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David Mamet's Quotes

David Mamet profile photo

Born: 1947-11-30
Profession: Dramatist
Nation: American
Biography of David Mamet

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I'm entitled to my political opinions, and I get to vote because I'm an American.

Tags: American, Political, Vote

I'm greedy and ambitious like everybody else.

Tags: Else, Everybody, Greedy

I'm not an ascetic.

Tags: Ascetic

I'm not the guy to ask about politics. I'm a gag writer.

Tags: Ask, Guy, Politics

I've always been fascinated by the picaresque.

Tags: Fascinated

I've been alienating my public since I was 20 years old.

Tags: Old, Public, Since

In a world we find terrifying, we ratify that which doesn't threaten us.

Tags: Terrifying, Threaten

In Chicago, we love our crooks!

Tags: Chicago, Crooks, Love

In practice we, in the world, must do business with each other.

Tags: Business, Practice

It is not the constitutional prerogative of the Government to determine needs.

Tags: Determine, Government, Needs

It's hard for a Jew of my generation, an American Jew, who is philo-Zionistic, not to romanticize Israel.

Tags: American, Generation, Hard

It's hard to write a good plot, it's very hard.

Tags: Good, Hard, Write

It's only words... unless they're true.

Tags: True, Unless, Words

It's upsetting to be a man in our society.

Tags: Society, Upsetting

Movies were never an art form, they were entertainment. It just evolved into an art form from there, and it's still evolving in different ways.

Tags: Art, Movies, Ways

My greatest fear is that the audience will beat me to the punch line.

Tags: Fear, Greatest, Line

My idea of perfect happiness is a healthy family, peace between nations, and all the critics die.

Tags: Family, Happiness, Peace

Our job, as writers is to do our jobs.

Tags: Job, Jobs, Writers

People only speak to get something.

Tags: Speak

President Obama seems to understand the Constitution as a 'set of suggestions.'

Tags: President, Seems, Understand

The essence of jiu-jitsu is philosophy.

Tags: Essence, Philosophy

The quality I most admire in a man is steadfastness.

Tags: Admire, Quality

There is a profound and ineradicable taint of antisemitism in the British.

Tags: British, Profound
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There's something in me that just wants to create dialogue.

Tags: Create, Dialogue, Wants

We respond to a drama to that extent to which it corresponds to our dreamlife.

Tags: Drama, Extent, Respond

When I started out I was a failed actor.

Tags: Actor, Failed, Started

You know, young actors say all the time, 'Should I use my own life experience?' And my response is, 'What choice do you have?'

Tags: Experience, Life, Time

Policemen so cherish their status as keepers of the peace and protectors of the public that they have occasionally been known to beat to death those citizens or groups who question that status.

Tags: Death, Peace, Question

The product of the artist has become less important than the fact of the artist. We wish to absorb this person. We wish to devour someone who has experienced the tragic. In our society this person is much more important than anything he might create.

Tags: Society, Someone, Wish

American football seems to resemble soccer in that one scores by putting the ball through the opponent's goal; but football, truly is about land. The Settlers want to move the line of scrimmage Westward, the Native Americans want to move it East.

Tags: American, Football, Goal

Culture exists and evolves to relegate to habit categories of interactions the constant conscious reference to which would make human interaction impossible.

Tags: Culture, Human, Impossible

Each culture has its own form of staged combat, evolved from its particular method of street fighting and cleaned up for presentation as a spectacle, e.g. savate, Cornish wrestling, karate, kung-fu.

Tags: Culture, Fighting, Street

I look back on my liberal political beliefs with a sort of wonder - as another exercise in self-involvement - rewarding myself for some superiority I could not logically describe.

Tags: Another, Liberal, Political

I love all insider memoirs. It doesn't matter whether it's truck-drivers or doctors. I think everybody likes to go backstage, find out what people think and what they talk about and what specialised job they have.

Tags: Job, Love, Talk

I understand that computers, which I once believed to be but a hermaphrodite typewriter-cum-filing cabinet, offer the cyber literate increased ability to communicate. I do not think this is altogether a bad thing, however it may appear on the surface.

Tags: Bad, Computers, May

I used to think I'd like to be a fireman - in fact, I still would - and the only drawback I could see was coming back to the firehouse, after a day of fighting fires, and still having to put in an eight-hour day writing.

Tags: After, Fighting, Writing

If you're writing an opinion piece, it's your job to write your opinion. If, on the other hand, you wrote a novel, as Virginia Woolf tells us, it would be inappropriate if you let your novel be influenced by your political opinions.

Tags: Job, Political, Writing

If, indeed, a firearm were more dangerous to its possessors than to potential aggressors, would it not make sense for the government to arm all criminals, and let them accidentally shoot themselves? Is this absurd? Yes, and yet the government, of course, is arming criminals.

Tags: Government, Sense, Themselves

In my family, in the days prior to television, we liked to while away the evenings by making ourselves miserable, solely based on our ability to speak the language viciously.

Tags: Away, Family, Speak

Liberalism is a religion. Its tenets cannot be proved, its capacity for waste and destruction demonstrated. But it affords a feeling of spiritual rectitude at little or no cost.

Tags: Feeling, Religion, Spiritual

Listen, here's the thing about an English degree - if you sat somebody down and asked them to make a list of the writers they admire over the last hundred years, see how many of them got a degree in English.

Tags: Here, Last, Somebody

Mixed martial arts was invented by Brazilians, whose families had been trained by the Japanese. Those Brazilians came to the U.S., where their invention was bought out, gussied up and presented to the world, which found it good.

Tags: Found, Good, Whose

My tendency as an actor was to correct people, was to say, 'What if we tried it this way, what about if we tried that way?' That's terrible habit for an actor, but that's a good habit for director. So I became a director.

Tags: Actor, Good, Tried

People ask me, 'What do you do?' And I tell them I'm a writer, but always with the silent reservation, 'I am, of course, not really a writer. Hemingway was a writer.'

Tags: Ask, Silent, Tell

The Founders recognized that Government is quite literally a necessary evil, that there must be opposition, between its various branches, and between political parties, for these are the only ways to temper the individual's greed for power and the electorates' desires for peace by submission to coercion or blandishment.

Tags: Government, Peace, Power

The government, for example, has determined that black people (somehow) have fewer abilities than white people, and, so, must be given certain preferences. Anyone acquainted with both black and white people knows this assessment is not only absurd but monstrous. And yet it is the law.

Tags: Black, Government, Law

The individual is not only best qualified to provide his own personal defense, he is the only one qualified to do so: and his right to do so is guaranteed by the Constitution.

Tags: Best, Individual, Personal

The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always, 'What does the protagonist want?' That's what drama is. It comes down to that. It's not about theme, it's not about ideas, it's not about setting, but what the protagonist wants.

Tags: Ideas, Question, Wants

The so-called assault weapons ban is a hoax. It is a political appeal to the ignorant. The guns it supposedly banned have been illegal for 78 years. Did the ban make them 'more' illegal? The ban addresses only the appearance of weapons, not their operation.

Tags: Guns, Ignorant, Political

There's nothing in the world more silent than the telephone the morning after everybody pans your play. It won't ring from room service; your mother won't be calling you. If the phone has not rung by 8 in the morning, you're dead.

Tags: After, Morning, Mother

They say you can't study Kabbalah until you are at least 40 years old. You know why? You have to have experienced at least one generation making the same mistakes as the previous one.

Tags: Mistakes, Study, Why

What I value most in my friends is loyalty.

Tags: Friends, Loyalty, Value

When the three branches of government have failed to represent the citizenry and the mass of the media has failed to represent the citizenry, then the citizenry better represent the citizenry.

Tags: Government, Media, Three

Every reiteration of the idea that nothing matters debases the human spirit.

Tags: Human, Idea, Spirit

People may or may not say what they mean... but they always say something designed to get what they want.

Tags: Designed, May, Mean

Always tell the truth - it's the easiest thing to remember.

Tags: Remember, Tell, Truth

Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance.

Tags: Age, Old, Youth

A good film script should be able to do completely without dialogue.

Tags: Able, Film, Good

I'm afraid of only two things: being lazy and being cowardly.

Tags: Afraid, Cowardly, Lazy

A liberal pretending to be a conservative? That's like a straight person pretending to be gay to get greater acceptance.

Tags: Acceptance, Gay, Pretending

I know very well what it is to be out of work and to be cheated by employers and I know what it is to be an employer.

Tags: Cheated, Employer, Work

The surprise is half the battle. Many things are half the battle, losing is half the battle. Let's think about what's the whole battle.

Tags: Battle, Losing, Whole

When we leave the play saying how spectacular the sets or costumes were, or how interesting the ideas, it means we had a bad time.

Tags: Bad, Saying, Time

One person may need (or want) more leisure, another more work; one more adventure, another more security, and so on. It is this diversity that makes a country, indeed a state, a city, a church, or a family, healthy. 'One-size-fits-all,' and that size determined by the State has a name, and that name is 'slavery.'

Tags: Family, May, Work

The basis of drama is... the struggle of the hero towards a specific goal at the end of which he realises that what kept him from it was, in the lesser drama, civilisation and, in the great drama, the discovery of something that he did not set out to discover but which can be seen retrospectively as inevitable.

Tags: End, Great, Struggle

Art and mass entertainment and propaganda, they can all be plotted on the same graph, but there is a difference.

Tags: Art, Difference, Mass

Films have degenerated to their original operation as carnival amusement - they offer not drama but thrills.

Tags: Drama, Films, Original

I always thought the real violence in Hollywood isn't what's on the screen. It's what you have to do to raise the money.

Tags: Money, Real, Thought

I don't really have a social life.

Tags: Life, Social

I don't think there's any information to be gotten from television.

Tags: Gotten, Television

I grew up in a tough neighborhood and we used to say you can get further with a kind word and a gun than just a kind word.

Tags: Gun, Tough, Used

I hate vacations. There's nothing to do.

Tags: Hate, Vacations

I love the British.

Tags: British, Love

I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind.

Tags: Liberal, Mind, Took

I was fortunate enough to have a rambling youth.

Tags: Enough, Fortunate, Youth

I won't ever do e-mail.

Tags: Won
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