Saturday, March 15, 2008

David Mamet: Political Prophet

There is a prophet living among us. He is no Elijah foretelling the coming of Christ. He is no Nostradamus predicting the rise of Hitler from gazing mystically into a candle-lit mirror. No, he is David Mamet, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of Glengarry Glen Ross and countless other plays and films. And when it comes to politics and world affairs, he says sooth with incredible truth.

Consider his 1997, Oscar-nominated Wag The Dog, about a president whose aides help him fake a war with Albania to distract the nation from an alleged sexual encounter with a Firefly Girl (ie: like Girl Scout). The term "wagging the dog" is now pundit vernacular. Or, more shockingly, consider this strikingly prophetic line from WTG (to be read a la Robert DeNiro):

"And if you go to war again, who is it going to be against? Your "ability to fight a Two-ocean War" against who? Sweden and Togo? That time has passed. It's passed. It's over. The war of the future is nuclear terrorism. It is and it will be against a small group of dissidents who, unbeknownst, perhaps, to their own governments, have blah blah blah."

That's 4 years before 9/11. That's long before we started hearing about "suitcase bombs" and "dirty bombs." In fact, Dustin Hoffman's producer character creates the idea of a suitcase bomb coming across the border from Canada as the dramatic/narrative answer to how Albania could threaten the U.S. So, assuming that Mr. Mamet's prowess for prophecy is as adept as his ability drop F-bombs, what then can be gleaned from his current Broadway hit November, starring Nathan Lane as a shady, dysfunctional, failure of a President seeking re-election? Let us ponder the prophecy...

Will the RNC abandon John McCain before the election if he won't play ball with the conservative agenda? In the play, the President Smith is abandoned and denied funding a week before the election when his campaign appears to be dead in the water. Will the RNC leave McCain out to dry if it appears he can't deliver? In 4 years, should he win, will McCain be left hanging if his policies/practices don't live up to RNC expectations? Only time and Mamet will tell..

Will George W. Bush be denied a presidential library? President Smith gets no funding for a library because his presidency is deemed such a failure. Honestly, who's going to want to visit a library with the Bush memoirs and a big blown up photos of the infamous "Mission Accomplished," Katrina and Baghdad? Only time and Mamet will tell..

Will George W. Bush find something other than the war to claim as his legacy?
President Smith chooses to tackle gay marriage and put his foot firmly in the ground on an issue he believes in. Will Bush do something worthy of lasting social merit after 4 years of discriminating against gays and immigrants while denying important stem cell research? Only time and Mamet will tell..

I could go on at great length. Instead, I recommend you check out this insightful and funny piece of satire on the Great White Way. Or stay in and rent Wag The Dog. And, in order to maintain some sense of credibility for this post, kindly ignore Mamet's film The Edge. No one cares if in the future Alec Baldwin and/or Anthony Hopkins fight a bear. Unless the bear wins. Bears rule.

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