The Moment of Truth — March 14, 2008

Glengarry Glen Bitch

“I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind.” — David Mamet, “Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead’ Liberal” — Village Voice, March 11, 2008.

Alec Baldwin, as David Mamet, stands before the bedraggled salesmen. He pulls out a pair of brass balls on a tether and holds them pendulous like a couple of testicles. He lets one swing toward the other. DING!

Alec: Hear that? That sound means the market, market’s open, the marketplace, the place— it’s— the marketplace is opening its golden gates to you fellows. Now if you’re ready, if you’ve had your, your Wheaties and your orange juice and done those— your stretches, your sun salutations, there’s no reason every single one of you can’t walk into that glorious fecund bosomy jungle and come out a millionaire or a billionaire. Just like the man who invented the water engine.

Biff: What water engine?

Alec: You know, the car engine that ran on water that the oil companies extorted the inventor to shut up abou— Oh, right. That didn’t— but that was big government’s fault. Too much government. Tax and spend. Commies. Have to revise that play. Nothing to do with oil companies. Now, who wants balls like these?

Willy Loman: Can I just have my original pair back, please?

Alec: Who is that? Jack Lemmon?

Willy Loman: No, Jack Lemmon is the guy over there biting his nails watching how you treat me so he can gauge his own chances of surviving in this dog-eat-dog slaughterhouse. A man is not a piece of fruit.

Alec: Oh, quit whining, bitch. You say dog-eat-dog like it’s a bad thing, an indictment or something, what are you, a vegetarian? A piece of fruit my ass. Fruit is for people who can’t afford steak. Or dog. Or dog steak. Fruit is trash. Fruit is–fruit is gar— fruit— fruit is trash.

Willy Loman: Okay. Okay.

American Buffalo: Moo.

Alec: Quit mooing, American Buffalo, you schmuck. Look, What’s-your-face, you’re old. You’re old. You’re old. You’re old. You’re old. You’re— that’s your own fault.

Willy Loman: Granted. Sure.

Alec: That’s the, that’s the beauty of the system. When you get old and you turn into goddam trash we can just throw you out like a piece–like trash, like a piece of trash. Bitch. Is that so bad?

Loman’s Neighbor What’s-His-Face: You dast blame this man?

Alec: Can all, can I ask, can I have all losers exit the room, please? There are plenty of positions open for losers at the Milton Friedman Memorial Sweatshop down the block. Because the system works. Ass-bitches. Now get your bitch-ass asses out of my place of business. Dammit! Dammit!

Alan Arkin: You’re the economy of Argentina.

Alec: I’m supposed to take your word for it? You’re a loser. That’s just the way it is. What are you, a Jew? So why do you hate Israel? You an Israel-hating Jew or something?

Alan Arkin: What the hell are you talking about?

Alec: I’m not talking about it, I’m speaking about it. I’m talking about, when— this is America, not Russia! Why do you hate Israel? You know where losers go? To the gas. Right, Loman?

Biff: He’s dead. My pop is dead. From the gas. What a worthless son of a bitch.

Alec: That’s the kind of talk I like to hear. But not from a loser like you. Anyway, it’s the government’s fault. Except the military. Which is a marketplace.

Alan Arkin: Gestapo tactics! Insects with beaks!


Biff: I stole your pen.

Alec: What?

Biff: I don’t why. I stole your pen. It’s pathetic.

Alec: It’s phallic. But not phallic enough to alter the fundamental power structure, the power— the struc–the power, the power structure. Structure. Did I say structure?

The Chick From Oleanna: I’ll take that phallus.

Alec: The hell you will. I’m not your father.

The Chick From Oleanna: Why would you say that? I’m just a simple buntry chumpkin. I just want a chance to learn. And you— you have your— I want what you have.

Joe Mantegna: I can show you how to get it by sleight of hand. Ricky Jay showed me.

Alec: Look, it’s simple: the government is not the people. The corporations are. By saying this I weld my phallus onto myself extra-tight. Bitches. If YOU WOULD JUST OPEN YOUR MINDS!! I know it’s hard work. But.

Al Pacino: Picture yourself… in a boat, on a river, with tangerine trees and a built-in swimming pool you can drive right up to in your SUV. You don’t have to look at poor people, so they’re not there— and where they are, that’s where the losers are, the people who just can’t get with the program of being as comfortable as possible and getting along. You start with a plan. And most people are just content with mediocrity, and it corrodes them, it just corrodes the soul, and they dry up, and they die.

Alec: Now you’re talking. Stupid Somalians, they should go where the samoleans are. But they’re… Look, we can all sympathize with the losers. But the fact is, losing is what losers do. That’s why Social Darwinism works, I mean capitalism, works, is automatically fair. Because whoever loses is the loser, and losers always lose. That’s my experience. It meshes with what my experience of it, of that— liberals just— there isn’t— look, not Social Darwinism, not Israel— not Russia! Look at Cuba!

Ed Harris: I don’t think you ever had a position. I think you were just leaning. You know?

Alan Arkin: What’s the difference? If he was leaning, that’s a position.

Ed Harris: But now he’s just leaning a different way. That’s not a different position. He didn’t turn inside out. He didn’t pass through all four dimensions. Or even three. He didn’t reverse polarity. He didn’t even take a step! He just put a book in his right hand, it was heavy, so now he’s leaning that way.

Alan Arkin: What’s your point? Or is that your point? Is it? Because if it is— is it?

Alec: Look at the postman. He always rings twice. Big government. But opportunity knocks but once. What am I, a philosopher? What am I, a great thinker? I’m a deeply half-educated man! I wrote The Untouchables. Did that suck or what? You think Adam Smith would ever write something that sucked that much? What are you, a commie? Look, as long as I’m safe, I have what I need, and a little extra, and a hardwon safety net, why can’t people just be happy that I have what I have? Why do they need more than me having what I have? What are they, self-hating Jews or Somalians or something?

Ed Begley, Jr: Cryptogram for Mister Mammoth!

Winslow Boy: What’s that supposed to mean?

Duck: Quack!

Sexual Perversity in Chicago: Smellogram for Mister Marple!

Alan Arkin: Help the bombardier!

Garp: I’m the bombardier, I’m all right.

Randall Jarrell: Then help the ball-turret gunner!

Elliot Ness: Someone’s got to fight the rumrunners and hoods.

Richard J. Daley: The police officer isn’t there to create disorder, he’s there to preserve disorder.

Richard Nixon: You know, Kennedy didn’t come up with the Bay of Pigs. That was my idea. Read my memoirs, idiot. MY OWN WORDS, SCHMUCK! I planned it with the CIA while I was Ike’s VP. They and the military pushed it on Kennedy because they, the same kind of jack-asses who wanted war with Iraq and who now want it with Iran, wanted to force the Kennedy Administration to take us into a war with Cuba. And the only reason Kennedy didn’t send air support to those poor Bay of Pigs schmucks is that the he was lied to by the warmongers into believing that there was going to be spontaneous support for an anti-Castro rebellion. They figured when the rebellion didn’t emerge and those Batista-ista schmucks were stranded, Kennedy would be forced to commit us to war. Like in Iraq. The CIA and the Pentagon set those poor Cubans up, like Cheney and Bush set up our soldiers. Bitch! Read some goddamn history, Jesus! Yeah, Democrats and Republicans both do bad things. So what? Does that mean you don’t have a responsibility to distinguish right from wrong? I ask you this from the Pit of Hell, by the way. See you soon. Asshole.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Even I figured out we needed to keep our eyes on the military-industrial complex— remember? Look! Look at Iraq! Good for Kennedy for not starting that war. You really suck. You just suck. Just bite me.

Alec: Sure. Granted. Granted. Granted. Sure. Granted. But. But. What do liberals want? That’s the mystery. As Freud asked, isn’t it, didn’t he— isn’t this what he, as Freud, as Sigmund Freud, as— said, as he asked, to put it in his own words, he goes: What do you liberals, what do you bitches want? Right? Am I right? Am I? Right?

Cake: Eat me!

Marie Antoinette: Go ahead, eat him.

Kool-aid: (hypnotically) Then drink me. Driiiiink meeeee…