The decline and fall of empire, mad men and the hollow men

We are in season three, and after looking at Rand-esque super heroes, destruction of such hollow creations and a deep dive into the soul of the catastrophe of personality and its beauty, we come to the decline of Britain, the Vietnam war, patriarchy’s end and a whole shwack of things we can pull out of Mad Men because, well, why not?

It is S3E03 (My Old Kentucky Home), and Sally is reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I to her grandpa Gene.

The section is about the licentiousness of the Greeks.

“Just wait. All hell’s going to break loose,” says Gene.

Continue reading “The decline and fall of empire, mad men and the hollow men”

Quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again

It is season two. Peggy is skinny again (post baby), Harry Crane’s wife is pregnant, Trudy Campbell is not, Betty is taking horseback riding lessons and giving them in flirtation, Don’s blood pressure is up, and there is a photocopier in the office.

It is the future.

The president (JFK) is young and hot, the agency needs to match, and a hipster is reading Frank O’Hara in a bar at lunch.

“I don’t think you’d like it,”

Hipster to Don Draper
PLOTTIFY - Don Draper in an Emergency Starts a Meditation in Mad Men

It is S2E01 (For Those Who Think Young), and the collection is Meditations in an Emergency.

Continue reading “Quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again”

Ayn Rand and Dick Whitman’s dropped Zippo

This one almost ended the reading list before it got out of the gates.

Bertram Cooper calls Don into his office in S01E08 (The Hobo Code), tells him to take his shoes off and then offers him a huge bonus ($2,500).

Then he says the following:

“Have you read her? Rand. Atlas Shrugged. That’s the one… When you hit 40 you realize you’ve met or seen every kind of person there is, and I know what kind you are because I believe we are alike. By that I mean you are a productive and reasonable man and completely self-interested. It’s strength. We are different; unsentimental about all the people that depend on our hard work.”

-Bertram Cooper

Well great.

I had no interest in picking up another Ayn Rand book after ploughing through The Fountainhead (because a friend insisted I “had to” read it), and I certainly didn’t have a tonne of appetite for Rand’s final novel: the “dramatization of her unique vision of existence and of man’s highest potential,” her 12-year project, her longest book (1,168 pages), the tome of tomes: Atlas Shrugged.

Continue reading “Ayn Rand and Dick Whitman’s dropped Zippo”

Introducing the Mad Men Reading List

This is the book I’m currently reading:
The Goodbye Look

Before looking the book up at the library and taking it out, I had not heard of the author or title, and had never before thought of reading it.

So why am I reading it?

It is the final book on the Mad Men Reading list and appears in the final episode of the series (S07E14). I have not finished the episode or series because I have not finished the book.

The whole thing started when I was re-watching the series before the final season came out. In S01E06 (Babylon), the character Lily Meyer (Irene Roseen) hands Don Draper (John Hamm) a copy of Exodus, by Leon Uris, and told him he needed to read it. I looked at my bookshelf and noticed I had a copy of that book and I’d never read it.

I stopped the show, started reading and then finished the book. I went back to the episode and was blown away by what reading the book did for the episode and greater understanding of the particular story arc that was progressing.

I decided then to continue the process. Thankfully, the New York Public Library had compiled a list, so I could anticipate books and verify titles.

The Mad Men Reading list project works like such:

  • Watch the series Mad Men
  • Wait until a book is spoken about or seen on screen
  • Stop watching
  • Read book
  • Continue

Simple right?

It has taken me a long time to get through the series.

Here is where I’ll talk about it. I welcome your thoughts as always, and thank you for joining.

DJR.

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