The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture

The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture

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by David Mamet, Johnny Heller
     
 

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For the past thirty years, David Mamet has been a controversial and defining force in theater and film, championing the most cherished liberal values along the way. In some of the great movies and plays of our time, his characters have explored the ethics of the business world, embodied the struggles of the oppressed, and faced the flaws of the capitalist

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Overview

For the past thirty years, David Mamet has been a controversial and defining force in theater and film, championing the most cherished liberal values along the way. In some of the great movies and plays of our time, his characters have explored the ethics of the business world, embodied the struggles of the oppressed, and faced the flaws of the capitalist system.But in recent years Mamet has had a change of heart. He realized that the so-called mainstream media outlets he relied on were irredeemably biased, peddling a hypocritical and deeply flawed worldview. In 2008 he wrote a hugely controversial op-ed for the Village Voice, "Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal,'" in which he methodically eviscerated liberal beliefs. Now he goes much deeper, employing his trademark intellectual force and vigor to take on all the key political and cultural issues of our times, from religion to political correctness to global warming.Mamet pulls no punches in his art or in his politics. And as a former liberal who woke up, he will win over an entirely new audience of others who have grown irate over America's current direction.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
American playwright and filmmaker Mamet is a wide-ranging author (including children's stories, a volume of verse, and even a graphic novel), but he excels at the coolly acerbic essay, which best shows off his contrarian streak. This set of short, informal essays elaborate on his recent political awakening from "brain-dead" liberalism, a foray into what used to be called the culture wars. It feels a couple of decades tardy and, despite its author's characteristically terse yet pensive prose, too at-the-knee of the usual neoconservative icons, including Hayek. The title refers to the privileged patterns of initiation into the worldview of the "Liberal Left" Mamet ridicules, often by analogy to adolescent naïveté. But he replaces one set of talking points with another: the familiar argot about free markets, inveighing against any opposition to Israel as anti-Semitism, and the "liberal" attempt to bankrupt us all. Mamet still wields the colorful anecdote and unexpected analogy, and his narrative holds most interest when straying back to his turf on movie sets and theater stages. But as an avenging apostate of liberalism, Mamet offers nothing new. (June)
From the Publisher
"A Manichean analysis from a strident new voice from the Right—for liberals, something intended to ignite antagonism; for the like-minded, a buttress against the opposition." —Kirkus
Kirkus Reviews

A Pulitzer Prize–winning showman and "reformed Liberal" rants about the precarious state of the nation.

In 39 short essays, playwright, screenwriter and director Mamet (Theatre, 2010) discusses many of his least-favorite things, including taxes, sloth, foreign aid, the notion of global warming, big government, taxes, the present Democratic administration, liberals, taxes and "social justice" (quotes his).Did we mention taxes? With the mood of serious discussion, the author weights this jeremiad with stilted argot and copious footnotes that are simply more of the same arguments in reduced typeface. But Mamet is sharper than the conventional scold, and, like his most memorable stage characters, he offers a mashup of notions, some commendable, supported by reference to very selective history. Unabashed in making blanket, unfounded assertions, the gifted dramatist erects nincompoop straw men easily demolished with clever, impassioned rhetoric. Detection of undeniable flaws in liberal logic, rightly derided, gives way to ad hominemargument,post hocreasoning and faulty classification—it's disputation, not evidence. In a monolithic, elitist Left—one surely not as cohesive and close-minded as Mamet depicts, one more liable to agree with him on, say, the benefits of capitalism (albeit, perhaps, with more legal safeguards—he sees hypocrisy. Surely, community values and the unfettered marketplace of ideas are important to liberal and conservative alike. Sweetened with personal history, a couple good jokes and some pointed insights, Mamet's polemic yields no secret and scant knowledge. He does, nevertheless, raise the volume with incontestable dramatic talent.

A Manichean analysis from a strident new voice from the Right—for liberals, something intended to ignite antagonism; for the like-minded, a buttress against the opposition.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452604015
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
08/09/2011
Edition description:
Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.10(d)

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From the Publisher
"A Manichean analysis from a strident new voice from the Right—-for liberals, something intended to ignite antagonism; for the like-minded, a buttress against the opposition." —-Kirkus

Meet the Author

David Mamet 's Glengarry Glen Ross won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1984. He is also the author of Writing in Restaurants and On Directing Film, both available from Penguin.

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