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By November 23, 2008 45 Comments Read More →

The psychopathic world of David Mamet’s plays

Hilton Als writes this in a recent New Yorker magazine:

Among the many terrible realities to which David Mamet exposes us in his exceptional, calculated work, one theme stands out: suckers will never get a break in this wretched world. In the sixty-year-old playwright’s fictional universe, the humane are too soft and dim-witted to survive; their tormentors chew them up with dry relish. Mamet treats the stage as a kind of bloody forum; the gladiators one finds there are skinny con artists, callow film producers, real-estate agents in cheap suits, and ghastly lovers who spar, using the author’s hyper-stylized language as both spear and shield. Even to refer to some of Mamet’s characters as “lovers” feels wrong—like calling a thief a victim. Mamet’s protagonists do not love; they size each other up and assess what they can extract from each other—and the answer is usually money. If they show any physical tenderness at all, it’s brief; they kiss, then withdraw, constantly reminding themselves of the primary rule of survival: Get or be gotten.

Does this not capture the psychopathic world?

Glengarry Glen Ross, for example is a brilliant, excruciating example which has been made into a movie. Business people speak of making ‘a killing’ – Mamet shows the truth behind this choice of words.



45 Comments on "The psychopathic world of David Mamet’s plays"

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  1. Indigoblue says:

    Wini I would like a new Fourdoor Jeep Rubicon in the deep Pearl Blue with all leather interior ! Monster Lift on monster tires and full Chrome package the works !

    For my Christmass present! Thanks LOVE JJ



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  2. BloggerT7165 says:

    Wini to be fair, I think I should mention that I think the best course, and the most painful, would be for the Big 3 to file bankruptcy much like United Airlines did in 2002. They are in such bad shape that this truly may be the only thing that would save them. I think if they did that they would lose some jobs and lower wages. If they shut down completely it would be a disaster though.



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  3. justabouthealed says:

    Did anyone watch the video “Emotion Tabled” that I mentioned? It is at http://www.myspace.com/ryanolawrence.
    To clarify, I do NOT know the choreographer’s intentions but I think the dance captures the pain of interacting with a Nor Malignant N or P very well, and perhaps some of their pain as well. It starts slow so hang in there, and the ending I think is so powerful. A direct link to just the video is at http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.showvids&friendID=290766517&n=290766517&MyToken=43d44038-2d53-49bc-9d36-4cfe27a2bdd0 but it is easy to find on the easier link above. Just scroll a few inches. The only description from the dancer/choreographer is: Anger manifests in many ways, none productive. 1st prize winning piece, Stuttgart Solo-Tanz-Theater Festval, 2007. Choreographed and Danced by: Ryan Lawrence .

    You can see why it won first prise in an international competition! Very powerful! And sort of healing for me….



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  4. henry says:

    justabouthealed – I watched the clip – and yes it is powerful – his movement’s showed the pain he was in and trying to escape from it..Thanks for sharing that – I guess the impact of spaths is everywhere – we here it in song’s – see it on film – and dance. I guess nobody escape’s the pain of loving one of these abnormal human’s..



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  5. Wini says:

    BloggerT: These companies are pawns for greedy politicians playing Obama. You already saw who the greediest are … replay who’s been out front insisting that the money be forked over – re watch the news reels over the last few weeks. I’ll give you a hint who’s the biggest players of this scam … the Senior Senator from my State … plus the Senators from adjoining State to mine … insisting that all these deadbeat companies should be bailed out. What a bunch of con artists.

    The routine was the same how they scammed me. All of them … played me like a fiddle. I had so many fires going on at the same time … they never let me breath … and in the end, they took EVERYTHIING from ME !…. I know what I’m talking about … I lived it. BIG BULLIES and THIEVES all of them! I HOPE THESE A$$H*LES PRICKS GET THROWN OUT OF OFFICE.

    Now they are doing the same scam at a bigger level. Note how Obama has to put all these fires out … Fires that these politicians made deals in the backrooms with all these companies.

    Obama should hold up all five fingers and tell them to read between the lines.

    Peace.



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  6. Wini says:

    BloggerT: My EX fiance’s father was head of a union and personally knew our State Senator, as did my EX … they are the same age. All making deals behind my back to nail me.

    Now you know why everyone blocks me from having this con-artist picked up … cause the rest of them go down with him … PRICKS all of them.

    Peace.



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  7. Wini says:

    BloggerT: Correction … I meant to say Congressman from adjoining State to mine. But, the Senator from my State was correct.



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  8. LouiseGolem says:

    Don’t really have time to read all the responses here, so sorry to all for whom I’m sure they mean a lot! Yes, Dr. Steve, I find it interesting that you put this here. Mamet’s world is s wild and manipulative–

    I’ve recently been watching Kushner’s Angels in America. When it first came out, I saw it on Broadway and didn’t fully understand it. Now that I’ve had a relationship with a major manipulator, I do. Roy Cohn in that play, I believe, embodies the sociopathic spirit of the corrupt American system. Such wonderful dramatic justice that he dies of AIDS (though keeps refusing, right til the end, that he’s really gay) But he DIES, ushered to the other side by Ethel Rosenberg, whose execution he assured. And that wonderful character of Prior Walter LIVES — I now think that Prior is an apt prophet for our time: a person who knows the dark side, recognizes he has to be alert, but also maintains a goodness in his heart.

    Notably, too, by the end of the second part of the play he has his beautiful body wrapped in something like a burka. Beauty attracts evil — because evil likes to make beauty its own.



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