Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mad Men, John Edwards, and the Hotel California

More people are writing about "Mad Men." Obviously, part of a roll-out of the publicity campaign, which might even push viewers north of last season's 1.5 million. However, no matter how mundane the reasons why the new spate of articles about "Mad Men" are popping up all over, the attitudes towards men, women, and the disconnected state of both in the modern world are revealing. America might still be saved, or entering a terminal decline, checking into the Hotel California. Ironically, the fate of John Edwards and his political career, or not, will likely signal the outcome.

First, let's look at Newsweek's Sarah Ball. Among her points is the following:

Why are we so wild for Draper? By any measure, the character's a cad. He constantly cheats on his wife. He skips town for weeks and won't write or call. He doesn't talk much, and anesthetizes any feelings with copious amounts of booze. He's an enigma, a locked box of a man who resists, maddeningly, easy explanation. And yet he excites an attraction among women—particularly ones my age, women in their late '20s and '30s who were born after the era that Mad Men portrays—that seems unmatched by any leading man on television today, with the possible exception of Lost's con artist, Saywer (another strapping scoundrel with a deeply troubled soul). We describe our obsession in words that, like the show itself, are somewhat retro. "He is a straight-up man. He makes me feel like a woman via the TV." "He's a throwback to a time when men were men. "It's the thickness of his body." "Shoulders to cry on and a jaw that causes women to swoon."

A man's man. A virile man. A masculine man. Strong terms. And ones that would make our postmodern gender-studies professors blush. After all, we're the generation of women who grew up beating the boys in math class, reading Judith Butler (by choice or by force), celebrating "Grrl" power. Traditional male-female roles were going out the window while we were still toddlers. And maybe that's why we feel a little guilty when we stop to admit to ourselves why Draper excites us. Because we're not supposed to be using those terms anymore to describe our desires. Those words threaten a backsliding—they hint at some deep, unspoken turbulence; that, as if by saying we want a "real man," we threaten to erase all the gains our mothers made in terms of equality in the workplace and the home. After all, we don't believe in that evolutionary "me Tarzan, you Jane" nonsense anymore. We're supposed to want men who are sensitive and respectful; men who emote and help around the house, and talk openly about their feelings. And we do want these things. Don't we? So then why are we fantasizing about Draper rather than Jim from The Office?

So we've been raised to marry different men. Men like our president, Barack Obama: supportive, mature, levelheaded, equal partners. A bit sexless, OK, but who these days still thinks that a gal can have it all? Better a sexless Obama than a philandering Bill Clinton (speaking of men who make powerful women simultaneously swoony and ashamed of said swoon). And anyway, there are so few men like Draper around that we're not in any real danger of meeting one—at least not in the affluent, cosmopolitan jungles where Mad Men's viewers are concentrated, and where smart young women flock to make their careers take flight. They're a dying, if not dead, breed: these men who came back from the battlefields and settled down in whitewashed houses and were somehow expected to find the same visceral rush in office jobs and country clubs and nice, sweet wives that they gained from far-off adventures and wars. Men who couldn't be satiated by these staid substitutions; men who were made caged animals by domesticity; men who unleashed their restlessness in ways both erotic and destructive. These types of men are not the men we marry anymore. But, apparently, they're still the ones we love. [Ed: Emphasis added.]

What this says, about the writer, is that women of her class, generation, and background have no clue about masculinity, strength, or what indeed makes a man. It's telling that while "Mad Men's" bad-boy in adult clothing, Don Draper, creates a huge fuss among the show's mostly female fans, and the female-dominated media, the example of male strength and compassion in last season's "Life" (with "Band of Brothers" star Damien Lewis) had almost no reaction in either the press or female fans of a similar age and background (late twenties, to mid thirties female professionals). This despite the character being written and acted as a "Man's Man" i.e. one with restraint, power, protectiveness, capable of being gentle and shockingly tough as the situation required, and with an air of mystery and semi-controlled anger underneath his seemingly good-willed charm. Moreover, a character that liked and respected his tough, independent female partner, found few takers among female fans and fewer champions in the feminized media. A failure that is both telling and depressing.

Don Draper is of course a woman's idea of a masculine man, and bears about as much resemblance to reality as does the geek ideal of the waify, butt-kicking gal with superpowers, who has no annoying "girly" desires for shopping, friends, fashion, and family (her parents and siblings, or a desire for her own children). The waif-butt-kickers of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Dollhouse" or "Firefly" are about as realistic a portrait of women as Don Draper is of men, and what makes masculine strength. Women of the particular age and class that Sarah Ball refers to, confuse aggressiveness, betrayal, high and unleashed sex drive, constant philandering, and drama, with masculine strength. Posing a false dichotomy between weak and feminized office drones like "Jim" from "the Office" to dangerous and loutish philanderers such as Don Draper or Bill Clinton. Or John Edwards for that matter. Only a comfortable, loft-dwelling hipster writer could refer to WWII or Korea as "adventures" instead of the miserable, terrifying hell it was. War is never adventure, merely survival. Update: That the foolish writer of would view WWII or Korea as "an adventure" and generating "sexy" men speaks to her own biases: one in favor of aristocratic, violent, and dangerous places, in place of "boring" men (and women) in safe, wealthy, Manhattan. I suspect she would not like adventure, or real-life "adventurous" men. At any rate, the men who survived WWII or Korea were not "sexy." Decorated WWII and Korea Navy fighter Pilot Ed McMahon, or GUADALCANAL! veteran Don Adams, or D-Day and Malmedy survivor Charles Durning, or Navy Cross recepient (for his heroism at TARAWA!) Eddie Albert, along with 8th Airforce Veteran Jimmy Stewart, were typical of the survivors. Indeed most of them, tried their best to avoid war and conflict and like the real life "Band of Brothers" Maj. Ed Winters, settled down happily to quiet lives after experiencing real life horror. Only a profoundly immature writer would characterize war as "adventure"

Just as Hollywood creators such as Josh Whedon pander to fantasies of a butt-kicking waif who likes big explosions too! so do the nearly all female writing staff of "Mad Men" create a woman's idea of a masculine man. With constant validation of his attractiveness by other women having sex with him. A Bill Clinton (or John Edwards) for our time.

Others have noticed this failure as well, that men in particular commenting on "Mad Men" fail to notice that the younger urban and professional crowd find Don Draper irresistible because as blogger Josh Xiong put it your average sexist, cheating, borderline alcoholic is very attractive to women in the SWPL class. Even the Wall Street Journal got into the act. Note the obligatory applause for the obligatory SWPL gay kiss between two men.

SWPL young women, of the urban professional class, have no clue and no mentors (among older women who used to fulfill this role) about what makes good or bad boyfriends, husbands, and so on. Without guidance and control, younger women simply confuse men being a jerk, self-destructive with substance abuse (either alcohol or drugs or both), philandering, with little self-control that marks the necessary but not sufficient qualities of a successful and strong man, as being "masculine." In particular, these younger women deride the notion of control, confusing that with the overly feminized cubical dwellers who are "nice" and polite to them. Being so because this is what social messages have told the cubical dwellers to be: cooperative, team players, pleasant, and the sort of "supportive" men that feminists and women have declared they wanted, but really loathed. [Which explains much of the younger male anger, overt messages, ala PC and Multiculturalism, which must be ignored because they are completely false. Young women don't want supportive men, and despise those who offer it, even as they demand it. Phony overt messages that must be decoded into what the speaker really wants, but won't say, always generates anger, particularly when those receiving it take the overt message for face value for too long.]

Of these two fantasies, the Don Draper is by far the most destructive. There simply are no waify-butt kickers in real life, and while your average geek might yearn for a woman who likes "Mythbusters" and discussing the Linux kernel, he knows it's a fantasy. There are however, many real-life Don Drapers, and the result is usually disastrous for both men and women.

The National Enquirer reports that John Edwards plans to move his mistress and love child to a mansion near his own, to keep an eye on them and be more involved. His wife, Elizabeth, dying of cancer, is said to be furious. As Caitlan Flanagan wrote in The Atlantic:

John Edwards—whose intelligence we are supposed to accept as an article of faith—has managed not only to wedge himself between two exceedingly powerful and angry women, but also to have scorned both of them. Nice one, John! On the one hand is his wife, whose suffering might have seemed impossible to multiply, but he found the perfect way; and on the other hand is his (former) mistress, a known hellcat who has been flummoxing boy-men since the ’80s and whose rage over Elizabeth’s book is held in check only (and here I’m admittedly basing my speculation largely on what I’ve come to learn about women’s dreams and desires) by her hankering to live in Tara. Hers is not an intelligence or an ambition difficult to plumb, and her dream is almost certainly to have Elizabeth shuffle off the mortal coil so that she can instate herself in the North Carolina pleasure dome and become the fun, hip, “Being Is Free,” bleached-blond, super open-minded, videographing, Power of Now stepmom, a prospect so hideous that it makes Elizabeth Edwards’s last-chance book tour look like what it is: a desperate attempt to protect her sweet, sad children from the influence of this erstwhile cokehead and present-day weasel after she has died.

These are the stakes, ultimately, for any woman betting it all and betting it wrong on a Don Draper: ending up like Elizabeth Edwards. Who in any case will have her own children supplanted by John's love child with his mistress, alone and essentially parentless as their father betrays them as well with his new young baby. Because for those women who choose the Don Drapers, there is always a woman younger and with no regard for marital bonds, propriety, and much of anything else.

Today's young, urban, hip, professional women have so much security, at ease-safety, and sense of belonging, that they yearn for any stimulation, excitement, or danger. Not knowing just how low the men who give them that sense of danger and excitement can take them. And their children. John Edwards says he is "tired of all the lies" and wants to acknowledge publicly his love child daughter. Mickey Kaus has blogged that Edwards still harbors ambitions and believes Bill Clinton's example will allow him to continue his political career, perhaps with a stint as an appointed official in the Obama Administration. Kaus might be right. I don't think even Elizabeth Edwards sad, tragic example, will deter excitement seeking young professional women from confusing men being an asshole with men being strong.

The good news is that while this SWPL female professional class is very strong in its presence and control of the media and entertainment, most women are vastly different. Most women, as a result of the birth dearth, are older. Most women love their "beta" husbands and sons, and find the idea of Don Draper repellent. Which accounts for it's miserable ratings, and likely, Bill Clinton's protege, Al Gore's defeat to flub-tastic newcomer George W. Bush in 2000.

The danger is that, however, the SWPL girl-women who love Mad Men and swoon over Don Draper and Bill Clinton (and likely, John Edwards) are the wave of the future, even though there are a lot less of them than their mothers, they dominate the younger classes of women and are indeed the future. The younger women of this class are disconnected from older women who could give them solid advice on how to avoid the tragedy of Elizabeth Edwards, who's particular form of betrayal was up to chance, but the general shape of it was sealed the moment she said "I Do."

In this sense, the tremendous amount of publicity and attitudes expressed by women like Ball, or Sandra Tsing Loh in her article about passion versus the boring realities of married life or Cristina Nehring's Vindication of Love (which advocates serial passionate affairs instead of boring marriage, and of course bad-boy lovers) are swords with two edges. On the one hand, they propel young women into more bad-boy chasing, which they are inclined to do anyway. The media taking over the position of older female counselor, but giving younger women horrible advice. The other edge of the sword being the male reaction, which has ranged from PUA (Pick Up Artist) of various stripes, to withdrawal to bromance and X-Boxes. Which gives women the choice of Don Draper, or no one at all. If 72% of married women considered leaving their husbands in the Woman's Day survey, the next generation of women might not get any at all, not "Jim from the Office" or the "Kitchen Bitch" variety that Sandra Tsing Loh derides. Instead a nation of young men would make themselves into a Don Draper. Or as much as they can manage.

The saddest thing of all? John Edwards might indeed have a political career left. When a feminist like Cristina Nehring can defend Republican Mark Sanford in the pages of The New Republic, on the basis of "love" and "passion," America's young professional women might have a case of the terminal desire for Bad Boys. [It's clear that older women, who love Sarah Palin, and detest the betrayal of Elizabeth Edwards, are very different socially and politically from younger women who seem to be the exact opposite: detesting Sarah Palin and at least, not despising John Edwards.]

If Edwards stays staked, like a destroyed vampire, never to rise again, America is saved for another day. If enough women of Nehring's persuasion (most men loathe Edwards, for a variety of reasons but most especially for his betrayal of his wife which is unmanly in the traditional way of self-sacrifice for family) excuse his disgusting behavior to the point where he is "rehabilitated" then truly, we are welcomed to the Hotel California. Where you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. The only question then remaining is when America fully checks in.


Anonymous said...

It's my opinion that it's the most status seeking and well, masculine women that tend to be drawn to the Draper types because they're so vicious (they would say 'headstrong') that only those types would be able to dominate them (which is what many desire).

They are the most vocal women of all women with regard to modern feminism, and women who are not of this variety full under the spell of their words and agendas in the absence of the male leadership that came before it, which has basically disappeared because it was successfully framed as oppressive.

I think it's faulty on the part of feminists to think that it's their crackpot ideology and its taboos that make such men desirable -- I think it's actually the testosterone levels that make these women adopt the type of ideologies where they get to act like men. They're a self-selected sample of man-women. That's why they're the leaders of the modern movement.

I think it's an error to claim that women are just one way, and men are another. I think it's more useful to see men and women in terms of Simon Baron-Cohen's Systemizing/Empathizing scale.

Naturally, the Systemizing women feel oppressed, because their brains are very much like men. They want to compete for status like men. I think most of them do not realize that they are not the majority.

Well, that's what I think as of this minute anyway.

Anonymous said...

"It's clear that older women, who love Sarah Palin, and detest the betrayal of Elizabeth Edwards, are very different socially and politically from younger women who seem to be the exact opposite: detesting Sarah Palin and at least, not despising John Edwards."

Is that a generational divide or the result of older women having aged beyond the point of being able to snag these type of men?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Damien Lewis and Band of brothers...
I tryed to get my then girlfriend to sit down and watch the series with me. I had already seen it and saw that it would be playing on the history channel.
She found it boring. I remember a scene in which my eyes got a tad misty. She thought it was "cute" but couldn't relate at all.
She didn't stay long. I remember the sounds of her gossiping on the phone as Dick Winters and the boys landed in Normandy.

demosophist said...

I recall giving a marketing class in 1993 where we played a cultural game called "B'fa B'fa." It pitted two cultures, one highly patriarchal and the other highly competitive but egalitarian. After spending the better part of an afternoon playing the game I asked the 200 students to vote on which culture they preferred. More women than men preferred the patriarchal culture (around 95%) although the majority of men also preferred it.

I think what we're seeing is a sort of cartoon reflection of a preference for patriarchy. It's what an extremely dysfunctional version of patriarchy would look like, with all the negatives and none of the benefits.

Whiskey said...

Anon-Gantts -- I think it's a generational divide. Older women ADORE Damien Lewis in that role, and also on "Life." He represents the "old school" model of masculinity. More Jimmy Stewart than say, Robert Pattinson.

Men tended to like Lewis a LOT in his role in "Life" as well as "Band of Brothers" and liked his attributes of leadership, toughness when appropriate, and his ability to deal with his tough female partner (in "Life") without being either an asshole or a wimp. Older women (if you look at the boards of say, LOVED that character too. Younger women not so much -- he wasn't cool enough.

I think broadly both men and women have distorted views of sexuality and values among the opposite sex. Men don't get much messages about what kind of woman makes a good prospective wife, and how to be a man that she'll find winning, but women if anything get even WORSE messages.

Look at poor Elizabeth Edwards. I disagree with almost all of her politics -- but her suffering is terrible, as is the fate of her young kids left all alone, essentially, as Edwards moves his mistress in. Writ smaller, that's the fate of women who chase Don Drapers.

[I shuddered when Sanford talked up his "passion" and "love." I KNEW it was focus-group tested, and that it would WORK. That a liberal, feminist like Nehring would DEFEND A REPUBLICAN betraying his wife to me was shocking and a huge red flag. It's like the "Tom Brady on Sexual Harassment" skit on SNL -- for those who haven't seen it, everything Brady does is OK, anything the ordinary schlub does is sexual harassment.]

Rose said...

In the remake of Bedazzled, the hero Eliot reads one of the heroine Alison's diary entries where she claims to want a sensitive man and asks Satan to turn him into one. This leads to a hilarious scene where the two of them are at the beach and a touch guy comes up and kicks sand in Eliot's face.

Eliot: Okay, guys, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to respect the moment that my woman friend and I are sharing because it's a special celebration of love and caring and a unique spiritual and emotional understanding.

Tough Guy to Alison: You wanna get a beer?

Alison: Sure.

Eliot: Alison, excuse me, but I thought that this was our time together.

Alison: It's just a beer. I'll be back in two seconds.

Tough Guy: Actually, my place is like 40 minutes from here.

Alison: That's fine. Which way is your car!

Eliot: Alison, I respect your uniqueness and individuality. And you're your own person, and if you want to go with our new friends here to get a drink, I won't stand in your way.

Alison: Okay, thanks, El. I knew you'd understand.

Eliot: No, wait! Don't go! I can't handle this kind of rejection! Why don't you wanna stay here with me!

Alison: You wanna know why! Because you're just too sensitive! I'm about to go out of my mind here. It's been wonderful, and God knows I love you, but enough is enough! I just wanna be with a man who will ignore me and take me for granted and who's only pretending to be interested in who I am and what I think so he can get into my pants.

Tough Guy: That would be me.

Alison: Oh, thank you!

knightblaster said...

I shuddered when Sanford talked up his "passion" and "love." I KNEW it was focus-group tested, and that it would WORK. That a liberal, feminist like Nehring would DEFEND A REPUBLICAN betraying his wife to me was shocking and a huge red flag. It's like the "Tom Brady on Sexual Harassment" skit on SNL -- for those who haven't seen it, everything Brady does is OK, anything the ordinary schlub does is sexual harassment.

Yes, it was quite eye opening. As I understand her, though, Nehring is really about trashing marriage in favor of excitement and romance for men and women alike -- in short, she thinks marriage sucks, is too conventional and boring, and leads to a life without passion which she sees as being death.

She is probably the leading intellectual light of the new generation of women who are eschewing stability, constancy and commitment in favor of excitement, hotness, passion and sexual and emotional fulfillment. It was only a matter of time until the current trend found its intellectual voice, and she's the leading one. The ringleader (in her 40s I am pretty sure) leading the younger ones down the garden path of exciting Don Draper bad boy love.

z.g. said...

Is it time to make a clear distinction between the alpha/beta as defined by roissy/female choice and alpha beta as defined by men?

These two definitions do overlap, but many times you have a man that I would respect get no second look from women (usually they are handsome), and many times a man I would not even bother acknowledging his existence being showered by pussy left and right.

I have not managed to find good phrases defining those two groups, but I believe there is a need for that.

Even if Don was chosen by females, and thus is denoted alpha, the war hero who saved his men from certain death is the one I denote alpha.

I say this as I have know guys who were bathing in pussy because they caused the excitement in women, but were the cowardly cowards I ever met.

And no matter what the natural definition is, an alpha is anything but a coward.

cheerful iconoclast said...

I've been mulling over this post, and something about the comparison of Bill Clinton and John Edwards rubs me the wrong way. Yes, both were unfaithful to their wives, though Clinton appeared to be in a bit more control inasmuch as he limited it to oral sex to avoid the complication of a love child.

The difference, it seems to me, is that Clinton can relate fairly well to guys, while Edwards is repulsive to normal heterosexual men. Clinton certainly wins the beer test.

Does anybody have a sense of why that is?

knightblaster said...

That's because Clinton is much, much more of a schmoozer than Edwards. Edwards is a pretty boy, Clinton is a somewhat refined bubba. Men can relate to the refined bubba, but not the pretty bpy. Women like both.


AS for alpha and beta, maybe it would be best to distinguish between "sexual alpha, sexual beta" and "general alpha, general beta". The former category would be based solely on being selected by a lot of women, whereas the latter would be based more on life/character types of things.

ERM said...

Only a profoundly immature writer would characterize war as "adventure"

What sanctimonious tosh. That's precisely what a great majority of fighting men through history thought, albeit some may have moderated their views a little as they were bleeding out on the battlefield. The history of human warfare is not encapsulated in World War 2 or Korea. Why do we keep having so many wars? I know your head is filled with a lot of neocon just war nonsense but I'll give you a hint: we like it. We like it a lot. Impious conquest best of all (have you never read about the Roman army? Alexander? the British Empire?) but run-of-the-mill raiding and harassing of neighbours pretty well, too. It's obvious: we are bad monkeys. Hell, read Niall Ferguson on the First World War: the biggest, most pointless charnel house of them all. The sensitive poets who have informed our imagination (I mean educated, cultured people's, like yours and mine) of life on the Western Front, but it's clear a hell of a lot of people were having the time of their life. Even Siegfried Sassoon couldn't get enough of killing krauts by the end. Hell, the first poem in Western History is about the glory of war, of killing, of slaughter. Everybody remembers the touchy bit at the end where Achilles and Priam bury the hatchet and they forget about the nonstop killfest from the end of Book 19 through Book 22. It is absolutely unambiguous: how great is this? Even the gods wanted in on the action! You know the War Nerd? He's got his failings but he is clear as crystal on this. Why do you think people become mercenaries in Iraq? Defend democracy and freedom? Money to buy that white-washed little house in the suburbs? Mmm hmm.

For someone who's as staunch a defender of civilization and eloquent describer of its fragility, you have a pretty big blindspot about sources of trouble. The lasses may be misbehaving, sure, but the manly warrior men have a lot of explaining to do, too.

demosophist said...

I wonder if having a President like Palin or Kelly Ayote would, somewhat ironically, create a shift away from the "new girl order," and give women some decent role models, as well as rehabilitate their image of masculinity?

Whiskey said...

ERM -- During the sword/spear era, War meant having your closest friends butchered right next to you, with a goodly chance of getting the same for yourself, and sticking spears and swords into another man's belly. This is not "fun" for people.

During later wars, the carnage was unbelieviable. During the Civil War, nearly 40% of the military age men, 14-40, were killed in the South. Battlefields were littered with corpses, and they SMELLED. Indeed the defining attribute of the battlefield is the SMELL. Horrible. Decaying corpses, vomit, urine, and feces.

During WWI, the carnage was so bad after Verdun that the French Army's mass mutiny nearly gave the Germans victory. More than half a million died in the battle (both sides).

Even colonialist powers faced frequent disasters -- Noche Triste in Mexico City, various disasters for the Americans fighting the Judamentados in the Philippines, and of course Islawandha and the Afghan disasters, plus the Sepoy Mutiny. Much of the fighting, from Caesar to the Battle of the Crater, siege fighting which is horrific, not the least of which is the disease an encamped Army fights as well as dug-in defenders.

Reading actual accounts from both ancient and modern battles, for the ordinary soldier, not the general, War was indeed hell. Even outclassed enemies like the Zulus could have their day and slaughter everyone.

Men only "like" war in the expectation of an easy victory over a fairly defenseless enemy. Say Poland in 1939 or France May 1940. I've read the "War Nerd" and he fails to appreciate the basic driver of human nature in War -- the extent to which the belligerent estimates an easy victory, or the other party estimates his deterrence. Much of what he writes is not "War" but more the collapse of Westphalian state-norms and the landsknechten

Rollory said...

War Nerd is a dumbass who gets away with it because he spends most of his time expounding on things that can't be easily empirically tested.

War has always been viewed as fun by those who haven't been through it yet, and viewed with horror by the sane and honorable who survive it.

Markku said...

Anonymous ERM said to Whiskey:

"Only a profoundly immature writer would characterize war as "adventure""

What sanctimonious tosh. That's precisely what a great majority of fighting men through history thought, albeit some may have moderated their views a little as they were bleeding out on the battlefield.

(I didn't have to read further than this line to know you're a reader of War Nerd.)

Sure, lots of people are capable catching the war fever. I have no doubt there was great enthusiasm everywhere for WW I and WW II in the beginning.

For some reason, you don't get much touting of war as a great adventure from men who've seen action. I find Fred Reed, much more reliable a source of information on this particular matter than whichever gonzo journalist working for Exile Magazine is behind the fictional character War Nerd.

You have to remember that men are different. Those men who are comfortable with the actual horrors of combat and killing and maiming others are a small minority. The majority is able to cope up to a limit but not without damage to their mental health, the extent of which depends on the severity and total amount of combat experience - not to mention taking part in or witnessing atrocities against non-combatants.

The "bad monkeys" for whom the positive outweighs the negative in war are a minority. Tribal warfare is about resource acquisition and/or status seeking. Often the motivation is a cycle of vendetta. It is hardly a sport played for it's own sake. Far too costly. In fact, sports exist precisely as a non-lethal substitute for war. The vast majority of people, including primitives, prefer sports to war whenever possible.

Talleyrand said...

They only cure that I can see Whiskey, is to give the women more of the poison they like to drink.

There is no going back to the way it was.

Michelle Therese said...

I still cannot get my head around how or why *any* woman would be attracted to the "Dan Draper" cad-type of man. How sick and twisted is that? And how sad, really. To see women so lost and confused about true love and masculinity...


"...we threaten to erase all the gains our mothers made in terms of equality in the workplace and the home..."

Is this author on drugs? Or being tongue-in-cheek? This statement assumes that women *were* being oppressed and now they are so wonderfully free but that's a boatload of bull poop!

I don't see my fellow women as liberated today. I see them as severely oppressed ~ by The Matriarchy, not the mythical Patriarchy. If women were so free and so liberated how come they are so miserable?

Besides, there is no equality today, inside or outside of the work place and home. Men are second-class citizens, treated like trash by society and the law. Meanwhile so many women behave towards men exactly as the mythical "Patriarchy" supposedly behaved towards women!

Filthy hypocrites.

demosophist said...

I recall seeing a documentary about a troop of chimps that was interesting. It began with an extremely hierarchical organization dominated by a few males who lorded it over and terrorized the rest of the population. Then the troop contracted some sort of illness that disproportionately hit the dominant males, because of their diet. The troop morphed into a group of cooperators in which beta males treated each other, and the children and females, with kindness and consideration. Wish I could recall where I saw it. Might have been on Animal Planet. I thought the range of social organization available to chimpanzees was astonishingly broad. It'd be interesting to find out what happens to the troop after several generations... whether it evolves again into a strict alpha-male hierarchy or maintains it's looser, but more resilient, social structure.

*** ******** said...

great post. great.

Vain Saints said...

Eh, it's very possible that younger women hate Sarah Palin because in their hind-brains, they are volcanically envious of her. She truly did get to have it all. Money, power, and a strapping, fairly successful forest-ranger type without ever slutting herself out. This is what most young women despair of. said...

I think you are holding Mad Men's reviews against it. Draper isn't supposed to be everyman, or the ideal male, or whatever you seem to think is the intention. He's a damaged guy in a state of almost permanent existential crisis (not unlike the culture around him). He is self-destructive, can't find comfort in his life, runs away from problems, etc. It's a drama and Draper's brokenness is what makes the plot go forward. Weiner certainly isn't saying, "Here's what a real man is like, ladies!" So your criticism of it on that level is misguided.

patrick said...

I have hear it said that the Eisenhower administration was eight years of not much happening at all, and the reason given is that it was because "the greatest generation" just could not relate to anyone just what they had been through, and wanted to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. I was not there. But Don Draper is a cypher to himself, he is not Don Draper, that is a role he chose to play, to get out of a hellish background. Now he finds that he is admired as "having it all" by the likes of a Peggy Olsen, and he realizes he has nothing that is real. Like advertising itself, it sells an ideal that does not exist, which is how Don Draper is perceived, an ideal that does not really exists. As to the current crop of young professional women, they are seemingly drawn to the likes of the protagonists in "Twilight". Maybe hey don't know this, but they are drawn to what is technically a parasite. The portrayal of them as pale, lithe, and "not gettable" due to the risk of becoming a parasite themselves. They are the perfect metaphor of the gay friend who is a masculine friend who can talk about fashion and other subjects that just cause me to want to remove my own eyes with a melon baller. Can one imagine Don Draper expressing any interest in his wife's dilemma of how to decorate the new baby's nursery, and being mad at him for having no interest in how it looks at all? I think the reason you see all of the bad behavior in "Mad Men" is that they were living as if there was no tomorrow, and there were times when they could legitimately think that there was going to be no tomorrow. No wonder the children of the sixties are so screwed up, what with the drills for nuclear attack, the duck and cover gambit. How anyone survived without the use of alcohol to deaden the feeling of despair and impending doom is a wonder.

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