David Mamet on his new book, The Secret Knowledge
HH: Special couple of hours ahead. David Mamet is one of the nation’s most influential playwrights, screenwriters, directors, and until recent years, an icon of the left. Then, in a 2008 article for the Village Voice, and most thoroughly and recently in a brand new book, The Secret Knowledge, Mamet has broken with the left, and has written a devastating critique of its intellectual shallowness, its impact of devastating quality on the culture, and he joins me now. David Mamet, welcome to the program, good to have you on.
DM: It’s great to be on, thank you.
HH: Let me ask at the beginning, do your old friends on the left think you are ill, or the victim of blackmail, or what?
DM: Well, I think I have some friends who roll their eyes. I don’t have that many friends. You know, I spend most of my time either at work or at home with my marvelous family. But I think I have some friends who roll their eyes, and I had some who read the book and said oh, you know what, I agree with many of the things you say, which coming from a liberal, is like a road to Damascus moment, you know?
HH: But they don’t accept the conclusion, do they?
DM: I don’t think so, because I think they can’t. I think that’s the essence of liberalism, is that one can’t change one’s mind. It’s just like being a neurotic. One doesn’t know that one is making a false vision of the world. If one were aware of that, then the neurosis would be over.
HH: In The Secret Knowledge, you’re very kind to me and to my colleagues, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, as well as to Glenn Beck as sources for some of your news and information flow. And I have noted in many of the reviews of the book, this fact drives your critics crazy, that you actually listen to talk radio. Have you noticed how the great snarl unfolds when you reveal that?
DM: Well no, because I really don’t, I don’t read criticism. I stopped doing that years ago. And when we were going to do this book, people said oh, you know, you’re going to go on the right and the left. And I said no, I’m not going to go on the left. There’s no point to it. I don’t want to go up there, and the other guy’s got the microphone, and I don’t want to be the ventriloquist’s dummy for him to get over points on me. If anyone wants to discuss the book, I’ll be happy to, but no one’s going to do that on the left.
HH: That’s actually very perceptive. They don’t even read it on the left is generally my experience.
HH: If you’ve been listening to this show for a while, you’ve heard people like Mark Steyn and James Lileks, Hitch before he was ill, Victor Davis Hanson. And as I read The Secret Knowledge, it occurred to me that the people who work best in words right now, in 2011, like those four, like you and many others, they’re all on the right. And is that a coincidence, David Mamet? Or is it because the vapidity of the left is just so, you can’t support it with words, it can’t be worked in words?
DM: Well, there’s something else, too. I mean, the great joy of being a writer, and the great genius of the 1st Amendment is you get to write, sit down and write whatever is in your head. But if you’re…if whatever’s in your head has to be limited to me and my tractor, you’re not going to have very much fun being a writer. And no writer who’s really any good is going to put up with a maybe. So I mean, who wants to write Stalinist tracts?
HH: But that’s where they’re left now. Is there anyone working on the left who you read and enjoy, or whose work you look forward to seeing?
DM: Well, I mean, there are people on the left whose work I look forward to seeing. The people whose work I look forward to seeing, I don’t know whether on the left or not, I thought John Patrick Shanley’s play, Doubt, was a masterpiece, one of the great additions to the American canon. It was a wonderful, wonderful movie. But you know, on the airplane, looking at movies, and they’re all the same stupid movie. And enough already.
HH: It is clear that you have read pretty much everything Thomas Sowell has written. In fact, I think he is the most cited individual, maybe Hayek, but certainly Sowell, in The Secret Knowledge. Is there anyone, any intellectual on the left who is writing right now, or works whose books you look forward to, or even a magazine like The New Republic or The Nation that you regularly take, David Mamet?
DM: No. (laughing)
DM: And this may be over insular on my part, and it probably is, but it’s like being a Jew. You know, you read Victorian literature, and they always bring in the stock Jew character. They drag him in by his heels, you know, much in the same way that American movies, comedies in the 30s and 40s had to have the stock African-American character in a Mantan Moreland, or Willie Best, or Hattie McDaniel, or Butterfly McQueen. In the scene, they had no purpose in the movie except to remind the viewers remember now, we white people all hate blacks now, let’s keep that in mind.
HH: So predictability…now…
DM: Yeah, so the same thing is true in writings on the left, that they’re going to bring in the stock jibe at whomever – Sarah Palin, me, for example, Ron Paul. And you think well why…I get it. Can’t we take the ad hominem out of it?
HH: In the book, in the middle, you write that a play is basically an exercise in raising, lowering and altering of expectations. So are interviews. And so I kind of want to start by raising the expectation of the audience as to how clear you are in this by talking about Sarah Palin. On Page 137, you write, “Part of the left’s savage animus against Sarah Palin is attributable to her status not as a woman, neither as a conservative, but as a Worker.” That is, I think, 100% correct. Would you explain that to people?
DM: Yeah, the left of today is not the left of my father’s day when it was made up of workers and factory workers and housewives, and veterans of World War II, and people who fix the lawnmowers, and the Republicans were the guys in the plaid pants who didn’t let the Jews in. The left of today is, it’s very much the cheese and white wine guy sitting around and talking about the greed, how greedy the world is, and how the dumb Americans have ruined this beautiful, beautiful world. And it’s kind of Malthusian. It’s saying don’t those people realize there are just too many folks on the highway, in the national forest, and they’re getting in my way? That would be, now tell me the question again. I got carried away with my own rhetoric.
HH: Sarah Palin, how Sarah Palin fits into that.
DM: Oh, sure. So Sarah Palin is a threat for several reasons. One is she’s a woman, and as I wrote an article in Misogyny, the left, if you look at it, really doesn’t like women. How do I know? Well, let’s look at Monica Lewinsky and Broadbent, and Mary Jo Kopechne, and all of these people who were in various ways vastly abused, and in one place, killed by liberal men and the left said nothing about it. They never mentioned it.
DM: …because they weren’t, because as much as they’re “feminists,” it was more important to be a member of…is attacked as a woman, as attacked as an attractive woman, freed succubus, and attacked because she’s an actual worker, and because her story is part of the American myth.
HH: Yeah, she was a commercial fisherman, and like Harry Truman, actually knew of which she speaks when she talks about hard work.
DM: Sure, and also it’s part of our myth of Hollywood, you know, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, or The Farmer’s Daughter, The Candidate, Bulworth, The Contender. The myth is played out over and over and over again, Dave, the normal person who says well heck, I can do that, and in effect, can do it and rises to the highest office in the land. So when the left sees that in real life, of someone who is not on their side but on the other side, someone who has not been indoctrinated, someone who expresses herself well and is unusual and attractive and funny, it scares the hell out of them. So they say oh, you know, she’s stupid. I say I don’t get the joke. I don’t see what she’s stupid about. She seems to have succeeded wildly at everything that she ever did. All right, she’s just the governor of Alaska. Well hell, I’m not the governor of Alaska, and you aren’t. I doubt that either of us could be starting from zero. Well, it’s a small state. It just has a few people, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But the left knows not why it hates Sarah Palin, but they’re still talking about her.
DM: I mean, even before it became clear that she’s probably going to run for president, when they were still bitching about George Bush, and they’re still kvetching about Sarah Palin. They got scared so bad that they can’t stop complaining about her.
HH: How do you assess the character and the intelligence of George W. Bush, David Mamet?
DM: I have no idea. I really don’t…in looking back, I think he did a pretty damn good job. I think he certainly inherited the first attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, and kept the country, he and his people kept the country safe. He’s tried to do away with the travesty of Social Security, which I thought was a very, very brave move on his part, because he must have known it was damned near doomed to be a loser, but he threw himself into it. And he served his country. God bless him.
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HH: David Mamet, the book is salted with biography, but it isn’t an autobiography. But I still want to start with these bits of biography that are through there. At one point, you quote someone as saying you were from the Midwest, and you challenge them, “I was not from the Midwest, I was from Chicago.” What’s the significance of that?
DM: Well, we don’t consider Chicago as part of the Midwest. We just consider it as part of…not that we have anything against the Midwest. It’s just like if you said to somebody from Manhattan, oh, you’re from New York State. They’d say well, yes, geographically, I’m from New York State, but I’m from Manhattan. And the same was true of Chicago.
HH: “The city,” you write, “was not the promise of snow removal and an absence of litter, but an amalgam of strivers and hucksters. And I found it, thus, either much like myself, or more likely I became schooled by its culture, just like the Mayors Daley and then State Senator Obama, and all the governors and councilmen who went to jail, and Hugh Hefner building whorehouses which sold everything but sex, and the inspired and depraved of that toddling town.” How do you put Rahm Emanuel into that list of icons of Chicago, David Mamet?
DM: Well, he’s the old-style Chicago pol, isn’t he? He’s the old machine pol, you know, going back in the style of the Daley’s and Big Bill Thompson, or right back to the beginning. That’s who he is, and we see in President Obama the add mixture of the worst of the Chicago machine politics and the worst of ideological politics. It’s a witches brew.
HH: But you seem to have a great admiration for the Chicago of your youth. You write, “I had a very interesting youth. This is how we did things there. One spiffed the mechanic at the cab garage if you wanted to get a working cab. One paid off the cop who pulled you over, as it was much cheaper than going down to 11th and State and paying the fine. The politicians were corrupt. Why else would they be politicians?” Was it better that way?
DM: I don’t know if it was better that way. Well, look, I don’t know that it was better. I don’t think that one should break the law. I think that people will break the laws, and people in power will bend the laws. And the more power you give them, the more they’re going to bend the laws. My step-sister worked for the state and the, what do you call it, the toll road system. And she came home after the first week and said do you know I have to kick back two weeks of my salary every year in addition to the various cans that they hold out for political candidates? And my step-father, her father, said I’m very well aware of that, and pause, pause, pause. That’s the way it was. And if you wanted to get in on the action, you know, you formed your own scam like Jesse Jackson, for example.
HH: David Mamet, you write, “The politicians have not changed, but it seems that the electorate cannot locate its ass with a guide dog.” Does that mean that the quality of corruption is declining in Chicago?
DM: No, I don’t think the quality…I hope, I don’t think the quality of corruption is declining anywhere. I just think that at some point that when we start to say I know how to run, I know I only have so much money this month for my household, I have to think what I’m going to save, what I’m going to spend, what I must have, what I can defer, and what I can alter. I know the same is true of my church when I worked for the church. You know, the same is true of the city council. But somehow, when we get to the national level, it’s all pie in the sky, and a fellow gets up there and says hope and change, waves a magic wand, tells me he’s going to lower the level of the seas, by God, I’m going to vote for that man. It’s an act of idiocy.
HH: You know, your contempt for President Obama, especially his faux sports affection for the Chicago White Sox, is pretty palpable. Do you have any hope that he’s going to turn this around?
DM: Turn what, turn what around, Hugh?
HH: The economy, his administration, his, well, he’s incompetent as can be. He’s a failed presidency already.
DM: Well, how can you turn the economy around? The only way to turn the economy around is to let the economy go. For God’s sake, I mean, how many times must this be proved, that the money you give to the government is waste. The best that they’re going to do is give some of it back to the people who support them.
DM: They’re…what are they…and to buy off those people who are going to support them. I mean, it’s no different than the 1st Ward politics in Chicago. But it’s bankrupted the country, because we’re driving, we’ve driven most of our industrial base away. And the only industrial base that Obama has left is the tax structure. So what he’s doing is, in effect, colonialization, which is to say to go into a foreign country, for him, that would be America, to take the goods and services of that country for nothing, and sell them back trinkets at an inflated price.
HH: When you say a foreign country for him, you’re not a birther. You’re referring to the culture in which he came up with, and its opposition to the general culture of the country, I assume.
DM: That’s exactly correct. And I thank you for making that distinction. That’s exactly correct. What I say, I used to say he’s a guy who never stepped off the sidewalk.
DM: You know, he never stood in line waiting for a job, he never got kicked out in the cold, he never had to say my industry has gone bankrupt, what do I do next? He’s always been a golden boy.
HH: What do you think of the years he spent as a “community organizer?” You write about Alinsky. You know this gang. You grew up with this gang.
DM: Yes, I did.
HH: Did this community organizer years that he writes about after Columbia, and after his brief tour on Wall Street, and after the private school in Hawaii, did it just teach him how to camouflage himself as a leftist? Or did he really believe it, in your view?
DM: Well, it’s…the essence of what he was doing was the essence of leftism, which is a shakedown. It’s, socialism is a shakedown. It’s selling a good idea to the insufficiently attentive, and the good idea is why don’t you give me all your money.
HH: You write a great deal about your family and how they got to Chicago. Your grandfather lost it all in the crash, your grandmother had to work at the department store downtown. But your dad talked his way into Northwestern, and succeeded in America. Now did they go left as well? Did your grandfather and your grandmother and your father, did they all head the conventional liberal drift?
DM: Well, my grandparents all came from Poland, and they didn’t speak English very, very well. But my dad grew up believing in Roosevelt, and was a kid of the Depression, and he believed very strongly in the G.I. bill, which just sent him to Northwestern. And he was a labor lawyer and was a liberal, but he voted for Reagan.
DM: And I said geez, Dad, why’d you vote for Reagan? And he said I thought it over, and he’s the better guy.
HH: So he was open…you went to the Francis Parker School, which is an emblem of all things left wing for people who know about it. And you don’t write about that much in The Secret Knowledge. Were those good years? Were they dedicated professionals? Or was it as they are today?
DM: Well, I went to the Francis Parker School for my last two of high school. I went there for two years. And it was not at that point a bastion of leftist thinking for several reasons, one of which was it was in the early 60s. It was before the onslaught of the school as the locus of social indoctrination.
DM: And the second was it had the greatest teachers I’d ever met. And the reason is that they were survivors of the Holocaust. They were mainly Jews, Francis Parker was a mainly Jewish school. And they were Jews who’d fled the Nazis, either got out in the 30s, or survived and came over in the 40s. And the board of the Francis Parker School found these people running elevators and scrubbing floors on their hands and knees, and people with multiple doctorates from the great universities of Europe, who couldn’t get accredited as a teacher in the Chicago public school system, and hired them. And so I was exposed to these genius teachers, these great, great teachers for two years.
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HH: That, of course, a clip from The Untouchables, which David Mamet wrote the screenplay for. You were talking at the break about your teachers at Francis Parker School and their backgrounds. Did any of them have any dramatic impact on how you write, David Mamet? Did you learn to write from those teachers?
DM: No, I didn’t, but look, they were the first people in my life who ever told me I was smart, because I spent my life in the public schools before that, and they kept flunking me, and putting me in remedial classes. I think they thought I had a learning defect, because I was just bored to death. I just couldn’t force myself to open the books. So I got to the Francis Parker School, and these genius teachers changed my life by saying you know what? You’re very, very smart. And it is actually no big deal to get an A on this test. One guy said to me, he said a hole in French grammar is just a like a hole in your shoe. Just go fix it. And we had a wonderful teacher called Barr McCutcheon, and he still may be there. And he used to teach calculus to fourth graders, because he just didn’t tell them it was calculus.
HH: Did that continue at Goddard? You went to college in Vermont, and you went, I assume, in the late 50s, early 60s. Was it a revolutionary ethic? You’ve got quite a lot of hard words for the Tom Hayden’s, and the other radicals of the 60s. But what was your college life like?
DM: Well, there really wasn’t a college there. I mean, it had this wonderful brochure about learning in the Savin idyllic environment, and being free to choose your own classes. But when one got there, there was nothing there. There weren’t any classes, there weren’t any books. And if people don’t believe me, they think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. And so we students were left to our own devices, and some of us gravitated into the theater, and just stayed there for years, which was what I did, putting on plays. And some of us joined the SDS and the Weathermen, and ended up blowing up those buildings in New York City, and going underground for thirty years.
DM: And Goddard was kind of a locus on the underground railway of, looking back, of the Weathermen and the SDS, and the more radical elements of the 60s. And H. Rap Brown spoke there, and Stokely Carmichael spoke there, and everybody spoke there.
HH: And as you look back at this now, were you aware of how absolutely self-destructive the SDS Weathermen were, and the path on which they were going? Or were you just cheering them on?
DM: I wasn’t cheering them on. I didn’t know who they were. You know, I was interested in chasing girls and putting on plays.
DM: What did I know, you know, fool that I was. But I had a…somebody burnt down the guard house of this school. They put up this guard house to see who was coming in and who was going out. And it wasn’t a gate, it was just a little guard house in the middle of the road. And some student burned it down. And then when it came time for graduation, my roommate submitted his thesis, and his thesis was on why he burned down the guard house, because he had been studying the works of Martin Heidegger, a noted Nazi, by the way, and saw that this was an expression of true freedom, an expression of the self, to have burnt down the guard house. And they awarded him a degree for burning down the guard house.
HH: (laughing) You obviously got a lot of your education in Chicago. There is a beautiful passage on your mob girlfriend. And I will read it some other time on the air just so people can enjoy it. Do you know what happened to her after your late night trips to Cicero, and your dalliance?
DM: No, I don’t know what happened. I’m sure she did well, because she was a good girl, a smart woman. I’m sure she did well.
HH: Do you spend any time back in Chicago now at all?
DM: No, very little. I go back once in a while. My step-mother’s still there. Everybody else is gone.
HH: And as a young man, you write, “I took every job I could get.” I gather, then, Chicago was open to young men on the make. There were things to do, there were jobs to be had, and experiences to accumulate?
DM: Well, yeah, they used to say in the old days, if you can’t get work in Chicago, you can’t get work anywhere. So I worked at everything, and that was, it was a real education, because you know, however liberal one’s feelings may be, and however young and foolish one may be, one still doesn’t come up to the boss and say you know, I need this job because I’m out of work, and it would suit my talents, but I’m not going to take it until after I’ve reviewed your environmental policy.
HH: (laughing) What was your first job, David Mamet?
DM: I think my first job was about 12, I was passing out leaflets for this guy on 71st Street in Chicago. But I worked at everything. I worked in bookstores over there, I worked as a window washer, I worked as an office cleaner, I drove a cab. I used to service the films in the airplanes at O’Hare Airport when they actually had films. I did every damn thing.
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HH: That is, of course, Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross. The man who wrote it, David Mamet, is my guest this hour and next. David Mamet, you write about your time at Camp Kawaga. Am I pronouncing that correctly?
DM: Yeah, that’s right.
HH: The Chicago Jewish summer camp, and one of the most amazing bits in this is you talk about how on Sundays you had chapel, and the day began with the Ave Maria and Taps each night. But at one point, the camp director reads a poem by Douglas MacArthur. And you found yourself able to recite it by memory. Can you still do that?
DM: Oh, let me see. It said build me a Son, Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, who will be brave enough to face himself when he is afraid. And then it goes onto this list, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then, which I don’t remember, and I remembered the end. It said and then I, his father, may dare to breathe I have not lived in vain. So I always thought that poem was hot stuff until I read If by Kipling, and I realized the MacArthur poem, that If was Rudyard Kipling addressing God, and MacArthur’s poem was a request for expedited delivery.
HH: And you also have your own version of Polonius’ speech in charge, and so you’re quite obviously concerned with how you’re raising your son, and how boys are generally being raised. And you kind of dance around this, but do you worry that this society is not allowing its young men to be men, and as a result, what did you say, the land is going to lie fallow?
DM: Well, sure, I mean, especially in the liberal communities. But it’s one’s responsibility as a father to raise the son, because you know, Ms. Clinton’s book to the contrary, it doesn’t take a village to raise a kid, it takes a family.
HH: Where did you, did you educate your kids in public schools? Or did you have to, given you were in L.A. or New York or wherever, find them a private school? And in so choosing that private school, what did you look for, given all the, you know, just the crap that goes into liberal education these days?
DM: Well, we started them in L.A. in the public school for a couple of years, and I just couldn’t…private school for a couple of years, we couldn’t take them anymore, so they were all in the public schools now, which are…private schools.
HH: All right, now I want to switch over to some questions about the theater. My friend, Lee Habeeb, who’s the senior vice president for content here, was an actor, was very excited to hear when I was going to have you on the program. And he said to me immediately, when I said Mamet’s coming on, he said you know, he’s been a conservative for years. He just didn’t know it. No one could write about political correctness with the cynicism and insight that you had and not be a conservative in things like Speed The Plow. Do you think he’s right about that?
DM: Well, I don’t know. I’m flattered by the observation. I don’t know. They did an interview with me in the New Yorker about 13 years ago, and John Lahr was doing the interview. He said everyone in the office says you’re a neoconservative. And I said oh, that’s interesting, what is a neoconservative? So I’d never heard of the genus at that time.
HH: He also went to his bookshelf and pulled off True And False: Heresy and Common Sense For The Actor, which you wrote more than a decade ago.
HH: In it, you called method acting a cult, and this is what Lee sent me, “Nothing in the world is less interesting than an actor on the stage involved in his or her own emotions. The very act of striving to create an emotional state in one’s self takes one out of the play.” And Lee said that’s a conservative teaching acting as a craft, not a therapy session.
DM: Yeah, it’s a shame that acting got hijacked in the 30s. And there’s a couple of good reasons for it. One is that the same people who were involved in acting were very, very much committed to psychoanalysis, so they were trying to cross-stack the ideas of psychoanalysis. And the other is that acting got hijacked, to a certain extent, by the left. And a lot of the people involved in the group theater, and later in the actors’ studio, were, more than the group theater, were communists, or were social statists, and they thought that the actor’s job was to convince through his acting, and through the choice of the place, to convince the audience about their own state, to wake them up to their own state so that they could revolt, a perfect example being Waiting For Lefty by Clifford Odets.
HH: You also, in that book, he sent this to me, this is echoed a great deal in The Secret Knowledge from the ’97 book you wrote. “Formal education for the player, the actor, is not only useless, but harmful. It stresses the academic model and denies the primus of the interchange with the audience. The audience will teach you how to act, and the audience will teach you how to write and direct. The classroom will teach you to obey, and obedience in the theater will get you nowhere.” That critique carries forward 15 years into The Secret Knowledge, David Mamet, so it’s clear you are kind of working this out over the course of fifteen years. This didn’t, you just didn’t wake up in 2008 and say I’m a conservative.
DM: No, you know, you’re right. But you know, I’ve always been a, I think, a little bit of a contrarian, because I never did well in school, and I kind of didn’t go to school. So I had to figure things out for myself. And I read a wonderful book the other day by a guy called Karl Langewiesche, and it was written, I believe, 1944. And he was a flight instructor for the United States Army Air Force. And he wrote a book, and he said you know, everything these kids are being taught is wrong. This is not how a wing works, this is not how a plane works, this is not the way they should be taught. Let’s start from zero. And so he did, and it’s the book that all beginning pilots are first given. It’s kind of brilliant, because he said I’m going to shed the theory, and I’m going to tell you what I understand. And P.S., I’m betting my life on it.
HH: Like R100 versus R101. I did not know that anecdote until I read it in The Secret Knowledge, and it’s very impactful on…tell people about building a dirigible.
DM: Yeah, there was this fellow called Neville Shute, who wrote a bunch of wonderful, wonderful books – No Highway In The Sky and Trustee From The Toolroom, and so a lot of them were made into huge movies. But he was actually an aircraft designer by day, and a very successful one. And one of his early jobs is he worked as a structural engineer for de Havilland, who was making, a British company that was building a dirigible, a rigid airship for cross-oceanic travel. But the ministry of aviation said well, we’re going to hedge our bets. We’re going to give the contract out to two people. We’ll give them out to de Havilland, and we’ll also give it out to the government. Off you go. So the two groups go to work, and they check back and forth with each other, and the de Havilland engineers kept saying wait a second, the government’s ship has a lot more redundancies than ours, and it’s heavier than ours, maybe we’re doing things wrong over here on the commercial side. And they kept rechecking their figures, and they said no, no, we’re right, they’re wrong. And then they started telling the government side you know, you guys are making that ship unairworthy. And the government said oh, pooh pooh. So the two ships took off, and Shute’s ship made a successful crossing east to west over the Atlantic, and the other ship went west to east, and crashed in 300 miles, killing everybody on board, including the minister of aviation.
HH: And that is all the story you need to know about the government. I’ll be back with David Mamet.
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HH: David Mamet, I want to play for you a little clip from an interview you did with Charlie Rose in 2007. Again, my friend, Habeeb, sent this to me. He seems a little bit startled when this happens. Let’s listen to the exchange.
DM: People in Israel don’t want war, they want peace. It’s the Palestinians who have a marvelous P.R. campaign.
CR: What do you think of Jimmy Carter?
DM: Must we?
DM: I say he’s a champion of murder. He’s a champion of terrorism. That’s unfortunate, but I wish I could find some other way to interpret that…you know, Jimmy Carter is what he is. I feel like a fool for voting for him, and it makes me heartsick that a president of the United States would adopt a stance throughout the book that I understand, unfortunately, as anti-Semitism. Call me crazy.