Friday, 20 August 2010

Ads without products; or, "Don Draper" is now never himself In the previous post, I called the transition from the scene at the firm to the one in Draper's hall a "wipe," but that's not quite right. The camera pans left into the wall: But the second it succumbs to pure black, it bounces back to the right to place the viewer in the hall outside Draper's apartment: I debated calling this a "manual wipe" before my better angels piped up, but now I'm not sure what to call this. (An artifact of an impending commercial break? Irony itself would get the vapors.) All of which is only to say that whatever this particular transition is called, it creates a continuity between Sterling Draper Cooper Pryce and the hall outside Draper's apartment. Why? Most likely because Draper has finally decided that he will never be more than the professional persona he created. Not to sound my own trumpet, but my first attempt to understand the Peter/Peggy/Draper dynamic turned out to be largely correct: Peter and Peggy are headed into their respective futures, whereas Draper is slowly become solely an object of his own creation. His last link to Dick Whitman — Anna Draper, the wife of the man whose identify he stole — will be dead within months, at which point the only person who will that "Don Draper" deserves those quotation marks is his ex-wife. Soon he will be his creation, but instead of this moment marking the culmination of a lie or life self-fashioned, the result is as devestating to his personality as it was to his marriage. If there were some way Draper could arrange a divorce from himself at this point, all indications are that he would: he deliberately sabotages the family-friendly Janzen campaign by presenting the company with the very sort of lascivious material they wanted no part of; he sleeps with his secretary then treats her in a way that invites retaliation; and he starts drinking alone. The vast quantities of alcohol consumed on the show serve a social function, and they continue to do so during working hours. But without a wife and a fiction to uphold, "working hours" for Draper consist of his entire waking life, as when he drinks alone in his apartment and watches his own commercials on television. He has become the man he created and is miserable. In the final scene of "The Rejected," John Slattery provides a clue as to why when he transports the viewer into the hallway outside Draper's apartment. He begins behind the head of an old woman whose husband has stepped in the hall and asks "Did you get pears?" Whether or not she bought pears is a private matter. The whole hall neither cares nor needs to know the answer to that question and so she refuses to answer it. His wife seems more concerned with what her husband is unwittingly communicating: not that he needs to know whether she purchased pears, but 1) that he is so obsessed with trivial matters...
Andy McCarthy hates being called what his words prove he is. This post plain confuses me. It opens with a lament: Having worked for a very long time with moderate Muslims, I can tell you it’s disheartening to be called an Islamophobe. Then demonstrates that that epithet, along with a few others, is well-deserved: I have long argued that: (1) Islam is not a moderate doctrine; (2) Islamists who practice terror and are otherwise aggressive toward non-Muslims (and toward Muslims who disagree with them) are not twisting or perverting Islam; (3) this does not mean that the Islamist interpretation of Islam is the only possible viable interpretation; but (4) a concrete theology of “moderate Islam” does not exist (even though there are plenty of moderate Muslims) and therefore it will have to be created; and (5) because it will have to be non-literal and reformist, it will have a tough time competing with Islamist ideology which, however noxious it may be, has the advantage of being firmly rooted in Islamic scripture. Nevertheless, (6) Islamist ideology is anti-constitutional and anti-freedom in many of its core particulars, so that (7) if, instead of letting them pretend to be “moderates,” we force Islamists to defend their beliefs, we will marginalize them—at least in our society, which (8) will empower true moderate Muslim reformers and—maybe—give them the space they need to solidify a coherent, moderate Islam that embraces the West, and in particular the separation of secular public life from privately held religious beliefs. If "Islam is not a moderate doctrine," how is it that he has "worked for a very long time with moderate Muslims"? How can McCarthy distinguish between "moderate Muslims" like his coworkers and those Muslims who merely "pretend to be 'moderate'"? Where does he believe these "moderate Muslims" come from? Are they Amabo—secret Christians pretending to be Muslim—whose moderate views are the result of never reading the Koran or attending services at a mosque or keeping halal? McCarthy attempts to dismiss such questions in a parenthetical of dubious explanatory power: a concrete theology of 'moderate Islam' does not exist (even though there are plenty of moderate Muslims) and therefore it will have to be created[.] Granting their existence in an aside is purely strategic—if he fails to do so, he will be disheartened again, so he grants their existence, then explains all the many ways in which people like them can never come to exist. It's the political equivalent of holding up a duck and beaver; explaining that no matter how much you coax them, they refuse to fuck; then astonishing the crowd by pulling a duck-billed platypus out of your hat. You have no idea how that strange beast came to be, nor are you interested—all you want to do is prove that ducks never fuck beavers. Which is an admirable goal, I suppose, if you want to tell the world that your lack of intellectual curiosity is matched in its profundity only by the pride you take in being ignorant. The ultimate irony, of course, is his claim that...

Become a Fan

Recent Comments