Things I’m Reading Thursday #21

What I’m reading this week…

We live in an illiterate country. The mass media – commercial theatre included – pander to the low and the lowest of the low in the human experience. They, finally, debase us through the sheer weight of their mindlessness.
Every reiteration of the idea that nothing matters debases the human spirit.
Evert reiteration of the idea that there is no drama in modern life, there is only dramatization, that there is no tragedy, there is only unexplained misfortune, debases us. It denies what we know to be true. In denying what we know, we are as a nation which cannot remember its dreams – like an unhappy person who cannot remember his dreams and so denies that he does dream, and denies that there are such things as dreams.
We are destroying ourselves by accepting our unhappiness.
We are destroying ourselves by endorsing an acceptance of oblivion in television, motion pictures, and the stage.
Who is going to speak up? Who is going to speak for the American spirit? For the human spirit?
Who is capable of being heard? Of being accepted? Of being believed? Only that person who speaks without ulterior motives, without hope of gain, without even the desire to change, with only the desire to create: the artist.

from ‘A Tradition of the Theatre As Art’, part of Writing In Restaurants by David Mamet

I’m only a few essays in and already this book is a new all-time favourite. Thank you so much to the lovely Steve for lending it to me!

What are you reading this week?

(Photo via The Center for Asian American Media)

(Ginsberg photo source)

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4 Responses to “Things I’m Reading Thursday #21”

  1. Gareth Says:

    This week (and for the next few too, I imagine) I’m reading David Foster Wallace’s ‘Infinite Jest’, which I’m loving so far. Have also been browsing my contributor copy of Anything, Anymore, Anywhere Summer ‘10 & have already found a few gems. Oh, and I’ve been reading & re-reading The Cherry Orchard, King Henry V & The Sum Of Us (David Stevens) for upcoming drama school auditions.

    May have to check that Mamet out methinks — I’ve studied the acting technique he co-conceived, but have read far too little of his stuff!

  2. Dody Says:

    I am reading the biography of Emily Dickinson, “Lives Like Loaded Guns.” Talk about drama! It is fascinating.

  3. Andrew Shields Says:

    There was a brilliant profile of Mamet in the New Yorker in 1997 in which he said, “Writing is the only thing that stops the thinking, you know. It stops all that terrible nonsense noise that’s in there.” That’s been a touchstone of mine ever since. (If you want the whole article, I have a PDF of it and can email it to you.)

  4. Claire Says:

    Gareth — congrats on getting into Anything, Anymore, Anywhere, it’s a great zine!

    Andrew — that would be much appreciated, if you wouldn’t mind? :) Thank you!