David Mamet and “the Privilege of Lying”

David Mamet

Ta-Nehisi Coates on David Mamet’s recent gun-nut revisionism (“The Founding Fathers, far from being ideologues, were not even politicians,” etc) for Newsbeast:

All jest aside, I find the process that produces this sort of work to be utterly amoral. I’ve said this before, but this is the kind of writing that would get you bounced out of any decent essay writing class at a credible university. Words have meanings. You cannot change the fact that Thomas Jefferson served in the Virginia House of Burgesses because it’s unfortunate for your argument. Unless you have a name like David Mamet.
The message one derives from this is that power gives you the privilege of lying. If you are big enough, if your name rings out far enough, you may make words mean whatever you want them to mean.
Scott Lemieux concurs with Coates’ unfortunate but apt conclusion:
I have a hard time believing that nobody at Newsweek knew about the political experience of Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson et al. Hell, before he “forgot” it because it was inconvenient to his immediate line of bullshit Mamet knew it. It’s just that they apparently don’t care if a big name lies to their readers as long as…the name is big enough.

2 comments to David Mamet and “the Privilege of Lying”

  • JT

    I read his screed. More simplistic, naive Conservatarian thought. Make up facts to fit the storyline.
    Typical for a certain type of Boomer with shallow liberalism in youth morphing into deeply cynical conservatism once they’ve “made it”.

  • I am not surprised at the cynical idiocy (idiotic cynicism?) of the article. I am surprised anyone would expect better.
    The days when Newsweek had respectable journalism are long gone, and anything decent there now is purely coincidental.

    @JT: What about pre-Boomers whose shallow conservatism in youth morphed into deeply cynical liberalism when they realized ‘making it’ was meaningless? :-)

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