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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Gratuitious Sex and Plastic Frogmen - David Mamet

It's been a bad day for Dead Beat. First the snow, then who should pull up on his skidoo but Mamet. I mean Dead Beat likes the guy. He's the main man, no doubt. But he sure likes to talk.

There Dead Beat is shovelling snow and old Mamet is leaning on the fence post yakking away.

"Whad ya say, Dave?" Winds howling, snow blowing in my eyes and ears.

"Gratuitous sex, Dead Beat."

"You or me?"

"No Dead Beat, the audience for movies. I don't think they need to see it; I think they're habituated to it. Most of the time sex scenes in movies are like the plastic frogman in breakfast cereals. They're put in to fool the audience that what they're getting is a better product."

"Books too, no doubt." I heave a shovelful of the white powder into the wind by accident. It blows back down on both of us. "Got you, boy."

"Whad ya say, Dead Beat."

"Got what you're saying."

"Yeah, well, at least it wasn't as bad as Schindler's List."

"How so?" Heave, ho.

"Because, as a Jew, I don't like the fact of the Jewish people being exploited, whether in the name of good or ill...attempts to picture Jews going to the gas chambers are exploitative, even if they're done for the best reasons in the world."

"The only response is silence?"

"I think so."

"I read somewhere Dave, that you considered it mass entertainment."

"It fits into the audience's need to applaud itself. I like mass entertainment. I've written mass entertainment. But it's the opposite of art because the job of mass entertainment is to cajole, seduce and flatter consumers to let them know that what they thought was right is right, and that their tastes and their immediate gratification are of the utmost concern of the purveyor. The job of the artist, on the other hand, is to say, wait a second, to the contrary, everything that we have thought is wrong. Let's reexamine it."

Dead Beat struggles with his shovel and the weight of Mamet.

"Oh for crying out Dead Beat, give me that shovel, you're useless."

Dave grabs the shovel from my hands. "I've more to say," he warns.

"No plastic frogmen, right. That's what you're saying..."

Dead Beat yields up his shovel - no plastic frogmen Dead Beaters- none at all.

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