David Mamet On Anti-Semitism

I've been reading David Mamet's new book, called "The Wicked Son", which is about anti-Semitism - specifically, about Jewish anti-Semitism. It's an incredible read, especially since he's in the avant-garde theater crowd, where he most likely encounters many of the disaffected Jews his book is aimed at. In other words, he knows exactly what he's dealing with, unlike many rabbis, who are simply not in contact with the self-hating Jews that Mamet chastises in this book.

The book also surprised me since Mamet's movie "State and Main" featured a stereotypical ultra-greedy Yiddish speaking film producer. It was meant as satire, but after watching it, I suspected Mamet of exactly the sort of perspective he is criticizing here (even though I thought the movie was hysterically funny). After reading this book, I'm much more willing to give Mamet benefit of the doubt. The movie, which is about a Hollywood movie shooting "on location" in Vermont, and what kind of effect Hollywood can have on a small town, may be playing to our expectations of what might happen in that situation, as opposed to what actually does happen. Or maybe Mamet has simply changed his outlook since making the movie in 2000. Anyway, here's another take on the Jewish aspect of "State and Main".

Also, here's an article by Mamet on Israel's war with Lebanon (written while it was happening). It's not nearly as poetic as the book (which is partially styled after Talmudic questions and answers), but it's a good taste of how he sees things.

Anyway, I've always been a Mamet fan ("Glengarry Glen Ross" is among my favorite movies), and it's very interesting to see him contribute to contemporary Jewish thought. It's a book well worth reading.


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