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If you’ve sat within five feet of a liberal-skewing Facebook news feed this week, you’ve probably heard about playwright David Mamet‘s humdinger of a Newsweek cover story, delectably headlined “Hands Off Our Guns,” that made an odd and miscalculated argument against President Obama‘s gun control plan. In it, the brilliant author of Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow, and hundreds of essays of varying credibility peeled off a few particularly misguided but provocative statements about our nation’s immediate need to strap on an ammunition belt and defend our homes against the walking corpse of Karl Marx (psst—-that’s code for “Obama”!) and all who heed him:

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…

Violence by firearms is most prevalent in big cities with the strictest gun laws. In Chicago and Washington, D.C., for example, it is only the criminals who have guns, the law-abiding populace having been disarmed, and so crime runs riot…

[President Obama] has just passed a bill that extends to him and his family protection, around the clock and for life, by the Secret Service. He, evidently, feels that he is best qualified to determine his needs, and, of course, he is. As I am best qualified to determine mine.

It took .00056 seconds for the pundit world to capably (and condescendingly) rebut the Pulitzer-winning playwright, but, like the sun’s rays to Mars, the message took a little longer to reach, and ignite, some members of the D.C. theater community. Oh, but when it did, you’d be a fool to close TweetDeck.

At least two Mamet works are coming to D.C. stages this season: Round House is doing Glengarry and and Theater J has Race, both of which start next week. So local playwright Stephen Spotswood posed a question that threw a spotlight on the dilemma of seeing a great work written by a tremendous asshat:

Playwright Gwydion Suilebhan bit:

Project Gym founder Hannah Hessel leapt into the ring, undaunted:

Then! In jumped Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks, tossing his gloves aside with bravado:

Spotswood, Hessel: A mountain of shit lies ahead, and you left your waders at home.

The acid—-it burns!

Suilebhan, nobly, tried to play peacemaker:

But it was too late to stave off the inevitable conclusion:

A short time after we’d all gone home, downcast, resigned to numbing ourselves with takeout and Downton reruns, Theater J Artistic Director Ari Roth saw fit to whip up his own thoughts on #mametgate, which had swelled to include Glengarry actor Alexander Strain and dozens of other D.C. theater practitioners. After a harsh day in the Twitterverse, his perspective sought to bring a little clarity—-and perhaps part the clouds:

Mamet writes every day. That’s the truest thing that can be said about him. Some of what he writes is negligible. Some is genius. Everything gets published. That’s a problem. He’s one of the more over-published authors of our time. Every wisp of a playlet is sold on Amazon. Every musing on the actor’s craft gets turned into a handbook, much of it, to my mind, harmful in its reductive functionalism. But along the way, this man who writes every day—with swagger and controlled abandon, with cocky confidence and sometimes convoluted candor—continues to ply his trade with a brutal relevance that, now and again, hits the bull’s-eye with a prophetic insight and staying power…

Great writers are like that. They’re worth a second look. In spite of their bad behavior. Or bad politics. Moreover, Mamet’s not been shy from critiquing himself, in the process of critiquing liberalism. And I have a feeling that this evolution of self is not done with David yet. Mamet’s art and his work ethic will keep him forever burrowing.

Photo: Round House Theatre’s Glengarry Glen Ross.