“The Wicked Son”

   Thanks to Warren L.'s prodding, I picked up a Flossmoor Public Library 
   copy of David Mamet's The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred,
   and the Jews
(Schocken Books, 2006).  It's a real beaut.  Evidently, in
   terms of U.S. — and globally consequential — policymaking, "self-hating Jews" comprise an even more insidious and effective anti-Israel Lobby than do the non-self-hating Jews of the notorious 
pro-Israel Lobby across its multiple fronts.   

Unfortunately, though Mamet's publisher was professional enough to include a glossary at the book's end (while there is a definition for 'Haggadah', for example, there isn't one for 'Haganah', much less 'Irgun', 'Lehi', 'Palmach', or 'Stern'), Schocken Books eschewed both endnotes and an index.  So cross-referencing from names and places and themes (and the like) back-and-forth to the text isn't possible. 

Therefore, to simplify matters, let's lift two paragraphs from Philip Weiss's thoughtful — and perfectly negative — review of Mamet's book, which appeared in the New York Observer ("Mamet Embraces Ritual, Spews Venom at Lapsed Jews," October 9, 2006).

Mamet does provide his readers with one name, Weiss noted: That of Noam Chomsky.

Mr. Chomsky continues to “debauch the young with his filth.” Mr. Chomsky says the state of Israel “is a crime.” Mr. Chomsky doesn’t object to Arabs' “incitement to genocide.” Mr. Chomsky feels exempted “from the need of further investigation, explanation, or defense of his position.”
  I asked Mr. Chomsky if he said these things. He wrote back, “I am sure no sources are given, because the statements are all pure lies, as Mr. Mamet knows. He’s not an imbecile.” Mr. Chomsky is right: No sources are given.

Aporia abound in this tract.  Indeed, rule over it.  I suspect the reason is that the author not only is DSM-category emo.  But something even beyond.  Ba'al teshuva, Mamet is.  

So what does all this mean to me?  Very little, let me tell you.  Besides, I think it was all to be expected, as I explained to a friend, given post-sane trajectories and all. 

When one drafts one's manuscripts in crayon, the way that David Mamet does, straightening out the scholarly apparatus is bound to be the least of a publisher's worries.

"'The Wicked Son'," ZNet, March 26, 2007


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