Megan Must Go

Season Seven, Episode Three: A very eventful episode of Mad Men. Two story arcs move us forward, though one (strangely compelling one) does not. Are Don and Megan Draper finally over? In the major arc before the first commercial break, Don speaks long-distance to Megan’s agent and learns that . . . . Continue Reading »

Invisibly Naked

Will you uncover your hair?” they ask when they hear I’m divorcing. I am taken aback each time; it’s such a private matter. The morning after my wedding, I tied on a scarf and walked to synagogue. My mother didn’t do it, nor did hers, but my father’s mother, who lived next door when I was growing up, covered her hair for eighty years, from marriage to grave.In Jewish law, it is forbidden for a man to look at a married woman’s hair, unless he is her father, grandfather, son, grandson, or husband. But the kabbalistic tradition is that even the walls of a woman’s house should not see her hair. I am not so strict; at home I am bareheaded.When I learned the law of head-covering at a Jerusalem seminary for women, I was horrified that I would have to bind up my head upon marriage; all clothing was a concession, and I conceded as little as permissible. Continue Reading »

Mad Men Goes Meta

Readers of a certain age may remember a television commercial about a boy, a bottle of ketchup, and a hamburger: In alternating close-ups, viewers witnessed the condiment’s slow descent and the boy’s ever-heightening expectancy, all while Carly Simon’s “Anticipation” blared seductively in the background. The ketchup poured; the burger was put to the bite: “Worth the wait,” we were told. Continue Reading »

For Love or Money

Episode Two of this season’s Mad Men could have been titled “For Love or Money.” On Valentine’s Day 1969, some of the folks at Sterling, Cooper & Partners are clearly doing their jobs just for the money. Others are doing their jobs for love of the job, or for love of someone on the job. Continue Reading »

Ascetic Aesthetics

One Hopkins is enough,” said the poet A. D. Hope. By this he meant: Enough with the oohs and ahs over beautiful creation, enough with the “arch-especial” and the “sweet especial,” enough with “all this juice and all this joy” and all the “froth and waterblowballs” and “ah! bright wings”—which allegedly are what we talk about when we talk about the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Continue Reading »

Upcoming Events Roundup — 4.17.14

St. Francis of Assisi and the Western Tradition Friday–Saturday, April 25–26 New York, New York Another great April event from the Thomistic Institute: A series of lectures with Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Francesca Murphy, Roger Scruton, R. R. Reno, Carol Zaleski, and Philip Zaleski. . . . . Continue Reading »

Frankenstein Unbound

“Those institutions and reporters were never as good as their reputations. . . . It was largely—and this was true for decades—a small group of middle-aged, left-of-center, overweight men who decided how all of us should see politics and governance.”Jim VandeHei, co-founder of Politico, was opining about the annoying nostalgia that still persists in DC regarding the older generation of journalists. In Mark Leibovichs’ book, ThisTown, VandeHei’s Politico has an ambivalent presence in the Reality Distortion Culture of DC. “Speed, information, gossip, and buzz” VandeHei celebrates as the journalistic premiums of the “New World Order,” and Politico has set the standard on all these fronts, becoming a kind of political ESPN meets TMZ in the Beltway, and its star contributor, Mike Allen, This Town’s Hedda Hopper. Continue Reading »

Close Viewing

The seventh and final season of AMC’s Mad Men premiered last night to a viewership quite different from the one that greeted the series’s 2007 debut. The inflection point came last season—when, improbably, this slow-moving character-driven period piece began to stir its partisans . . . . Continue Reading »

Hollywood Hates Humans

I have noticed a consistent plot in the fantasy/science fiction genre over the last several years. Surely, you have noticed it too. In film after film, the human race is depicted as villainous for supposedly destroying the earth. The just-released Noah is the latest example. In the Genesis account, . . . . Continue Reading »