmony for composition in his “serious” music school.

    These nasty trends will pass eventually, just not soon enough. Meanwhile, the more commercial arts are flourishing. For example, textile designers and glass makers are producing beautiful works.

    I only mention these things because our friend Robyn above is in the grip of that same cliched thinking that passes for “serious art” these days.

  35. Tatterdemalian Says:

    Personally, I’m in complete disagreement with Rosie’s definition of “trash talk.” “I’ll kill all the brain dead liberals” is trash talk. “Brain dead liberals eat babies’ hearts” is trash talk. Just the moniker “brain dead liberals,” however, is not trash talk. It is a plural noun, with an idiomatic adjective used to qualify it. You may be offended by that adjective, if you really want to believe the construction “brain dead liberals” somehow implies all liberals are brain dead, but most of us take it as it is, not as we wish it to be so that we may joust at the strawmen.

    Last I checked, Mamet pretty much made his fortune by offending people in various ways. Why should brain dead liberals be passed over for the reception of his noble opprobium?

  36. njcommuter Says:

    stu Says: Like Mamet, maybe she ought to read a little of Sowell,Friedman,ets.. I would start however with Hayek and perhaps Roger Scruton.

    I’d start with Sowell’s Basic Economics because it is very concrete, and discusses very down-to-earth things: the how people really react to the choices they are actually given, day in and day out.

    As others have noted, we do filter facts through our worldviews. But how hard do we have to twist them to make them fit our narratives? The Marxists, the race-baiters, the poverty-pimps present a pretty case, but when you look plainly and clearly at the all the facts, the narrative doesn’t stand up unless you twist things very hard.

    The facts that Sowell deals with in Basic Economics are nearby and famliar, and so are much harder to twist, especially if you’re looking at what you are doing, which is what brought Mamet to his present juncture.

  37. Tom Says:

    In response to robyn, I wiki’d “avant-garde”. Gringo is nearly correct in its 19th century French origin (like a lot of other bad ideas), though not late 19th.

    It was first used in its present context by one Rodrigues in 1825, who called on artists to serve as (the people’s) avant-garde (militarily, the vanguard, on the point); ” The power of the arts is indeed the most immediate and fastest way to social, political and economic reform.”

    Wiki states its next use was in 1863, by the Salon de Refuse`s, a group of artists whose work had not been accepted as worthy by the academy.

    Avant-garde art has a temporal feature; it must be NEW. Novelty for novelty’s sake.

    Well, in my view, most new ideas are bad; most new businesses fail. The danger of new ideas is the crux of randomized prospective clinical trials in medicine, testing the new against the “gold standard” therapy.

    Striking in robyn’s post is that artists are SUPPOSED (as in EXPECTED and REQUIRED) to be avant-garde, and are SUPPOSED to challenge the status quo. Who gives the orders the arts and artists are SUPPOSED to obey in order to be avant, robyn?

    Avant-garde and convervatism are incompatible.

  38. Ike Says:

    Can we call a moratorium on this comment thread, until Robyn can come back and respond? It does no good to greet an enquiring mind with enough text to induce eyestrain.

  39. Bugs Says:

    Robyn & Janet:

    When someone tells me that the purpose of art is to be subversive, transgressive, shocking, etc., etc., I just ask “Why?” Sometimes I follow up with the related question, “Says who?”

    I’ve never heard or read an acceptable answer from an artist. They just seem to accept the received wisdom. Very transgressive.

    My impression is that some people love making art and so they go out get on with it. A much greater number of people love identifying themselves as artists and living some sort of stereotypical artistic lifestyle.

  40. Thomas Says:

    Robyn:
    “aren’t artists supposed to be avant garde? Aren’t they supposed to challenge the status quo in a way that is new?”

    Why do lefties think they’re challenging anything when they’re so numerous and influential. Heck, progressivism is even OLDER than the US conservative movement.

    That and they’re (with exceptions of course) such lock step bores… they challenge my ability to stay awake…

  41. Thomas Says:

    My (short) two cents on this subversion / avant-garde thing.

    The left, itself, is a target rich environment for subversive art… and powerful enough to justify being taken down a few notches…

    The idea that non leftist art couldn’t be subversive or avant-garde (re: against the left) just shows a failure of imagination.

    A few modern artistis were, btw, [bad old euro style] right wingers. Then again, a modern American leftist probably can’t tell and just thinks they’re left… like them… since they complain about the same stuff.

  42. Zhombre Says:

    “Serious art” hasn’t changed since about 1978. When the avant-garde is institutionalized it ceased to be avant or garde and instead is au courant and, well, merde not garde. What is now installed as transgressive and subversive art is for the most part a heap of dead rubbish, the 21st century equivalent of the 19th century Academy, minus technical skill but with an additional portion of pomposity.

  43. Artfldgr Says:

    Gcotharn,

    I’ve never even taken an art history course.
    That’s ok, you don’t have to. If you did, you would have learned how to hate uplifting forms that like Uncle Screwtape explained gets you to think about the bigger picture in a way that the state cant use, in a way that opposes the states desire to help, help, help.
    I don’t know great or classical thoughts about the purpose or history of art.
    Ah, but you DO. in a second your going to tell us what you just said you didn’t know! Art would be useless for why we have it, if it really needed a bunch of not to smart people pretending to be smart making you feel stupid letting you know what you should think. (I am an artist, and lots of other things. I am one of those weird eclectic people you read about that has their finger here and there and seems unreal).
    But I know some art touches me in a spiritual way. It touches at something which maybe cannot be expressed in any other way except through art.
    That is the purpose of art. WHAT IT DOES FOR YOU AND TO YOU IS THE PURPOSE. You can thank my artist dad for that one. You see, that definition encompasses all the other ones, including the bad we don’t seem to notice.
    I am going to hit you with a theory of mind that is NOT common. Its not in the books, though it is concordant with things. So I am warning you that this following thing is my idea and synthesis being a systems engineer who has delved into creating ‘mind’. So don’t go quoting this, and such. given that I am a well read, big thinking nobody, it’s as POP as you can get.
    Lots of thinkers have thought about mind. Depending on which set of people you want to focus on, I am in either really good company, or really bad company. Anyway, in order to simulate mind, you need a working model. Given that this is a model, it might not reflect real mind, though a good model based on all the “clews’ as Einstein wrote (and Leopold Infeld an author that interviewed Einstein as to the process of his thoughts in his theories).
    So for years I have been turning the thing over and over, and trying to get a good handle on how do you start mind. The right answer will be efficient, the wrong answer will be horribly inefficient like today’s AI. My model had to encompass everything I know about how the mind works or rather faults. Mental illnesses would have to fit in it, illusions, the fact that we can intuit reality beyond our senses based on knowledge, etc.
    Here is the best I can do in a short space:
    The you, you know as you, does not live in the real world. It lives in a model of the world that is inside. Such a construct can start with the simplest definition of reality and literally be in any direction and form, because its limits are imagination.
    Everything you perceive happens in this model, and your brain learns to change the focus of the model rather than change its position in reality. This allows you to infer things because your conscious can in a kind of ghost form, move around the model and see what it can see.
    The more you live in reality, the more your mind model can tune itself to what it is taking in. so the model is constantly being updated and kept in synch with the real world (which is why sensory deprivation makes you hallucinate, not shut off, but create new things inside the model, which is your real reality, so you perceive it real)
    The less you act in the real world, the more faulty your model is. the more your model fills in the blanks with blanks that you just jump over. The model is made to work on incomplete information, and infer everything from relationships from being able to move around inside the model and in a way ‘see’ whats there that you couldn’t normally see.
    Everything is input to the model, there is no way to divide reality between real and fake. Those that can do this better, are those that Darwin reality is going to pick for a better future, those that cant get swallowed up more by ideological and propagandist manipulation.
    Art is input to the model. So why get the religious experience akin to the tingles from seeing a beautiful mountain range, or an aria, or a piano rift?
    Well, they all stimulate a more modern development. The ability to recognize the better life. the uplifting, the right direction, the deeper positive right or wrong.
    Art, arias, music, are things we discovered that when they stimulated our models in a positive way, a good way, uplifted us. it moved us away from sociopathic brutal bands that would prey on each other as they crossed paths migrating around. The ones that could stay in an area and move around did better. so they developed this deeply religious feeling for lands to settle which the walkers didn’t have. (there was also a time that we must have spent in the water as well given many of our unusual primate qualities).
    So those that could see a mountain range and know that that meant a good place to go, and look at another thing and through aesthetics know that that was a good place. Those that were better at this didn’t die as they moved from place to place as their local place grew too large and others had to go off. This gives us our natural proclivity to move, but normally stay. The sacrifice and emotion keeps the clan bond going so that these two groups can stay loosly bound. Eventually clans cover areas and become ethinic populations. They divide they mix, they divide, they mix, and this engine, and cancer, and your life spans confound to have us evolve during this time.
    In each of their days, and in each world they lived in, Darwin continued to work. the assault on the wealthy is an assault on the natural knowledge that some people have an advantage, and the other lineages are going to fade more. this is why native Americans have six proginator mothers… all man has one… there are these bottlenecks for both sexes all over.
    As long as this process continues, we get smarter, and can do more, and we move towards a more peaceful and harmonious existence. However there is always the old discoveries in hiding. Nature doesn’t throw away work that works. Most of the time, she just turns it off and something else eventually rolls over it.
    On a deeper level the fight between the two camps is the fight to continue this process and the uplifting of man, or stagnate it and divide the population and half of it will move forward while the other half becomes homogenated and like farm animals each bred to be like the others so each can be an interchangeable part when needed. No parts better than others so that the elite doesn’t get into things having to also argue value, and then create a market of improvements that would later lead to them getting smarter and opposing their masters. At least that’s the demographic outcomes of the two policies.
    So when you look at art, you can appeal to basal stimulation. Like sex, and animalistic urges for sex and novelty. Your model responds to them because these are and were necessary for procreation and spreading genes around widely.
    However the direction we went in, in western culture, took us on a path to being smarter, more cooperative, quieter, etc. but not milquetoasts, just more powerful and better able to handle power. We assume that primitive man of generation ago was just like us, because we believe in tabula rasa.. the illusion of tabula rasa is the adaptable mind model that I am giving a POP explanation of.
    So there is a positive direction that we feel we should be going in. when we were making gothic cathedrals, thinking about god, and all that we, as a culture, were asking the questions of where man should go… forward or backwards. Into the unknown, back to the known brutal hobbsonian world.
    Each place you get the genuine feelings your describing, your touching the part of you that responds in a deeper way than basal lust to a better goodness. The love of a wife, vs the love of a one night stand. The love of nationalism, making you want to protect that valley you found. The love of god, because those that love god are more together as a functioning group that gets things done (or used to before the state).
    Art is that we found that this mind model is fractal. we can stimulate it with a small partial image of such a goodness, and the model will shudder as if we were looking at the big thing. (this comes from the fact that the model works in a reality that has three point perspective and things get smaller in the distance. So the model that works better is the one that can detect such positive in the distance as a small image)
    This is when art ‘sings’.. or gets you religious… religion puts two of these together at once… is it any wonder it’s a dominating draw.. (but also religion allows for that hiving of populations to keep touch and know whats going on. If something happens to a group in the year they are apart, then others in other groups know there is a place they can go to fill, and lower the burden and increase their situation. News, became important to increased productivity as it extended our presence)
    so this is how I think we have mind (in a very cut down mish moshed form that is trying to bring together a lot of stuff), why we focus on the things we do. why ideologies work. after all, if you live inside this mind model, and not the world, you can play with the inputs and the model and therefore get someone to adopt a mindmodel that is not in line with the world, but when applied to the world, causes outcomes that move the person to the material place that is desired for the outcome.
    Mamet and these others know this information already because the mind model is incorporating it. it CANT ignore it. everything to a creature that is sense could be important to life. it can only ignore things when it feels very very safe and becomes complacent in that safety. (which is why the US has had a lot of peace on their land for a long time. Shock the system, and you snap it back to needing real data, they wake up and hyper focus. They start to be really concerned if what they are doing will work. they trust others ideas less since its dog eat dog.)
    All that is required to move from the left to the right, is to stop imposing a false mental model. The ones with the mental model believe that everyone operates inside one, they got into it, and never remembered what it was like not to have one.
    When they stop trying to predict reality through the mind model, suddenly things they didn’t see before become evident. Epiphanies come about, since that’s important insights that the model kicks up. You can believe you have an epiphany when you ‘get’ an idea, but until you have a real one, you wont know that that is not an epiphany.
    this is why when you get older you move from being a leftist, to being on the right. why? Because the longer your building your mind model, the more it has to bump up against the facts its incorporating. This is where you get people who finally have so much of this bumping that it starts to crack through, and that’s when they start to examine things, and then suddenly, like a door unlocked, whoosh all these ideas and corrections flood through… this is where you get the convert being a more ardent believer.
    Most of this is because most of us are stunted.. our experiences are cut back, and so we are amazed at our normal functioning.
    Oh, one last thing on this. This is why there is a big focus on the young, and euthanasia for all except the elite. Age and treachery always outdoes youth and enthusiasm, and if the youth will not understand the place in the hierarchy just in experience, then this maxim can come into play. They become important players that can be more easily manipulated to walk the plank all the while dancing to the music believing they are going to do better than the more experienced that have been holding them back. Heck, freud was right, but in the wrong place. This was not how they felt of god, this is how they felt of their elders (that in a less productive world would already be dead rather than this knowledge line maintaining high productive power)
    That’s too much already… sorry. And REMEMBER THAT IS ALL POP FROM ME.. other than it correlates with real stuff, its nothing but a hypothesis and using that model to realize things. Whether it is the right one or not right now I have no idea, but it does fit things like our modeling what we will do just before we do it. if we lived in this mind model, that could be done unconsciously and the conscious will could then be fulfilled by moving.
    (Heck such a model can even explain Zen archery. Their mind models are so in tune that when they close their eyes and move their model can follow it, so they literally can see the target, since they are in the model. In a way, they realized how it works, and have used that to get to their answers to get the shivers. But it’s not productive, so ultimately without a higher society around it, it would not work well in the long run. When catastrophes of great magnitude happen once in a while)
    And no, while I have typed copious pages on things from it and outlined it with some phd friends and debated it a tiny bit, I have never kept taking all that and put it together coherently. Sorry.
    Art ignorant as I am, it doesn’t make sense to me that the purpose of art is to challenge some status quo. To me, the purpose of art is to express what cannot be as effectively expressed in any other medium.

    That’s because the socialists believed in socialist realism. Like the islamics, art should never transgress certain rules. islamics will not allow art with content so patterns are their majority art (and have done some amazing things with them). socialist realists and the ideas of perpetual revolution, are the ones that say that every expression must have a message (propaganda), must challenge the status quo (but is NOT allowed to challenge it with uplifting forms), etc.

    This is why our loved themes in the past, are being deconstructed with reimagined versions. From a new version digitally done of Rudolf the red nosed reindeer to replace the rankin bass one (funny the new one has no credits). To even newer versions of little house on the prarie with different story lines on hallmark. (till I read the credits and checked the net, I thought I was having a break. It was very disconcerting both times)

    Willy wonka was perverted from what he was with gene wilder. Why are all the remaining always a perversion? Because the theory is that your promising thirsty people a cool drink. However you’re also deciding that they need to have that MESSAGE that is a requirement. So you sour their most desired thing. This is akin to adding a little salt to the water when you serve the thirsty people. They will keep coming back till they die taking in the salt just a little at a time.

    Like the final hell scene in the porn movie “devil in Mrs. Jones” (the first one). Where she wants lots and lots of sex… and the man in the room… is completely focused to the exclusion of everything else on a fly he cant kill. And together they are in that room for eternity. Early porn that was trying to justify porn as art legally did have art in it and some stuff to prove the point, so that the argument could be made. Once that was accepted that stopped Mapplethorpe is another example of a similar process. By doing perversion so artistically we confuse that with art. Now we are doing that with the film series SAW, teaching us a new morality through unfreezing us with sadism, and then freezing us with the new morality by the end of the movie.

  44. Artfldgr Says:

    Perfected democrat,

    No, it was a real wondering. Not trying to be smug. Some of the most interesting reading I have ever done had been to read the works of someone after their conversion in which they write some really powerful stuff that verges on “oh my god, oh my god, how could I have been a part of that, don’t you see you’re a part of it now happening to you?”.

    They all have the same underlying current and the same story too, but with such tragic variation. From the Russian anarchist that marries a Russian man, and to which he eventually goes to the camps, and how the whole thing inexorably slowly marches forward from the happiest time in her life, to the train ride leaving what became for her a hell.

    There are a lot of interesting books and diaries that when one is a liberal cherry picking for comfirmational reading as opposed to reading that challenges your ideas in cogent ways, one never gets near.

    Everyone knows the diary of anne frank, how many can say they have read “dear god I wanted to live” by Ruta U. a book so similar to frank and even more brutal but from the view of a woman who was a child during the taking of the baltics by stalin, and the subsequent train ride to the taiga, the moska flies, and the life there.

    I am sorry it came off smug. It was not intended. At least I don’t think it was.
    While that isn’t a great thing, I am trying to be honest, and to be honest, I don’t think that way when I write.

    There is nothing to be smug about. Such things are more tragic if seen properly.

  45. Artfldgr Says:

    Harry, that was funny. as a staunch something i would say the proper answer to the issue of amorphous blobs we love. then leve them where they lay. but please, allow something that is not socialist realism (like the spike to the sky where they light the xmas tree in ny), and not celebrating death as death…

    problem is with western culture a no no, and its half in taters, what would uplift us? the feedback loop has been disconnected, so the power is gone, along with extreme fracturing.

  46. Artfldgr Says:

    Trimegistus,
    their political ideas are frozen in 1973 or thereabouts

    Please forgive; you hit a wrong key unintentionally.
    I think you meant to say 1933.

  47. Perfected democrat Says:

    Artfldgr Says:

    March 14th, 2008 at 6:27 pm
    “Perfected democrat,

    No, it was a real wondering.”

    Ok, then I did misunderstand your context. But she might well have read more than you assume…

  48. Gringo Says:

    I wonder if Robyn has read the copious responses to the initial “avant garde artist can’t be conservative” posting? A reply in kind would not be needed, just an acknowledgment that these postings have been read.

  49. kcom Says:

    I’m interested in hearing from you again, too, Robyn, and I’ve posted no other comments on this thread.

  50. Artfldgr Says:

    There is a good chance that robyn will not be back, or comment.

    she is in one of those situations where she was trying to take the high road and figured that we would respond negatively to her. or that we would be cheesy and ‘love bomb’ her

    we didnt, she sparked some interesting conversation and we want to hear from her. probably not the reaction that she expected (if she is paranoid then it would put her on edge to be so far off of expected behavior).

    the dissonance may be too much for her, she may think its a trick. that we are hiding the points till she is drawn in like she was to the other things.

    she may also be ashamed that she doesnt have all these ‘facts’ and thinks they are necessary for good participation (they are not), therefor she is cut out.

    she may have just returned to her comfortable nest and the hum from freinds she is familiar with.

    only she can tell us… i only can make us imagine and think…

  51. robyn Says:

    Oh my! I had no idea I sparked such a discussion. I read this blog…but not everday!

    It is very interesting to read the thoughtful responses and to have some of my ideas challenged and checked. I realize that my language was inadequate in some ways–when I said that art is supposed to challenge I meant that art (to me) is about altering one’s normal point of view about things. I have experienced that from looking at a Rothko painting, a Michaelangelo sculpture and a Cai Guo-Qiang installation–all very different works of art. Art moves you to a new a place in your understanding of the world. I know there are (and were) artists who were conservative but, as many have stated, they often don’t come out say so loudly in public, sometimes perhaps because artists aren’t “supposed” to be that way. Yet maybe they should be louder, and in that regard, kudos to Mamet.

    It is true that we all like to be comfortable and among friends but most artists I know are artists because they like to disrupt their ideas about the world–that’s what usually leads to something new, something good to work with. Nothing is fixed.

    It is hard for me to comment further because, like I said, I look here for information that I don’t find in my circle of friends–that’s the beauty of the internets! I don’t claim to have any special insight regarding what I read.

  52. Artfldgr Says:

    I don’t claim to have any special insight regarding what I read.

    thats what groupism does. An individual ALWAYS has a SPECIAL insight. theirs, which is like no other.

  53. Gringo Says:

    Robyn, your response was fine. I for one did not expect a 5,000 word response, just an acknowledgment that others had different, well thought-out points of view. Which you did.

    My cousin is in the artist community, and while I do not agree with her politics, we share a common past, eclectic tastes in music, and an appreciation of beauty. We respectfully agree to disagree on politics, and consider those disagreements to illustrate idiosyncrasies of the other. Well, that’s just the way he/she is…

  54. Rilaly Says:

    There’s a certain psychological effect that mirrors Mamet’s conversion in simple terms. Before I purchased a red ’97 Toyota Tacoma half ton, I saw few if any on the road. After purchasing the truck, I saw them everywhere. It seemed like every fifteenth car I saw was a red ’97 Toyota Tacoma half ton. For me personally, I think a lot of my previous perspective had to do with my schooling. Once I was out of school, this other world opened up to me. I began seeing everything in a new light. I began to hear a different perspective on history that I had never heard before. I began to hear different perspectives on presidents and world affairs. Once I went through all that, it was inevitable that I judge the world objectively and arrive at opnions that were more well-rounded. It was eye-opening to say the least.

  55. Bugs Says:

    Good for Robyn! I hope she’s serious about opening her mind to change – and that she arrives at her own her own change, something someone else has processed and canned for her. It’s hard to see the world with your own eyes sometimes.

    Because we need more artists who can help us see the world differently with our own eyes. They can give us hints, fingers pointing at the moon – but ultimately we have to see for ourselves.

    It would be nice if we could also get out from under the critics and art galleries. I think in many cases they’re more interested in promoting their own interests than in providing us with great art.

  56. Bugs Says:

    Exuse the typo – the first para should say “…change, NOT something someone else…”

  57. douglas Says:

    “It would be nice if we could also get out from under the critics and art galleries. I think in many cases they’re more interested in promoting their own interests than in providing us with great art.”

    Critic and Curator are the new art forms, haven’t you heard?

  58. John Doraemi Says:

    Mamet’s “great essay” is full of convoluted half truths, ignorance, and several outright lies — much like you would expect from the neocons.

    Hollywood’s Newest Neo-Con: David Mamet Chugs the Kool-Aid

  59. Ike Says:

    John, I tried reading your diatribe. I really did. And I’m a fairly bright individual.

    You lost me when you started bashing anything and everything “free market” with the most outlandish and extreme examples to make your point.

    You clearly disagree with some of Mamet’s premises, which is your right to do. But you lost any authority to examine his reasoning, his path of logic, when you resorted to Straw Man. Mamet’s piece was about a journey — and you bashed the trip because you didn’t like the destination.

    Go learn a little bit about critical thinking and logic, then get back to us. Mature adults “agree to disagree” all the time, when they can respect the reasoning of the other.

  60. John Doraemi Says:

    “You lost me when you started bashing anything and everything “free market” with the most outlandish and extreme examples to make your point.”

    “Free market” is a lie. There is no such thing. Volumes are written about this all the time. Your market doesn’t exist in a vacuum, divorced from the rest of society.

    Real world abuses of the “market” are common, and have been common here. We have progressed beyond such a horrendous society thanks to the struggles of the working classes AGAINST your free market capitalists.

    The free marketers have responded by exploiting workers in places where they have less protections, such as China, Mexico and Indonesia. Our government has promoted this, and helped ship millions of US jobs overseas, and helped to depress wages here. Is all this new to you?

    The distinction that’s important here is between a “free” market where anything goes vs. a regulated market where there is a referee (the gov’t) empowered to safeguard people’s rights.

    Mamet’s “journey” should have examined all these issues in some more depth before he spewed his propaganda across the media.

    Crimes of the State Blog
    http://crimesofthestate.blogspot.com/

  61. Ymarsakar Says:

    There’s no such thing as majority rules, but that didn’t stop fake liberals from promoting it.

  62. an unrepentant kulak Says:

    Glad to see you noticed Mamet’s article too, as it immediately brought your “difficult thing to change” series to mind.

    I’m not extensively familiar Mamet’s earlier work, but it does seem that his shift in worldview may already be evident in his work. I’ve greatly enjoyed all three seasons of Mamet’s “The Unit”, which is refreshingly unlike most other recent Hollywood fare in its treatment of U.S. soldiers and the work they do, portraying them as neither monsters nor victims, but dedicated, flawed, heroic, ordinary, exceptional human beings. I highly recommend the show. It’s nice to see someone in Hollywoodland cheer for the home team for a change.

  63. Ike Says:

    Well played, Mr. Doremei. I couldn’t have made the point more plainly than that. Thank you for more plainly exposing the weakness of your position in as succinct a manner as possible.

    Your complaint about “free” vs. “regulated” markets is ridiculous. For you, a truly “free” market is like a true vacuum, which would be as deadly and cold as interstellar space. By your logic, a true vacuum would be bad; therefore ANY pressure differential would ALSO be bad. Vacuum cleaners ought to be outlawed, because they simply suck.

    Throwing out any semblance of a “free” market because of your aversion to your dystopian notion of anarchy is ludicrous — and ignores the body of evidence that the freer the market, the BETTER the overall living conditions of “the people.”

    There are TWO elements required for prosperity: freedom to trade, and a rule of law that enforces freely-entered contracts in a fair and just manner. You’re ditching one end of that equation entirely.

  64. Vocal Minority Says:

    David Mamet: *Former* Liberal…

    Ultra-liberal playwright David Mamet published an article last week in the Village Voice titled, Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’. The meat of the lengthy piece is here:As a child of the ’60s, I accepted as an article of faith that governme…

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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