The Secret Knowledge by David Mamet
It was shocking reading David Mamet’s “The Secret Knowledge – On The Dismantling of American Culture”. First, I should say this: I’m finding it hard to write anything nice about this book. Seriously. If I start reading something and I feel as though I’ve committed myself to reading it, I will do just that – even if I don’t like it. That’s how I got through those college English Lit classes. I mean, Mamet truly is a writer that I’ve admired most of my life. But I’m starting to wonder if he’s always been over the edge or if I’m just now seeing it.
According to my birth year (1963) – correct me if I’m wrong – I think I’m exactly in-between the infamous baby boomer generation and the generation that followed. A confusing place, indeed. But this place (that I’ve spent my life being put into) taught me early that before it could even get started, life is over. For the longest time I blindly hoped – as we all do in this day and age of haves and have-mores – that the boomers would wake from their dream that is the nightmare of others. To me, obviously, the boomers are the worst thing that has ever happened to a nation, they are the seed and the tree of American’t dysfunction. Just look at what they’ve done. And now look at what Mamet has done. The only secret this book reveals is the true greedy and repugnant face of a generation of swindlers, under-achieving hoodlums and cry-babies.
I want to like everything written by David Mamet. Seriously. But that’s never going to be possible. Mamet will always remain one of the great American playwrights – but it seems as though he’s practically given that up. Obviously there is something that drives him to write about his conservatism, and I reckon that’s a good thing. The fact that he is, in the arts, a creative genius and, at the least, participates in political discourse, is OK by me. Yet this isn’t the first time I’ve reached wit’s end with his politics – just as I’ve reached wit’s end with all conservative politics.
This book does take the cake. It is proof-supreme how a brilliant writer can write so… (may all things worst the world over forgive me for using this word but there are moments when it fits perfectly) …stupidly. And I’m not alone in that opine-yon. See the external links below. Also. When one of the only people that would interview him about this book was the filthy, zombie spawn of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, I kinda knew that I was in for a (mis)treat. Anywho. Mamet really should stick with writing plays or films. His batshit conservatism and the belief that right wingers and boomers are OK simply because they are in possession of something that someone else (mostly their own children!) cannot possess, making them the center of the universe, well… I digress. I fought my way through this book because, somehow, in that little S&M place in my heart, Mamet deserves it. I was wrong. The only thing he deserves is a snub.