I'd never heard of Tennessee Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew until yesterday. Then she committed an act that was both malakatudinous and unconstitutional, which is a tricky feat to accomplish. That's why Ms. Ballew is malaka of the week.
A judge in Tennessee ordered that a 7-month-old baby's name be changed from "Messiah," prompting the mother to challenge the ruling.
Jaleesa Martin and the father of the baby were attending a child support hearing Thursday in Cocke County, Tenn. to settle a dispute over Messiah's last name. It was there that Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew took the liberty to hand down a ruling on the boy's first name, too.
"The word Messiah is a title and it's a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ," Judge Ballew said, according to t.v. station WBIR. Ballew said the child could go by "Martin DeShawn McCullough," which includes both the mother and father's names.
The judge said that growing up with the name "Messiah" in an area with a large Christian population "could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is."
Who knew that a judge could impose a name on parents thereby infringing their right to be stupid? The ACLU and I both think that Lu Ann Ballew it in this ruling.
Do I think Messiah is a good name for a kid? Hell no, it's preposterous, but as the resident of a city where there are many strange names floating around-from Trellis to Formica Dinette-I think that people have the right to give their children ridiculous names. I suspect that Ms.Ballew is *against* guvmint intrustions in other areas, so she should back off on this one.
I realize that bible belt conservatives do not get the concept of the separation of church and state, but rarely are they as open in their malakatude as this. The wall between church and state is designed to *protect* religion from Kings who decide they want a divorce from a queen who hasn't given them a male heir. That's right, folks, Henry VIII is the godfather of the separation of church and state. (Btw, who's your favorite screen/teevee Henry? I'm torn between handsome but historically inaccurate Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Ray Winstone who has the girth but is way too working class, mate.)
I must admit to being astonished that Messiah is actually a popular name for male babies, but if someone wants their kid to develop a messiah complex or get pansted because of their name, that's their right. Our culture has customarily disfavored the use of Messiah-like names for our kids. I recall being amazed that Hay-soos Alou's (the lesser of 3 brothers who came up with the San Francisco Giants in the 1960s) name was actually Jesus. In fact, some announcers called him Jay because they could. At least they didn't call him Chico...
Finally, the other reason I picked Lu Ann Ballew as this week's dishonoree is that I get to make a double obscure pop culture reference/riff on her name. She made me think of Luanne on King of the Hill who would have been quite capable of naming a progeny Messiah, and cult rock icon Adrian Belew who probably wouldn't do so such a thing but ya never know. All I know for sure is that the Judge Ballew it in this case, which is why she's malaka of the week.
I'll let Adrian and his daughter have the last word:
O’Reilly’s efforts to diagnose the ills of the black community are both laughable and risible. He’s so out of touch with black America that he’s barely speaking the same language. It’s the equivalent of me attempting to give advice to a herd of cats and acting surprised when they ignore me. (“If the cat community would just stop their meowing and chase fewer mice and quit having so many kittens out of wedlock, maybe they’d get ahead in life.”)
They would, of course, lick themselves and proceed to nap instead...
Sorry I didn't get this up last night, kids. Truly brutal day + TiVo upfuckery + no way I was going to stay awake long enough to pick it back up again at midnight. And thank Christ, because if I'd watched this after watching The Killing I think I'd have chopped all my own hair off too.
By which I mean, spoilers within.
During a discussion about something else entirely, Liprap mentioned water-walking badass voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, which sent me looking to see if her 1962 speech to the DNC credentials committee seeking to be seated as a delegate was online:
SNCC had formed the MFDP to expand black voter registration and challenge the legitimacy of the state's all-white Democratic Party. MFDP members arrived at the 1964 Democratic National Convention intent on unseating the official Mississippi delegation or, failing that, getting seated with them. On August 22, 1964, Hamer appeared before the convention's credentials committee and told her story about trying to register to vote in Mississippi. Threatened by the MFDP's presence at the convention, President Lyndon Johnson quickly preempted Hamer's televised testimony with an impromptu press conference. But later that night, Hamer's story was broadcast on all the major networks.
Support came pouring in for the MFDP from across the nation.4 But the MFDP's bid to win a seat at the Atlantic City convention still failed. At the Democratic National Convention in Chicago four years later the MFDP succeeded. On that occasion, Dubovoy recounts, "Hamer received a thunderous standing ovation when she became the first African American to take her rightful seat as an official delegate at a national-party convention since the Reconstruction period after the Civil War, and the first woman ever from Mississippi."5
Emphasis mine. Broadcast on all the major networks. Imagine that. I wonder that they didn't worry it would be inflammatory, and have a panel afterward to discuss whether she went too far in her descriptions of what happened to her, and question her account, and look over her countertops and take a viewer poll on who believed her. I wonder if they should have had someone on, say, to rebut what she was saying.
You know, just for balance.
I have this whole thing in my head, where Charlie Skinner was this reporter in Vietnam, and he and Leona had this torrid affair that was mostly about journalism and alcohol and adrenaline, and then they both came home from the war and it was awful, and sometimes I wish Sorkin would make a show about THAT, if only so that we could see this stone FOX on our screens every week.
I've been there, every anchor has at one time or another, and trust me: Daniels played this bit perfectly. (I know, I know, you doubt that what you see as [and what may be] overpaid and over-praised anchor-people ever experience anywhere near what many people do in terms of "agony." So be it. Maybe you're right. But when you're in the anchor chair and—rightly or wrongly—you have to face the furnace and take the heat it, sure feels like agony of at least a sort).
I'm really getting into the new FX border cop show, The Bridge. If y'all haven't seen it, check it out. It, of course,has me thinking of the *ultimate* noir border cop film, Orson Welles' Touch Of Evil. It's one of the few films wherein I can tolerate Charlton Heston. Why? His character is a pompous egomaniac. Talk about type casting.
Welles famously lost control of the movie, but it's still a classic. My favorite parts of the film are the scenes between Welles and Marlene Dietrich. One of her lines "you a mess, honey" has been a catch phrase around my house for many moons, Kemosabe. Sorry for the brief Tonto relapse...
Here's the legendary opening tracking shot:
One of the jurors in the Zimmerman case came out of the shadows today. She's already angling for a book deal and gave an interview to Anderson Cooper at CNN. She should have been stuck but she got through. She gets most of her news from The Today Show. In short, she's ignorant, uninformed, and damn proud of it. Here's her voir dire on the YouTube:
UPDATE: B37 is dropping plans to write a book. It helps to have read a book before writing one, but that hasn't stopped others from doing so...
Andy Murray is the first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936. I'm only sorry that Angus Podgorny aka Michael Palin wasn't there to share the moment in person:
One of the few benefits of being underemployed is that I've had a chance to watch bits and pieces of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin trial live. Like all trials, most of it is a one way trip to snoozeville but I'm forming some general opinions about how things are going thus far.
I agree with the late victim that Zimmerman is a "creepy ass cracker." The whole attempt to gin that up as a "racist slur" was neatly dispatched by, of all people, conservative WaPo columnist Kathleen Parker. Cracker is derogatory but it's sort of an anachronism and is largely unused in 2013. Paula Deen is clearly a cracker, as well as a fool but that's off topic. Btw, I'm trying to revive peckerwood as an alternate term to describe people who think Paula Deen is awesome and that Jeff Foxworthy is funny.
I thought the much ballyhooed Rachel Jeantel testimony was a wash. I was sort of gobsmacked by the reaction of the internet creepy ass crackers and peckerwoods to her. I was surprised to hear her described as belligerent et al. She struck me as a reluctant witness who was surprisingly soft spoken, which certainly cuts against the big, bold, brassy chick from the hood comments that were flying around. She wasn't candid on some minor points but stuck to her story on the major one: Trayvon was attacked while chatting her up and munching on Skittles. Despite what some on Fox News would have you think, Skittles are not a deadly weapon. Starburst might be but never Skittles...As someone who's pro-prosecution in this case, one thing alarms me. The defense is seriously out-lawyering the prosecution so far. They've divided up chores with Mark O'Mara being the nice one and Don West playing the bald headed bad cop attorney. O'Mara is very smooth and understands something that most lawyers do not: that being pleasant in court can sway the jury and witnesses as well. He did an excellent job with the cop from general casting, Chris Serino, and got him to offer some opinions that helped the defense. The prosecutors are unmemorable thus far, hopefully they'll get better. Substance may be more important but style always matters.
The most remarkable thing about the Supreme Court’s opinions announced Monday was not what the justices wrote or said. It was what Samuel Alito did.
The associate justice, a George W. Bush appointee, read two opinions, both 5-4 decisions that split the court along its usual right-left divide. But Alito didn’t stop there. When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, Alito visibly mocked his colleague.
Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the high court, was making her argument about how the majority opinion made it easier for sexual harassment to occur in the workplace when Alito, seated immediately to Ginsburg’s left, shook his head from side to side in disagreement, rolled his eyes and looked at the ceiling.
His treatment of the 80-year-old Ginsburg, 17 years his elder and with 13 years more seniority, was a curious display of judicial temperament or, more accurately, judicial intemperance. Typically, justices state their differences in words — and Alito, as it happens, had just spoken several hundred of his own from the bench. But he frequently supplements words with middle-school gestures.
Talk about an arrogant display of dickishness worthy of the man who appointed him, President Beavis. What's next, Sammy? Towel snapping? Whoopie cushion placement?
I know, bring a beer bong and get plastered on the bench for the next opinion you disagree with. Beyond boorishness, this is an example of poor sportsmanship as well as ageism, sexism, and several other isms that will occur to me later. YOUR SIDE WON.
Show a little humility instead of acting like a better educated version of your fellow New Jerseyan, Juicy Joe Giudice.
Don Draper has finally lost his shit. He's been teetering on the edge forever, but the meltdown happened in the season 6 finale, In Care Of. Don's gotten very drunk many times but he's never gotten in a bar room brawl and ended up in the drunk tank before. It wasn't even the point where Don hit rock bottom. Crash. He's consumed with guilt over Sally walking in on him and now she's showing signs of alcoholism as well. Hell, even Betty is more sympathetic than Don right now and I'm a confirmed Bettyphobe. Like his mentor, David Chase, Matthew Weiner is fearless when it comes to letting his main character be unsympathetic. It took Gandolfini a stupidly long time to win his first Emmy. Here's hoping that this is Jon Hamm's year.
California Dreaming: Everybody wants to move to California. My boy Stan Rizzo kicks off the bidding and Don soon steals everything but his awful outfit. In Anna Draper's day, California was Don's happy place but it's not to be. Megan is thrilled at the idea of moving and becoming a movie star, so she quits her her job at the soap. Big mistake. Don giveth but then taketh away from Megan while handing the California office off to Ted. Confused? I am. I'll deal with Ted next.
The Turtleneck As A Metaphor? It's fall on Madison Avenue so Ted re-embraces his turtleneck fetish. He also finally, finally re-embraces the Pegster. He sticks his neck out, as it were, and then self-decapitates by pledging his troth to Peggy and ultimately withdrawing the offer. It was sadly predictable, y'all. Peggy told Ted she wasn't "that girl" and he proves her right.
Don initially refuses to let Ted take his place in LA, but changes his mind after the disastrous Hershey meeting, which started out as a classic Don Draper pitch until he melted and went Dick Whitman on their asses. It was like watching a slow motion car wreck, but my heart still went out to Don when he told his hooker related story about his love for Hershey bars. Hamm ripped my heart out and put it back in again.
Lost At Sea: Don isn't the only one losing his shit. It was a tough episode for Pete Campbell as well. His dotty mother Dotty goes on a cruise with Manolo, gets married to the blighter and goes overboard. Splash. Accident or murder? It's unclear. Pete and his uber preppie brother Bud decide not to pursue it. Wise choice. The Campbells have major issues with transportation and should stay off planes and ships.
As always, Pete has to find a scapegoat. This time it's Bob Benson. Bob brought Manolo into Pete's life so it's his fault. Bob's sly Draperesque side comes into full view when he punks Pete in Detroit. Pete barely knows how to drive, so when he's offered the chance to play with a muscle car in Motown, Bob insists that he take up the Chevy guys challenge with disastrous and hilarious results.
Pete was in full-tilt Daffy Duck mode the entire episode: sputtering, flustered, angry, and ridiculous. Or as Daffy himself would say, "preposterous." In the end, he's kicked off the Chevy account and makes plans to join Ted in the brand spanking new California office. In 1968, California was the place you went for second chances. My parents arrived there in 1963, fell in love with the Golden State, and saved me from growing up in Utah. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
Firing Or Intervention? My money is on the latter even if the term wasn't in common parlance in 1968. Don is a partner and would have to be bought out of his contract. The partners really had no choice after a string of bad and unprofessional actions by Don with the chocolaty Hershey meltdown as the cherry on the shit sundae.
Don may have lost Megan as well. It looks as if she's the other California dreamer in the ensemble. She appears determined to move to LA without Don, which means that he's lost everything. The loss of his job however temporary is the big blow. Don Fucking Draper is an ad man through and through. It looks as if he'll need to get in touch with his inner Dick Whitman if he's finished at SCP. Stay tuned.
One thing that Don *should* lose is his insatiable thirst for liquor. It looks as if he's trying but we don't know what effect the meltdown at SCP will have on his tentative efforts to be sober. I really want to see Don at an AA meeting. The mere thought makes me a bit giddy. Hey, if he keeps it up, he could be Christopher Moltisante's sponsor down the road...
The final shot gives us some hope. Don and Sally exchange knowing looks outside the former whorehouse. Here's hoping that he tells her the whole story. It will come in handy when she writes her memoir of her crazy upbringing and becomes the Frank McCourt of suburbia.
Heavy Handed Symbolism Alert: We see Peggy wearing trousers at the agency while checking out Don's office at the end of the episode. Guess that means she's wearing the pants. D'oh.
Duck and his headhuntee arrive as Don departs and the latter says "going down?" as Don approaches the elevators. Enough with the elevator imagery, guys. It's time for it to go and time for me to go as well. I'm already experiencing withdrawal symptoms and am jonesing for season-7.
Finally, time to circle back to the post title, and let the Byrds have the last word:
Athenae beat me to the punch in posting about James Gandolfini's passing. So, I decided to do something a little different for PFT this week.
Tony Soprano was a die hard film buff and one of his favorites was William Wellman's The Public Enemy. Here's Tony watching Cagney in the episode wherein his virago mother Livia proved that she really wasn't too mean to die:
Mr. Gandolfini, who grew up in Park Ridge, in Bergen County, N.J., came to embody the resilience of the Garden State on “The Sopranos,” which made its debut in 1999 and ran for six seasons on HBO.
In its pilot episode viewers were introduced to the complicated life of Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mob kingpin who suffers panic attacks and begins seeing a psychiatrist. Over 86 episodes, audiences followed Mr. Gandolfini in the role as he was tormented by his mother (played by Nancy Marchand), his wife (Edie Falco), rival mobsters, the occasional surreal dream sequence and, in 2007, an ambiguous series finale that left millions of viewers wondering whether Tony Soprano had met his fate at a restaurant table.
The success of “The Sopranos” helped make HBO a dominant player in the competitive field of scripted television programming and transformed Mr. Gandolfini from a character actor into a star. The series, created by David Chase, won two Emmys for outstanding drama series, and Mr. Gandolfini won three Emmys for outstanding lead actor in a drama. He was nominated six times for the award.
HBO said of Mr. Gandolfini in a statement on Wednesday, “He was special man, a great talent, but more importantly, a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect.”
Here he is, clearly exhausted after a show, still taking the time to hang out with fans and even play with the puppy one brought to see him:
I love it when characters from past seasons return to Mad Men. The minute Sally was under pressure by her putative school mates to come up with something, uh, groovy, I turned to Dr. A and said, "she's calling Weird Glen for help." Irony abounds, of course, because Betty *loathes* Glen and even fired Carla the awesome nanny/housekeeper over allowing Glen into the Draper home after he'd skeezed Betty out. Glen keeps bouncing back as does that dog abandoning shit, Duck Phillips. It's time to bring back Salvatore Romano to give Bryan one more time at Batt...
The Quality of Mercy is another strong episode that revives some themes from past seasons and shows what a joyless fuck Don Fucking Draper is. Not even sabotaging his frenemy Ted gives Don any pleasure and he did so twice in the episode. First, SCP winds up with Don's juice not Ted's.Now that Sunkist is suddenly a much bigger account, Cutler helps Don in cutting Ted off at the knees. Second, Don insinuates himself into Ted's dealings with St Joseph's aspirin and deals a double low blow. Don claims that the Rosemary's Baby idea was the late Frank Gleason's thereby sawing at the Pegster's legs as well as Ted's. Don is one diabolical motherfucker, y'all.
Okay on to a few random comments:
Bob Benson International Man Of Mystery No More: In a word, Bob is a fraud, impostor and hayseed. Okay, that's several words, so sue me. Pete decides that he's the second coming of Dick Whitman but he handles this situation differently. When Pete learned Don's secrets, he went to Bert Cooper and tried to get Draper/Whitman discharged. It failed so Campbell tried a different tack 8 years later. He confronts Bob but decides to use what he knows about the former "manservant" against him by holding over it his head. Pete has learned to play firm politics at last and now he's on the Chevy account. Be careful of what you wish for, Pete.
It was great to see the seething rage beneath Bob's sunny and obsequious mask. The scene where he rants at Manolo over the phone was chilling. When repressed anger comes out, it can be a scary thing indeed. I wouldn't, however, be surprised if Benson bides his time and turns the tables on Pete somewhere down the road. He's a canny and savage infighter who may still take advantage of Pete's entitled and petulant nature.
Poor Kenny Cosgrove: I nearly plotzed when the poor bastard was shot in a hunting accident by the bozos at GM. He's having a tough year. The eye patch, however, may give him a shot at becoming a star Hollywood director like such one-eyed wonders as John Ford and Raoul Walsh. If nothing else, he may work harder to sell out and write something egregiously commercial so he can quit the ad game.
Secret Agent Sally: Sally may look like her mother but she's all-Don inside: manipulative, devious, and brilliant. She told everyone what they wanted to hear in this episode and came out on top. I no longer think that she's going to become a Manson girl, she's too smart to end up as a homicidal hippie. I'm not sure what she'll be running some day but I think she's going to be a mogul of some kind. It's in the blood.
Peggy's Got The Rosemary's Baby Blues: Ted and the Pegster were busted at the movies by Don and Megan. This where Don realizes how attached Ted is to Peggy and he used it against both of them as I mentioned above. The Pegster may finally be finished with mentor-1 but we shall see.
Featuring a Polanski classic is bound to have the "Megan is Sharon Tate" claque's antennaes tingling. It's just another example of Mad Men honcho Matthew Weiner being as devious and manipulative as Don Draper himself but not as suave. Who is, after all? Other than Cary Grant, that is....
Swell Dialogue: Don to Harry the nudge on the phone: "Did you finally find a hooker that takes traveler's checks?
Weird Glen and his punching bag Rolo on arriving at Miss Porter's, "Nice digs."
Sally's hazer (hazette?) "Call your mother and tell her you're useless.
It was a great penultimate episode complete with a Shakespearean title, Dot Campbell being dotty, Joan imitating a little old Jewish lady, and a closing tune by the Monkees from their psychedelic cinematic opus, Head. I'll end with this on uh, porpoise:
The Season-6 freight train gained momentum with another kick ass episode, Favors. It had everything I love about Mad Men from 60's fashion to the generation gap writ large to a Moshe Dayan poster on a goyim's wall. Nobody in the MM punditocracy has figured that one out, but another reference loops back to the Sharon Tate theory: Mark Lindsay lived in the murder house with Terry Melcher who was the *real* target of Mason's psychotic rage.
Favors was an apt title for this week's installment. There was more "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" action than at a session of the Greek Parliament. Well, maybe not more but just as much. There's a lot of ground to cover this week, so here we go:
Here's to you, Mrs. Campbell: Pete's mom is in love with her dashing Spanish nurse, Manolo. There was a great scene between her and the Pegster wherein Mrs. C confused her with Trudy and told her that Manolo was a goer. Nudge, nudge, say no more. Koo koo ka choo...
Peggy shared this insight with Pete who was disgusted. Pete was disgusted a lot in this episode except for the great moment he shared with Peggy while on the road with Ted (Sky Pilot) Chaough. Pete and Peggy were actually nice to one another as they ruminated about their shared past, Pete's daft mother, and the obvious chemistry between the Pegster and the Tedster.
Bob and Pete sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g: Not realy, but Bob Benson almost declared his love for Pete in their "Manolo the degenerate must be fired" scene. I'm unsure if this will turn out to be Bob's big secret but I didn't see this coming. Pete clearly understood what Bob's leg creep meant and used the word "disgusting" as he moved his own limb away. He was allegedly referring to Manolo, but Benson caught his drift. I'm not sure where they're headed with this, but I somehow doubt that Pete and Bob are now gay married and living in condo on Fire Island, but ya never know.
Frenemies, a love story: The ongoing saga of Ted and Don's unbromance was central to the episode. Ted's fury with Don boiled over after the latter mentioned Rosen the younger's draft status at a meeting with the Chevy guys. It's business 101 that you never bring up a depressing subject with clients, but Don is so detached from the company that he forgot this basic rule. Don was hoping to get some help for Sylvia's kid from the Motowners. It turned out that our boy Ted is not only as dovish as Don, but he's got juice in the modern sense as opposed to Sunkist or Ocean Spray. Ted may just be able to save Mitchell's cute little tush (according to Sally) from getting shot off by the Viet Cong. Speaking of Sally:
Sally and the keys: Sally and her little friend Julie are in Manhattan for "diplomacy school," which Betty described as just another excuse for kids to make out. Even Betty is right occasionally. Sally and Julie think that Mitchell Rosen is a cutie pie and Sally's sidekick slides a letter under the Rosen's door to help Sally's cause. In the immortal words of Rick Perry, "oops."
In classic Don Fucking Draper fashion, he cannot leave well enough alone and keep his pants zipped while helping young Rosen avoid becoming cannon fodder. I'm convinced that Don's motive was partially guilt over cuckolding Arnold, but he did what Don does and was in the process of "comforting" Sylvia when Sally walked in to retrieve her missive to Mitchell. Holy pandemonium, Batman.
For the first time since Betty learned that he was Dick Whitman, we see a baffled and dazed Don, totally bereft of his Draperesque suaveness. This is a bigger blow because Don's relationship with Sally actually matters to him. Yeah, he's a crappy father but he loves Sally and their previously rocky relationship is now on the rocks. Sally is too damn smart to buy Don's lame and incoherent explanations.
The semi good news for Don is that Sally' is unlikely to tell anyone what she saw since-like Pete with his mother-the mere thought of her daddy doing the nasty with anyone is, in a word, gross. The whole thing will make Sally even more jaded and cynical. I wonder if she'll be calling Weird Glenn any time soon?
I know there's a lot of stuff that I'm missing, but this episode had so much going on that I even forgot to lament Joan's absence or discuss Peggy's rat problem at any length. Suffice it to say that when Stan refused to make a rat call, Peggy did the sensible thing and got a cat. Hmm, I wonder if she called it Moshe? Probably not, unless it's a one eyed tom cat....
Speaking of Motown, here are the Four Tops with an ode to Don Draper's lack of impulse control:
No matter what the Rat Cook does, he's always hungry.
Here's one of my favorite episodes of All In The Family and that's saying a lot:
The wonderful co-star of All In The Family, Jean Stapleton died the other day. Her portrayal of the dim but decent Edith Bunker was a delicious contrast to the bigotry and intolerance of her teevee husband, Archie. He used to call his fictional spouse a dingbat and tell her to stifle. There's another Edith in the news who should have stifled herself but failed to do so.
Judge Edith Jones was on President Beavis' short list for the Supreme Court. She was not selected, and instead stayed on the Fifth Circuit Court Of Appeals here in New Orleans. The Bushies thought she was too intemperate to be easily confirmable. They were right. Here's a summary of what the Other Edith said the other day at Penn:
A federal judge who, until recently, led what is arguably the nation’s most conservative federal appeals court said blacks and Hispanics are more prone to commit crimes, according to a lawsuit filed this week. Although the remarks by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones were not recorded, five students and one attorney who attended a February event at the University of Pennsylvania law school signed affidavits attesting to what she said that day, the Associated Press reports. Among her comments were that “racial groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime,” are “prone to commit acts of violence,” and more likely than people of other ethnicities to be involved in “heinous” acts. She also said the death penalty provides a public service by allowing an inmate to “make peace with God,” citing an article called “Hanging Concentrates the Mind,” according to the Austin Chronicle. She said claims that the death penalty is discriminatory, imposed arbitrarily, and violate international law are just “red herrings” used by those who oppose the death penalty; that claims of “mental retardation” disgust her; and that Mexicans would prefer to be on death row in the United States than serving prison terms in other countries.
The most depressing thing about Judge Dingbat's failure to stifle herself is that the Fifth Circuit was the home for courageous Judges like John Minor Wisdom (after whom the courthouse is now named) during the Civil Rights era. It is now the home base for Judge Dingbat and some equally incorrigible wingnutty judges.
Here's hoping that the misconduct complaint against Judge Dingbat has legs. She's been saying stupid shit like this for years. I think she should be sentenced to stick her gavel in her mouth, but she'd have to remove her foot first.
I'll let Archie Bunker have the last word. I have a hunch that Judge Dingbat would agree with him:
God, can we please stop treating Fox News’ Megyn Kelly like she’s some kind of goddamned hero or something?
So this is where we are? A female Fox News anchor calls her misogynist colleagues’ views about gender roles a bunch of sexist bullshit -- which they are -- and we’re supposed to cheer for her? Give me a fucking break.
Megyn Kelly is your typical Fox News hack. Like every other conservative out there, she only manages to find her spine (and voice) when something personally affects her. Jon Stewart called her out on this BS the last time she pulled her “I am woman, hear me roar” schtick; that was waaay back in 2011 when she lashed out at radio host Mike Gallagher for calling maternity leave a racket. Yes, good for her. But I also remember Megyn Kelly piling on during the whole Sandra Fluke flap. I guess Kelly doesn't need to worry about her brith control co-pay.
What initially pissed me off about the video of Kelly taking on Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs was the way she prefaced her statements with, “I’m not a feminist but ...” God I hate that dodge. You're a woman in broadcast news and you're not a feminist? Well why the hell not? What the hell is wrong with being a feminist, anyway? Anyone who prefaces a statement with "I'm not a feminist but ..." is telling me they’ve bought into the whole right-wing framing of the word: “feminazi,” "man-hater," "ugly shoes," and the rest of the ugly baggage they've tried to saddle feminists with.
Also: if you’re calling bullshit on your male colleagues’ sexist remarks? Then yeah, you’re a feminist. So stop pretending you're not.
But you know what, I was wrong. Megyn Kelly is no feminist. She’s just another self-centered conservative narcissist who only speaks up when she feels personally insulted. She's no hero to women. She had no problem following Fox News' marching orders during Republicans' pre-election War On Women. And a part of me wonders if this whole Erick Erickson-Lou Dobbs-Megyn Kelly thing wasn't staged and scripted from the get-go in the first place.
So stop telling me Megyn Kelly is some kind of "feminist wonderwoman." She's not. She'll be back attacking women for the Republican Party as soon as her handlers give her the word.
Episode 10 is titled, A Tale Of Two Cities, but I would have added Chicago to New York and LA and made it a troika. See, I can be as pretentious as Matthew Weiner when I try. Actually, I think it was a very good episode but the Dickensian borrowing was a bit heavy handed for my taste.
LA used to be Don's happy place but this trip was different. Nothing much went right. Don got wasted on hash and did a Joe Gillis into a pool at a Hollywood shebang. Things weren't so great for Roger either. He ran into former Sterling, Cooper copywriter, Danny Segal, who is now a minor Hollywood luminary. Danny is almost short enough to play Tyrion Lannister, so Roger mocks him and gets punched in the bollocks for his trouble. Ouch. At least Roger fished our boy Don out of the pool.
Don was so stoned that he was hallucinating. First, the soldier he met in Hawaii in episode-1. He appeared missing an arm and informed Don that he was dead and that one's appendages don't reattach when you die. Bummer, man. Speaking of reluctant appendages, Megan appears to Don at the party looking like a hippie chick and tells him she quit her job and did an "I'm preggers" belly rub. The conspiracy buffs out there are going to revive the Megan is Sharon Tate meme after that scene. My money is against it, but Weiner is giving us a head feint in that direction. I'd love to see Harry Crane rubbing shoulders with Charlie Manson. How about a little helter skelter, douchebag?
Okay, let's line up a few balls and putt them in the hole or something like that. That's how I sound after being exposed to Roger Sterling:
Ginzo On The Knife Edge: Ginsburg is not a happy camper. He rages at the moon over the yippie/police riot in Chicago. Then, he gets into it with Cutler, calls the slippery accounts man a fascist and is generally mopey albeit in a frantic way. I guess he never had another date with that nice Jewish girl. Oy, such a pity.
What's interesting about the convention riot discussion is that both sides were right. The police went way too far but that's what Abbie Hoffman and his cohorts had in mind by throwing rocks and chanting "pig" and "the whole world's watching" over and over again. The cops broke the monotony and a few heads while they were at it...
Cutler's Sleight Of Hand: I'm really loving Harry Hamlin as the slick and souless Jim Cutler. His accent is prep-o-licious and every word is tinged with condescension, especially in his scenes with underlings Bob Benson and Ginsburg. Cutler seems to have a plan to take over the agency and the new name-Sterling, Cooper & Partners-is part of his maneuverings. It makes Cutler look modest when he's really out to knife everyone he can somewhere down the line. I think it might work: Don has checked out and only Pete Campbell suspects what's going on. And who's gonna listen to the Daffy Duck of Mad Men? Sputter, sputter, sputter.
Avon Calling: Cutler is not the only one making a move. Joan is ready to move on to bigger and better things. She cut Pete out of a meeting with a guy from Avon without telling her wingchick, Peggy. The Pegster was not amused, which led to an awesome recapitulation of their history. These two are the ultimate frenemies. They really cannot decide whether to be friend or foe.
Just when we thought the Pegster was turning against Joan, she fakes a call from the Avon man (not, Avon Barksdale, different show) that makes Joan look good to Ted. Pete is left sputtering ineffectually, so, in classic 1968 style, he grabs Stan's joint and takes a toke. That's joint as in reefer, not the other kind of joint, although Campbell does have a phallic name so...
Conclusion: I've got nothing profound to add. I'm not really sure where this season is headed, it may be going to hell in a bucket, but at least I'm enjoying the ride:
Spoilers within. And let's keep book spoilers out of the comments as much as possible, so that those who don't know what's going to happen beyond tonight can have the experience I did, of yelling "WHAT THE SHIT GEORGE RR MARTIN WHAT THE GAH HELP NO GAH NO SERIOUSLY GOD" and chucking the book across the room.
I still have Star Trek on my mind. Dr. A and I were watching the TNG episode wherein Mr. Data held a poetry reading. The highlight was his ode to his ginger cat, Spot. Dr. suggested that it be this weeks catblogging. I agreed; what Dr. A wants, Dr. A gets:
I am not now nor have I ever been either a communist or the target demographic for Lena Dunham's HBO show, Girls. I have, however, seen a few episodes, and find it well done and pretty well written. I also love Ms. Dunham's ability to irritate wingnuts. It's a gift, I tell ya.
Here's my unsolicited advice. There's a porn "parody" of Girls and Dunham has gone after it. There's *always* a porn film that riffs on the title of a successful film or teevee show. I use the term "parody" loosely when it comes to titles such as On Golden Pump. I, for one, would have never heard of the porn "parody" if Dunham had ignored it. There's no reason to, uh, pimp for something you detest. Bury it with inattention instead of taking to the Tweeter Tube.
That is all.
I finally got around to seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness on Sunday. I avoided it the first week because I hate being put in the dread pre-show queue pen. I'm not crazy about long lines to begin with but being cooped up with Kliingons, Ferenghis, and Cardassians gives me the willies. The Bajorans, however, are all right...
The other reason for my reluctance is JJ Abrams' stated dislike of the franchise he now helms. He is, obviously, entitled to his opinion but kicking the fan base makes no sense whatsoever. It's kind of like the Beltway Borg Collective's love for pols who bash their own supporters. I hope that Abrams doesn't trash the Star Wars Borg Collective or he'll be wrasslin' with Wookies and locked in a closet with Jar Jar Bloody Binks who will annoy him to death...
On to the movie itself. I didn't like the first act because it was confusing and more like a standard action film than anything else. Also, Abrams tends to use Star Trek lore when it suits him and disregards it the rest of the time. For example, the prime directive wouldn't bar Kirk from saving a planet. That's as goofy as Simon Pegg's accent as Scotty.
More importantly, KLINGONS DO NOT WEAR HELMETS. I nearly resorted to an exclamation point but all caps will suffice. Your basic Klingon would feel like a pussy for strapping on a helmet. Plus, the only Klingon we saw wasn't butt ugly enough. Klingons should make Joe Torre look like George Clooney. Another big problem with the scene was the Enterprise warning the super villain before landing on the planet, all that did was alert the pussy helmet wearing Klingons who were then slaughtered. Repeat after me: KLINGONS DO NOT WEAR HELMETS.
Okay, now that I've rubbished the first half of the movie, the second half was a pretty darn exciting space action flick. It even struck some appropriately Trekkie moments but even then its disconnection from the Star Trek universe is jarring. Hardcore buffs/fans/geeks know that the reason the Vulcans are so cold and logical, logical, logical is that they are boiling cauldrons of emotion and if they let loose they make Klingons look like choir boys.
I guess I'm feeling adamant because I've been rewatching The Next Generation on DVD, and doing my Worf impression to enhance the experience. It scares the cats but I like it.
Anyway, I give the movie a B for a strong second half but at the risk of being repetitive: KLINGONS DO NOT WEAR HELMETS. They do, however, listen to War:
The classic Mad Men pattern reasserted itself with this week's episode, The Better Half. After a clinker/experimental episode, this one moved quickly and was full of surprises, Don, Peggy, Betty, Pete, Roger and Joan. It was a good 'un, so without further ado, here we go:
Torn Between Two Mentors: It was tough to be the Pegster, both at the office and at home. Don and Ted continue to circle one another like tom cats but at least they skip the spraying and butt sniffing. They both did some hissing at the Pegster over the margarine account. She tried to stay neutral, which leaves both of her mentors unsatisfied, especially-surprise, surprise-Don Fucking Draper who gives her one of his most withering looks.
Meanwhile at home, Peggy and Abe are clearly not cut out to be urban pioneers. There's vandalism, violence, and more of Abe's inept handyman routine. He's no George Utley, y'all. He's also a classic lefty radical circa 1968. It's not fascist to give the cops a description of your assailant, dude. Peggy is horrified by the stabbing, becomes increasingly scared, and takes to wielding a spear as a self protection device. Abe was, quite literally, hoist on the Pegster's petard when she accidentally spears him like a swordfish from Brooklyn but Abe is no prize. She feels terrible, apologizes, and he dumps her for being THE MAN. She's well rid of Abe since he values his political purity more than their relationship. I will, however, miss seeing him melt down when Tricky Dick wins the election.
Meanwhile back at the unnamed agency, Peggy has two-count em two-private encounters with the artist formerly known as Teddy Turtleneck. Ted makes it clear that the smacker he placed on her was a mistake. Peggy is not happy, especially when she informs him of her breakup and he's disappointed, not opportunistic. Ted continues to be the anti-Draper. Don would have pounced on Peggy like a coyote on a pork chop in the same situation. I really hope that Peggy and Ted do not go bump in the night. It's far more interesting that way, but if they do, I hope margarine is not involved...
Duck and Recover: Pete Campbell remains whiny and petulant over his uncertain place at the unnamed agency. He meets with that dog abandoning motherfucker, Duck Phillips, who is now a head hunter but not one of Herbie Hancock's band of that name...
Pete is no longer hot shit so Duck mentions a job in Witchita. I expected Pete to stroke out, but he survived. Pete is still sniffing around Joan but she continues to, quite wisely, keep him at arm's length. She does indirectly help him with his crazy mother problems by letting them slip to the man Roger calls Bob Bunsen. He does have a burning desire to fluff his bosses, so it's apt. Or is he just as nice and dull as Megan?
Speaking of Roger, he continues to screw up. His attempt to play Disneyland Grandad backfired when he took the kid to see Planet Of The Apes. His daughter was not amused, even by Roger's impish impression of the apish Dr. Zaius. She bars him from solo grandparenting, so he turns to Joan and Kevin. Joan tells him where to put his lincoln logs and reiterates that he cannot see his bio-kid. She figures if wee Kevin has to have an unreliable father, a "war hero" beats a raffish account man any day. Poor Roger,she even prefers the company of Bob Bloody Benson to his. Context is everything.Megan Has The Twin Sister, Sapphic Pass Blues: Megan continues to have the mopes, and who can blame her? She's married to Don Draper who is distant and detached, and her new job isn't going so well. Her co-star/boss comes over, hits on her and tells her she's okay. Okay is the best that Megan's character is ever going to be. Nice people are undramatic and boring and she's trapped in a sweetheart loop with Don. The only way for her to win him back is to dump him as we shall see below...
Betty Is Back: She's got her figure back and she's enjoying the attention of some GOP fat cat, which in turn turned on Senator Wannabe Henry.Then, there was the rural grease monkey who leered while "giving her directions" to Bobby's camp. Enter Don, moth meet flame. Don always wants what he cannot have, so he winds up in the sack with Betty. Big mistake, dude. Don is usually the predator, but in this instance, he's the prey, and Betty will make him pay. That's what he gets for being a walking cliche by sleeping with his ex-wife. In contrast, Ted resists clichedom by not bonking his protege.
Damn, that last paragraph was sing songy, so it's time to end this post, but not before posting this musical tribute to Don and Roger who were clearly not made for 1968:
No new ep this week, as it's a holiday, but have some of Ser Barristan the Hot:
The best part of that whole scene? Joffrey's afraid. Protected by five kingsguard and his dog, not to mention the entire small council, Joffrey's still smart enough to realize that the biggest badass in the Seven Kingdoms is the man he just stripped of his cloak.
Once, long ago, a prince had named him Barristan the Bold. A part of that boy was in him still.
- A Dance with Dragons
Back to the post title. Wolfie is a champion conclusion jumper and he assumed that a woman in Moore, Oklahoma would be a biblethumper who would speak in tongues and bathe in the blood of the lamb. Instead, he met Rebecca Vitsmun who is a bona fide atheist:
What a wonderful moment. I suspect Rebecca's baby would score higher on Jeopardy that Wolf did. I only hope that Senator Flaming Bag of Shit (tm Athenae) and his colleague Dim Jim Inhofe do not declare her to be an honorary New Jerseyite hence unworthy of federal funding. Yeah, I exaggerate but only a bit...
Btw, Coburn and Inhofe are *worse* when it comes to disaster relief than Diaper Dave. The latter at least feigns gratitude for the federal dollars that have flowed Gret Stet-ward after our manifold recent disasters. In contrast, Coburn and Inhofe continue to, uh, cry wolf:
Style and substance go hand in hand in the best episodes of Mad Men. It is *always*stylish in a variety of ways and sometimes style overwhelms substance, The Crash is one of those episodes. It's made up of some great moments: Kenny Cosgrove tap dancing and pretty much everything involving my boy Stan. BUT it didn't hold up that well on a second viewing as the best episodes do.
The style was trippy, man. The shots adminstered by Cutler's Doctor Feelgood got them fired up and ready to go. Without Joan and Ted in the office, there was no adult supervision so it was anything goes writ large only without a glimspse of stocking, which come to think of it, would not be shocking in 1968.
In the spirit of the episode, I'm writing in short bursts and may not even proof read. You're probably asking, and that's different, how? On with the show this is it:
This is your mind on drugs: The Mad Men labored all weekend and produced gibberish. Ted was disgusted that they even misspelled Chevy. But Ginsburg was sober and his work sucked too. So it goes.
Slow train to Snoozevile: I've never been a fan of the Draper flashbacks and these were pretty boring. Also, neither Dr. A nor I think that that kid is handsome enough to be Don Fucking Draper. Enough with the heavy handed hooker analogies. Oy.
Stalkers and Peepers: Don is stalking Sylvia and littering outside her door. Of course, some smokers don't consider their butts to be litter. They're wrong. The Pegster catches Cutler watching Stan and Gleason's hippie daughter having at it. It's his partner's kid. Gross.
Are we negroes? Bobby had the best line during the bogus Grandma Ida's crime spree in the Draper's luxury digs. This was entertaining but Sally was wasted. More and better Sally and now, Mr Weiner. I expect to see her smoking weed with Weird Glen some time soon...
Mother's little helper: Betty is blond and has shed January Jones' pregnancy weight. I wonder if she got some help from Cutler's quack?
Culture watch: The Draper younguns watched The Prisoner while Megan donned her go-go boots. Hmm, I wonder if she knows how to ride a unicycle?
The manic style of the episode was entertaining, but it was really much ado about nothing other than Gleason's passing and Don's foisting the Vega campaign on Teddy Turtleneck.
What a drag it is getting old:
I still have Star Trek on my mind. I stumbled into this documentary on cable the other day and watched it again. The fans are a bit nutty but also pretty darn intelligent, just like my readers. My favorite is the woman who is devoted to Data from TNG and calls herself a Spinerfem. Now, that's a suffix I can get behind:
The merger of SCDP and CGC is on, but the new agency remains a horse with no name. Hold on, that's a Seventies song. Never mind. The overall theme of Man With A Plan was power. Don started the episode busting Ted's sweaterless chops. Then he re-enacted the Story of O with Sylvia, but he ended up looking like a lost little boy who grew up in a whorehouse. Except for Sylvia's breaking if off with Don, that whole storyline left me cold even if she did look fetching in that red dress, a color that is associated in Don's mind with hookerdom. The whole thing was a skeezy trip to Snoozeville.
My bromance with Ted Chaough: I'm falling hard for Ted. He may hate being called nice but he is. Did you notice how stunned Ginsburg and Stan looked at Ted's suggesting a "little rap session about margarine?" They're not used to having a boss who sits down in the writer's room with the creatives instead of summoning them to the Draperdome.
Don may be able to out drink Ted, but the latter has his own plane and aviator glasses to boot. Ted really one-upped Don when he flew them Upstate to meet with Mohawk Air. Hmm, I wonder if Stan will get a mohawk soon? If not, I can see Bobby Draper with one in 1977 at a Clash show...
The biggest contrast between my boy Ted and Don Fucking Draper is that Ted knows who he is, and is comfortable in his own skin. It may bother Petulant Pete that he doesn't have a chair at the meeting but Ted shrugs and gives up one to placate the preppie pissant.Ted also has at least one close friend, his dying partner Gleason. He advised Ted to rope-a-dope Don and wait him out. Excellent advice. Ted's presence at Gleason's bedside is in stark contrast to Don letting his only true friend, Anna Draper, die alone.
I love Ted's Gilligan's Island formula, which baffles Don who is stuck in the 1950's. As applied to Mad Men, I see Don as the skipper, Ted as Gilligan, the Pegster as Mary Ann, Cooper as Thurston Howell, and Joan as Ginger. Yeah, I know, Don looks nothing like Alan Hale Jr but he did treat my little buddy Ted as *his* little buddy. Bottoms up.
Bob Benson: International Man of Mystery- Bob came into somewhat sharper focus when he took Joan to the ER and finagled her a Doctor. It's the first time he did someone a solid that was more than just brown nosery. I'm still unsure as to what he's really up to-my guess is that he's undercover and plans to write a tell-all book-but he's up to something. It would be interesting if he turns out to be our Joan's new love interest. I'm afraid my friend Kevin might get jealous if that's the case but he'll just have to suck it up...
My mother can go to hell and Ted Chaough can fly her there: Nobody does petulance as well as Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell. He seethed with insecurity, jealousy and childish rage for much of the episode. Dealing with his demented dipsomaniacal Mother brought out the worst in Pete. I halfway expected him to kill her and stuff her body in his clothes hamper. The old girl is not as far gone as her son thinks: she noticed he had too much laundry for his crib to be anything but a fuck pad. Pied a terre, my ass.
Historical references: Who knew that margarine was invented for Louis Bonaparte aka Napoleon III? I did not. Btw, my mother was the daughter of a dairy farmer, so margarine was verboten and derided in our household as the devil's spread.She'd have been down with Ginsburg on that subject...
The most interesting parts of the tedious Don-Sylvia scenes were her reference to her son's presence in Paris during the days of rage, and the fact that Don confiscated her copy of The Last Picture Show. McMurtry denial could be a capital offense in some parts of Texas. Big Sam is not amused...
I loved the way they slid Bobby Kennedy's murder into the end of the episode.Using Pete's demented old bat of a grande dame mother as the messenger added an element of black humor to a grim situation. Pete assumed that the Kennedy boy they killed was Jack and went back to sleep.
Do It Again: Roger didn't play a large part in the episode-John Slattery directed it-but his one big scene was a doozy. He fired Burt Peterson again or is that re-fired? It gave me an earworm, which is why I'll give Steely Dan the last word:
Here's a 1966 teevee special featuring the Chairman of the Board, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and the sublime Ella Fitzgerald:
It's always good to have talented readers. An email from Alex Smith made its way into my in-box the other day:
I’ve been following your Mad Men episode recaps/photo gallery posts all season and have really enjoyed them so I thought I would share something with you.
As you briefly noted this week, there was a potentially huge teaser on Episode 6 of Mad Men that revealed the new account they’ve landed for Chevy’s “secret” new car which is identified as the XP-887. I quickly Googled “XP-887” and found out it is actually the notorious Chevy Vega. Seems like a pretty huge development since it is their biggest account (ever maybe) and the Vega turns out to be a total lemon/bomb.
My friends and I did some quick photoshopping to a (public domain) Chevy Vega ad from the 70’s, added the cast of the show, and changed the copy to match the developing story line. Since you’re into Mad Men as well, I wanted to share the finished product with you.
The image is posted with even more information at Cantmisstv. I'm not sure, however, that it's a good idea to let Stan Rizzo drive:
Thus spake Mere Marie (not to be confused with my friend Mother Mary) after her dinner with Herb the horrible (the Hagar of Jersey) and his twitty wife, Peaches. That's right, ladies and germs, please give it up for Peaches and Herb:
Okay, now that I've had my little joke (very little, actually) on to a discussion of For Immediate Release, which is hands-down the best episode of season 6 so far. It fits the classic Mad Men pattern; nothing much seems to happen plot-wise at the start of the season and then WHAMMO. This season's whammo occurred in episode 6, smack dab in the middle of the season.
Don Draper has his groove thing back and he shook it like a prideful and snarky baboon. The dinner with Herb was vintage Don Fucking Draper. He was insulted, returned fire and fired the fat fuck from Jersey. All without consulting with anyone. To paraphrase Joan, we is not in Don's lexicon.
Okay, time to riff like a deranged Tom Servo:
Why Ken Cosgrove Doesn't Fear The Bomb: I loved the scene between our boy Ken and malaka Pete Campbell about the latter's seeing his father-in-law with the "biggest, blackest prostitute" in Noo Yawk. Initially, I agreed with Ken that this involved Mutually Assured Destruction since both Pete and Mr. Vick's Hypocrite were whoring around. But Trudy's father hit the detonate button and blew shit up like a rabid Wile E. Coyote. He expected Pete to uni-laterally disarm, but he did not. Kaboom in Trudy's face. It all went kerbloowey and she threwy Pete out. So it goes.
Blowing stuff up was the unifying theme of the episode. That's what happened when Don fired Jaguar, which prompted a hilarious Campbell tirade, "You're like Tarzan swinging from vine to vine." Pete is starting to remind me of a preppy Daffy Duck. How long until he tells Don that he's despicable? I really need to stop making Looney Tunes references....
The Pegster's Unfixer Upper: She and Abe bought a place in a "transitional" neighborhood per his desires. The Pegster is in hell with loud music above, junkies on the stoop, and human shit on her shoe. Yuck. It nearly led her into temptation when her sweater boy boss stole a kiss from her. Nothing happened but we'll file it away under future attractions.
Peggy declared to Abe that she hated change. It's a pity because there's much, much more change to come but we'll get to that in a moment.
Fly Me, I'm Roger: Speaking of comebacks, the silver tongued acid head is back on his game at long last. He seems to be employing what could be described as the Playboy business plan: shtup lovely stewardess, get her to call when a live business prospect shows up at the airport, and then head out to land a client. It worked when Roger got an appointment in Motown from a drunken Chevy executive to pitch on a new top secret account. Others are reporting that it will turn to be the Vega, which is sort of a comedown after all the chatter about the Mustang but, still, it's a car and it's GM. Baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet, y'all. And Ted Chaough's turtleneck?
The Big Bombshell: Tarzan Don swung into Detroit and not only landed a car account but merged the firm with Teddy Sweater's agency. Details continue to elude Don's notice, Roger is the only SCDP partner who knows as of episode's end. I hope the others don't read about it in the Daily News before hearing it from Don. I cannot wait to see how Bert, Pete, and Joan react next week. Suffering succotash...
The scene in the bar between Don and Ted hearkened back to the one in episode-1 between Don and the drunk Private. That led to Don's presence at the soldier's nuptials. This time, Don is the groom and Ted is the bride or something like that. Btw, Ted wore 2, count, em 2, sweaters in that scene: a turtleneck under a cardigan. He looked like the Beaver and Wally's mom had dressed him...
The merger thing makes perfect business sense as a way to prevent another ketchup fiasco where the two little guys lost out to the big agency. It will be even better for the show as we watch the two agencies try to come together, right now, over me...
I am simply Jonesing to see the next episode. I'm hoping to see more interaction between Roger and Ted's partner Jim Cutler who is played as a smarmy lounge lizard by Harry Hamlin who is best remembered from LA Law. Hmm, I wonder if he'll wear a bunny suit when he hits on Megan?
There's much more I could say about this episode but it's Mother's Day, and I have to wrap a present for Sylvia Rosen who Don couldn't unwrap because her boy was home. Don was kinda busy plotting with his frenemy anyway...
I spent a long day Jazzfesting, so I'm not alert enough to write a complete post BUT I was blown away by the HUGE plot development this week. Sweater wearing Teddy Chaough and Don Fucking Draper as partners? Holy fucking shit. It's as if Batman and the Joker went into business or something.So much for ennui in the Mad Men punditocracy, they'll all be jumping out of their skins. I know I am.
More tomorrow. This is an episode I cannot wait to watch again.
Is anyone else watching The Americans on FX? I'm totally hooked and totally surprised that I'm kinda sorta rooting for the Russian spooks. Anyway, the season finale used Peter Gabriel's Games Without Frontiers very effectively as its coda. It quite naturally lodged in my head so here it is:
I seem to be in the minority among the Mad Men punditocracy, they're all like meh about The Flood, and I loved it. It's partially because I lived through that period as a wee laddie, the murder of MLK was all everyone talked about for at least a week, including those who hated and feared what King stood for. It was before he became the "unifying I have a dream guy" as opposed to the rabble-rouser who was against the war, and supported the Memphis garbage men. Even then, of course, he was both, as we saw through the eyes of the Mad Men. Okay, time to ramble and natter:There's a first time for everything: I actually *liked* Pete Campbell in this episode. I recalled his earlier maladroit attempts to tap in to the "negro market" so it wasn't shocking that he called Harry Crane on his malakatude. BUT I was shocked at how human the weenie little bastard was during the entire episode. I never once wanted to punch him in the gob. Also, the look on rabid right-winger Bert Cooper's face after his effort to end the Crane-Campbell hurly burly failed was classic. It was the look of a man whose time has passed, who neither likes nor understands the new order of things.
Mr. Pegster: Peggy's shaggy left wing journo boy toy Abe was put to better use in this episode. We learned that Abe envisions them having a future that includes little Jewish-Irish-Norwegian kids. The look on Peggy's face when he mentioned that was priceless. Abe had one of the best lines in the episode when Peggy urged him to be safe before setting forth to cover the melee: "Too late for that. I'm going to Harlem in a tuxedo."
You were the future once: I'm borrowing a line that David Cameron fired at Tony Blair during PM Questions when the former was the new leader of the Tory Party. As much as I hate to compare Peggy to the Posh Boy, Don is increasingly an aging golden boy whose star is fading or, more accurately, imploding. I had hopes in season-5 that we'd see a new Don Draper, but he's been the old Don this year and somewhat to the show's detriment. His free fall, however, was arrested, by of all things, taking Bobby to see Planet of the Apes.
Everybody likes to go the movies when they're sad: Thus spake Bobby Draper to the African-American usher who was morosely cleaning the movie theatre after a showing of Planet of the Apes. It scares me that I'm old enough to remember ushers and smoking in movie theatres. I loved the former, hated the latter. Anyway, Bobby's awkward attempt at connecting with a stranger touched his unemotional, closed off father so much that he even discussed it with Megan. I'd like to see more of the Draper kids even if Sally is a snarky teen and Bobby has OCD. I'm also old enough to remember when Don was a better parent than Betty. Horrible husband, but decent father. The show is quite simply better when we have *some* hope that Don will grow even if we know deep down that he won't.
Oy, such a father: I'd forgotten what a kick I get out of Ginsburg's father. The old boy had several of the best lines in the episode as well as the best reaction to the news of Dr. King's death; he pulled his blanket over his face and sighed. Who wouldn't sigh if your son were as inept a "lothario" as Michael? Never tell a chick you're still a virgin on a first date, dude. It only works in Woody Allen flicks, boy chick.
Senator Henry: We learned that Henry Francis has not only become more of a father to the Draper kids than dear old drunken dad, but that he's disillusioned with handsome and feckless Mayor Lindsay. Lindsay was riding high at the end of the episode but Henry was dismayed at the price paid for peace in the Big Apple. It will come back to bite Noo Yawk in the '70's.
Henry is ready to jump the Good Ship Lindsay to become a Republican State Senator. I am also old enough to remember liberal Republicans like Lindsay and moderates like Henry. Holy extinct species, Batman. Betty's already trying on new frocks to wear on the trail with her hubby. She should, however, ditch the black hair, she looks much better as a "bottle blonde."
In the end, I enjoyed episode's focus on the gang's reaction to the murder of Dr. King, including the weird acid head who pitched the preposterous Molotov cocktail ad to Don and the boys. Hey, at least he didn't have white liberal guilt like Joan whose attempt to hug Dawn went over like a turd in punch bowl as the wags used to say. Speaking of wags, time to waggle my way out of here and stop typing like a meth-addled monkey…
Okay time to visit the psychedeli and post some Jefferson Airplane. They knew from LSD, man:
I've been having some severe allergy issues in the last few days. It feels as if CPAC, or something equally cacophonous, is being held in my head. Anyway, the Mad Men recap is coming but I'd like to feel at least vaguely human while writing it, so here's one of my favorite moments from The Flood in GIF form:
The GIF only ,moves if you click on it; not sure why but I've been fighting it for awhile and it's time to surrender. Dang, Dawn looks fierce when Joanie goes in for the hug...
The Bush lieberry is opening tomorrow in Dallas. It's perfect that my least favorite recent President's lieberry/mausoleum is opening in one of my least favorite cities in the known universe. There's probably a worse town on Trafalmadore or one of the Stans but I doubt it...
The lieberry opening has brought on a wave of W revisionism. The twerpy dullard David Gregory told us on the NBC Nightly News that Bush tweren't so bad even though he strained to find some positive accomplishments. The main revisionist line is that Bush kept us "safe from terrorism" but there's always a footnote, AFTER 9/11. That's a huge shoe they're dropping y'all; too big even for King Kong or Shaq...
The footnote/caveat reminds me of something that happened when I was a 1L at Tulane Law School way back in the Mesozoic period. I had a very entertaining Torts teacher named Tom Carbonneau who seemed to have stock in Coca-Cola since he drank at least 3 Diet Cokes during every class. Gulp.
Anyway, Torts professors *love* posing convoluted hypothetical questions and encourage their students to do likewise. A conservative student whose name I forget (not David Vitter, he was a year ahead of me but was a notorious asshole even then) posed a hypo involving nuclear power: "Barring Chernobyl, it has a great safety record." That's a caveat/footnote that's just as absurd as "he kept us safe AFTER 9/11." I wonder if this dude wound up working in the Bush White House or got hitched to Dana Perino who has been revisionisting her ass off this week...
Barring the bank meltdown, the Iraq War, the Katrina response, it goes on and on and on, deep into the long dark night of Bush's misrule:
Even by Mad Men standards there was a whole lotta sneaking around going on in To Have and to Hold. If he could pass a background check-and we know he couldn't-Don should have volunteered his services to Richard Helms or James Jesus Angleton of the CIA. The ketchup skulkathon, of course, turned into a fiasco with SCDP losing Heinz beans without gaining "the prestige that comes with ketchup."
The episode as a whole was a bit of a breather after some of the heavier goings on in the first 3 episodes. It mixed hilarity with hypocrisy and was mercifully light on some of the heavy handed symbolism that I complained about last week. I think Dante's Inferno has been consigned to the outer edges of purgatory for now; at least I hope so. Time for a few comments:
Et tu, Pegster: Stan Rizzo had several star turns in this episode. First, by getting his Draperness to smoke weed and laugh. Don has been a dour boy all season so it was a relief to see him smile however briefly.
I also grooved on Stan's Roger Daltrey/buckskin fringe jacket. I halfway expected him to swing a microphone and belt out See Me, Feel Me although A Quick One might fit the mood at SCDP better.
A highlight was the bar scene after the meeting with Mr. Ketchup. Stan flipped Peggy the bird and Kenny Cosgrove glared at her after bitching out Don and Pete. I suspect Stan will not be talking shop with the Pegster for awhile, which is a pity because those two have real chemistry.
Peeping Don: Don continues to be Mr. Voyeur. He spies on Megan/Corrinne on the soap set and eavesdrops on Peggy's presentation to Monsieur Ketchup, which was pure-d Double D except for the fact that it didn't work. Don himself is on a losing streak with clients and with everyone except for Sylvia Rosen who is the only character who's a bigger hypocrite than he is. She's praying for him? Really? I thought she was shtupping him while claiming friendship with his wife.
Joan's Not Wild About Harry: We got to see more of our Joan this week: on the town with her friend Kate, yelling at secretaries, and scrapping with the preternaturally pompous Harry Crane. I've been waiting for Harry to start lobbying for a partnership, which he may deserve on the merits but will never get by dissing Joan to the other partners. She took a particularly nasty bullet for them and they'd rather not be reminded of that fact even if they have a habit of treating her like a glorified secretary.
I did, however, get a kick out of the whole Dow Chemical Presents Broadway Joe On Broadway scene. Escapist entertainment was what 60's teevee was all about, after all. That and napalm...
Don's Dawn: I remain disappointed in how the show's only regular African American character is being used. The scenes between Dawn and her friend were kinda meh and only of interest for her perception of SCDP as a joyless, hard drinking work place.
Fleeting Pop Culture References: James Garner. Joey Heatherton. The Smothers Brothers. Speaking of the latter, here's the Who on their show essentially demolishing everything in sight. It was the smashing '60's as far as Pete and Keith were concerned:
The Collaborators take place with the Tet offensive and the Pueblo crisis as the backdrop. They were dark days for the US and A and the crisis with North Korea fits our own dark times as well. That was an acutal crisis featuring Kim Jong-unfunny's grandfather Kim IL Sung as opposed to a repeat of the same old "North Korea has nukes, the sky is falling" crisis we've lived through before. Kim shoulda let Rodman write him some new material instead of just copying the Worm's bad hairdo...
The whole episode is about crossing lines and bringing betrayal uncomfortably close to home. The Don and Sylvia affair will inevitably blow up and cause a shitstorm on both the 16th and 17th floors. I'm going to put on my Carnak hat and predict that Dr. Rosen will find Don in the saddle, our hero will have a heart attack and the good doctor will save him. At least that's what I'd like to see. If it's good enough for Little Carmine, it's good enough for Don Fucking Draper.
It's random comments time. They're bound to stray and betray, and you'll have to, uh, jump to read them anyway: