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Friday, 15 January 2010


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Tom Elrod

Glad that you're getting around to (and enjoying) Mad Men, though I definitely want an update to this post once you've finished Season 3. I can't really respond much to this post until then, because I don't want to spoil anything, but I think the season 3 finale may alter your thesis a bit.

Joseph Kugelmass

Not sure how exactly to do the Trackback thing, but anyway, I've responded on my blog and the Valve. I'll save one question for this comment space, though: Do you mean unravished? And how is Draper unravished? I mean, who could possibly be more ravished?

My post is here:


Kugelmass' post inspired a comment which really belongs here as much as there, so I'm crosscommenting it:

I've never understood why people take such an anachronistic approach to character (and scenery and props): the old mingles with the new all the time, everywhere. Have you ever seen a parking lot in which all the cars were new? No: there's older ones, out of date and out of fashion, always mixed in. Same with people: some do "move with the zeitgeist" but most don't, trapped in their adult patterns (or adolescent ones, depending on their development and the issue). Perhaps I'm more aware of it in academia, where the tenure system blends generations of scholars together rather than allowing a smooth transition from one age to another.

This is why "the sixties" is such a misnomer, as all decadal notations are. There are people there who are precursors to the 70s, people who still live like the 50s never ended, folks who came of age in the 40s and miss the social character (if not the rationing, etc.), etc., etc.

Steve Pick

More, please.

Shane In Utah

the thundering predictability of its characters.

I'll allow that, but not the predictability of the plot. Surely you didn't see the lawnmower scene coming? (I won't say any more in case you haven't got that far yet.)


I don't know that Don's self-fashioning leaves him out of the rapture. Constructing himself along the lines of a 50s flannel suit means wearing a willful blindness, ok, but you've seen season 2, which means you saw him trying on lives like they were clothing, even if only in California: idle jet setter, hot rod mechanic.

You're absolutely right about Peter Campbell being us — which is why, contra Kugelmass, he is contemptible.

But when you see a particular scene in the season 3 finale, I think you may rethink Peggy Olson.

For me (I wanted to write about this at length sometime, but it's half-baked just now), Don Draper, more than anything, and apart from what he's made himself to represent, is Borges' Shakespeare in "Everything and Nothing": "Instinctively, he had already trained himself in the habit of pretending he was someone, so it would not be discovered that he was no one."

In America, pre-rapture, what this makes him perfect for selling the nylons by inventing love (to gloss the pilot).

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