By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
Critics left and right
Re David Mamet's 'Why I Am No Longer a "Brain-Dead" Liberal' [March 12–18]: This is the first time I have ever knowingly read anything in the Voice. I thought you were all "brain-dead liberals." I will reconsider.
San Diego, California
Change the headline to "Rich White Guy Says Everything Is Great!" and Mr. Mamet's piece would have been perfect for The Onion.
I'm glad Mr. Mamet has at last seen the light. If he intends to hang out with Republicans, he should probably desist from his loopy opinion that Dubya stole Florida. The opposite is in fact the case: Gore attempted to steal Florida.
Most Republicans would be too polite to spit in his eye over that opinion, but he might run into the wrong guy.
I am not at all surprised by Mamet's article. Although I am a long-time conservative, I have liked him. I have always read Mamet's work and thought him to be much more reasonable than the liberal views he expresses, and more reasonable than those he hangs out with, and more reasonable and conservative than those he seemingly writes for. He gets it.
Wickford, Rhode Island
David Mamet retains his liberal standing in verbosity. He takes forever to get to the point! The rest of us got there the same way he did. Why does he feel so special?
As one of those imperfect humans to whom the article referred, I still know truth when I see it, and I still appreciate the bravery that is often required to tell it. I think this is the bravest thing Mamet has written.
Major Steven Givler, USAF
I must say I struggled with the headline. What I struggled with is Mamet's implication that his brain has previously been dead, but is now dead "no longer." There are two ways to look at this. One is that Mamet may really believe his brain was dead, but now lives. This would suggest an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality—see Shelley's Frankenstein etc. The other way to look at this is that Mamet, despite being in the word-output business like myself, doesn't think about or mean what he says. This seems more probable, even if brain death would do much to explain his past public statements and amusements for the stage.
As a former high-school classmate of David Mamet's, I was enchanted to read his article on the polemics of politics. He writes: "As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart."
I beg to differ! Although I have not seen or spoken to David Mamet in 41 years, the David I knew was an absolute believer in the concept of "good at heart." In fact, I attribute much of my modest success to a then-young yearbook editor who praised and encouraged me to reach beyond myself. Dave remains to this day the man of vision he appeared to be in 1964. I extend a belated and well-deserved thank-you from someone to whom you offered the concept of hope at a time when it was badly needed. David, welcome to the free market!
Karen Molt Peterson
Country Club Hills, Illinois
Mamet's pseudo-controversial essay (he's knocking liberalism in the Voice?! How bold!) was about as facile as the author's past decade of writing. After nearly 2,500 words, most of which was name-dropping and show-pimping, Mamet's deepest insight is: If we just work together, beyond partisan labels, everything'll work itself out. Puh-leeze.
Mamet's "privileged class" status has rendered him both basic and boring.
Mamet writes that he is "hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow." How he can ignore the civil-rights legislation of the '60s and the environmental legislation of the '70s? Does he really think we would now have a black man running credibly for president, and our much-threatened progress on the environmental front, without direct government intervention?
I guess I've been smelling the whiff of liberal-backlash stench from Mamet since the white-men-in-crises whinefests Oleanna and Edmond.
I'm so tired of these rambling "why I'm not a bleeding heart/ brain-dead liberal anymore" pieces inevitably written by old, bitter (white) males. They rationalize their selfish lameness by insisting that anyone else who isn't knee-slappingly psyched about the system in which they have managed to score is obnoxious, stupid, or woefully naïve.
The point is not to describe the precise moment when you wanted to tell some NPR douche, "Shut the fuck up!" (We've all been there, buddy. Even liberals.) The point is to figure out when you stopped giving a fuck about anyone else outside your rarefied circle.
Or in the vernacular of your characters: Suck it, Mamet.
Thanks to Mamet for writing it, to you for having the courage to publish it, and to Rush Limbaugh for mentioning it on his show.