David Mamet has decided, in the twilight of his career, that his Official Artistic Achievement Statistical Records should include an asterisk indicating that as far as politics goes, he would like to be also remembered as a moron and asshole.
For obvious reasons.
But let's get a bit closer to the bone. Mamet has truly gone nuts.
Or not -- worse, he's gone tedious.
The piece opens with a lot of childish bullshit I'll ignore out of, well, charity. And I'll just quote two paragraphs in a row in the hopes that, well, someone close to him can make him stop.
It is not the constitutional prerogative of the Government to determine needs. One person may need (or want) more leisure, another more work; one more adventure, another more security, and so on. It is this diversity that makes a country, indeed a state, a city, a church, or a family, healthy. “One-size-fits-all,” and that size determined by the State has a name, and that name is “slavery.”
The Founding Fathers, far from being ideologues, were not even politicians. They were an assortment of businessmen, writers, teachers, planters; men, in short, who knew something of the world, which is to say, of Human Nature. Their struggle to draft a set of rules acceptable to each other was based on the assumption that we human beings, in the mass, are no damned good—that we are biddable, easily confused, and that we may easily be motivated by a Politician, which is to say, a huckster, mounting a soapbox and inflaming our passions.
These are two consecutive paragraphs.
I don't want to get too far into the weeds here as to what this sort of indefensible raving means insofar as how one ought to assess Mamet's art. It rather depends on what it is you're looking for, and what criteria you're applying.
Whether a play, or a TV show, or a film, succeeds or fails according to strictly aesthetic criteria, that's a fair means of assessment.
But then when an artist becomes fairly explicitly political, or cultural political, and Mamet has long been open about how his stuff is an intervention into such debates, it's open to critique on those grounds. (I'm way glossing over a lot of arguments here, but bear with me.)
My big problem with Mamet's work is that he keeps trying to write real people into preconceived, dumb, ideological boxes. Oleanna is an interesting disaster -- it's what happens when a keen observer of the human condition accepts as preconditions of human behavior NewsMax-class sociological determinism.