Letters from our readers
1 April 2008
The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.
You might think Obama and Clinton would weigh on behalf of the strikers. This is the perfect example of threats to the American working class to close a plant and outsource the production overseas. Obama and Clinton are core believing Corporatists. Unions in the Obama-Clinton view should only serve as an organization to legitimize what Wall Street wants done.
The Media should ask Obama and Clinton who they side with in this labor dispute. We know the Media will not do so. Obama and Clinton have been carefully vetted by the big money interests. They are where they are at because they have passed the Corporatist Test.
30 March 2008* * *
Thanks for the article. I watched and listened in dismay this week to a speech by Newt Gingrich at the American Enterprise Institute. According to this character the demise of Detroit is due to a “culture” of entitlement. The solution is to abolish obligatory high school education, lower the working age to 12, and do not tax earnings until the age of 16. (I am not making this up). This is a return to the 19th century Dickensian landscapes of humanity rotting in slums for the benefit of the Victorian empire. Watch it—next will come the lowering of the age of consent so that the financial oligarchy can enjoy child-prostitution without fear of stings by political enemies.
I hope you will cover this extraordinary speech that illustrates, as if it were still necessary, the direction of the “leaders” in this country.
Portland, Oregon, USA
29 March 2008
This is an eye-popping article, though I live in Canada and have been laid off since March 5. Yet I hale the action taken by you all. Please keep abreast of the latest situation. About the strike, it is very difficult to obtain the latest happenings. I work with a small company that makes break line and fuel line parts, and we are paid low wages. I wish you as well as other members who are sacrificing best of luck and pray to God for the success of the strike.
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
30 March 2008
On the war in Iraq
Thank you for your honest coverage of a horrific conflict that seems to have no end.
29 March 2008
You have done a real service in exposing David Mamet’s political development. I have always been extremely suspicious of his political outlook. His dialogue is often stimulating, and he demonstrates for his audience how language can be used to create consensus. Your article depicts how he has colorfully portrayed the more cutthroat aspects of capitalism. At the same time, there is a very mechanical and misanthropic approach that has always characterized his writing. His technique includes having an actor repeat a common phrase, such as “Let’s talk turkey,” over and over again, often with only a slight variation. This gives the impression that the reality of a particular situation is based solely on the language. In State and Main, the town accepts the actor Bob Berenger’s version of an accident despite the eyewitness accounts that impeach his testimony. Mamet appears to mock the moral relativism of the film company.
Mamet replaces the postmodern relativism with a more severe error. The actual resolution of a disputed event is based on the whim of the writer. In Oleanna, he argues that sexual harassment is only something that can be alleged. It is simply a story among other stories. This perspective is not that far off from right-wing demagogues such as Rush Limbaugh. More particularly, Mamet constructs a contrived example and seeks to generalize it as representative of most cases of a hostile work environment. He deliberately pits Oleanna, a naive college student, against a clever and much more informed professor. She espouses a veneer of leftist ideology, but beneath the surface her discourse is very primitive, almost right-wing. Mamet quite intentionally provides no authoritative female perspective to lend credibility to Oleanna’s views. Over the time of the play, the professor appears to be more and more the victim of her ill-formed arguments. When he finally does assault Oleanna on stage, his actions seem totally vindicated by Mamet’s presentation.
Mamet’s recent evolution is really no surprise. He has always advanced the writer as this independent decider of truth without any real connection to social interaction. Under the appeals of privilege, he appears to have taken the final step in embracing conservatism.
31 March 2008* * *
I think the current carrying David Mamet was raised early in your article, and in the first sentences of Mr. Mamet’s piece where he goes on about how they all hate the Jews, deep inside. Of course, he has two eyes and a mind, so he knows better, but he has joined a cult that has become a movement.
This is the source of the conflict in him that you note and vaguely ascribe to the nineties current of neo-liberalism whose free market structures are now collapsing about our collective head. Mr. Mamet is not just a Zionist, as you mention. If he is an ardent Zionist today, he has come under the influence of the National Religious Movement whose rabid pronouncements and insane actions somehow slip under the wire of the Western Media. The Socialist Zionist movement of yesteryears have become the ‘Oslo Criminals”, and barely register in the Israeli consciousness today. Remember the Versailles Criminals that Hitler ranted against. You should hear these guys.
Their own publications, the statements of their Rabbis and settlers, and coverage of their activities in the Israeli press are plentiful, so any of your readers can access the insane drivel, not a whit above Nazi publications. As in Germany, even those with first-rate minds can succumb to repeated, simple statements like: “They all hate us. We will never be safe here,” and this at a time when we were never better off. Put bluntly, David Mamet really believes that the elite enclave in which he surely lives will be over-run by pogromists and that his only safety is that tiny enclave sustained by world capitalism in the Middle East, Israel.
In his Village Voice article, Mamet explains his fondness for the Constitution, and gratitude for the free enterprise system in giving my people the opportunity to move from the oppressed ghettos, to ever new levels of power in the United States. Never mind the oppressed ghettos the system placed us in for a century.
Most readers would miss how it all began, though Mamet wisely leaves it at the beginning and end of his essay as a minor point. I assure your growing number of readers and fans that it is not. First, he refers to his moment of enlightenment driving with his wife and listening to NPR or “ National Palestinian Radio.” That’s when the muddle-headed liberal saw the light that shines on the American extreme right. Second, at the end of his manifesto he casts blame on his Rabbi (may his eyes burn with shame) for not allowing the “liberal” congregation to discuss politics.
This is a deliberate falsification. By “liberal,” translate not wearing a “kippa” in a synagogue, having men sit beside women, and female Rabbis at the very dubious “Wailing Wall.” The politics of these guys would begin and end with how we can’t trust the Arabs who only understand force.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
31 March 2008* * *
I have always disliked David Mamet’s works and everything he has been quoted as saying. In his films, the characters are wooden and mechanical, spouting stilted language with no emotion. The characters are, I suppose, meant to represent not real people but archetypes or stereotypes or to be emblematic of various segments of society, etc. However, I have never enjoyed them, nor have I ever believed any of them had any humanity whatsoever. I found Mamet’s statements in interviews to be arrogant, bombastic, dismissive of criticism and appalling. What an unpleasant specimen!
The only film I enjoyed of his was House of Games, and that was because the characters were identified as con men at the beginning and one expected the worst of them. Glengarry Glen Ross was unwatchable and excruciating to view.
I am not surprised that Mamet is an apologist for Israel. He is going the same way that Christopher Hitchens went upon “discovering” that he was Jewish on his mother’s side. All of a sudden, his brain turned to matzoh balls. The same is true of Mamet. It is as though his newly-found Zionism has scrubbed his brain of any sense of perspective or respect for truth it might once have possessed.
San Francisco, California, USA
31 March 2008