The new book by David Mamet, “The Secret Knowledge: On The Dismantling of American Culture” offers a most interesting confessional of sorts that reveals a new perspective on show business personalities that are lumped together under the category of “Hollywood liberals.”
Mamet’s new book reveals a fault line that might be opening on the so-called mindset of tinsel town’s noisy band of activists of progressive persuasion who raise their voices and open their pocketbooks to politicians who cater to their point of view.
In past years the denizens of the non-left were macho men like John Wayne and Ward Bond, who because of their screen personas might have distorted the image of the right as hardheaded brainless jingoists without compassion and conscience. Ronald Reagan, the old union boss of the actors union, made the leap from a Roosevelt liberal to a Republican with an image that seemed less confrontational, although he was bludgeoned by the take no prisoners activists that made Berkeley a war zone in the sixties.
Then came Arnold, another macho Republican who captured the hearts of the California electorate despite the fact that he was connected to the most democratic of democrats, the Kennedy clan. Apparently, that influence had the effect of diluting his views and leaving office as yet another failed California Governor.
Now comes David Mamet, an artist intellectual that has spent his life up to now as a liberals liberal who admits to never having friends or acquaintances in show business who were anything but die-hard liberals.
Mamet gives us an essay by essay description of his changeover complete with reasons, explanations and insights drawn from deep reading of authors who offer their own explanation of how so-called progressive thinking has contributed to what he believes is an attempt to denigrate our culture.
Although some of the essays seemed strained and the prose at times convoluted, Mamet makes his points with flair and sincerity, and is overall convincing. He will not be the first to break the barrier that holds Hollywood types hostage to a cause that might be losing its viability.
In fact, I predict that many others will follow the same path. He is the canary in the mine warning that the herd instinct in Hollywood political culture might soon have to make the same u-turn Mamet has made.
One of the most interesting features of this book is the long list of authors who helped him develop his new point of view.
For him, this has obviously been a vast labor of the intellect and deep philosophical thought that brought this very talented man to his new political path. It is well worth going along with him on his journey.