Politically Correct

The essence of democracy is this: that the individual is free to embrace or reject, praise or abominate, any political position, – that in this he is accountable to no one and need never, in fact, articulate his reasons or defend his choice.

That any political act could possibly be termed correct posits a universal, incontrovertible, superdemocratic authority, – that is, – a dictatorship.

Political correctness can only exist in, as it is the particular tool of, totalitarian oppression. The actual meaning of the phrase is “ideological orthodoxy.”

Many of us have “good” ideas but those with a day job, – in contradistinction to the ideologues, – are impeded from inflicting them upon our fellow human beings.

The theatre is a magnificent example of the workings of that particular bulwark of democracy, the free-market economy. It is the most democratic of arts, for if the play does not appeal in its immediate presentation to the imagination or understanding of a sufficient constituency, it is replaced.

The theatre especially exemplifies the democratic free market in that interactions between playgoer and presenter, between consumer and purveyor, are immediate, unfettered, not subject to regulation, – interactions do not require verification by third parties, – the seller need not explain why he has presented this particular good, – the buyer why he has chosen or rejected it.

In great drama we recognize that freedom may lie beyond and is achieved through the painful questioning of what was before supposed unquestionable. In the great drama we follow a supposedly understood first principle to its astounding and unexpected conclusion: We are pleased to find ourselves able to revise our understanding.

There may be politically correct spectacle, but there can be no politically correct drama. The very term should occasion revulsion in anyone who values democracy and the most democratic of arts, the theatre.

David Mamet
from Theatre


Creative centres

Theatre and ideas
Theatre of a New World