Thursday, February 28, 2008


I was surprised and disappointed that more than one of the reviewers of David Mamet's November claimed that the play wasn't serious about politics--a very strange complaint to make about a satire. It seemed to come from some sense that the play ought to be telling you what policies to endorse or what party to vote for, and particularly to represent a protest against the play's suggestion that the whole of democratic political process is corrupted by venality and self-seeking. 
This venality and self-seeking, as Socrates might say, is so manifestly not in the politicians' own best interests that it can only be represented by Aristophanic satire. Michael Clayton is a good movie but it's rendered sentimental by its insistent attempt to divide the individuals in the midst of corporations and law firms into good guys and bad guys, although it does adopt the nice device, in common with Network (as a lot of people have pointed out), of putting forth a madman as the only one who really understands and appreciates the enormity of what's happening.
Somebody or other pointed out that in screwball comedy, the clock is always running out. November has a lot in common with The Front Page and His Girl Friday, in which the impending deadline is also an election.

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