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Freakish Belonging

From the November 2014 Print Edition

Michael Alig was paroled this May into the world he helped invent. Starting in the summer of 1987, Alig reigned as the most fabulous party promoter in New York, paid by club owners to orchestrate havoc in their venues with his retinue of camera-ready freaks. He, in turn, paid his acolytes to trick . . . . Continue Reading »

Fear of Children

From Web Exclusives

In a scene cut from The Exorcist’s 1973 theatrical version, Jason Miller’s Fr. Damien Karras sits with Max von Sydow’s Fr. Lankester Merrin on the stairs of the MacNeil house, and the two Jesuits discuss why the child Regan has become a monster. Continue Reading »

Mad Men Takes a Second Look

From First Thoughts

Mad Men’s Season Seven, Episode Seven (“Waterloo”), the half-season finale, may look a bit like a rerun of Season Three’s “Shut the Door. Have a Seat” and Season Six’s “For Immediate Release”—both episodes in which a crisis precipitated a . . . . Continue Reading »

Mad Men Gone Schizoid

From First Thoughts

Season Seven, Episode Five (“The Runaways”): A very disjointed episode of Mad Men. Don Draper is marginal to most of its action; two watchable characters (Roger Sterling and Joan Harris) are absent from it entirely; and we endure two eruptions of gratuitous weirdness, one in the form of kinky sex, the other in the form of sexualized mutilation. Altogether, we find the story de-centered and distinctly schizoid. Continue Reading »

Megan Must Go

From First Thoughts

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 »

For Love or Money

From First Thoughts

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

From Web Exclusives

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 »

Mad Men Returns

From First Thoughts

The first half of Season Seven of AMC’s Mad Men (the back half will drop in 2015) opened Sunday night with a familiar character addressing the camera, thus: “Are you ready? Because I want you to pay attention. This is the beginning of something.” It is the beginning of the . . . . Continue Reading »