Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Well, now I have a man crush on David Mamet.

By Charlie Kondek

Well, now I have a man crush on David Mamet, because of this Journal piece. I knew Mamet was a martial arts enthusiast but I didn't know he actually trained.

Don't get me wrong, I like his work. I just think it sometimes feels forced and unnatural. Take Glengarry Glenn Ross, for example. Great, fun movie that maybe goes a little too far in pushing its theme: business as an arena in which men are measured by their sales acumen; commissions as testicles, etc.

Whenever I get too down on Mamet, though, I can always play this card: this is the guy that wrote The Untouchables, a near-perfect tough guy movie.

Anywho, this WSJ piece simply makes me all kinds of happy.

Plato and his teacher Socrates moved fluidly from the gym to the agora. Mr. Mamet, his revered jiu-jitsu mentor Renato Magno, and his circle of bouncers, cops, stunt men, body guards and former soldiers seem to live on tracks between the gym and the nearby restaurant where they regularly congregate for an afternoon repast.

"When I have a problem I will sometimes take it to the group," confessed the natural-born alpha male. Mr. Mamet, who is also an ardent student of the Stoics, elaborated: "For instance, someone who I thought was a friend did something rather traitorous. I asked the guys how they would handle the situation. My teacher Renato, of course, came back with 'Don't carry someone else's weight. Let him carry the weight; let it come back to haunt him.' This is one of the central tenets of jiu-jitsu. When you carry the other person's mass you tire yourself and so lose your ability to think clearly. That was the group's way of telling me to let the situation go, to walk away -- which I did."

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