Thursday, January 21, 2010

Art, Politics, Judaism, and The Mind of David Mamet

If, like me, you are a fan of David Mamet, you will enjoy this lecture given at Stanford. It starts a bit slow but the Q&A at the end is good.

I'm not sure whether this link will work if you don't have iTunes. I couldn't find the podcast anywhere else on the web.

Stanford News: Judging from all the hardened characters and backstabbing that typify the works of David Mamet, one thing the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright probably knows intuitively is how to entertain people by exploiting the follies of man.

He managed to do just that Jan. 28 during an evening talk titled "Art, Politics, Judaism and the Mind of David Mamet," held in Memorial Auditorium and presented by Hillel at Stanford and the ASSU Speakers Bureau.

Mamet, the writer behind the stage and screen versions of Glengarry Glen Ross, began by rushing through a typewritten speech that nominally addressed the aforementioned topics and several other loosely related issues.

Those included a rant on herd mentality, racism, the incompetence of government, how a liberal arts education delays an adolescent's matriculation into society and how humans are alike in their imperfect and immoral nature. Throughout, he was consistently clipped in tone and unapologetic about his views.

"In my racket, which is show business, one learns through doing and through watching. That's it," Mamet said. "There's no way to approximate the experience of failure in front of a paying audience." ...

See also Mamet on Asperger's, Ashkenazim and the movies (includes video of one of the great scenes from Glengarry Glen Ross).

4 comments:

Halvor said...

You never did answer the trivia question you posed in the Mamet post: do they all have Aspergers? I've always been surprised at how awkward Pinker comes off as in his speeches given what a popular writer he is, but Google turns up nothing about him being on the spectrum.

Steve Hsu said...

Mamet is definitely an outlier on the spectrum, as you can tell by listening to the podcast.

Regarding the trivia question on the older post, I don't know where all of those guys are on the autism spectrum -- certainly some of them are outliers. The thing they all have in common is the belief that human evolutionary selection pressures can operate on much shorter time scales than is usually acknowledged.

anon said...

Mamet's comments regarding the AS BS show him to be a moron.

That you posted them shows you to be a moron.

His movies and plays are for eight- year-olds. He's just another Jew on the make.

anon said...

There is no f-ing spectrum. You're just playing an f-ing languange game.

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