Monday, January 09, 2006

Oleanna Essay

For years it annoyed me that critics and audiences were missing what David Mamet was saying with his play Oleanna, so I wrote an essay about it. One of the few people who read it, Laurence Cantor an actor in my playwrights group, told his sister about it. She teaches a course at SUNY and had her students read it. I'm so proud.

Here's an excerpt from "History is Written by the Winners"

While I'm sure that even feminist groups are capable of doing bad things, I have never heard of a feminist group using blackmail to ban a book. I'm not saying it's impossible - but I am saying that there's no evidence this has ever happened in the history of feminism. If there was, Katie Roiphe would have shouted it from the mountaintops by now.

This is a problem for Mamet, because political correctness as it is actually practiced would not serve his message. Silly speech codes and public demonstrations are not sinister enough and would probably make a better comedy than a tragedy. So Mamet invents the feminist version of the International Jew, a skulking, ruthless, extremely powerful cabal, able to arrange John's personal destruction through nothing more than hearsay from a mentally challenged undergraduate.

The entire essay is here.