October 28, 2009

"Mad Men"

My Wednesday Taki's Magazine column on the TV serial "Mad Men" is up.

Read it at Taki's and comment about it below.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

139 comments:

Jesse Helms think-alike said...

The New York Times and npr can't stop talking about this show. It's a guilty pleasure for them, a glimpse of a time when men were men, before 5 decades of liberalism had pushed this once great nation to the verge of becoming a third world cesspool. I have seen all episodes. The show at first seemed to be a nostalgic look at a lost era of normalcy and decency. This outward appearance is in a fact just a ruse to allow the show's mostly liberal feminist writers to mock (in their twisted view) the neanderthal behavoir of white males of that era. The show's anti-hero is revealed to a philandering fraud and coward who lacks the moral fiber to stand up to his unhinged wife. The only decent characters are assorted Negro maids, busboys and elevator operators and a closeted yetflaming homosexual.

The conservative viewer must mentally edit out the dialectal materialism in order to enjoy this show for what it is on its most superficial level: a look at a lost era when White males still ruled an uncorrupted America

robert61 said...

I love Mad Men, but its implicit theory of the past as a not yet perfected fallen world is insanely galling. When Betty dumps the rubbish on the grass after a picnic - see how clueless we were before we started immanentizing the eschaton, kids? - my contempt for the writers spiked. Do they really think WASPy Seven Sisters grads found out about trashcans from Woodsy the Owl and that lugubrious Indian?

gorblimey said...

Jesse Helms:

Don't go overboad with it. Sure, the show's irony about pre-PC sensibilities - such as when a character loses a foot and he's basically written off for life - is sometimes spread pretty thick, but that's not the main appeal. What you really have is decent writing, an attractive cast (ahem, January Jones), eyefuls of tasteful modern design and well-cut suits, and nostaliga for an age when you could get drunk at work.

Bob said...

I watched a few episode of the first season but found it slow and boring.

Very pretty actors, clothes, and sets, but that gets old very fast with the dull and predictable plot.

Whiskey said...

Steve -- A number of criticisms. I've blogged extensively about the show, for all the hype it pulls about 1.2 million viewers per episode -- combined DVR viewing plus live. Stuff like "Real Housewives of Orange County" on Bravo or "Top Chef" beats it in the ratings. It is a hype show, that few actually watch.

Second, the writing staff is nearly all female, 7 out of 9, and there is a scandal post-Letterman about the female writer Kater Gordon who rose from assistant to creator/producer Matt Weiner to writer. She was recently let go. Of note is the presence of "Buffy" show-runner and writer Marti Noxon as a staff writer.

Women don't find "sexism sexy" and the beta character of Pete What-his-name played by "Angel" alum Vincent Kartheiser that women don't like pretty much cements that. What women DO LIKE is dominant men. Hamm's Don Draper is socially and physically dominant, intimidating other men, and is desirable by other women. His womanizing is merely proof that he's desirable, other women want him.

Much of the show pushes the "beautiful victim victimized by the bad boys women love" which accounts for its following among gays and women in the media.

Probably the best use of "arc" writing was Babylon 5, which had a predetermined beginning, middle and end. Avoiding silly soap opera stuff and providing real novelistic drama, about stuff other than relationships with hunky bad boys (female drama) or hunky bad boy glittery/sparkly vampires. While Babylon 5 was a bit later than Thirtysomething it avoided soap stuff by being aimed squarely at men only.

Now, shows like the late, lamented "Life," or "Chuck" or indeed much of USA Networks "Characters Welcome" slate: Burn Notice, Monk, Psych, etc. build on arcs. Life in particular had the "conspiracy wall" which contained in a short visual (photos) with handy phrases the "linking" information to keep up to date or refresh audiences on the plot threads moving over episodes. Things that happen early on in a season (or even seasons before) still affect the characters.

Hill Street Blues was likely the real first pioneer of arc shows back in 1981, then "Wiseguy" was the second, followed by Babylon 5, followed by "the Pretender" and "Profiler" followed by Buffy and "Angel" 1997-2004. Television, according to Fred Brown, being the sincerest form of imitation.

Bob said...

Women like the manly main character in part because we are in a depression and this makes them value security over the prettier and friendlier types.

Likewise men in recessions go for physically larger older women with higher earning power.

Lithe and skinny for both sexes go out the window when the economy is bad.

Middletown Girl said...

"The conservative viewer must mentally edit out the dialectal materialism in order to enjoy this show for what it is on its most superficial level: a look at a lost era when White males still ruled an uncorrupted America."

ROTFLMAO. An uncorrupted America? You mean the America of Joseph Kennedy, J Edgar Hoover, Alger Hiss, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, Richard Nixon, Jim Hoffa, Meyer Lansky, Bull Connors, military-industrial complex, NY Times, naked discrimination against non-whites, Jazz bars, you-must-drink-like-a-fish-to-be-a-man, tobacco company ads(cigarettes are good for you!), etc, etc, etc.

I have a hankering for the 'good ole days' too, but let's not spin fantasies.

Simple-minded PC liberalism is insufferable mainly because it is essentially a flipside of FATHER KNOWS BEST fantasy conservatism. You say America was a CITY ON A HILL when white males ruled it, and now liberals say America will be a UTOPIA ATOP A MOUTAIN because gays and blacks run it. Same simple-mindedness(though I myself prefer the conservative kind because it's more attuned to the BASIC VALUES of society.)

Middletown Girl said...

Question. How come conservatives cannot come up with a show like this? How come we have to wait for liberals to come up with it and then try to find some tidbits to enjoy in it?
Who's stopping us?
Why can't we set up our own Hollywood?

Middletown Girl said...

"Sexism is sexy"

ONLY when it's from guys like Sean Connery or Clint Eastwood. It's just plain ugly from a beer-bellied slob or gimpy loser.

um hello said...

Question. How come conservatives cannot come up with a show like this? How come we have to wait for liberals to come up with it and then try to find some tidbits to enjoy in it?
Who's stopping us?
Why can't we set up our own Hollywood?


It's called the Harvard/Wasp, Irish/Celt Raconteur Mafia.

Anonymous said...

"Sexism is sexy"

ONLY when it's from guys like Sean Connery or Clint Eastwood. It's just plain ugly from a beer-bellied slob or gimpy loser.


Hmm...I see. So it's sexy when it comes from intimidating looking guys who look like they can, and just might, kill you. Whereas it's not when it comes from obese, unathletic cripples who probably couldn't do any major damage at all. Thanks for clearing that up.

Solomon Grundy said...

No doubt this will be the next big thing to make its way onto British screens and I'll ignore it just as I did with NYPD Blue, The Sopranos and The Wire.

On the other hand, I've recently been reliving the DVD releases of the first couple of series of The Fugitive. Maybe it's just the guilty pleasure of watching post-war America pre-Woodstock, albeit that the politics of the show is pretty liberal (its portrayal of rural and small-town America is less than flattering).

Anonymous said...

Brilliant writing on your part, Steve Sailer. I look forward to the next installment.

By the way, my hyper-educated wife feels the feminist movement cheated her. Her goal in life is to be a housewife, and she was delighted when Mrs. Draper was described in Season 2 as being highly educated and affluent. I want her life, she yelled.

Robert said...

"Because women find sexism sexy."

My friends and I would always wonder why women would fall for what we called High-Fivers. Guys who, say in a bar, would be loud and would hi five each other for any reason. These guys were obviously childish louts who were sexist at best, abusive at worst. The women would always fall for them!

MIddletown Girl said...

I haven't seen this show as I don't have cable and almost never watch TV, but...

Were most real-life ad men cool handsome studs or clever dorks?
CEO types in Hollywood movies(even today) tend to be tall, wasp-ish, and good-looking, but look at most real-life CEOs, and they look like... Bill Gates.

Is this movie harking back to real reality back in the 40s/50s or to Hollywood fantasy of the era? When Gary Cooper or Cary Grant lit up the screen, most men working in office buildings probably looked like Harry Truman or Adlai Stevenson--office clerks or eggheads. FOUNTAINHEAD is a cool movie but pure fantasy.

It's possible there were more tall-ish wasp studs back then because whites were a larger percentage of the population, women mostly stayed home, and big firms hired good-looking wasps over often smarter Jews. (Dershowitz recounted this bitterly in Chutzpah. He graduated near top of his class, yet all the top law firms--then controlled by wasps or wasp-wanna-be-jews--turned him down. However, good looking mediocre wasp law grads got into top law firms either through family connections or for having the 'right image'. I think J Edgar Hoover also hired a lot of people based on looks than talent.)

We'd like to believe that tallish and good-looking wasps got pushed aside due to unfair affirmative action, but meritocracy probably played a role as well. Jews, white ethnics, and women began to challenge the tallish male wasp order, and greater talent eventually won out over the good-looking but less talented wasps.

When Obama won the presidency, the New Republic hailed it at a moment in history when the backbone of white male privilege had finally been broken FOR GOOD. I wonder to what extent Jewish bitterness toward wasps goes back to the days when Jews were passed over for top jobs or heard words like 'you can't marry my daughter nor join the country club'.

According to the liberal Jewish narrative, both Jews and blacks had been victims of white male privilege. But, we may ask, if the prejudice was so bad, how come Jews made it while many blacks did not? Doesn't that prove that white male evil was exaggerated?
Liberal Jews may argue that Jews lucked out because they could half-pass for whites. Jews, allowed half-way through the door of 'white privilege', worked progressively and subversively to undermine the evil wasp system--thanks to talent developed in Europe in finance and business, the only professions permitted to Jews. Since Jews got in through the door of white privilege first and brought down the decrepit house of white male power--like Samson brought down the temple from within--, it is a moral imperative for Jews to help the blacks, who'd been even more discriminated by white male prejudice.

Many Jews may sincerely--if also naively--believe that the main reason why blacks didn't succeed like the Jews was because blacks had been kept ignorant and dumb by the white elite--whereas Jews were forced to do 'smart stuff' even when they'd been oppressed. In other words, Jews were unwittingly given the opportunity to fashion their chains into swords. White goyim made the Jews use their wits to collect taxes and do other 'dirty' work, but Jews sharpened their wits to eventually strike at the heart of the white goy order. In the story of Samson, he is made to do harsh labor but it only makes him stronger--and his hair grows back. He brings down the goy house from within.


So, the march toward total justice against white male oppression is not over for Jews until the Jewish Moses liberates his black brethren from the House of White Male Pharaoh.

Maybe the fascination with the rich white guys in Madmen is like the fascination with the Egyptians in the movie 10 COMMANDMENTS. Oh, it's great to gaze at all the power, glamour, and riches, but it's also supposed to be wicked, wicked, and wicked.

Bob said...

Middletown Girl:

Mainstream conservatives circa 2009 are intellectually dead so of course they are not going to be able to perform the difficult intellectual task of creating -good- TV shows. At best there is the bland and formulaic puff put out by Disney and various Christian producers.

Back in the 1950's, however, and you had solid shows like Donna Reed and I Love Lucy that inculcated wholesome bourgeois values on the public and were huge successes.

Now the right has been completely bought off and corrupted by the military industrial complex is lacks the moral authority to do push conservative values on the public through art.

Can you imagine someone like Ann Coulter and her normal hooker outfits being able to make statements like Donna Reed used to with moral authority and without irony?

"Even walking to a movie with a young man shouldn’t be allowed before 16"

http://www.donnareedshow.com/articles/tvpiclife64.html

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I'm disturbed by your smug attitude towards "The Wire" and "Mad Men."


I remember you once compared "The Wire" to "Miami Vice"--possibly the most inane thing anyone has ever written about anything related to aesthetic judgment.



The educated liberals you despise sometimes do have good taste in films and television. You need to accept that.


I'm sure when you review Pedro Almodovar's next movie you will talk about how he's gay and trendy with SWPLs. I'd prefer you talk about the work, but I suppose you think enough people do that. Perhaps your critic shtick is just not my cup of tea. Others may find it interesting, but I find it awkward when you try to map some
(preconceived) social critique onto a fictional work.

ironrailsironweights said...

Serialized (non-resetting) shows have one very big disadvantage. People who start watching after such a show has been on for a while can find it very difficult to get caught up.

Peter

Anonymous said...

On another note, I will say that my girlfriend made me rewind the episode where Don and Betty have dinner with Jimmy/Bobby and the Utz couple.


I won't describe the scene to avoid spoilers. For those who have seen the show, I will just say that my gf found one scene "really hot."

Let's just say it was Don being even more "alpha" than usual.

Anonymous said...

"How come conservatives cannot come up with a show like this? "

For the same reason that the political landscape has shifted to the left due to their constant activism. Conservatives are too busy keeping the lights on and putting food on everybody's tables to get involved in Hollywood and protesting.

Anonymous said...

>Sexism is sexy
>
>ONLY when it's from guys like >Sean Connery or Clint Eastwood. >It's just plain ugly from a beer->bellied slob or gimpy loser.

And revealing clothing is sexy only when worn by a woman with a decent body. Although on the guy side I'll bet the qualification is more a question of attitude and action then body shape.

Carolyn said...

I'm with Middletown Girl - John Hamm is smokin' hot. I'd watch him read the phonebook. On the other hand, Pete Campbell is an equally sexist dick of a character and I can't stand him.

The addition of lots of British actors has helped out the quality of tv lately - with regards to both acting and being real men instead of pint size boys - Hugh Laurie on House, Jack Davenport in Flash Forward, Damien Lewis in Life, to name a few.

Anonymous said...

"The addition of lots of British actors has helped out the quality of tv lately - with regards to both acting and being real men instead of pint size boys - Hugh Laurie on House"

Hugh Laurie is a real man? Carolyn, are you married or available?

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

"Because women find sexism sexy."

And, as Nigel Tufnel put it, "What's wrong with bein' sexy?"

Thrasymachus said...

I stand on the dock shouting, "What is 'Mad Men' about?"

I have watched only a little of it. The problem is too much emphasis is on the sets and costumes. Various Martin Scorcese films- "Goodfellas", "Casino"- have elaborate period sets, costumes, and cares. *But*- they don't depend on them to tell the story. "Mad Men" tries to have them do a lot of the talking, and it just can't be done.

It seems to largely be an office politics show, something that also appeals to women and liberals- like "West Wing", people talking about how to do their jobs rather than doing them.

Hooters said...

There are only two reasons to watch Mad Men.

The redhead's ginormous tits.

Anonymous said...

Hope Steve hits the Jewish side of Mad Men. Namely, there isn't one. The Jewish creator and producer created an absurdly ahistorical show in which 1960s New York and Ad firm has no Jews.

New York City and Advertising , even in 1962, was dominated by Jews from top to bottom. Certainly, there were still bastions of WASP power, but Mad Men has no JEWS at all. Even Rachel Mencken was an absurdity. Going to a "segregated" mythical WASP ad agency to get upscale clientele, when most of the rich in NYC cicra 1960 were Jews.

So why no Jews? Simple, (1)the white goys get blamed for all the sexism, racism, etc. and (2) nobody wants to watch Jews, even Jews don't want to watch Jews.

Everybody seems happier watching WASPs, even though WASP stopped dominating NYC in the 1920s.

TGGP said...

Steve has written about relatively low-brow movies: Mike Judge comedies, Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Will he do the same for lowbrow TV?

Steve Sailer said...

"Will he do the same for lowbrow TV?"

Just enough to develop some wildly generalizing theory...

Truth(er) said...

Why is Middletown Girl allowed to post? Is she a clown tailored to amuse everyone else.

1) The white males who used to run America actually built a City on the Hill. Under their rule, America became the wealthiest, the most advanced and the most powerful civilization in history. Under women-minority rule America is becoming a Third-World country.

Besides, Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn were great men.

2)Conservatives don't need to play the Hollywood game. What they need to do is stop protecting the intellectual-property rights of Hollywood and the media.

I will see a revitalized conservative movement when one of them proposes to legalize Napster.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives are too busy keeping the lights on and putting food on everybody's tables to get involved in Hollywood and protesting.


Pretty soon, conservatives will stop doing that sort of thing. Sooner than most think...Personally, I can't wait.

Truth said...

"The New York Times and npr can't stop talking about this show. It's a guilty pleasure for them, a glimpse of a time when men were men, before 5 decades of liberalism had pushed this once great nation to the verge of becoming a third world cesspool."

Or maybe it's a good show.

"The only decent characters are assorted Negro maids, busboys and elevator operators and a closeted yetflaming homosexual."

Yup, weirdos galore around here.

Cordelia said...

Carolyn said: "I'm with Middletown Girl - John Hamm is smokin' hot. I'd watch him read the phonebook. On the other hand, Pete Campbell is an equally sexist dick of a character and I can't stand him."

God, no. You guys can have Don Draper (Jon Hamm). I lost interest in him in the first episode, right when he got home to the wife and kids after spending the day before philandering.

Gimme Pete Campbell any day! At least he's interesting (in a very twisted sort of way).

PRCalDude said...

I'm sure when you review Pedro Almodovar's next movie you will talk about how he's gay and trendy with SWPLs. I'd prefer you talk about the work, but I suppose you think enough people do that.

Someone's sore spot has been hit...

Hough said...

Hope Steve hits the Jewish side of Mad Men. Namely, there isn't one. The Jewish creator and producer created an absurdly ahistorical show in which 1960s New York and Ad firm has no Jews.

There is a "Jewish side" to the show. The Jews don't get indirectly criticized in the show like the WASP protagonists do. There are Jewish characters, and a Jewish agency in the show, and they mainly serve to indirectly criticize the WASP protagonists, i.e. show how anti-Semitic, intolerant, etc., they were back then.

This isn't surprising or anything. I figured before the show that this would one of the show's themes, and it, well, is.

Anonymous said...

Has anybody else noticed the absurd amount of foreshadowing that goes on in every episode? I've never seen so much. They really hit you over the head with it.

Mitch said...

Hill Street Blues was likely the real first pioneer of arc shows back in 1981

This is exactly right. It wasn't thirtysomething. But Steve is right about the fact that the serialization ups the soap opera component. It wrecks most of the shows over the long run. Even good story arcs can hurt a show. One of the best shows on TV, Homicide, could not recover from the ending of two brilliant story arcs in one year, and was a crippled version of itself for its last year.

As for the show, I think there are all sorts of reasons to like it. The fact that the show's writers are mostly female is apparently misleading. Weiner does all the writing, the girls are gofers. Certainly, this is not a show that much likes women--Peggy is pretty geeky, and Betty's a horror when she's not some plot construct.

I do think the omission of Jews is incredibly bizarre.

coldequation said...

Middletown girl said
An uncorrupted America? You mean the America of Joseph Kennedy, J Edgar Hoover, Alger Hiss, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, Richard Nixon, Jim Hoffa, Meyer Lansky, Bull Connors, military-industrial complex, NY Times, naked discrimination against non-whites, Jazz bars, you-must-drink-like-a-fish-to-be-a-man, tobacco company ads(cigarettes are good for you!), etc, etc, etc.

You must have taken a wrong turn on the way to Pandagon, the National Review, or some other leftist website. Some of us unreconstructed Neanderthals still like most of that.

More relevantly, she said:
Question. How come conservatives cannot come up with a show like this? How come we have to wait for liberals to come up with it and then try to find some tidbits to enjoy in it?

Good question. At this point a conservative would not be able to get a movie produced unless they were Mel Gibson and could pay for it themselves, but somehow the right dropped the ball way back when and ceded academia and the media to the left (the latter follows from the former because TV writers are all college educated and were indoctrinated in college). The importance of 8 hours daily of viewing subtle leftist indoctrination (evil whites and Christians, numinous blacks and fabulous gays even in shows that aren't explicitly about politics) cannot be overestimated.

call me ishmael said...

Don was not born a member of the WASP/Yankee/East Coast elite like his rivals Pete Campbell and Roger Sterling. He's not even named Donald Draper. He's Dick Whitman, the son of a hilly billy prositute.

A recurring theme to the show is that Don is missing and no one know where he is. Everyone, including his own wife, senses that he might light out for the territories without giving a moment's notice. He's the spiritual heir to Huck Finn and Jay Gatsby.

The show makes excellent use of classic bluegrass and folk songs, or more appropriately called roots music. Don, after all, is a man severed from his roots. And that is really what the show is about: who is Don Draper?

MQ said...

I can't believe Steve wrote an entire column on long-form TV without mentioning "The Wire", which is not just the best long-form TV serial but probably the best non-comedy TV show ever made.

Steve is extremely smart and observant, but he doesn't have a very good feel for art or fiction. He's too literal-minded and nonfiction oriented. He loves Tom Wolfe because Wolfe sticks huge slabs of American-studies pop-sociology lecturing right into the middle of his novels, so they're sort of like one of those magazine articles analyzing social trends. Tom Wolfe wishes he could do something half as good as The Wire.

Anonymous said...

You know what's lame about that show? There was this big PR push about how all the ladies are wearing girdles, but they are not wearing girdles in any scene where they're also wearing other clothes.

Carolyn said...

@ Cordelia:

Jon Hamm is heterosexual. Lot's of speculation that Vincent Kartheiser is not (and can't you tell anyway?)

Udolpho.com said...

Mad Men is awesome. It's a pity that some of the faggots here can't appreciate it for what it is--a great period character drama. First post in this thread says it all. This guy is mad at life and the show is just his target. Watch him seethe. Can anything soothe his rage about a television show that other people like?

It's amazing how certain conservatives get so mad about this show, and read exactly the wrong things into it. They're so convinced there's a Secret Jew Message that they start obsessing over throwaway scenes intended to do nothing more than smile at the differences between then and now. You'd think people on an HBD-oriented site would be okay with pointing out differences (the show highlights the good and the bad) BUT YOU'D BE WRONG I JUST KNOW THEY'RE LAUGHING AT ME THOSE FUCKING LIBERAL FEMINISTS!!!

I know Weiner talks about feminist influences in promotional interviews (just maybe he's trying to make the medicine go down smoothly), but he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the period and if he actually is a feminist he is the subtlest, smartest, fairest feminist in history (all of these being contradictions in terms).

Oh yeah and super-beta Whiskey probably destroyed furniture beating a path to his keyboard to complain about this show. He hates it with an unreasoning fixation.

Udolpho.com said...

To respond to MQ, the Wire was good (excepting the final and unremittingly awful season) but it trafficked in exotic liberal cliches from the word go (it was way more formulaic in that sense than Mad Men is)...the show made for some compelling drama, but it lacked dramatic focus, a problem with deciding that the main character is the shithole city. I think quality television can be discussed without genuflecting to this sometimes good, sometimes terrible program.

Middletown Girl said...

"I can't believe Steve wrote an entire column on long-form TV without mentioning 'The Wire', which is not just the best long-form TV serial but probably the best non-comedy TV show ever made.
Steve is extremely smart and observant, but he doesn't have a very good feel for art or fiction. He's too literal-minded and nonfiction oriented. He loves Tom Wolfe because Wolfe sticks huge slabs of American-studies pop-sociology lecturing right into the middle of his novels..."

Is this a joke? WIRE--how about LIAR?--is sociology 101 crossed with screenwriting 101 pretending to be 'complex and courageous art'. I can't believe so many people fell for this. I know, I know, inner-city reality is scary, and most of us don't wanna confront it face to face with it; thus, we are grateful for anyone who brings this dark and disturbing reality into our living rooms. DO THE RIGHT THING was overpraised for the same reason. We middle-class white people were supposed to be scared straight--and set straight--by a grim portrayal of reality generally hidden from us by Hollywood fantasies or sensationalized/cartoonized through rap culture. Blacks took some pride in its portrayal of tough/rough blacks surviving in the urban jungle--just like Vietnam Veterans feel a mixture of self-pity and macho pride when they see Platoon("We were there, man!!") Radical Jews took pleasure in rubbing white America's face in an underclass community 'neglected' and 'forgotten' by all. (Hurricane Katrina as TV series.)
Conservatives praised it to show off how 'in touch' and truly concerned about social issues they were.

I've seen and lived much of poor city life and must say The Wire is more self-aggrandizing than honest. It is a loud blaring scare-tactic and guilt-baiting STATEMENT throughout.
There was a indie movie called SMALL TIME--made in early 90s--that presented this social reality much better. There's another called CHALK, centered around billiard culture in the black community, which really is a powerful work of art.

Middletown Girl said...

If Ken Burns ever made a docu-drama about black urban reality, it might be something like The Wire, though maybe a bit softer around the edges. Maybe he can call it Unforgettable Blackness.

Middletown Girl said...

"Why is Middletown Girl allowed to post? Is she a clown tailored to amuse everyone else."

Laughter is good medicine. And notice my clown act is 'reset' everytime. Yours too.

Ray Sawhill said...

If we're talking about work-set long-story-arc narratives, let's not overlook Ed McBain, whose 87th Precinct police procedural novels probably, er, shall we say inspired "Hill Street Blues."

http://www.crimetime.co.uk/interviews/edmcbain.html

McBain was a giant.

Middletown Girl said...

"Question. How come conservatives cannot come up with a show like this? How come we have to wait for liberals to come up with it and then try to find some tidbits to enjoy in it?"

"Good question. At this point a conservative would not be able to get a movie produced unless they were Mel Gibson and could pay for it themselves, but somehow the right dropped the ball way back when and ceded academia and the media to the left (the latter follows from the former because TV writers are all college educated and were indoctrinated in college). The importance of 8 hours daily of viewing subtle leftist indoctrination (evil whites and Christians, numinous blacks and fabulous gays even in shows that aren't explicitly about politics) cannot be overestimated."

---------------

Not good enough. Jews in the 19th and early 20th century faced far more discrimination and obstacles than white people do today, much of it openly hostile and blatant, yet Jews still came to dominate cultural and intellectual life in Vienna, Paris, Berlin, etc.

Black athletes weren't allowed to play in professional teams until 50s, yet many became great athletes in their own right.

Gays were oppressed all throughout history, yet they played a very important role in arts and culture.

Sure, there is PC and affirmative action, but that cannot excuse the right's lack of cultural imagination. White males have all the freedom to write books, make movies, write plays, become actors(like Gary Sinise), and etc. (Look at the success of talk radio. Sadly, it is the least creative/ imaginative of all media forms).

So what if there are leftist professors in college departments. Blacks had to face hostile agents and managers and audiences in pop music, but they still doggedly pursued their dreams and changed American/world musical culture. Ray Charles couldn't play before an integrated audiences in the South. Did he use that as an excuse to quit music?
Jews faced openly hostile professors and students in German universities. Hannah Arendt even studied under anti-Jewish Martin Heidegger and even gained his respect/affection. Even during the McCarthy era, many creative Jews wrote using pseudonyms and got their movies and plays made.

Many filmmakers started small, making indie films to be shown at Sundance. People who created Hollywood started out as small-time hucksters or floor-sweepers. They had the dream, vision, and 'balls'.
Though the film community is liberal, there is no rule that says conservative films cannot be made or that they'll be banned from film festivals for their politics. The problem is the right really sucks creatively. There is a conservative film festival, and I heard the works shown are pitiful!!
Also, because most conservatives don't give a crap about arts or culture, most of the audience tend to be NPR types. People who open used book stores or video stores specializing foreign/art/indie movies are leftists or liberals.
Ever read National Review's list of 20 best conservative movies? Pathetic.

Whites need to stop in thinking in terms of 'what happened to our privilege and dominance' and more in terms of 'we should fight tooth and nail like frontiersmen of old to make and show off our culture'. Whatever happened to guys like Raoul Walsh, Anthony Mann, and Sam Peckinpah? They were fighters.

Anonymous said...

Its obvious the show is intended to portray the early sixties as that horrible time when white men ruled. All the white men on the show are depicted as racist, sexist, liter-bug, alcolihics who cheat on their wives at every chance they get. All the white women are mentally ill defectives who raise dishonest and bratty children.

The writers do their best to depict all the white people of that era as extremely insensitive. In one episode the guys at the office were standing around joking about the people who died in a horrible plane crash. Apparently people didn't use trashcans either, as it must have taken non-white people to clean up America's parks? The black characters are all philosophical geniuses who are well adjusted and deep thinkers. The most over the top moment was when one of the firms owners painted his face black at a party and sang negro mammy songs.

The shows timing is extremely important. The elites are throwing everything they can at the American white middle class in order to defame and disrespect them at a time when whites are starting to get uppity. Mad men should be understood as psychological warfare being aimed at the white middle class for the purpose of demoralization.

Besides the obvious attempts at ripping away at the souls of European derived people, the show actually is enjoyable to watch as it allows the viewer to peek in on a time that was probably the height of our civilization? As more and more whites watch the show, don't be surprised if it has the opposite affect of what the writers intended; that being a desire to live at a time before politically correct hell. And since we can't go back in time, they only way to live this again is to create a future in its image.

-Bad white person

Anonymous said...

It's depressing that so many Sailer readers actually watch TV and take it seriously.

Dolph Lundgren said...

Mad Men is awesome. It's a pity that some of the faggots here can't appreciate it for what it is--a great period character drama.

It's pretty rich for a guy that is obsessed with the movie Metropolitan and that has a link to "The George Lucas Usenet Archive" to call people here faggots for criticizing Mad Men.

BTW, Metropolitan is overrated. It's cool when you're 13 - but then you grow up.

Gene Hofstatdt said...

How can you tell if they're wearing girdles when they have clothes over them?

But of course the real question is what exactly that clip from ‘The People Under the Stairs’ had to do with anything.

Also, even though "It's Toasted" was from 1917, Lucky Strikes' actual 1960 slogan of "It's Smokey!" wasn't really that much better.

Oh yeah, and why does Pete, that sexy hunk of sexism, read Ebony so much?

Notable to me about Mad Men is that the time it depicts appears so much better than nowadays, though you can practically hear the creaking of the system as it lurching toward collapse into meaninglessness.

Sure a lot of the characters are unhappy, but at least they find meaning in their lives and engage in the sacred pretence of trying.

John Lennon was the one who ruined everything (well, him and the red diaper babies).

“Nothing to die for.” He sang it like it was or would be some sort of unalloyed good. But what he ignored was that in the absence of something considered dearer to one than even life itself (Family, Race, Culture, Civilization, God, Honor, Glory, etc.) the world itself quickly becomes meaningless as the aspect of it most valued will soon enough be gone from it, never to return.

Thus estranged from the Universe that birthed him, Modern Man is fatally sapped of moral energy.

Note carefully that Lennon did respond to the war in Vietnam by attacking the war as a needless one, or as a war immorally not worth the heavy cost of fighting. Rather he responded by attacking the very idea of a man fighting for something beyond himself, no matter how just or neccessary the cause might be.

This kind of nihlistic attitude makes for poor drama (see Grey's Anatomy and such hideous dreck), and thus the Matt Weiners of our time. oddly enough in at least one case named Matt Weiner, are forced to pillage the past for settings and charactors.

At least it feels like the people in Mad Men MATTER, to themselves and perhaps in some cosmic sense.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that Draper is supposed to be a sexist - I think we're supposed to find him attractive because he's a man ahead of time. Pete is the unreconstructed sexist, and supposed to be unattractive for it.

Don may be a womanizer, but he doesn't make passes at women in his office, and when Peggy makes a pass at him he tells her to keep it professional. When Pete sexually harrasses Peggy, Don tells him to knock it off or he'll never get promoted.

Don is the one who takes Peggy seriously as a copywriter and promotes her career. When Pete doesn't want to work with her, Don says too bad. (I haven't seen much more than the first season, so maybe some of these examples are out of date, but this is the foundation they laid for the character.)

He may be a philandering jerk to his wife, but in the office, Don is a good proto-feminist.

Peter A said...

"Besides, Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn were great men."

Being contrarian does not make you intelligent or discerning. It just makes you intellectually lazy. By no traditional conservative moral standard were either of those men great. And McCarthy's idiocies probably helped turn more decent hardworking middle class whites into Democratic voters than any politician I can think of. The man was a drunken disaster.

Cordelia said...

Carolyn: "Jon Hamm is heterosexual. Lot's of speculation that Vincent Kartheiser is not (and can't you tell anyway?)"

Well, I think we've confused actors vs. characters in this conversation.

Jon Hamm = sexy.
Don Draper = not sexy ('cause he's an *ss).

Vincent Kartheiser = not sexy.
Pete Campbell (to me) = more sexy than Don Draper 'cause at least he's interesting, but he's not the sexiest guy ever either. Just more so than Don Draper.

headache said...

Truth(er) sed:
Why is Middletown Girl allowed to post? Is she a clown tailored to amuse everyone else.

Middletown Girl is a lot more interesting than say "Truth" (Truther?).

beg to differ said...

"What you really have is decent writing, an attractive cast (ahem, January Jones), eyefuls of tasteful modern design and well-cut suits"

January Jones is not attractive. (Respect to the poor miss.) Don can do and does better. The next part of your comment albeit an obvious and favorable characteristic of the show makes me think you don't like the girly girls

no longer begging but demanding to differ said...

"Women like the manly main character in part because we are in a depression and this makes them value security over the prettier and friendlier types."

Women always like manly men. Being handsome helps but what's important is being a man.
Pretty boy meets handsome man. Pretty boy loses pathetically.

"Likewise men in recessions go for physically larger older women with higher earning power."

This is frankly creepy. What's your source. I don't mind that a women is tall or older as long as she's hot. If I'm poor a rich lady is a plus. This seems to be have been overstated and is only about the money, and lowering standards to survive.

"Lithe and skinny for both sexes go out the window when the economy is bad."

All curves on my women baby. Always

Difference Maker said...

I did love this show at first for its obvious facets of style and nostalgic throwback to sanity but now it is just a soap opera.

It does seem to have less freedom than "adventure of the week" shows and therefore its lifespan is more limited.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point about Steve's love for Tom Wolfe.


I'm sympathetic to his aims, but "I Am Charlotte Simmons" is one the worst books I've ever read. Maybe old people shouldn't try to capture the zeitgest, much less try to understand contemporary 18-year-olds.

Christopher said...

I like the show, and think the last episode took it to a whole 'nother level --like, you know, eleven. I find it interesting how the different characters act in different situations, how the context changes, who makes moves and who doesn't and why. Also, the time period is very interesting because it's not so long ago --my parents' cohort lived through it, and of course the general culture of the time contributes or affects how people react --what their options are, what they think their options are, etc. Finally, as for the whole 'nother level thing, and this probably has something to do with what Ismael said. The main character had a chance to be a different person, and went with it. Fascinating. And maybe it's easier to create a whole new character than to be oneself. But the truth is still there.

Mark said...

Its obvious the show is intended to portray the early sixties as that horrible time when white men ruled. All the white men on the show are depicted as racist, sexist, liter-bug, alcolihics who cheat on their wives at every chance they get. All the white women are mentally ill defectives who raise dishonest and bratty children.

Which, once again, is why there aren't any Jewish characters on the show. "See how much better society has gotten since blacks, women, Hispanics and Jews took over!"

Anonymous said...

they mainly serve to indirectly criticize the WASP protagonists, i.e. show how anti-Semitic, intolerant, etc., they were back then.
and we let the jews and they took over and now they openly discriminate against us and its called 'tolerance' and 'diversity'. Sure glad we trusted them to act like good stewards and gentleman...

Dutch Boy said...

Anonymous said...
It's depressing that so many Sailer readers actually watch TV and take it seriously.

Amen to that, Anon. Who could watch that crap?

albertosaurus said...

I believe there is a trade off with continuing shows. They are easy to continue watching once you've started watching but difficult to start watching. I've never seen "Mad Men" although I would probably like it. I don't want to come in half way through.

So your dilemma is if a new series show is about to start do you tune in to the pilot or not. If you do watch pilots, you will see a lot of shows that will subsequently fail. Or you can wait until the universal buzz tells you that some show is a hit. But then you will have missed a lot of plot points that you need to understand a current broadcast episode.

The solution is Roku.

Just a couple years ago everyone was talking about "24" including Rush Limbaugh. So I went to the video store and rented the first couple DVDs. I had only a day or two to watch it before I began incurring late fees, so I did a "24" marathon. I watched something like twelve episodes in a row. That was a bit much. When I rented just one DVD at a time the next DVD was always out.

Worse yet I tried to watch the Sharpes series about the Napoleonic wars in Spain. Over time various episodes had been lost and could not be replaced.

The solution, as I said above, is Roku or other streaming service like Amazon or Hulu. With NetFlix/Roku I watched the first three seasons of "Heroes" usually one episode at a time. The point is that with Roku the whole season is there on-line waiting for you whenever you want.

I expect I will watch "Mad Men" (from the pilot episode) sometime soon when the first season is mounted on a streaming service.

roundabout said...

"I want her life, she yelled."

It's ok till the divorce. But in those days i guess she'd have gotten 'everything' and thus made men hate her and her kind -- perhaps justifiably -- and which partly fomented feminist attitudes during the 60s, causing a male counter-reaction, which of course has led us here.

MQ said...

I find it hard to believe that people would see the Wire as some kind of liberal propaganda. It's a show which depicts both black and liberal politicians as corrupt, labor unions as criminals, urban governance as broken, and inner city schools as hopelessly dysfunctional. I can't imagine anything further removed from the soft-focus soporific stylings of Ken Burns.

In the last season they even unload on the media as a bunch of liars, which should also please rabid right-wingers. (Although I agree with Udolpho that the show jumped the shark in that season).

Anonymous said...

Udolpho.com is right. Many of the comments on this post are shallow and juvenile.

Nextthing said...

One of the most successful literary descendants of Charles Dickens is Armistead Maupin and his “Tales of the City.” Before the novels, Maupin published his stories in the San Francisco Chronicle (the 5th and final ran in the San Francisco Examiner). The first episode appeared in the Chronicle on May 24th, 1976. The first of the novels was published in 1978. The series was filmed by the BBC and shown on PBS in 1994. The broadcast got the highest ratings in PBS history. The second part of the series was declined by the PBS, under pressure from the usual crew of mid-90s Calvinists. I suspect they are rarely cited in discussions of a need to return to realism in American fiction because their importance lies in the way Maupin reported on and transfigured the early days of gay & lesbian life in the city.

Half Sigma said...

The anonymous poster above who begins with "It's obvious the show is intended to portray the early sixties as that horrible time..." is correct.

Anonymous said...

Not so sure about the dumping of the trash at the park being incorrect. I distinctly remember as a little kid in the mid 70's our dad taking the whole family to Mcdonalds eating in the car and the just f@cking chuckin it out the window. Fn hilarious and liberating as well. We were pillars of the community btw.

Dan in DC

Anonymous said...

"It's depressing that so many Sailer readers actually watch TV and take it seriously."

If you don't think TV shows effect your world your mistaken. You may not care - but others do - and it effects their politics and cultural viewpoint.

Funny, how every TV/movie post always gets at least "But we have to save the world" comment.

Bill said...

Middletown Girl said...

Question. How come conservatives cannot come up with a show like this? How come we have to wait for liberals to come up with it and then try to find some tidbits to enjoy in it?
Who's stopping us?
Why can't we set up our own Hollywood?


Because conservatives are just growing out of their stuffiness.

Fortunately, liberals are just growing into stuffiness.

Thrasymachus said...

You know, people just like to see other people wearing nice clothes for a change, not one size too big stuff from Old Navy.

Mark Cuban actually blogged a couple years ago about how he hated wearing suits. I think we need to change this. As Barney from "How I Met Your Mother" would say, "Suit up!"

Dutch Boy said...

Those of you with a taste for TV shows about the 50s/60s should drop the modern slop and go for the real thing. Many of the better shows of the time are available on DVD and some are even worth watching. Anything made before the feminism/multiculturism/PC plague has got to be better than the current drivel.

Udolpho.com said...

The anonymous poster above who begins with "It's obvious the show is intended to portray the early sixties as that horrible time..." is correct.

Go back to obsessing about Sarah Palin on your website you nutjob.

Pseudo-conservatives desperately cling to their myths, just as pseudo-liberals do, and the most persistent myth of all is that they're always being misrepresented (life is so unfair).

First of all the central character, Don Draper, is an outsider from lower class surroundings and is not an everyman stand-in for Privileged White Males the way a certain whiny conservative likes to see the show (and everything else, really). Draper commits serial adultery because his own identity is fractured and he's spent most of his life running away from the consequences of his actions.

Second, the show looks at a variety of big developments of that era, including the managerial revolution, the transformation of bourgeois life by excessive materialism, and the sometimes sinister aspects of advertising in promoting happiness based on consumption. If conservatives can't get behind these critiques, then they are truly fucking stupid and deserve to live in a world swirling around the drain.

Third, no one on the show is depicted as unremittingly bad; it's a testament to Weiner's faith in the audience (here obviously misplaced) that he allows the characters to be good and bad at the same time, as most people are. The bearded beatnik ad guy often gets the worst of it, depicted as a vain and pompous liberal who dates a black woman for the political cachet, brags about his downscale neighborhood, and thinks of himself as a fount of creativity when really he's a self-important windbag. Even he is allowed to have some humanity.

The women on the show are a mixed bag themselves--Betty, of course, as a shallow, stunted child, but also Peggy (a brilliant performance by the way), Joan, Don's lovers (who really run the gamut), the generally daft pool of secretaries, etc. They aren't dreary cardboard stand-ins, airbrushed Donna Reeds that pseudo-conservatives would prefer to watch while vigorously masturbating over their lost golden age.

The show also depicts pre-60s generational shifts and alludes to some of the reasons people like Roger Sterling behaved the way they did (the glib Sterling is unusually taciturn on the subject of his war service; one can imagine why). His blackface performance was an inspired moment in the show because it was portrayed without judgement--Sterling isn't shown to be a racist asshole, but merely from an age that didn't get offended about broad racial caricature and stereotype. Pseudo-conservatives, being huge pussies, are certain that this scene is meant to tar them in some way. It's not afraid to handle "liberal" issues the "wrong" way, such as showing how the gay art department screws up a commercial by miscasting the lead actress, or when Peggy glibly retorts that "sex sells" and a stern Draper slaps her wrist, replying, "Just so you know, the people who talk that way think that monkeys can do this." Have you seen an ad lately?

All in all there is tremendous depth and sympathy, pretty rare in any medium these days where inane partisan fantasy usually stands in for perspective. The show is tremendously restrained in its approach, far from the caricature it is supposed to be by people who either can't have watched it or are incapable of appreciating anything more sophisticated than Japanese cartoons. It's really painful to have to face the philistinism of the conservative mind, but there it is.

And of course there are many things that were pretty bad about that period; the show often doesn't focus on them directly, but they're always in the background because they are a part of that era. Conservatives who can't admit this just look like dimwitted caricatures, and they're doomed to political irrelevance. Which seems to suit them fine--there's nothing a certain type of conservative loves to do more than whine about how unfair the world is to him.

Anonymous said...

"The anonymous poster above who begins with "It's obvious the show is intended to portray the early sixties as that horrible time..." is correct." (Half Sigma)

Half Sigma,

perhaps you should feature my post on your website? It would be a great honor for me, as I consider your blog to be one of the best on the Internet today.

thanks,

-Bad white person

RKU said...

I will see a revitalized conservative movement when one of them proposes to legalize Napster.

Now that's a really great idea, both politically and ideologically. But, frankly, it really doesn't need to drag along all that "conservative" stuff, which is pretty extraneous and useless.

I used to tell all my friends that one of the hidden benefits of possessing nuclear weapons was that it gave you an exemption from the international intellectual property laws. I think if Sweden or Finland or wherever some of those "pirate sites" are located had nukes, we'd all be much better off.

Svigor said...

somehow the right dropped the ball way back when and ceded academia and the media to the left

It's called the long march through the institutions. And it wasn't so much a matter of dropping the ball as it was not knowing the whistle had blown and a game had started. I.e., actual tolerance. Whoops.

Marc B said...

"Good question. At this point a conservative would not be able to get a movie produced unless they were Mel Gibson and could pay for it themselves, but somehow the right dropped the ball way back when and ceded academia..."

Probably the same reason music is secular music is better than almost any of it's Christian doppelgangers. With the low cost of shooting, producing, editing, and releasing independent content these days, it's a cop out to "blame the Jews" for this one.

It's really a lack of action, creativity, and resourcefulness if we are going to be honest. People are craving this sort of entertainment, hence the success of the "Left Behind" series that Conservative white people will clamor still to something that's on message even if it's not very good.

Anonymous said...

"Mad Men is awesome. It's a pity that some of the faggots here can't appreciate it for what it is--a great period character drama."

Umm...no. Personally, I really don't mind that MM is a liberal cautionary tale because I'm used to that by now and I still find it pretty awful. Everything is overexaggerated and too many of the characters are unlikable. It's really just a soap opera with high production values. Atleast the lame dialogue makes it feel that way. The Wire, despite its faults, is a far better show than this piece of crap.

"You'd think people on an HBD-oriented site would be okay with pointing out differences (the show highlights the good and the bad) BUT YOU'D BE WRONG I JUST KNOW THEY'RE LAUGHING AT ME THOSE FUCKING LIBERAL FEMINISTS!!!"

HBDers don't mind pointing out the differences between men and women but the writers take it too far in this show. Most of the men, except for the homosexuals, are cast in a very negative light which pleases the legions of female fans. But there are also alpha males present, so the female fans can have their cake and eat it too by condemning the white male power structure and **** their panties over Don Draper's alpha tendencies.

Anonymous said...

Half Sigma, your comments are lazy.

Anonymous said...

Another thing I would suggest is reading some of the Mad Men blogs. They are very good for a laugh and to better your understanding of the politically correct polluted mind.

In one episode a guy named "Duck Phillips" was trying to deal with his alcoholism (all the guys are drunks, but he was real bad). He happened to have his dog at the office that day and was about to fall off the wagon. He had a drink in his hand and was about to drink it until he looked in his dogs face. This made him feel guilty and he didn't drink the booze. The next scene you see him letting the dog out the front door of the office building in order to get rid of him (so he wouldn't feel the guilt of drinking anymore).

After the episode the Mad Men blogs were full of comments on how the dog represented non-white people and how the only people who mattered at that time were white men. The dog was a symbol of all the people white men didn't care about.

Of course, the real purpose was (just like everything else with that show) to make white men look selfish, uncompassionate, and all around rotten individuals.

I highly recommend you check out these blogs. At first you'll laugh, but this laughter will turn to shock and amazement that such mental weaklings exist. Its obvious that these people are causalities of anti-white socialization and are totally incapable of original thought (while believing that they're really smart and creative).

-Bad white person

Φ said...

Hill Street Blues was likely the real first pioneer of arc shows back in 1981, then "Wiseguy" was the second, followed by Babylon 5,

And let's not forget Michael Mann's 1986 series Crime Story, which also had season-long story arcs.

Truth said...

"Women don't find "sexism sexy" and the beta character of Pete What-his-name played by "Angel" alum Vincent Kartheiser that women don't like pretty much cements that."

I don't see Pete "Campbell," as a beta; at least not in the sense you do in which all men are either "alphas", or "betas."

Campbell is married to an attractive woman, has affairs, has bedded a secretary, and an "actress" and seems to get respect from his peers; all without wealth or family connections. Does this equal "beta?" from your understanding of the word?

The "alpha or beta, period" designation doesn't make a lot of sense.

"What women DO LIKE is dominant men."

Was this ever, truly, in question?

The scene in season two, in which he ties his married girlfriend to the bed and leaves is revealing; in it, she inadvertantly lets is slip that he's as much of a toy to her as she is to him. I've known great womanizers and they all work themselves into this situation at some point.

"Much of the show pushes the "beautiful victim victimized by the bad boys women love" which accounts for its following among gays and women in the media."

That "beautiful victim" thing has been the cornerstone of U.S (and Anglo) entertainment for 50-odd years now. Gays and women don't subsidize all of those shows, that is a huge appeal of the 007 series, the "man with no name" series, etc.

"Is this movie harking back to real reality back in the 40s/50s or to Hollywood fantasy of the era? When Gary Cooper or Cary Grant lit up the screen, most men working in office buildings probably looked like Harry Truman or Adlai Stevenson--office clerks or eggheads."

Maybe, but they work in a GLAMOUR industry in Manhattan; not a corrugated box manufacturer.

"My friends and I would always wonder why women would fall for what we called High-Fivers."

"High-fivers" do fairly well with broads, but not because they high-five, but because the "high-five" behavior harkens to other things: Athleticism, extroversion, confidence, etc., that are uniquely "masculine", at least in our contemporary definition of the word.

Women like "high-fiver's" for the same reason men like "let's go to the bathroom together, Christine's"

"But, we may ask, if the prejudice was so bad, how come Jews made it while many blacks did not?"

Well, Jews were not brought over to this country packed upon slave ships like sardines. It was not against the law for them to learn to read and write, and would be ridiculed, not lynched for marrying blonds.

"whereas Jews were forced to do 'smart stuff' even when they'd been oppressed. In other words, Jews were unwittingly given the opportunity to fashion their chains into swords."

Are you sure that you're arguing AGAINST this point? It sounds like you made it quite eloquently.

"This guy is mad at life and the show is just his target. Watch him seethe."

Does he remind you of anyone you have known for many years, Udolpho...just a little?

"s this a joke? WIRE--how about LIAR?--is sociology 101 crossed with screenwriting 101 pretending to be 'complex and courageous art'. I can't believe so many people fell for this."

Midtown girl, if you really are a girl, I think you and "Jesse Helms" would make an excellent couple. Come to think of it, if you are not, you would probably still make an excellent couple!

"If Ken Burns ever made a docu-drama about black urban reality..."

He did, it was called "Jazz."

"The black characters are all philosophical geniuses who are well adjusted and deep thinkers."

You got all that from "which floor, sir"?

""It's obvious the show is intended to portray the early sixties as that horrible time..." is correct."

Other than the drinking and the smoking, what the hell is horrible about it?

If I'm a white guy, I'd take a one way ticket to 1960 pronto!

Anonymous said...

Jews interpreting our past for us - what do you think will become the dominant image of white America in the 20th century at the height of its power for the dipshits like Udolpho? No way is there any agenda in the show, it is all a coindidence, right.

texas first! said...

Jews interpreting our past for us - what do you think will become the dominant image of white America in the 20th century at the height of its power for the dipshits like Udolpho? No way is there any agenda in the show, it is all a coindidence, right.

How does your own medicine taste, Yankee?

Anonymous said...

"The show is tremendously restrained in its approach, far from the caricature it is supposed to be by people who either can't have watched it or are incapable of appreciating anything more sophisticated than Japanese cartoons."

Whatever, dude. You are the one who has to justify his love for a show that has women, gay men, and SWPLs as its target demographic. What's next? Udolpho chastising conservatives for not liking the "totally awesome" Twilight movies?

Middletown Girl said...

"It's depressing that so many Sailer readers actually watch TV and take it seriously."

There's watching TV as entertainment(waste of time), as art(foolishness), and as sociology(essential to understanding the zeitgeist). TV is trashy like politics but a force we ignore at our own peril.

Middletown Girl said...

"Excellent point about Steve's love for Tom Wolfe."

I don't know about Tom Wolfe as I've never read him. What bothers me more is Sailer's over-enthusiasm for Mike Judge. I love Beavis and Butthead and even saw a few episodes of the okay King of the Hill. Idiocracy was funny but a one-joke movie.
Anyway, the idea of Mike Judge as the proto-type of future conservative artists/entertainers is rather distressing.

Anonymous said...

Half Sigma, your comments are lazy.

Yeah, kind of like his posts, i.e. "Global Warming is Fake" "Marathons Kill" "New Reality Show on Tonight" "Rich People" "Poor People" "Jews Are Cool."

Allan said...

"Well, Jews were not brought over to this country packed upon slave ships like sardines. It was not against the law for them to learn to read and write, and would be ridiculed, not lynched for marrying blonds."

Jews faced discrimination and hate as well. Leo Frank, for example, was lynched.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Frank

Anonymous said...

perhaps you should feature my post on your website? It would be a great honor for me, as I consider your blog to be one of the best on the Internet today.

What the hell? He rarely writes anything longer than two sentences. The rest is gossip.

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

Guys, guys...calm down.

I don't watch Mad Men despite all the rave reviews coming from some of my peers.

See I don't need to watch this show to view a bunch of older, over-entitled, arrogant and pompous rich white men. I go to work with and take orders from some of them every day at my law firm ;D

Anonymous said...

"January Jones is not attractive. (Respect to the poor miss.) Don can do and does better."

Can smell the sour grapes from here.

Anonymous said...

Komment Kontrol probably won't approve my observations on this phenomenon - but what the heck - I'll give it the old college try.

It wasn't but an episode or two into the first season of Mad Men when I realized that its basic premise was "How WASPs would behave if they were Jews instead of WASPs".

And since the writers, directors, and producers of Mad Men are themselves largely Jewish, this forces you to choose between two possibilities:


A) Mad Men represents a good faith effort by Jews to try to imagine what life might have been like for WASPs about 50 years ago, but for whatever reason [some sort of an ethnic tunnel vision of self-absorption?], the Jews behind Mad Men are incapable of anything more than projecting their own Jewishness onto their WASP characters, or else

B) Mad Men is part of an intentional effort to re-write history [sort of an ethnic propaganda and disinformation campaign].


Until a year or two ago, being by nature the Mister Nice Guy that I am, I probably would have gone with the first possiblity, but having witnessed everything I've witnessed in the last year [and the Minow-Taibbi affair really did seal the deal for me], I'm inclined to go with the latter possiblity.

It certainly doesn't help matters when the only character who has been portrayed sympathetically in the first three seasons of the show - the only character who seemed to possess any sense of honor or dignity or insight [or even merely just a simple memory of tradition] - was the Jewish department store heiress.


PS: Has anyone noticed how the SyFy [née SciFi] Channel is developing this meme of "Jew good, Scot evil"?

On Warehouse 13 this summer, they had the Jewish hero, Arthur "Artie" Nielsen/Weisfelt, pursuing his arch-nemesis, James MacPherson, and now this fall, on Stargate Universe, they've got the Jewish wunderkind [David Blue as Eli Wallace] slaving away for the evil mad-scientist Scotsman [Robert Carlyle as Nicholas Rush].

It's kinda starting to get under my skin - I couldn't stand Warehouse 13 from day one, but I used to be a huge fan of the various Stargates, and I don't know how much more of this theme I can stomach in Stargate Universe.

It's particularly ironic given that historically it was Scotsmen who were sent out to catch Jewish criminals.

For instance, Allan Pinkerton devotes a chapter in his Criminal Reminiscences and Detective Sketches to the Jewish arch-criminal, Max Shinburn [who was once in Pinkerton custody, but managed to escape when his Pinkerton guard fell asleep].

Shinburn, in turn, was the sometime partner and sometime betrayer of Adam Worth [possibly Werth?], the Jewish "Napoleon of Crime" who was finally captured in Belgium with Shinburn. At the very end of his life, after his parole from prison, Worth met with Allan Pinkerton's son, William, and told him the story of his life [the account of which is said to still be in the vault at the Pinkerton company].

Worth was so feared by the Americans and the Europeans that he inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create the character of Professor Moriarty.


PPS: Allan Pinkerton was a most proflific writer; for instance, check out his 1878 work, Strikers, Communists, Tramps, and Thieves.

Anonymous said...

some of the faggots here

And I can't say "miscegenation"?

Go figure.

Middletown Girl said...

"Hope Steve hits the Jewish side of Mad Men. Namely, there isn't one. The Jewish creator and producer created an absurdly ahistorical show in which 1960s New York and Ad firm has no Jews.
New York City and Advertising , even in 1962, was dominated by Jews from top to bottom. Certainly, there were still bastions of WASP power, but Mad Men has no JEWS at all."

When has Hollywood ever been accurate or truthful about demographic representation? The top scientific genius in the world in Terminator 2 is a black guy. In the future Detroit of Robocop, most criminals are white. During the era of Ali, Holmes, and Tyson, the Hollywood heavyweight champ was the Italian palooka from Philadelphia. (Novels are no better. In Puzo's THE LAST DON, the mafia is just as powerful in Hollywood as the Jews. Lol!) Just about every judge in movies is black or a woman or a black woman.

Also, ever notice that many Jewish characters are played by non-Jews? We get a kind of gentrification or gentilification of Jewishness, to make it more appealing and mainstream-looking to the audience. AVALON had very un-Jewish-looking Jews led by Aidan Quinn. Nordic Lena Olin played a Jew in ENEMIES, A LOVE STORY. I think the dropdead gorgeous Montgomery Clift played Jews couple of times: YOUNG LIONS and FREUD.

Hollywood is filled with ruthless, cutthroat Jews but prefers to give us the HUG-A-JEW movies like ANALYZE THIS or ACCEPTED(with a lovable fat Jewish kid harassed and abused by blonde wasp fratboy types).
And ever notice a good number of GREAT SCIENTISTS in movies are sexy women? We know most real women in science are geekish hags?
Narcissism run amok.

Though Jews often choose handsome goys to play Jews, they also try to promote rather unappealing Jews as sex symbols. Remember Streisand as romantic interest? Ugh! More recently, Sarah Jessica Parker who looks like the daughter of Wicked Witch of the East.
I get a feeling that Jewish women in casting department sometimes favor ugly goys over good looking goys in roles that call for good-looking people. Could it be Jews are, at once, trying to 'Aryanize' the Jews and Jew-ify the gentiles? How else do we explain the success of excruciatingly ugly people like Whoopie Goldberg and Sandra Oh? As comedians, okay. But as love interests? Could it be ugly Jewish feminist women in Hollywood are creating a sisterhood solidarity of ugly hagdom?

Anonymous said...

Strikers, Communists, Tramps, and Thieves

Sorry, that should be "Strikers, Communists, Tramps, and Detectives".

Middletown Girl said...

Could there be a Jewish pride of ownership in MADMEN? There was a time when Jews fought with Wasp power, but Jews eventually won. Jews not only own the show MADMEN but have long controlled trophy white men.

In Hollywood, this was always the case--even in the old days. Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, John Wayne, Betty Grable, Joan Crawford, Jimmy Stewart were big names, but Jews controlled the studios. Hollywood Jews were ruthless, even craven. But, the Hollywood dream factory belonged to them. Most stars were gentile but the center of the galaxy was held by Jews. Jews owned big stars like horses--like Woltz's horse in THE GODFATHER.

Jews may see Madmen differently than we do. We may see it as a time of white gods ruling the businiverse, but Jews might see it as white trophy males controlled by Jews. Just look at most news anchors in the past decades: Jennings, Brokaw, Rather, etc. All solid white male types. But who were really in control behind the scenes? Take shows like Murphy Brown: blonde healthy looking gentiles. But, who really pulled the strings? Or Mary Tyler Moore show. Gentile character in a show written/produced by Jews. Even ALL IN THE FAMILY was created by liberal Jews.

In other words, the admen in MADMEN are really ads themselves of Jewish power that owns/manipulates the gentile image. Jews know that people would rather watch glamorous wasps or blacks than nebbish Jews.

Even real companies operate this way. Remember LOST IN AMERICA where the boss wants Albert Brooks to work in the creative department because the vice-president job is for the uncreative good-looking face of the company? In any company, there are talents and handshakers. Handshakers arent chosen for smarts but for their image to make the company look good. Handshakers may occupy some important-sounding position, but they are kept for their image, style, or 'charisma' than for any rare talent. Remember BROADCAST NEWS where Albert Brooks--the smart Jew--is pissed because the station(and the girl) chooses some good looking wasp over him? So, Jewish feeling on this matter is both prideful & self-pitying. Prideful because Jews own and control the business. Self-pitying because girls swoon at the handsome wasp. That may explain why MADMEN is both glamorous and damning. Jews are showing off that 'we own these trophy gentiles', but Jews also bitter that white gentiles are blessed with The Look!

Middletown Girl said...

Smart Jews have had to 'carry' the good-looking whites and/or the charismatic blacks in their business(especially in media and entertainment) to persuade us that theirs isn't just a Jewish but a mainstream company. When white gentiles were define the mainstream, Jews sought to make their businessses look as waspish as possible--Jewish lawfirms hired wasps or waspish Jews over nebbish Jews, at least for the public image department. Today, diversity is the norm, so many Jewish companies look for a 'charimatic' black trophy guy to front the company.

Sometimes, it can be hilarious. Dan Quayle was a neocon dream turned nightmare. Quayle had the looks and credentials of corn-fed white conservatism. Because he wasn't too bright, neocons could schmooze and handle him to do their bidding. Alas, Quayle was TOO DUMB and even made his handlers look ridiculous.. Everyone had a moment when he or she began to question neoconservatism. For me, it was when William Kristol said, with a straight face as possible, that Dan Quayle is the most intelligent and qualified man to become president. Obama is just a black variation of this, but unlike the dumb Quayle, Obama is bright and sassy in the role of top adman for the Jews.

There was a time when Jews didn't own most wasps. But, Jewish creativity eventually defeated wasp stolidity. Firms needed smart Jews to win in law, medicine, media, hightech, etc. (Running a law firm without Jews was like running a NBA team without blacks. It couldn't win.) But, there was still a place for good looking wasps--the publicity department, to play the role of handshakers while Jews played the role of worldshakers.

Middletown Girl said...

Could it be that this show will end up glamorizing 'racism', 'sexism', and other politically incorrect attitudes? Sound and image are more potent than the message or sermon. A cool looking guy doing 'bad' things is more alluring that a dork doing 'good' things. This is why good guys are often good-looking while bad guys are ugly-looking--like in AIR FORCE ONE. People judge good-n-bad by looks and style than by words or deeds. We even love bank robbers in movies like THE GETAWAY. And, we prefer the cool and handsome Steve McQueen over the ugly and fat crooks.

And though some commentators have complained about some of the negative traits of the lead characters, isn't that part of the fun? Why did people love Dallas and Knots Landing? Because they were entirely about good decent humanitarian philanthropists? No, because most were power-hungry bastards and bitches.
I recall seeing a Canadian TV series long ago called EMPIRE INC. It was about greedy guys, but I loved every minute of it.

And, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA is about crooked gangster Jews, but it's more fun to watch them than decent/boring Jews working as tailors or shoe sellers. (Of course, a serious art movie can make even 'ordinary' people very interesting, but most movies are entertainment or fantasy.)
So, the negative traits of the WASPS in Mad Men may be part of the appeal, part of the product being sold to the audience. We often read about the nasty antics of celebrities and rich and famous... and love every piece of it.

I saw a clip on youtube about the 'carousel', and it reminded me of a scene in Stone's NIXON, a great juicy movie about POWER. Sure, Haldeman, Haig, Nixon, Hoover, and gang may have been a sons of bitches, but they were GRAND sons of bitches. Even Stone was loving every minute of this stuff. Me too.

FALL OF EAGLES is another fun movie about men of POWER!!

Carolyn said...

@Cordelia:

I don't think you can ever separate the actor from the character. Don Draper is supposed to be a strong, silent, self-made man type. Pete Campbell is supposed to be a weak, whiny, slimy. There's a reason they didn't find another Jon Hamm to play the Campbell part.

FWIW - Don Draper *is* a sexy character - he's a self made man - smart, successful, powerful - all in spite of his parents. Except for cheating on his wife, his moral compass is pretty decent.

Pete Campbell, OTO, is rather weak and slimy all around. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has a major sense of entitlement. He isn't that bright - he is coasting on his background and connections. His in-laws help support his lifestyle. Not only did he cheat on his fiance, he tried to blackmail Don to get ahead. He also refuses to let his wife adopt a child.

Alias said...

I have never watched 'Mad Men' as I have no patience for "quality television". It bores me to tears and always has, going back to the days of "Hill Street Blues" (the pretensions and liberal cliches of which were nicely taken apart by the media critic Mark Crispin Miller, btw).

You want TV that is at least somewhat fresh and un-PC, watch "Red Eye" late nights on Fox.

That said, a few comments on this most entertaining thread:

Udolpho is on fire here. Sour grapes ideologues should take his critiques seriously. He seems to be one of the few people commenting who has analyzed the show with depth.

Nevertheless, I suspect the commenter who said 'Mad Men' is an inaccurate Jewish imagining of WASP behavior is at least partly correct, since this is something I often observe in our culture. The characters in many of our movies and TV shows may have gentile names but they behave more like Jews - logical since Jewish writers draw on their own experiences.

Middletown Girl is one of Steve's most interesting current posters. Is she new? Her remarks on the paucity if conservative creativity at the moment were compelling.

And this comment is brilliant: There's watching TV as entertainment(waste of time), as art(foolishness), and as sociology(essential to understanding the zeitgeist). TV is trashy like politics but a force we ignore at our own peril.

Mike Courtman said...

After the Tom Cruise generation of boyish, small, and energetic stars, it’s refreshing to see a Golden Age of Hollywoodish leading man like tall, dark, and handsome Jon Hamm"

I agree about the energetic part, but alpha male worshipers need to remember if women didn't like the boyish guys, no body would be having attractive daughters.

Dick Whitman said...

Udolpho.com

Mad Men is a PC paean to liberal victimology. The goodness of a character, the sympathy for and/or the appeal the audience is designed to feel for them directly correlates to their membership in a historically oppressed class:

* gays: self-hating, fearful and closeted Sal & the young hipster creative partners
* feminists: saintly big sis free love grade school hippy teacher
* Jews: the smart, driven and wronged retail heiress (although Roger’s social climbing secretary/2nd wife is Jewish she is more a passive prop for highlighting Roger’s misconduct than exploring her psyche)
* blacks: stoically bearing the indignities of toiling under clueless, oppressive structural white racism

You missed the central idea that the reason Don is the main character and sympathetic (despite this philandering, inner cowardice and occasional fits of sexism, homophobia, etc) is because he too comes from the victim class: extreme poverty and social outcast as the abused bastard child of a prostitute hiding under a false identity. Roger Sterling is a foil for Don in this regard (he’s all privilege and no victim) which is why he is so much intrinsically less interesting and likable than Don save for his witty zingers.

Don’s reflexive yet mild homophobia and sexism in moments of anger illustrate how institutional racism, white privilege and overall wrongheadedness of the times seeped into the heads of even the best intentioned interlopers like Don. His superpower alpha male philandering is a fantasy sop to the women (and men) in audience. Don’s inner cowardice is to make him a complex and interesting character at times good, at times bad.

Despite Don’s rare angry outbursts against gays or women, Don promotes Peggy, puts Sal into a commercial production and hires the gay couple hipsters while slapping down WASPs like the ambitious Pete Campbell, belittling the annoying bearded beatnik creative and sinking the arrogant Duck Phillips’ presidency.

Don genuinely falls in love and wants to run away with the Jewish heiress who has the good sense to reject the offer. Don genuinely loves the proto-hippy school teacher feminist although he ultimately rejects her for pragmatic reasons. He uses and disposes of all other women with the utilitarian sentimentality of a Q-tip. Don is who we are supposed to be – the victim/underdog supporting other victim/underdogs while fighting the lazy, arrogant and largely unearned WASP male privilege.

Just because no one in the show is depicted as unremittingly bad or good doesn’t mean that MM is an evenhanded depiction of the early 1960s (although the black characters are gratuitous 2 dimensional background props). This just means it’s well written in detailing human foibles and folly. On the other hand, you’d have to be willfully oblivious to miss the fact that such foibles and follies are written along a steep gradient primarily vilifying WASP culture and men in particular.

(continued...)

Dick Whitman said...

(...continued)

A few corrections to your post:

* Roger Sterling’s black face routine was done in the context of his engagement party to his secretary. Impulsively abandoning his wife and children for his young secretary is one of the more judgmental themes running against Roger. It’s during this that Don begins to overtly dislike Roger, and Roger directly asks Don what he has against him. Don walks away from this scene while the other elite WASP party goers laugh at Rogers non-hateful but racists nonetheless performance (even by standards of the time).

* The gay art department didn’t miscast the lead actress in the “Bye Bye Birdie” commercial and this scene wasn’t a critique of liberals. You have it entirely backwards, it was a vindication of Sal and his talents. Sal was shown to be enthusiastic, exacting and ultimately successful in fulfilling specific client demands. Don told Sal that he agreed that Sal did everything the client insisted upon down to the exact frame. Don advised Sal to get used to capricious clients and he’ll know when he’s unhappy when he is no longer chosen for doing commercial production work. Don’s quip that the actress wasn’t Ann Margret (if you understand what a phenom she was at the time) is a comment that the client had unrealistic expectations that any actress/commercial could reproduce her pop cultural charisma. Don’s other comments to Sal make it clear that there was no miscasting or mistakes made by Sal and his team.

* Peggy gets trashed almost as much as the men do because she tries to become one of the boys and ingratiate (drink, sleep around, etc) herself into the oppressive WASP system rather than fight it. Joanie the redhead office manager and Betsy the wife also quietly similarly suffer for submitting to their roles in the WASP system instead of following their own desires. The contrast between how positively the victim class women and how poorly mainstreamed WASP women is almost as bad as that between the victim class and WASP men.

Obviously, I’m a fan of the show. Still, it’s impossible to ignore the blatant and largely consistent PC who-whom overtones of the show. The show will stay interesting if they start blurring this black hat/white hat victimology line. It seems to be heading that way a little bit with the foreshadowed revival of the Joanie-Roger relationship.

David said...

Marc B said

> "At this point a conservative would not be able to get a movie produced unless they were Mel Gibson and could pay for it themselves"

> [...] With the low cost of shooting, producing, editing, and releasing independent content these days, [that's] a cop out[....] It's really a lack of action, creativity, and resourcefulness <

Correct. I make very low-budget independent films (award-winning!) and your point is vivid to me. The sheer lack of (genuine) talent and (genuine) gumption out there is baffling. Too often one runs across only folks who want to make a fortune imitating some blockbuster but who:

1. can't write;
2. are broke;
3. prefer drinking, talking, and smoking to anything else.

The situation may be the same in Hollyweird but with the difference that there is a small critical mass of energetic people who get things done, along with an even smaller such mass who have real imagination.

Conservatives likely are intellectually, culturally, and (in this industry, anyway) financially broke. The last wouldbe financier I spoke with, a commercial real estate magnate, wanted to scrawl his own script and make a movie about...angels and Armaggedon, taking all the dialogue right out of Revelation. Last I heard of him, his business was up against it.

Mr. Anon said...

"Nextthing said...

One of the most successful literary descendants of Charles Dickens is Armistead Maupin and his “Tales of the City.” Before the novels, Maupin published his stories in the San Francisco Chronicle (the 5th and final ran in the San Francisco Examiner). The first episode appeared in the Chronicle on May 24th, 1976. The first of the novels was published in 1978. The series was filmed by the BBC and shown on PBS in 1994. The broadcast got the highest ratings in PBS history. The second part of the series was declined by the PBS, under pressure from the usual crew of mid-90s Calvinists. I suspect they are rarely cited in discussions of a need to return to realism in American fiction because their importance lies in the way Maupin reported on and transfigured the early days of gay & lesbian life in the city."

Or perhaps PBS declined to run it because the first installments of the series depicted Frisco's gay bathhouse culture (a topic a little too squeamish-making even for super tolerant liberals) at a time when liberal bastions like PBS were trying to normalize homosexuality. A little too much reality - not the message that we, the viewing audience, "needed" to hear.

"Mad Men" exudes a general vibe of anti-WASP sentiment - white guys, Bad - women, gays, and minorities, Good. Screw that. I can get that anywhere. I suspect a lot of it's appeal to the SWPL crowd is due to the clothing and interior design. People dressed nice back then - not like shapeless blobs in T-shirts, gym clothes, and Sierra Design hiking attire. What the audience doesn't seem to realize is that the "look" of those times can not be divorced from the reality. It took a serious buttoned-down society to look like that.

I'm surprised Steve hasn't commented on another of AMC's offerings - "Breaking Bad", which touches on many Steveosphere memes. Why it even depicts things not often seen in PC-approved media, such as vicious and stupid chicano criminals. And it deals with what is becoming one of America's leading industries - the Meth trade.

Anonymous said...

I do think the omission of Jews is incredibly bizarre.
who, whom?

Anonymous said...

"You mean the America of Joseph Kennedy, J Edgar Hoover, Alger Hiss, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, Richard Nixon, Jim Hoffa, Meyer Lansky, Bull Connors, military-industrial complex, NY Times, naked discrimination against non-whites, Jazz bars, you-must-drink-like-a-fish-to-be-a-man, tobacco company ads(cigarettes are good for you!), etc, etc, etc"

Yeah, Thats the one! And besides, what the Hell is wrong with Jazz bars, anyway?

By the way, please forgive Udolpho for his ungenerous comments. He has a thing about this show, sort of like Half Sigma does for Sarah Palin, only in reverse. As far as Udolpho is concerned, "Mad Men" is GREAT ART, and we're all just a bunch of neanderthals for not realizing it. Hey, whatever, dude.

Middletown Girl said...

Some conservatives hark back to a time when 'straight and narrow' wasp types ruled American politics, business, and culture. They fondly look back to the days of FATHER KNOWS BEST or UNTOUCHABLES. The get dreamy-eyed of the DONNA REED SHOW and the like. And, some conservatives want to return to this 'golden age'.

But, maybe the loss of wasp(or mainstream white gentile)culture had to do with this bland, colorless, and 'organizational man' ideal. Americanism for conservatives became white bread and milk. It made them complacent, conformist, and consensus-oriented. White conservatives came to abhor crisis, and thus lost the wit and will to creatively take on the challenges of counter-culture and the culture war. They preferred to make concession after concession to agitators in order maintain some semblance order than fight it out. Since they didn't have the guts to fight for their whole race, they withdrew into their private worlds and chose to protect/preserve their own privileges at all costs--even when it meant betraying less fortunate whites. At most, they threw a few bones of social values--pro-life rhetoric and prayer in school--to the poorer or less well-educated conservatives in order to garner votes.

Some of us may think that the the 'golden age' of the 50s and early 60s was representative of the glory of white mainstream dominance, but maybe it was an exceptional latter-day development that only served to undermine the instinctive will and wit to survive and win.
Consider just the arts. The great writers and other creative people among white gentiles had mostly been mavericks, rebels, or strong individualists. Or, they experienced the world from a perspective of crisis. Why did the SOUTH create so many important writers like Faulkner and O'Connor? Southern whites were faced with grave social, cultural, and spiritual crisis. Old South was rotting and new forms was growing on the decay like mushrooms. Notice that Swedish-Americans up in the North have been far less interesting. Generally, the great white artists were obsessive men who didn't fit in or had strong personalities: Fitzgerald and Hemingway, John Ford and Howard Hawks. Though there was the ideal of middle class comfort/stability throughout American history, the lives of most Americans--even whites--were filled with social drama, crisis, anxiety, challenges, etc. It was only in the postwar era that large numbers of white Americans realized the 'American Dream' and found sufficient comfort and privilege(often in the idyllic suburbs). This was all very nice in many ways, but it was a destroyer of the cowboy or the wildman spirit. (Though college boys often get wild, it's about gong along than expressing one's true identity). People who become complacent and entitled lose their edge. They either become happy in a whitebread dull way(if simple-minded or dumb) or grow neurotic due to lack of stimuli(if complex or intelligent). Or, they go looking for 'authenticity' in other cultures, as in 'stuff white people like'. The pervasiveness of the 'American Dream' washed white people of their cultural pungency with the All-American soap. Whites became scrubbed clean and polished into golden boys, but they lost the minerals necessary for creative alchemy.

Cultural ferment tends to dip without crisis. If Faulkner or Scorsese had been raised in white suburbia, he might have been just another 'organizational man'. Look at Germany in the late 19th and early part of 20th century. It was creative and interesting in many cultural fields. After WWII, Germans just wanted to be 'good' and 'normal', and they've been boring ever since. Look at Japan from the late 19th century to the late 60s. Faced with all sorts of challenges and tranformations, Japanese were forced to think, see, and grapple with things anew. Japanese culture became very interesting. By around 1970, Japan had stabilized into a middle class nation where most people could have a good steady job and stability. Japanese become white bread, or yellow cake. They've been dull ever since.

Middletown Girl said...

There's a Woody Allen movie called ANYTHING GOES which expresses the Jewish fear of being accepted into and co-opted by the white mainstream. On the one hand, Jews very much want to fit in and be considered part of mainstream America. But, Jews fear losing the edge, flavor, pungency--the wit and will to assert themselves.
Allen's generation probably had to put up with lot more 'antisemitism'. This could be blunt, as in a big dumb Polack at school saying 'Jews killed Jesus' and bullying Eugene Schwartz. Or, it could be subtle, as in WASP law firms kindly smiling at a Jewish applicant but turning him down. So, Jews lived in two worlds. In the white world and in their own world. They had to be scrappy, fierce, 3 or 4 steps ahead on the chessboard of social competition. Many older Jews have this very Jewishy willingness to fight--both the right and left. Michael Savage,the late Bob Novak(though later a convert to Catholicism), and Mark Levin are fierce as badgers. So are Dershowitz, Chomsky, and etc.
They all grew up with a huge chip on their shoulders. This may one of the reasons why neocons beat the Paleocons. Neocons knew how to fight, not just frontally but by culturally/intellectually/financially routing the enemy. White bread George Will is a prominent conservative but more of a follower than a leader. When neocons ordered him to be a good goyboy and attack Buchanan, Will did just that. Gingrich was a more creative conservative than most, but he grew up in a troubled home--and so did Clinton. Crisis from childhood sharpened the wits of these men and prepared them for great challenges. They never thought in terms of, "I graduate from college, find lifetime employment, and never worry for the rest of my life."

Jews have one advantage over waspy types: Obsessivness. Whether this is due to a personality trait, higher intelligence, cultural factors(legacy of Talmudic studies), or social anxiety, it is a reality among Jews. So, even if Jews become very much part of the white mainstream, their obsessiveness stoke the fire of creativity. Many of these obsessions are silly or useless, such as researching and gathering old baseball data, poring through Star Trek novels for meaning, or watching/analyzing every obscure movie from the 1930s. Much of Jewish intellectual obsessions are esoteric or apparently trivial in the eyes of most people: subtextual reading of toilet instruction manuals as a means of patriarchal domination in 19th century Vienna. Colleges are full of that stuff. But, obsessive people are using their brains, always turning over new stones, always on attack mode, always competitive. Even if 99% of their thoughts, ideas, theories, and 'discoveries' may indeed be ludicrous, they do dominate intellectual discourse both at the top and margins(two areas from which cultural changes take place, eventually to shape the middle as well--serious ideas/culture often came from the intellectual elite, pop music and everyday lingo from the underclass or underground), and occasion, do make a crucial breakthrough.

Whether it's chess, rock or movie criticism, archiving lost material, the art scene, scientific ideas, social theory, interest in other cultures, sports writing, Jews tend to be more obsessive than non-Jews. And whereas most people are interested in the LATEST STUFF and tend to be amnesiac, Jews have a strong sense of political, social, and cultural history--for the purpose of understanding, revising, or rehashing(look at Hollywood recycling of all the old stuff).
Jews tell us our own history because they study it. I'll bet a greater percentage of Jews than white gentiles know about the culture created by white gentiles. Jews are more likely to read up on US history, Shakespeare, and listen to classical music than your average white conservative whose idea of culture is country music or Hollywood Westerns(produced mostly by Jews, btw). Same is true of blacks. Jews are more likely to know about Jazz and blues than most blacks today who care about the LATEST HIPPEST stuff.

Dick Whitman said...

Agree with a previous poster, Breaking Bad is a far better written show than Mad Men which is eye candy with moral story arcs peppered with one line zingers.

The characters Turco, Saul Goodman, Badger, the meth head couple, etc. are all much richer and true to life than anyone in Mad Men.

Steve should write about Breaking Bad.

Anonymous said...

Also, ever notice that many Jewish characters are played by non-Jews? We get a kind of gentrification or gentilification of Jewishness, to make it more appealing and mainstream-looking to the audience. AVALON had very un-Jewish-looking Jews led by Aidan Quinn. Nordic Lena Olin played a Jew in ENEMIES, A LOVE STORY. I think the dropdead gorgeous Montgomery Clift played Jews couple of times: YOUNG LIONS and FREUD.

Haha, yeah. I'm thinking of Daniel Craig in Spielberg's Munich. He looks so out of place with the other assassins. And he's also like the most proud to be Jewish, aggressive, etc.

Trooper said...

You want TV that is at least somewhat fresh and un-PC, watch "Red Eye" late nights on Fox.

"Red Eye" is terrible. It's garbage that isn't really any different from the other crap in the MSM, despite how "different" it tries to portray itself. It's just a neocon version of everything else. I hate to sound like some of the nutsos here, but it's true. The guys on the show are Greg Gutfeld, Bill Schulz, and Andrew Levy.

Anonymous said...

I can't watch that show, I don't understand what anybody sees in it. It's over the top moralizing dreck, plus no matter how many times they claim the costumes are period, they ain't.

There was an awesome BBC miniseries adaptation of the Kingsley Amis novel Take a Girl Like You that was, for real, everything that is claimed falsely about Mad Men. It was an honest and brutal indictment of the misogyny of the period. And it worked because it was TRUE, it was freaking autobiographical. Kingsley Amis DID drink that much and he DID treat women like that. And unlike the female characters in Mad Men, the brutalized female protagonist of Take a Girl Like You was an innocent and she was betrayed not just by her rapist-boyfriend, but by the entire immoral society around her.

But there's another even more important reason it works - in order for the moral horror of the final rape in Take a Girl Like You to have the impact that it does, there has to be a context of absolute morality, of basic right and wrong, that Mad Men just doesn't have. When the characters litter, drink, smoke, neglect their children, oppress minorities, why is any of that stuff wrong? There's no reason! They're just not like us, not enlightened like us. FEH. That's crap TV. It's unwatchable. It's boring.

Alias said...

The guys on the show are Greg Gutfeld, Bill Schulz, and Andrew Levy.

Idiot. Gutfeld was raised Catholic. Whether he is ethnically part-Jewish, I don't know. Sculz is a gentile German-American. Levy is the only Jew of the three. Furthermore, who cares? Does having Jews (or one Jew) on the show automatically make it bad?

I would agree that the show follows the mainstream conservative line on most things, but it is also more unpredictable and funny than any show out there.

Anonymous said...

What I think is interesting is that modern Progressives look back at Mad Men and see all the obvious ways that period fails when judged by today's standards. In Mad Men, women got insufficient respect, the men littered, they all were insensitive to victims. If judged by a spectrum of historical ages, our age would be viewerd in similar contempt. The Romans might be in awe of our science and military might, but contemptious of our failure to control our women. Even more, a future, more progressed society, might look at our mores and see huge intentional injustices (the New Haven fireman or abortion of viable children). We might be judged just as wanting by a more or less progressive age.

Middletown Girl said...

"...what the Hell is wrong with Jazz bars, anyway?"

Nothing, but they were appealing for their air of cynical hipster sophistication. They accepted and toyed with the corrupt ways of the world--which is not to say they were necessarily run by corrupt people. The theme of Jazz music and scene was satisfaction with sin.

Pissed Off Chinaman said...

Redeye is funny but only in the car wreck sense of the word. The panelists try way too hard and the host reminds me of the typical aging fratboy douchebag who does not realize he ain't cool any more.

Anonymous said...

"And this comment is brilliant: There's watching TV as entertainment(waste of time), as art(foolishness), and as sociology(essential to understanding the zeitgeist). TV is trashy like politics but a force we ignore at our own peril."

My wife calls this meta watching. Really, if you look 2 degrees to either side while watching shows like Mad Men or The Wire, you see how shameful it is to be an actor.

I wonder if there is a race or species-wide evolution of psychological and emotional resistance to drama and fiction. If so, the Jews are going to be in big trouble eventually.

Truth said...

"The top scientific genius in the world in Terminator 2 is a black guy. In the future Detroit of Robocop, most criminals are white. During the era of Ali, Holmes, and Tyson, the Hollywood heavyweight champ was the Italian palooka from Philadelphia."

What makes you think that people pay $10 plus parking to see reality? If they want reality they can simply step out their front door, go to work or yell at their kids for writing on the wall with crayons.

My take on Mad Men, (and I've seen every episode in the first 1.5 seasons) is that it's a good not great show, but better than most of what passes for television entertainment. It is, by no means, a transcendent experience, it is also, very obviously written by women, but not for the reasons that you people have outlined.

I think the main indicator of the fingerprint of Sappho:

1) is that the one-on-one male confrontations are woefully inadequate; When they write about two men having a problem with each other, it is fairly apparent that they have never seen two men alone in a room having a problem with each other. One example being the scene with Duck and Don arguing over losing the airline account. They talked about their feelings really nicely and 10 seconds later, it was over.

Not.

2) The conflicts on the show are all subtly emotional and rarely show a hint of physicality. This is 1961 for Christ sakes and no one raises his voice.

Anonymous was correct about "Take a girl like you", however. It was well done...although the book was better.

Udolpho.com said...

I appreciate Dick Whitman's mostly shrewd comments on Mad Men (a departure here), but disagree with them all the same. Take the Bye Bye Birdie ad. Watch it again, everyone sees the ad and is put off by its vibe, which is all wrong, but no one can quite identify what the problem is. It's pure camp, which they haven't been exposed to yet. The point of that scene wasn't just that it's tough to replace Ann Margret, it was (I believe) to highlight Sal's difficulty with fitting in, hard as he tries. Gay men don't really get women, which is why they gravitate toward camp queens.

Also, Don doesn't hire the hipsters, they're foisted on him by Duck (or was it PPL) as a sop to the youth market. So far Don has been ice cold on them and their main use in the series has been to catch insults. Duck doesn't represent WASPs so much as he represents the obscenely focused upper management that is invading the business world--their ultimate achievement the office cubicle. Besides which the Duck power struggle was based on a power struggle at a contemporary ad agency--people tend to forget in the midst of deconstructing the show's depiction of the era that a good portion of it is based on what was really going on in the ad world at the time.

Betty a victim? She's shown to be a spoiled child on a regular basis, an empty-headed daddy's girl who can't satisfy Don's craving for approval because the approval of Betty Draper means less than nothing. And there's only so long you can screw the same woman without needing something more than her body to turn you on.

The show isn't recognized enough for its departures from the cliches that fill Hollywood dramas, so to see it casually consigned to the bin as another Hollywood liberal grudgefest against white people is too much for me. I know some of this crowd longs for Dick Van Patten's triumphant return to weekly melodrama, but I doubt conservatives will do better or fare better on any show coming out of Hollywood. Be happy they didn't use the Kennedy-Nixon race (almost everyone on the show is for Nixon) as a chance to smugly emote.

The shows' finest moments outshine everything else on television--Mad Men walked to its Emmy wins with no competition in sight, and The Wheel is perhaps the best single television episode of all time.

I'll repeat for the slower students, the show offers plenty of criticism for the developing liberalism and commercialism of the period, which is what makes it even handed. If you can dry your tears you might notice it. By the way, do you really think a show can be set in that era without addressing the issues facing blacks and women? Really? Astounding.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ, why do the nihilists always make it right through Komment Kontrol as if they get to completely bypass the metal detectors at the Blogspot TSA?

Dick Whitman said...

Udolpho, I appreciate your viewpoint and miss your blog posts, but I have to make one last iteration on this thread.

The Bye Bye Birdie ad was a scene for scene copy of the film version opening starring Ann Margret, and Sal emulated it perfectly. This was very difficult because most of it was one long continuous shot without any edits which attested to Sal’s work ethic, perfectionism and talents. The client was precise in this request and the doppelganger ad we saw shows no room for any creative or campy content inserted by Sal.

When Sal flamboyantly reenacted the scene with his wife in bed she seemed to realize for the first time he was gay and happy being so (in contrast to the curious boredom of their sham marriage). This shows the difficulty of Sal fitting into a straight world, but there was nothing in the ad itself he produced.

Duck sent the young gay creative couple to interview with Don, but it was Don who ultimately hired them. Pete tells Peggy that no one tells Don what to do in regard to hiring the gay creative couple. More authoritatively, Don tells Duck "So, now that I’ve given you your babies… I don’t want there to be an excuse when you can’t bring in..." clearly showing Don holds the power and made the decision to hire the gay creative couple. Subsequently, the gay creative couple does not garner a disproportionate amount of criticism from Don.

I see Duck’s obscenely focused upper management as an inseparable part of the critique against WASP culture in the show. Pete and Peggy also share this office WASP ambition while Joanie and Betty have home/status WASP ambitions. Sal and the Jewish heiress are also ambitious but this is secondary to their driving passions and talents which makes ambition appear more organic and soulful. The other major “good” characters: the saintly big sis school teacher hippy, beatnik poet-loving beatnik free lover, blacks either reject or are outside the WASP rat race of success for success’ sake.

Although an insipidly vacuous character and often contemptible (e.g as a mother), Betty is a victim of the sexist of the period and the unfulfilled lives housewives are portrayed stuck in, her loveless marriage to the false façade Don presents to keep her at arm’s length and Don’s incessant infidelities. Don is also a victim of the marriage – likely forced into this unhappy arrangement by social conventions to earn upper middle class WASP acceptance and bury his past.

Mad Men has great visual appeal, interesting characters and snappy dialog, but it is painfully predictable when it comes to the standard Hollywood victimology who-whom moralizing. Emmys or other SWPL accolades are seals of approval in this regard.

Unlike Mad Men, Breaking Bad has many of it’s strengths but also violates the most holy Hollywood morality cannon. Thus, there are elements of more genuine surprise, realism and impact to Breaking Bad that I never experience with Mad Men.

Anonymous said...

Dont know if anyone else has wondered this...

Is 'Middletown Girl' the same as 'Angela Freiboden'?

Espousing seemingly pro-white views while in reality relishing Jewish power.

Anonymous said...

By the way, do you really think a show can be set in that era without addressing the issues facing blacks and women? Really?

As for women (I don't care about black people) the *issues* aren't what you think they are. The issues addressed by Mad Men are just warmed-over Friedan and Steinem. Again, if you want to see television that addresses the real issues facing women in that era, track down Take a Girl Like You. It's true, though, the book is better, and much easier to find.

Gene Berman said...

Udolpho:

Wow! That's as fine a piece of writing as I've read lately! Not a frickin' word out of place nor one wasted and the whole actually euphonious.

And all too true.

Are you a pro among us?

green mamba said...

Espousing seemingly pro-white views while in reality relishing Jewish power.

Because nuance and wide-ranging analysis is not to be tolerated by certain people.

Two commandments of the anti-semite: 1) Thou shalt not say anything positive about the Jews, ever. 2) Thou cannot be both pro-Jewish and pro-white.

Yaris said...

Is 'Middletown Girl' the same as 'Angela Freiboden'?

I thought so as well. Similar style, similar long winded comments, etc.

James Kabala said...

Udolpho, your comments make me want to run out and rent the show (if I had 26 free hours to spare right now, which I don't), which is probably the highest praise one give to a piece of positive criticism.

I wonder if you saw this article:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200911/schwarz-mad-men

David said...

> By the way, do you really think a show can be set in that era without addressing the issues facing blacks and women? Really? <

That gives the whole thing away, U.

What do blacks have to do with Madison Avenue office politics in 1960? "That era" = MLK civil rights etc. etc., eh?

Maybe Betty should take a Freedom Ride for a Very Special Episode?

Yawn.

Anonymous said...

"The theme of Jazz music and scene was satisfaction with sin"

This would certainly come as a surprise to Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Arlington Jones, Angel Melendez, Ray Lyon, Brooks Lytle, and other great Christian Jazz artists. Before you favor us with any more of your opinions, Middletown Girl, you might want to find out what in the Hell you're talking about. If it isn't too much trouble.

Udolpho.com said...

I wonder if you saw this article:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200911/schwarz-mad-men


I had not seen this but, to my surprise (given this is The Atlantic), I quite liked the reviewer's take on the show. He overstresses its alleged deconstruction of the past--asserting that the "curlers" remark is the epitome of sexism seems false to me. But some of his complaints about the show's missteps have merit.

Yet these are complaints that only arise because the show generally avoids them. On the average TV drama you wouldn't even notice the de rigueur bashing of cardboard representations of racist white people (in which there must always be an element of gleeful satisfaction).

My premise has never been that the show doesn't critique the past, even from a "liberal" point of view (which, if we are interested in being fair, cannot be 100% wrong)--but that, at the same time, it is critiquing the present, making Mad Men into a double mirror. What is lost in the typical obsession over its portrayal of sex and race is recognition of any of the show's observations that fall outside these categories.

I have to ask, what has the life of the suburbs and the corporate business world given back to the conservatives who so valiantly defend it? To me both are complicit in the assault on conservatism and have produced a denatured and pointless Republican Party, epitomized in the show by the banal governor's aide with whom Betty absurdly imagines a great affair (it is certain that she will not be improved by it).

But back to the article, it's a superb take on Don Draper's character. I also liked his acknowledgement that the writers of the show play with audiences' expectations based on decades of hokey melodrama--where if you are looking for the key to your husband's infidelity, you must find it. I'm always tickled when they do that.

Anonymous said...

I have never read Portnoy's Complaint, but is anyone getting the feeling that they are setting up Betty Draper [January Jones] as the dull, vapid, Shiksa Stepford Wife?

BTW, in real life, it looks like Christina Hendricks just married into The Tribe, and I don't see any jokes about her character being a big, fat, Shiksa moron.

Truth said...

She said the "theme" of Jazz music was satisfaction with sin, and basically she was right.

You mentioned mostly artists who came later, after the music evolved, which it always does.

Even Bruebeck and Coltrane started playing jazz when the art form was 50 years old already, and Arlington Jones is what; 35?

BoyAmongYou said...

Middletown Girl said...

But, maybe the loss of wasp(or mainstream white gentile)culture had to do with this bland, colorless, and 'organizational man' ideal. Americanism for conservatives became white bread and milk.

10/30/2009


Middletown Girl said...

Sometimes, it can be hilarious. Dan Quayle was a neocon dream turned nightmare. Quayle had the looks and credentials of corn-fed white conservatism. Because he wasn't too bright, neocons could schmooze and handle him to do their bidding.

10/29/2009



So it all boils down to:

Mad Men = Pleasantville + Der Golem

OK Middletown Freiboden, I think you have a point or two.
But why so long-winded?