It Takes Brass Balls To Be An Oceanographer

Can a theater review tell us who we are? Yes it can.

As I read the latest Butcher of Broadway (NYtimes theater Critic Ben Brantley) thoroughly dismember the current revival of the David Mamet classic "Glengarry Glen Ross", I saw that this ship has no captain.

That which should shock us no longer does. Instead, it elicits a twinkle in the eye, a sickening lip-smacking grin.

I'm speaking of one of the play's most shocking scenes (linked below) where Alec Baldwin describes the metallurgic anatomy of an ideal real estate salesman. One imagines that back in the mid-80's, when Glengarry first played on Broadway, Wall Street audiences might have shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Now, as Brantley noted:
"This “Glengarry” has been selling out (in more ways than one) since its early previews. When I saw the show, the audience stopped it frequently to give ovations for blustery tirades."
With ticket prices running in excess of $300 a piece, the audience surely has a distinctive Wall Street bias. And still the ovations flow.
For frame of reference: I link a clip from the early 90s movie-version.


All this hullaballoo reminded me of recent articles and youtube clips from the well-known Wall Street writer and commentator Michael Lewis. Lewis is the art history Princeton grad who stumbled onto Wall Street in the 80s, and then to a career in writing after the success of this first novel "Liars Poker".
Lewis has frequently observed the limits of one's influence as a writer. He intended "Liars Poker" to be a cautionary tale of Wall Street's insanity and vacuousness during the dark days of the mid-late 80's (the same time period when Mamet's Glengarry was a hit on Broadway). He hoped that would-be Oceanographers would resist the siren's song of money and fortune and instead pursue their true love. Life, he learned, is full of irony. See this clip from an interview at the Berkeley Business school (6min -- 11 min).


It just goes to show.......Those wild and crazy Germans in the 20s were onto something


KingsleyMartin KingsleyMartin
31-35, M
Dec 12, 2012