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After two or three decades of exposure, watching TV can feel a little bit like going home to visit your family. At first it's comforting to see so many old familiar faces. But… why don't these people ever change? Why are they so rigid and repetitive and tedious? And what makes them think they're remotely interesting, or even marginally entertaining?
On the internets, we refer to these humans as either "stereotypes" [...]
It's so exceedingly brave of Jon Hamm to play younger, isn't it? It's a testament to his range as an actor that the 41-year-old is really gnawing away at the role of 40-and-a-half-year-old Don Draper. Magic like that just keeps me glued to this mild workplace drama. Aaaaanyway, the excellent website Mad Men Unbuttoned continues its agglomeration of important related cultural detritus this season! Play along at home! Or you could go read recaps at literally every publication in the world, if you had nothing else to do with your life today.
Don's right-about one thing, at least: teenagers are sentimental. The cynicism with which adults rebel comes from the nihilism of doing what you know is bad for you because you're old enough to understand that these things usually go unpunished. The kind of joyless self-indulgence that adults traffic in doesn't exist for teenagers. For the young, it's unfathomable that act of self-indulgence can bring anything but joy. In the twilight of childhood, you're not sure what's like to be an adult but you know what it feels like to not be a child. Every brush with adult behavior-anything from smoking, to sneaking out, to driving, to fucking-is wrapped in [...]
Don! Since the beginning of "Mad Men," all have been agog about Don Draper's magnetism. What is it? Why do women wilt and men follow? How does his staff endure his endless floggings? (Ahem.) And how does he turn the most banal products into objects of desire? Granddaddy sociologist Max Weber provides an answer: Don is a charismatic. Charismatics draw their power from the mystic and divine. For the early Christians, a charismatic was a human vessel through which a god revealed its power. Charismatics are theatrical, eloquent, and fervent. We first saw a glimpse of Don's supernatural power when he coolly walked around a conference table of skeptical [...]
Watching Don Draper emerge from chlorinated baptismal waters, gasping for breath in a cavernous public gym, brings to mind John Cheever's short story "The Swimmer," from 1964. "I've been a little out of sorts, lately," Don confesses to his date. Likewise Cheever's main character, Ned Merrill. Beginning at the public pool, Ned, in an attempt discover Bullet Park's hidden topography, decides to swim through the private and public schools of his Westchester neighborhood, creating an aquatic trail back to his home. Ned starts the expedition with great hope, as he enjoys the sensation of swimming: "He had been swimming and now he was breathing deeply, stertorously as if [...]
â€¢ One myth that arose from some proponents of the women's liberation movement is that a terminated pregnancy doesn't change a person. The idea that it does was reasonably considered fodder for the other side-that this view enhanced the notion that not caring for a child conceived in your body is an abandonment of biological and moral responsibilities. In reaction then, a PR move has often been adopted into an unconvincing pro-choice ideology: a woman can go through a pregnancy without some lasting change to her psyche and system. The enlightened woman, the idea was, could go through terminating a pregnancy or putting a child up for adoption without [...]