Sign Up For Sexy Emails

FACEBOOK

Like

INSIDE

Advertising

Don Draper

Betty Draper

Smoking

Fashion

Booze

Mad Men Bookshelf

Current Events

Frank O'Hara

Art

Peggy

Decor

Mad Men Movie Club

Playlist

John Cheever

Illustrators

BOOK CONTRIBUTORS

Alex Balk, Smoker

Carol Diehl, Art Critic

Matthew Gallaway , Novelist

Megan Lubaszka, Architect 

Angela Serratore, Historian

Tim Siedell, Ad Man

Natasha Simons, Writer

Christina Perry & Derrick Gee, Designers

Dave Wilkie, Ad Man


PALS

A Continuous Lean

A Modernist

Ad Rants

The Awl

Bad Banana 

Basket of Kisses

Charlie Allen

Dyna Moe

Illustration Art

Ivy Style

Make The Logo Bigger

Mid-Century Home Style 

My Vintage Vogue

Mid-Century Illustrated

Today's Inspiration

June 26, 2012

If mental health practices are Other Natasha’s cocktail topic of choice, fairy tale analysis is my particular hobbyhorse. Most people know the Disneyfied versions omit the morbidity and dark themes of the original fairy tales, but the original Beauty and the Beast, aside from some interesting quirks*, mostly remained intact from its romantic origins. (Actually, in the Disney version, the Beast is much more volatile than in the earliest version, in which he is essentially a courtly, chivalrous suitor.) This is probably the result of its feminized origin. The first version was written down by Madame de Villeneuve in 1740, as a longer version of the typical oral tale of Girl + Animal Bridegroom. (Bestiality a big topic in days of yore.) 
Since every fairy tale is not really just a cute kid’s story — indeed, Beauty and the Beast was originally written for sharing at the court with other adults and then widely circulated thereafter — there’s an underlying moral at the heart of this one. A few scholars feel the tale was intended to convince young girls that arranged marriages weren’t so bad, once you got used to the idea. Consider the elements: a father gives the hand of his daughter, the Beast cautions that the girl must “come willingly” and “of her own accord”, she has to honor both her father and new suitor’s wishes, the Beast grants the father wealth in return (essentially a dowry), and she comes to love a stranger, for which she is then rewarded with a becoming a princess and a pretty sweet marriage. He even gives her a ring at one point as a reminder of him. 
It could veer into a Bluebeard-esque cautionary tale about minding your husband, but — again possibly because of the female origin — Beauty actually gets away with a lot. The Beast grants her every wish, and takes an incredibly passive role in her life until she falls in love with him of her own volition. He even gives her lots of money and freedom to do whatever she wants with the place — should Megan buy some more white carpets, do you think?
So Don walking away from the Beauty and the Beast diorama has some interesting connotations. (First of all, the tale is French, not German, so the whole barmaid getup on Megan is rather odd.) Don lived out the Beast part of this fairy tale bargain, but he never becomes the Prince in the end. Megan married the temperamental Beast, trying to convince herself that he was the prince the whole time. And he certainly did provide for her, the way the animal bridegroom must in order to keep his young nubile bride. The reward for him (and her) is supposed to be a happy marriage; it’s one Don desperately needed, especially after failing with Betty. But she exchanges that reward for her own pride and success, and he never gets that happy ending he wanted. He went through the motions — he tried the courtly husband routine. It didn’t work. Don can’t become anything other than what he is; he walks away. He stays the Beast. And the Beast is marked by one thing: being alone. That castle gets mighty lonely, whether it be Ossining or a Manhattan suite.
*Footnote by Natasha Simons
*Three quick fucked-up things about this story, since it wouldn’t be an old-ass fairy tale without them: 1) in the first version, the Beast was cursed because he wouldn’t have sex with a fairy — they’re vindictive motherfuckers; 2) the Beast doesn’t turn into a prince until AFTER the wedding night — eek; and 3) Beauty’s sisters, who are real dicks to her in the original, are turned into statues by fairies to sit outside the castle until they recognizetheir assholery. Don’t fuck with fairies, man.

June 11, 2012

Finally! A chance to talk about my favorite cocktail party topics: BIPOLAR DEPRESSION and ELECTROCONVUSLIVE THERAPY!

Here are some talking points for you:

*Electroconvulsive therapy has benefits (rarely though)! It’s most often used for schizophrenics or those with severe major depression, the sort that includes periods of catatonic paralysis. Did you see Melancholia (it’s on netflix!)? It’s like how Kirsten Dunst was when her sister tried to giver her bath. Poor Kiki. Poor Beth.

*Did you catch what Beth’s brute husband said? How she spreads her legs for the first chump that comes along? Between that comment and Beth’s post-coital musings on death and the feeling of DOOM after looking at pictures of earth from space, it’s safe to assume that she’s bipolar. Especially since it sounds like she’s fucked around before, meaning, perhaps, HYPOMANIA! A distinguishing characteristic of bipolar disorder :

 Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

* Bipolar didn’t even have a name in 1966, psychiatrists were still using DSM 1 from 1952! The DSM wasn’t updated until 1968. That means thirty six years where severe, manic, major, bipolar, unipolar, schizophrenia, were all lumped into one category as some sort of organic brain disorder. Thus, treatment was as blunt as the diagnosis.

*The memory loss issue with ECT is very real! A 1986 study on ECT interviewed 41 recipients of the treatment. 83 percent of women said they had experienced short and long term memory loss. Many of them had treatment in the mid sixties. Here are some quotes from the study:

  • ""I can’t remember my 20-year Marine Corps career…or daughter’s birth or childhood…"]
  • "Turned me into a walking zombie, killing all emotions and feelings for several months…" 
  • "It’s like a bomb being set off inside your head…literally a mind-blowing torture…"
  • "I couldn’t remember people’s names, but it gradually came back…with some prompting…"
  • "Doctor stopped returning my phone calls when I said ‘memory’s not returning…’"
Temporary bandages on permanent wounds and such. :(

1:45am  |  247 notes   |  mad men |  season 5 |  season finale |  psychiatry |  electroconvulsive therapy |  DSM |  depression |  beth 

The distinguishing mental features of melancholia are a profoundly painful dejection, cessation of interest in the outside world, loss of the capacity to love, inhibition of all activity, and a lowering of the self-regarding feelings to a degree that finds utterance in self-reproaches and self-revilings, and culminates in a delusional expectation of punishment. This picture becomes a little more intelligible when we consider that, with one exception, the same traits are met with in mourning. The disturbance of self-regard is absent in mourning; but otherwise the features are the same. Profound mourning, the reaction to the loss of someone who is loved, contains the same painful frame of mind, the same loss of interest in the outside world—in so far as it does not recall him—the same loss of capacity to adopt any new object of love (which would mean replacing him) and the same turning away from any activity that is not connected with thoughts of him. It is easy to see that this inhibition and circumscription of the ego is the expression of an exclusive devotion to mourning which leaves nothing over for other purposes or other interests. It is really only because we know so well how to explain it that this attitude does not seem to us pathological. — Freud, Mourning and Melancholia. 

1:11am  |  121 notes   |  mad men |  season 5 |  freud |  mad men unbuttoned 

Closing credits tonight via Nancy Sinatra. You only live twice. One for you. One for your dreams. #YOLT

1:00am  |  73 notes   |  don drapper |  mad men |  mad men unbuttoned |  season 5 |  the phantom |  yolo 
June 6, 2012


What does a death by hanging say about Lane Pryce?
In hanging-by-government, the length of the rope and the fall has determined standards that all but guarantee a man will break his neck during his last plummet on earth. In most homegrown cases, however, a person who has hanged himself will not break his neck, usually because the rope is too short or the fall not sharp enough. In these cases, the man will merely strangle to death.

After what is hopefully a mercifully short time, the man will pass into unconsciousness and then expire. From the furrows in Lane’s neck, he seems to have used a rather strong cord, leading to those unsightly bloody gouges and protruding tongue that confront our SCDP folk with the singularity drawing near.
What else did we notice from our friends’ reactions? A certain indication of olfactory unpleasantness, resultant from a hanged body’s evacuation of the bowels upon descent. 
Why did Lane hang himself instead of other possibly less grisly options? There’s a rich literary history perhaps the old British schoolboy in him couldn’t resist: 
The Greeks had a storied tendency to hang their heroes, for one thing. (And to take their lives thusly in real life, as well.) Sophocles, in his take on the classic heroine Antigone, sent her off to a death by hanging, replete with righteousness:
"When I have suffered my doom, I shall come to know my sin; but if the sin is with my judges, I could wish them no fuller measure of evil than they, on their part, mete wrongfully to me."

Perhaps that’s what leaving that resignation letter was: a gesture of spite to his judges. The effluvia served that purpose well, too!
We’ve had a palpation toward suicide for the whole season, as discussed inter alia. Remember Don’s little drawing on his notepad from earlier this season (pictured above)? It certainly set the tone for the season. In any case, we know exactly why Don reacted so badly to Lane’s hanging. Poor Adam Whitman.

In the end, maybe Lane hung himself simply because it is the most handily available form of suicide. Virgil referred to hanging as “the coil of unbecoming death.” Making Lane’s body not the only one with an unfortunate visage, clearly. 

RIP, Mr. Pryce. I remember seeing a preview in the New York Times for the upcoming season describing our vaunted firm as Sterling Cooper Draper Bryce. Poor thing. 
*Footnote by Natasha Simons


What does a death by hanging say about Lane Pryce?

In hanging-by-government, the length of the rope and the fall has determined standards that all but guarantee a man will break his neck during his last plummet on earth. In most homegrown cases, however, a person who has hanged himself will not break his neck, usually because the rope is too short or the fall not sharp enough. In these cases, the man will merely strangle to death.

After what is hopefully a mercifully short time, the man will pass into unconsciousness and then expire. From the furrows in Lane’s neck, he seems to have used a rather strong cord, leading to those unsightly bloody gouges and protruding tongue that confront our SCDP folk with the singularity drawing near.

What else did we notice from our friends’ reactions? A certain indication of olfactory unpleasantness, resultant from a hanged body’s evacuation of the bowels upon descent.



Why did Lane hang himself instead of other possibly less grisly options? There’s a rich literary history perhaps the old British schoolboy in him couldn’t resist: 

The Greeks had a storied tendency to hang their heroes, for one thing. (And to take their lives thusly in real life, as well.) Sophocles, in his take on the classic heroine Antigone, sent her off to a death by hanging, replete with righteousness:


"When I have suffered my doom, I shall come to know my sin; but if the sin is with my judges, I could wish them no fuller measure of evil than they, on their part, mete wrongfully to me."



Perhaps that’s what leaving that resignation letter was: a gesture of spite to his judges. The effluvia served that purpose well, too!

We’ve had a palpation toward suicide for the whole season, as discussed inter alia. Remember Don’s little drawing on his notepad from earlier this season (pictured above)? It certainly set the tone for the season. In any case, we know exactly why Don reacted so badly to Lane’s hanging. Poor Adam Whitman.


In the end, maybe Lane hung himself simply because it is the most handily available form of suicide. Virgil referred to hanging as “the coil of unbecoming death.” Making Lane’s body not the only one with an unfortunate visage, clearly. 


RIP, Mr. Pryce. I remember seeing a preview in the New York Times for the upcoming season describing our vaunted firm as Sterling Cooper Draper Bryce. Poor thing. 

*Footnote by Natasha Simons

Couldn’t help but be reminded.
A Hanging By George Orwell

Couldn’t help but be reminded.

A Hanging By George Orwell

3:28am  |  47 notes   |  lane pryce |  Mad Men Unbuttoned |  season 5 
June 5, 2012
Yet somehow he was not afraid of anything, was absolutely calm; perhaps because he had looked into the dark corner at last and knew. It was bad enough, what he saw there, but somehow not so bad as his long fear of it had been. He saw everything clearly now. He had a feeling that he had made the best of it, that he had lived the sort of life he was meant to live. —Willa Cather, “Paul’s Case”

Yet somehow he was not afraid of anything, was absolutely calm; perhaps because he had looked into the dark corner at last and knew. It was bad enough, what he saw there, but somehow not so bad as his long fear of it had been. He saw everything clearly now. He had a feeling that he had made the best of it, that he had lived the sort of life he was meant to live. —Willa Cather, “Paul’s Case”

4:33pm  |  272 notes   |  lane pryce |  Mad Men Unbuttoned |  season 5 |  natasha simons 
May 28, 2012

Genius Pal Angela pointed out an important costuming correlation. Presented without comment:

Joan is wearing the coat Roger gave her. 

11:54pm  |  449 notes   |  joan |  season 5 |  mad men unbuttoned 
How about now?

How about now?

12:30am  |  73 notes   |  jaguar |  cars |  season 5 |  Mad Men Unbuttoned