Wednesday, February 01, 2006

sucking David Mamet's dick

How the male theatre critics love David Mamet. He is their ideal, two-fisted, manly man who wasn't afraid to have his characters say 'fuck' before that became de rigeur.

And if you want to see the critics suck Mamet's dick hard, the place to go is The New Yorker magazine.

John Lahr worships Mamet and his play Glengarry, Glen Ross. That is the perfect Mamet play, having no female characters at all to drag down the sweaty glorious manliness of the scenario. Of course Mamet has no reason to include women since the play is about the brutality of business not about the brutality of sex.

As I've written before on this blog, one of the biggest fears of men of the theatre is the possibility of being thought of as soft and unmanly, and so they cling to the most manly male playwrights, revelling in tales of brutality and inhumanity. They have some respect for Tennessee Williams, mind you. After all, he did write A Streetcar Named Desire and Stanley Kowalski is a spendid sister-in-law raping brute of a man. But he never had the tough wimmin-disdaining atittude of a Mamet.

Hilton Als's review of Martin McDonagh's brutal play The Pillow Man - which expresses a revulsion of feminine weakness blatantly through the crucifixion of a little girl - compares McDonagh to all the favorite playwrights of his cohort: Mamet, Shepherd, Pinter, Beckett, Pirandello. Damn, Hilton Als loves him some Martin McDonagh. The only manly brutal playwright man he missed is Neil LaBute. But then LaBute's latest play Fat Pig was about feminine concerns so he might be out of the manly club for men at the moment.

Let's not forget the film critics in the New Yorker. David Denby also loves Mamet and his film Heist, but then how could a movie about a criminal with a "hipster moll" fail to charm a straight male New Yorker critic?

No suprise that The New Yorker speaks from a male perspective. It's fairly well known that although at least half the readers of The New Yorker are female, the vast majority of its contributors are male. A web site called Moby Lives documented this fact in 2002. But never fear, the New Yorker cannot be pussywhipped into affirmative action. In the February 6, 2006 issue there are 13 contributors listed, of which three have female names - and two of those contributed poems.

An amazingly high percentage of theatre critics are men. I watch the TV show Theatre Talk regularly, hosted by Susan Haskins. I don't know if I've ever seen a female theatre critic on the show. And in fact the only female critics in New York I know of (except for on the Internet) are Linda Winer of Newsday and a few in the Village Voice (although not the first-stringers).

So it's no surprise that manly Mamet is the toast of the town, since the town in this case has a male to female ratio of about 4:1.

The latest installment of Mametphilia is expressed in this week's New Yorker in the form of Hilton Als review of a revival of Sexual Perversity in Chicago.
In Mamet, American has found its chief chronicler of the ways in which what lies between the thighs does and doesn't relates to what lies in the heart

By "America" of course, Als means men, but then you knew that because that IS the default human being in these United States.

Only a man would consider Mamet a suitable chronicler of love and lust. Mamet's Oleanna makes clear just how much Mamet dreads the possibility of female power. Which might make him a perfect chronicler for a guy from The New Yorker, but not for some of us other Americans.