The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred, and the Jews

David Mamet, Author . Nextbook/Schocken $19.95 (189p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4207-2

The world hates the Jews. The world always has and will continue to do so." So says celebrated playwright and novelist Mamet in this new entry in the Jewish Encounters series, as he sets his sights on both anti-Semites and apostate Jews, whom he refers to as "the Wicked Sons." Mamet marshals his passion and mastery of language to argue that only religious observance is an authentic, non-self-hating expression of Judaism. Organizing that argument coherently, however, doesn't seem to be a priority, as he moves from discussions of the State of Israel to excoriations of assimilated Jews and contemporary culture and back with no apparent order. The tone is that of the condescending expert: alternately Talmudic scholar, academic, psychoanalyst and anthropologist. But nowhere is Mamet's expertise proven; he provides no source materials to back up his pronouncements on everything from Santa Claus to gun control to religious observance. The implication of this bombastic text seems to be that anyone who disagrees is a coward, an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/21/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
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