November 4, 2009

"Mad Men"

Over at Taki's Magazine, my new Wednesday column gets around, after last week's preliminary throat clearings, to finally telling you what I think of the TV serial Mad Men:

Mad Men, the upscale drama about an early 1960s Madison Avenue advertising agency, is a sort of Brideshead Revisited for heterosexual American grown-ups. For Baby Boomers, it’s hard to watch Mad Men without enviously exclaiming: Our parents had it better!

Read it there, and comment upon it here.

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

111 comments:

Jim O said...

I've seen axactly one episode of this show. Don (the star, I guess) and another guy go on a business trip and stay at the same hotel as the flight crew. He's about to bang a drunken stewardess, and his buddy is about to get jiggy with a bellhop, when the hotel's fire alarm goes off, and Don, walking down the fire escape, learns his co-worker's little secret. But he'll never tell, it seems. Meanwhile, back at the office, two young guys are set at each others throats, each given one half of the job of an older guy who gets fired.
{{yawn}} Is this a typical episode? If so, I won't bother to watch anymore.

Polistra said...

One thing that struck me in the Variety interview: Weiner says "I hate seeing movies that are flashbacks to the '60s where they’re like let’s go back to high school in the '60s and you see an integrated high school. Where was that?"

Well, it wasn't all that uncommon.

Schools in the *other* Manhattan were integrated in 1955, and when I was in school there from '61-'67 (the same years as Mad Men) the integration was comfortably mature. Black jocks associated with white jocks, and the black nerd associated with us white nerds. Race mattered, but caste mattered more.

This was, of course, a brief interregnum between Apartheid I and Apartheid II. The latter started in 1968 when Jesse Jackson grabbed the "moral mantle" from the deceased King.

Steve Sailer said...

My Uncle Ottie went to high school with Jackie Robinson in the 1930s.

Thomas Sowell attended integrated NYC schools around the same time.

Dahlia said...

Steve,
I've never seen the show, but I trust your reviews. You're one of the few who understands that the key to understand any output, artistic or otherwise, one must understand the creator's passion. It also takes a very facile mind to differentiate between a "satirist" and a "nostalgist" and how that affects this show and where Weiner wants it to go.

This praise may seem gratuitous, but it is said for many past reviews as well as in reaction to the unproductive thread of the first part of your review: lots of heat and very circular.

alonzo portfolio said...

Perhaps slightly off-point, but what are women doing for sex these days, anyway? I mean, clearly the percentage of men gainfully employed is way down. The weakened taboo against homosexuality makes the pool shallower still, and a growing slice of the employed str8's don't know how to speak or dress, or have a warped conception of manliness that drives them to emulate prison culture, which office women probably can't yet justify to their friends. Is Good Vibrations the next LL Bean?

Steve Sailer said...

Dahlia,

Thanks.

If you read enough interviews with the people who make movies and television shows, they'll usually get around to saying what it's about, which is often orthogonal to what the press says it's about. For example, Tarantino was very forthright in explaining to Jeffrey Goldberg that he didn't fully share Goldberg's Jews-killing-Nazis obsession, that that was just a lightweight crowd-pleasing part of Inglourious Basterds, that what Tarantino was really interested in intellectually was Goebbels' show biz career.

Neil Blomkamp told interviewers over and over that District 9 was more about post-Apartheid South Africa than apartheid South Africa.

Whitey said...

You watch too much TV Steve, and watch too many movies too. Here's my review of Mad Men, originally posted at SWPL (and possibly reposted here some time ago, but what the hey, at least it's on topic this time):

Proper White People are like ‘WTF is the Mad Men?’, because we gave up the teevee in 1996, finding the in-your-face political correctness to be unbearable. People in the industry concede that television is a female medium these days anyway, geared toward brain dead women in search of drama and shoes.

Nevertheless, the reviews of this show intrigue me – you know how we PWP (Proper White People) feel about pre-1964 days – so I downloaded some episodes last night and shall give them a watch today. After work – private sector, manly work, which I obtained with my freakish ability to reason and think, not with affirmative action and a McDiploma in Rec Studies – I’ll give it a watch.

...

OK, I watched 90 seconds of the first episode, that was enough.

It depicts 1960 America as a racist and sexist shithole where white suits trick black people into smoking, among other things.

Fuck. It’s like they try to jam maximum political correctness into every nanosecond of anything coming out of Hollywood. A perfect example of why young people hate old people – based on the movies and music they access they think that people who lived back then were unenlightened bigots, bar none.

Blood libel. Hollywood’s depiction of white America pre-1964 constitutes a blood libel against the white man, every movie and video packed with more hatred than anything Der Sturmer ever managed.



http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2009/03/11/123-mad-men/?cp=all#comment-108992

Honestly Steve, I couldn't bear to watch more than 90 seconds of the very first episode before I had to turn it off, it was that bad. With every nanogram of respect I possess I say the following: I hope Mrs. Sailer is rewarding you with some serious lovin' for all the crappy teevee and movies she influences you to watch.

Tom Piatak said...

This is an excellent piece of cultural commentary.

Anonymous said...

It is one of the most subversive shows ever. By being consciously PC, while wallowing in the feel of the 1960s, Mad Men revives pre-PC culture in a way that will stick. People are responding to the style and mannerisms of the characters and dismissing the PC bunk as boilerplate thrown in to please the culture police. This will be more successful at making old views "cool" than an in-your-face anti-PC show which wears its arguments on its sleeve. Whether Matthew Weiner intended it or not, Mad Men is an opening wedge in a cultural destruction of the PC empire.

James said...

Long live Steve Sailer, the only film / TV reviewer in history who would dare to use in his prose an adjective like "orthogonal".

Re school integration, I can't speak for Protestant or non-religious schools, but Catholic schools (including Deep Southern ones) were getting seriously integrated in the early 1960s, if not earlier. Governor Wallace certainly wasn't standing in their schoolhouse doors.

Patrick Buchanan wrote some time back about the struggle by New Orleans's Catholic Archbishop Joseph Rummel (beginning in 1953 - yep, that's right, before Brown v. Board of Education - to end ecclesial and educational apartheid in his archdiocese. This involved excommunicating certain militant segs, such as Leander Perez. These days certain Catholics would probably view excommunication as rather hip, rather like getting an annulment; but in those days excommunication was considered by its victims to be very, very scary.

http://www.theamericancause.org/patyoureminenceprint.htm

Udolpho.com said...

lollin at super duper beta nerd Whiskey, still mad at Mad Men...take it up with your therapist, pal, or the guy who runs your comic book store

great article though, Steve

Fred said...

"Honestly Steve, I couldn't bear to watch more than 90 seconds of the very first episode before I had to turn it off, it was that bad. With every nanogram of respect I possess I say the following: I hope Mrs. Sailer is rewarding you with some serious lovin' for all the crappy teevee and movies she influences you to watch."

1) Steve got paid to watch the show. He doesn't write those reviews for free, you know.

2) Steve also is older and more mature than you, and lacks the ADD common to youngsters today. So he can sit still long enough to get into a slower paced drama.

Tupac Chopra said...

It is one of the most subversive shows ever. By being consciously PC, while wallowing in the feel of the 1960s, Mad Men revives pre-PC culture in a way that will stick. People are responding to the style and mannerisms of the characters and dismissing the PC bunk as boilerplate thrown in to please the culture police. This will be more successful at making old views "cool" than an in-your-face anti-PC show which wears its arguments on its sleeve. Whether Matthew Weiner intended it or not, Mad Men is an opening wedge in a cultural destruction of the PC empire.

This has been my feeling as well.

I hope you're right.

Anonymous said...

Here's a feminist take on Mad Men over at bloggingheads.tv:

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/23599

Emily Bazelon says it is the only tv show she watches nowadays. Later they complain that there aren't enough women in Obama's inner circle but console themselves with the thought that Michelle's female p. of v. more than makes up for it. I have a hard time believing he takes her policy advice seriously. In fact he's so fey I wonder if their marriage is all it is cracked up to be.

Darrin Stephens said...

I haven't watched the show, but I worked at a New York ad agency for 10 years (1992-2002) and I had to laugh at your observation: "Even more shockingly, the employees at the Sterling Cooper ad agency knock off work right at 5:15 PM each day."

When I got my job, my creative director, who had been in the business since the mid 1970s, was a family man who knocked off every evening at 5:30, barring extraordinary circumstances, so he could get home to see his wife and kids. That made it easy for me to go home and see my family too.

The ad business was still fun in the 90s, though the older guys told me it was nowhere near as much fun as it had been in the 70s and 80s. The fun totally went out with the dot.com crash.

Around that time, the agency's owners replaced him with a woman creative director--married, but no kids. Hated kids, in fact. She was in her 50s, attractive and professionally fitness-trained, and wore short skirts and, often, no bra. She brought in her own cadre of unmarried gal-pals and operated exclusively through them. She once observed that she wished everyone who worked for her was 28 years old.

If she couldn't reach someone in their office at 7:30 PM, she'd rage, "Probably sitting on some goddam train going home to New Jersey!"

If you got one entire weekend off a month, you were lucky. "If you don't come in Saturday, don't bother coming in Sunday" was the new routine. A stressed, crazy atmosphere, full of intrigue, pervaded, and oddly enough, it did not produce results. We lost about half our clients.

I was laid off before her contract was finally bought out.

BTW, there were no blacks among executives or creative staff.

meep said...

Yes, but many of the viewers are non-Boomers [not me, tho].

I'm not particularly thinking my grandparents had it better than me. I've heard their stories, and being dirt poor on a Mississippi farm or working his way up through IBM as a salesman wasn't exactly glamorous.

They did smoke a lot more, with a lot less hassle.

Carolyn said...

@Anonymous: "It is one of the most subversive shows ever. By being consciously PC, while wallowing in the feel of the 1960s, Mad Men revives pre-PC culture in a way that will stick. People are responding to the style and mannerisms of the characters and dismissing the PC bunk as boilerplate thrown in to please the culture police..."

Could be true. It certainly has had an influence on fashion. My 10 year old son had me buy him a fedora a couple of months ago. He has been wearing skinny jeans/ narrow shirts for a couple of years. So glad the prison/gangster baggy pants look has been replaced by the skinny jeans/pants skater/emo boy look here in the OC. It's a much better look for slim white boys anyway.

Anonymous said...

Prediction: During the season finale, Mr. Hilton will hint to Don Draper that the evil WASPs shot JFK. The show is so predictable that you know this is coming.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone more irritating than Udolpho?

Anonymous said...

Weiner is a lot fay, if you listen to the commentary. And you have to love the special features. Haters, hating, hated.

Anonymous said...

My parents lived at home in tenement apartments until they married each other, never owned a house, and work in public education in California. I have it better.

Middletown Girl said...

The idea that Weiner is more a nostaligist than satirist: This reminds me of Philip Kaufman's THE RIGHT STUFF. Maybe, MAD MEN should be called The White Stuff. Right Stuff had too elements of social critique and satire, but all said and done, it was a nostalgic and romantic remembrance of the Magnificent Seven--the all white male team that conquered space. Even a Jewish liberal friend loved the old image of All-American types as ambassadors and emblematic heroes of Americanism. Though ideologically for 'diversity', his heart was with OId Americana.
60s have long been defined as a radical era, but it's also been the subject of nostalgia. Strangely enough, 60s nostalgia has a dual nature. On the one hand, it was a radical wild period when the Establishment forces were attacked or challenged. But, 60s were also a hightime for the establishment--Go Go years of American capitalism, a time when US was nearly 90% white, when white power and privilege was secure despite all the social upheavals. Indeed, one could argue that 60s rebellion/radicalism was part and parcel of white power and privilege. White and Jewish youth could brazenly play at radicalism and social experimentation PRECISELY BECAUSE they took the white power and privilege for granted. This was also true in Europe. With economic boom and full employment in the 60s, college kids in Paris didn't worry about jobs or security; they cared about MEANING. When the economy slumped in the 70s and jobs were scarcer(and the novelty of radicalism had worn off and grown mundane/boring) and good times & economic growth could no longer be taken for granted, a 'conservative' or pragmatic backlash took place all over the West. If people like Bill Ayers and Hillary Clinton had to struggle to get through school and find decent jobs(as in the 1930s), I doubt if they would have turned into bratty radicals or braticals. They opposed white power and privilege because they took it as a permanent social, economic, and political given.

So, even as liberals praise the 60s social transformations, their affection for that period may owe a lot to the fact that THE MAN and THE ESTABLISHMENT seemed secure and strong. Similarly, it's one thing to rebel against wealthy and healthy parents but quite another to rebel against poor and/or feeble parents(or urinate on parental graves). 60s generation may have felt frustration and righteous rage, but the older generation was something to lean on or against. When the Greatest Generation grew old, retired, and died off, the 60s generation no longer had a somewhat rigid but essentially doting barrier to lean against or roof to huddle under. And as the boomer generation was permissive and forever-young-oriented(if only to be different from their parents), their children never got to experience the ritual of youth rebellion of their own.

Middletown Girl said...

"...a handsome fellow (played by Jon Hamm) who went off to war as Dick Whitman and returns as Don Draper..."

This may have social significance as The War did really change the heart, soul, image, and nature of America. The War made the American white male feel more confident, justified, and triumphant. Americans had defeated the Nazis and the "Japs". America had made the world safe for Democracy. The War was also a kind of advertisement for America. Europeans and Japanese scrambled for American cigarettes, stocking, chocolates, spam and ham, and movies which came with or in the wake of American liberation/occupation. American soldiers also spread Big Band Jazz and images of Betty Grable and etc. It wasn't just the Good War but a Fabulous War, a great advertisement of American power, values, ideals, promises, goods, and dream.

WWII was called THE GOOD WAR for a reason: the civilized free nations defeated racially hateful and ultra-nationalistic(and imperialistic) Germany, Italy, and Japan. Though US initially took pride in having been on the side of GOOD, as time passed the morality of WWII would come to undermine white American power and privilege as the grand leftist/liberal narrative sought to expose the hypocrisy of White America--preaching about freedom and equality while discriminating against blacks and spreading neo-imperialism in the name of PAX AMERICANA. Many leftist Jews and Europeans in the 60s compared the US war in Vietnam to the Nazi holocaust. Sartre even went so far as to call it 'genocide'. So, Dick Whitman-becoming-Don-Draper could both signify the rise of white maledom and foreshadow its fall in the post-war era.

Anonymous said...

The show's grasp of reality is a bit uneven...I remember two moments from the first episode. One was where the boss goes to Draper and says "do you have any Jews working for you?" and Draper says "not on my watch!" or something with comic pomposity. The absence of Jews in a Madison Avenue ad firm ca. 1960 was difficult to buy, but the JOKE very much rang true. Although perhaps we were supposed to think "oh my what bad anti-Semitic people", the message to me was that white people back then were allowed to have a sense of humor about race. As with real life, the way you interpreted that scene depended on what you believed already.

Then awhile later, Draper was at a meeting with this Jewish chick and she delivered some kind of reproof, which I can't recall but it was pretty lukewarm, and Draper turns into a five-year-old boy and storms out of the room saying "I won't let a woman speak to me this way!" I just about gave up on the show right there. I mean, who would think that a grown man, much less a mature and urbane one like Draper, would ever have been that petulantly defensive of his status in the "patriarchy"? Everyone knows women have been saying humiliating things to men since the dawn of time, "patriarchy" or no, and no man gets to age 20 without getting kinda used to it.

Middletown Girl said...

Holden Caulfield and Catcher in the Rye and Betty Friedan:

Funny that they should be mentioned in the article. The themes of "Catcher in the Rye" and "Feminine Mystique" were captured in the book and movie THE GRADUATE. Though the book may have be written by a wasp, it was turned into a kind of bourgeois-radical Jewish fantasy by Mike Nichols and Dustin Hoffman. Salingerism(also Jewish btw), Friedanism, and Braddockism(character in the Graduate) all rested on and resisted against the security and privilige of white upper middle class in the post-war era. Through most of American(and world)history, most people had worried about and worked for food, clothing, housing, and survival. Most advanced societies had a small rich class and a vast working and agricultural class even in the first part of the 20th century. The widespread and ever-expanding middle class was a relatively new development, nowhere triumphing as much as in postwar America. All of a sudden, people worried less about basic necessities or themes of life. With all sorts of new appliances, housewives had more time on their hands. With access to prolonged or higher education for more people--men and women--, people began to have higher expectations. TV made people more conscientious and interested in fun things beyond basic survival needs. Though Friedan wrote specifically about upper-middle class women, her complaint could just as well have applied to anyone in the 60s, especially the young. Friedan's refrain about the imprisoned housewife was echoed in Benjamin Braddock's wanting to be 'different' after college and his dread of working in 'plastics'.
Whether 'imprisoned' at home or at work, it was something to resist or challenge if one were to find true happiness and meaning in life. Ben's parents were affluent and happy, but Ben didn't want to be like them. He wanted to be special, he wanted to find romantic love, the fountain of youth, and etc. For Ben, a good job and nice suburban lifestyle was like a soft version of the Nazi concentration camp--how Friedan described the condition of the American middle class housewife in the late 50s! Catcher in the Rye, written in the 50s, foreshadowed the coming of Benjamin Braddockism. Caulfield is a son of an affluent family, but that's not good enough for him. He wants to be special, different, meaningful. He doesn't want to grow up to become like their BS-filled parents. He wants to save all children from that fate.

All of these--Cauldfieldism, Friedanism, and Braddockism--were fun and fine as long as there was a dependable 'enemy' to rail against or rely on. Though these types wanted the obstacles to their 'freedom' to be toppled, they were nothing without those obstacles. When Ben finally wins the battle and runs off with Elaine, he feels empty. He got what he wanted, but now what? Holden may get some jollies and righteous angst from upsetting his teachers and parents but what would he be without them? Women could denounce male chauvinist pigs and the bourgeois family life, but what were they at the end of their struggle for freedom--especially if they were stuck in deadend jobs--most people?

MQ said...

Great article Steve, much better than your earlier one on the show. I particularly liked this observation:

As a social commentator, Weiner is on the winning side in the culture war. Yet, as an artist, he senses a void in the brave new America. While he may lack the vocabulary to articulate it, this longing helps give Mad Men its romantic aura that lifts it above its own soap operaish and soft porn tendencies.

That nails it -- there's a depth to Mad Men that you sense even the show's creators haven't fully articulated to themselves.

I thought the closing was too simplistic, though. Feminism isn't "flapdoodle", it's too profound a social change to be dismissed that way. Weiner is smart enough to understand that, which is why he hems and haws about it. It's much too profound a social change for that. One of the great things about Mad Men is how it vaults beyond the simple dichotomies of feminism bad/50s good vs. feminism good/50s bad.

MQ said...

Or to put it another way: feminist *ideology* may be flapdoodle. The feminist movement is not, nor is the increased individualism among women.

Anonymous said...

My grandfather went to an integrated grade school in the 1920s, in the “Deep North” of course. Paleocon Paul Gottfried grew up in Connecticut (born 1941) and the public schools he attended were integrated and his school librarian was a black woman.

But I work with many Asians, most born here, and they all think the whole country was segregated strictly by race everywhere not just in the South. What this indicates is that the propaganda no longer singles out the South, but is now aimed at the general white population.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but an important news-story that I thought many iStevers would get a kick out of -- "70 Percent of Young Americans Are Unfit for Military Duty" - http://www.sphere.com/2009/11/03/70-percent-of-young-americans-are-unfit-for-military-duty/

Danny said...

OT Steve, but will you be writing about Obama's half brother's new book, "Nairobi to Shenzhen"?

You've mentioned him before.

It turns out that he's half-Jewish, so I suppose that explains the physics degrees.

i am the walrus said...

While watching Mad Men, Weiner affords us ample opportunity to congratulate ourselves on how much progress we’ve made. For example, most of the black characters in Mad Men have servile jobs. Today, of course, things are infinitely better.

The joke is that as the suburban women attending the Rockfeller fundraiser are expressing their horror at race relations in the South the Draper's black maid is taking their coats.

As a social commentator, Weiner is on the winning side in the culture war. Yet, as an artist, he senses a void in the brave new America. While he may lack the vocabulary to articulate it, this longing helps give Mad Men its romantic aura that lifts it above its own soap operaish and soft porn tendencies.

Steve, you are an amazing social commentator, but you have one glaring weakness -- you are completely oblivious to spiritual themes. I suggest you (re)read -- as Matthew Weiner obvious has -- Tom Wolfe's "The 'Me Decade' and the Third Great Awakening." It would enhance your understanding of the show.

Anonymous said...

I have laugh at all this nonsense about "Mad Men" being "subversive". Right, that's why the establishment liberals at BHTV like it.

The objective reality of "Mad Men" is that all the WASP's are unhappy or bigots, or stupid or "oppressive" - every episode tries to remind us how BAD things were before the BIG CHANGE.

Further, the show ignores reality: Jews were running advertising even in 1963. "Mad Men" has no Jews because people don't want to watch Jews.

Weiner may not like Feminism, but he's a good Jewish Liberal. IF you think he's writing a show about the "good ol days" or to make the WASP's look good - you're one stupid goy (and that's as stupid as you can get).

Whiskey said...

Steve --

You don't mention a couple of things. First, seven out of nine writers are women, and create for most of the show the usual soap opera dramas of tragically beautiful women victims and they bad boyfriends they love. Next, that Weiner fired the woman he promoted from his assistant to writer after the Letterman scandal.

But most important, that no one really watches Mad Men. Its ratings are less than Bravo's Top Chef and Real Housewives of Orange County. Around 1.2 million per episode, including five day DVR viewing.

Mad Men is not subversive because no one watches it. Thus, they cannot be subverted. Moreover, the message of PC and female driven soap opera drama (all men must be fake cads like Draper or repellent beta social climbers like the Vincent Kartheiser character) over-rides whatever aesthetic sense the nostalgia for a time of hats had.

As for Blacks on TV, they are ALL OVER THE PLACE. Almost every ad, particularly those pitched at women, which is about 95% of them, features middle class Blacks who are about 5% of the population. Also, Blacks are commonly depicted as doctors in TV shows, when only 4% of Doctors are Black, according to the AMA.

TV exists as a way to push feminine PC Dogma, and not much else these days. It is rather pathetic.

Cordelia said...

Middletown Girl said: "This may have social significance as The War did really change the heart, soul, image, and nature of America. The War made the American white male feel more confident, justified, and triumphant. Americans had defeated the Nazis and the "Japs"...."

But, Dick Whitman/Don Draper fought in the Korean War.

Cordelia said...

I enjoy watching Mad Men, mostly for the clothes and decor and atmosphere, etc. (And Pete Campbell's dysfunctionality.)

What I still can't believe was the hit-you-over-the-head pro-Israel message in (I think it was) the first season.

Remember: Dick/Don has a brief affair with a Jewess of whom he later asks for insight on Israel 'cause his firm is bidding for an Israeli Tourism contract.

Anyway, he's trying to find out from her what Israel is all about and she said something very like: "Israel. It just has to be."

Uh, thanks for that propaganda moment, Matt. Subtle.

Sheesh. Can't even watch a stylish soap anymore without the Israel Lobby popping up.

Reg Cæsar said...

Satire, from Swift onward, has been a Tory art form.

I'm shocked! Hasn't Steve heard of Aristophanes and Juvenal, reactionaries of their day?

Right-wingers have an inherent advantage in satire. Not only do they have an easy target in the utopian progressive-- and his untested theories-- their own jaundiced view allows them freedom to mock their own side as well.

Also, for all its faults, the status quo worked for somebody, for some time. Progressives don't have that advantage, which may explain their lack of humor.

agnostic said...

Young people are back to the point of wishing they could be more grown-up. The period where wild and crazy kids ruled demographically and culturally was from the mid-'60s through the mid-'80s.

After a transition stage through the mid-late-'90s, we're now in a stage where it's 30-somethings and middle-aged people who rule.

That doesn't mean that what they're doing or consuming is *mature* -- just that they're the ones it's geared toward. What we have now is:

Childish content demanded by adults

Anonymous said...

“People don’t want to watch Jews.”

This is truer than most people realize. Few know that the famous classic sit-com, The Dick van Dyke Show was tried previously with Carl Reiner in the role of Dick van Dyke (the pilot was called “Head of the Family”) but even Reiner realized that he didn’t have the “grace” (Reiner’s word) that the goy/gentile van Dyke brought to the role. Instead Reiner played the role of the fairly untalented, nasty, arbitrary, abusive boss. And if you’ve ever had a bad boss, you will realize how accurate a portrayal that was.

OneSTDV said...

I wrote about the shifting cultural zeitgeist here:

Appropriation of Shaming by NAMs and WOmen

Middletown Girl said...

"But, Dick Whitman/Don Draper fought in the Korean War."

Oh, I stand corrected. I haven't seen the show... but same difference. The Cold War was as much about marketing as anything else. We were out to show that the American Way was better than the communist way. We were Santa Claus raining down bombs to make the world safe for coca-cola, chewing gum, Frank Sinatra, and democracy.
Inside every gook there's an American trying to get out. I guess we succeeded halfway in Korea as the Southern part is wild about capitalism. We failed in Vietnam in war but ultimately prevailed in peace. Vietnam has embraced market economics and is now one of the most pro-American places on Earth.
The world is weird.

Fred said...

I've only seen part of one episode of this show (coincidentally, the one a previous commenter mentioned, with the flight crew in the hotel), but this is an interesting thread. What are we to make of American Jews like Weiner (or, for that matter, Ralph Lauren, whom Steve mentioned in his review)?

As a regular reader of the comment threads on this blog, I know that we American Jews have long sought to undermine the white Christians of this country, by opening America's borders to non-white immigration, by being pesky about getting civil rights for the non-whites who were already here, etc. And I know that many iSteve readers long for the America they never knew, the 90% white one, where the white industrialists lovingly looked out for their white workers in the mines and on the factory floors, and American life wasn't so cut-throat.

And yet: who is preserving -- nay, burnishing -- the memory that America none of us (save, perhaps, Steve) ever knew? Jews like Weiner. And Lauren (changed of course from a Germanic name his ancestors carried since they first converted to Judaism in the kingdom of Khazaria, after meeting the long-gone real Jews of antiquity).

So, back to our question, what are we to make of the American Jew? This thread suggests that perhaps he is not evil incarnate, but a more complex character such as, perhaps, Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back -- a bad guy at first, but then he tries to rescue that which he helped wreck.

What say you, Svigor? What say you, fellow with the skulls on your blog? I am genuinely curious.

Fred said...

Assorted comments follow:

Danny:

"It turns out that he's half-Jewish, so I suppose that explains the physics degrees."

I don't think Jewish is the operative factor there. The demo of woman who would be attracted to a Kenyan exchange student 40 years ago probably skewed smart, because education correlated with an embrace of ah -- human biodiversity, for lack of a better term -- even back then. Obama's WASP mother had some smart genes too.

Anon:

""Mad Men" has no Jews because people don't want to watch Jews."

So true. That's why, for example, Seinfeld was such a flop and was promptly canceled.

Whiskey:

"Mad Men is not subversive because no one watches it. Thus, they cannot be subverted."

Ah Whiskey, my Scots-Irish landsman (or whatever we Scots-Irish call each other), you miss the big picture. A work of art can be influential even if most people don't watch it. Think of it like this: How many people read our fellow Scots-Irisher Baruch Spinoza's Ethics back-to-back -- or at least long enough to get to the chapter titled "Of Human Bondage"? Not so many. And yet Somerset Maugham read it, was influenced by it, and wrote a novel about with the same title and similar themes. More people read that. And even more people saw the film versions of it. So, to recap: Spinoza wrote something that hardly anyone in the 20th Century really read, and yet because someone culturally important did read it, and was influenced by it, Spinoza's influence was transmitted to those who've never heard of him.

In a similar way, Mad Men may shape future movies and shows that are aimed more squarely at middle America.

Dick Whitman said...

Sure Mad Men is subversive, but it's a stylist and interesting sort of subversion for now.

On the otherhand, Friday Night Lights seriously jumped the shark this season with beat you over the head PC obviousness. It moralizes like a 1950s HS instructional film on hygene or proper dating etiquette.

My money is that Mad Men slips into same irresitable gravitational pull of Hollywood political correctness.

Peter A said...

The agency in Mad Men has no Jews because it's supposed to be a relic of an older age even in 1960. These are WASPs who can't see what's coming and are out of touch, it's made very clear during the show that Sterling Cooper is a second rate, or even third rate, firm, which is why landing Hilton on this year's season was supposed to be a huge deal. Weiner has addressed this.

mondo said...

"Young people are back to the point of wishing they could be more grown-up. The period where wild and crazy kids ruled demographically and culturally was from the mid-'60s through the mid-'80s.

After a transition stage through the mid-late-'90s, we're now in a stage where it's 30-somethings and middle-aged people who rule."

In other words, you're saying Generation X rules.

josh said...

"My Uncle Ottie went to high school with Jackie Robinson in the 1930s."

Neat!

RobertHume said...

Obama's half-brother:

"It turns out that he's half-Jewish, so I suppose that explains the physics degrees."

But he only got a Masters after he went to Stanford. That probably means he failed his physics orals or had serious trouble with advanced courses.

So probably like other blacks failing the bar exam; sometimes AA only takes you so far.

Steiner said...

Dick Whitman? C'mon, there's no word in German for subtlety, and no disguising the white-hot hatred that the German Jew in Weiner displays for white, Christian America in Mad Men. Every white man is a client- or staff-diddling creep, every white woman a mattress, and in every dream home a heartache (and a tip of the fedora to Bryan Ferry).

Dutch Boy said...

I don't watch the show but it is my impression that it is set in the 50s (by which I mean the era from the end of WW II to the assassination of JFK, with a 3 year Korean War timeout). That was a different cultural era than the 60s.
BTW Middletown Girl - we fought WW II in alliance with the most hideous tyranny then extant: The USSR - so spare us the Good War cant.

joe78 said...

I got Seasons one and two on DVD. Season One was more to my liking. Last episode "The Wheel" with its Kodak Carousel projector pitch was phenomenal. Reminding me of when America produced great and innovative products and had great ad-men to sell them. It was patriotic to me and brought a tear to my eyes.

What I liked most about Mad-Men was its hearkening back to a better age in America. When America was at its postwar peak. It could have remained that way if we had not become so weak and pleasure oriented which we got from the blacks. Some of it at least
Now we are left with a "consumer economy" since the big money boys found more profit in that than real production.

The WASP/Brahmin establishment also got weak and demented in their one-worldism which was OK as long as we and European nations dominated these world organizations such as the UN, GATT, NAFTA and IMF. But now our enemies use them against us

That IMF gold that was sold off to India? Some of it was US gold that was pledged to the stinking IMF to get it born and off the ground. An outrage. It should have been taken back and let the IMF hang itself

texas first! said...

The last episode was great. In response to the assassination of President Kennedy, one Yankee suggests that "we" should nuke Texas. "Hell, we should take care of the whole South."

You don't hear that kind of honesty on television very much. Why are people offended by that? No one is upset over the portrayal of Don's skeeter-bitten, stump-toothed, moonshine-drinkin', banjo-playing kin folk. Might it be because, like Dick aka "Don", you're embarrassed by those kind of white people?

Flannery O'Connor said it best, "anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic."

albertosaurus said...

Mad Men seems to be just another TV drama. In the old days there were a lot of attractive women on display in such weekly offerings - like Charlie's Angels. More lately handsome men are the key attractors. Whatever.

What I find new and interesting are all the shows about fishing in Alaska, or chopping down big trees. As far as I can remember there never were never any such shows before.

What does it mean? I want to know, but not enough that I would actually watch one of them.

MQ said...

But, Dick Whitman/Don Draper fought in the Korean War.

This is a major error in the show -- not only does it reduce the symbolic resonance of his service, but it's all wrong for his age. If he's 35 when the show starts in 1960, he would have been drafted for WWII unless he had a health problem or he somehow dodged the draft.

Is there anyone more irritating than Udolpho?

I'm sure he feels the same way about you.

Anonymous said...

Great article! This comedy sketch sums up how white males view Mad Men.

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1891703

Marc B said...

A very even-handed review of the show. I don't watch it, but the best thing that could come of it is for the SWPL that do watch it religiously to realize, golly gee, "Our parents had it better!" (when the WASP's were running things).

And as someone with exclusively Southern and Eastern European ancestry, I agree.

Anonymous said...

There was a great divide in Drapers generation between the men who fought in WW2 and those who did not. It was a real badge of honor even though they never talked about the war much. Korea and Viet Nam were never the same.

Walnuts said...

But he only got a Masters after he went to Stanford. That probably means he failed his physics orals or had serious trouble with advanced courses.

So probably like other blacks failing the bar exam; sometimes AA only takes you so far.


I'm not sure about this. I know people who just got Masters degrees in physics, math, etc., not because they couldn't do the work but just because they didn't want to. You can finish a Masters in physics or something in like 2 years. If you really want a doctorate you might end up spending years doing research and stuff afterward, using up or wasting some of the prime years of your youth.

Robin Hanson has a Masters in physics, not a doctorate in physics (he got a doctorate in economics). I'm sure he could've completed a doctorate in physics if he wanted to.

I believe in HBD and think that blacks are generally less bright than whites. But I have no problem believing that Obama's half-brother is smart, and likely smarter than most whites. His father was likely on the right tail of the black bell curve, and his mother was a bright Jewish woman.

Svigor said...

Fred, I had a reply typed out but it wasn't working for me so I deleted it. Maybe later. I haven't gotten into these Mad Men threads because I don't watch the show. I don't watch TV unless you count DVDs, and I'm not tempted to rent MM so far.

agnostic said...

More like drunk and asleep at the wheel.

James Kabala said...

My mother went to integrated public elementary and high schools in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the 1950s and 1960s. She had a black friend in her buddy group that used to visit her house and go to the ice cream parlor. (The neighborhood and school are overwhelmingly minority today.)

An older man I know, by chance also from Worcester, says that Catholic-Protestant tensions were much greater than white-black tensions at his elementary school in the 1930s - and more likely to lead to fistfights.

Udolpho: The post to which you object was written by an anonymous "Whitey," not "Whiskey," although our old friend makes his customary appearance later on.

Fred: I laugh at your posts if no one else does (and despite the name, I am non-Jewish).

Fred said...

"Fred, I had a reply typed out but it wasn't working for me so I deleted it."

Fair enough, Svigor. Funny though that you and I seem to have some similar TV tastes. I don't watch MM either, but we both liked TSCC -- which, perhaps not coincidentally, was produced by a Jew, who in that case portrayed scrappy white, Scots-Irish types positively.

"Fred: I laugh at your posts if no one else does (and despite the name, I am non-Jewish)."

Thanks, James. I'll be here all week.

Truth said...

"But he only got a Masters after he went to Stanford. That probably means he failed his physics orals or had serious trouble with advanced courses."

I often see comments here that remind me of one of my favorite quotes:

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
-Anias Nin

We I originally read of Ndesandjo not having a PHD, but instead a Master's; I simply thought that it was a matter of future goals. A PHD in Physics is of no help (and probably some hindrance) to a man who wants to work in private industry. It would be 5 more years of difficult work, and beholdence to a dissertation approval committee and I can see only four benefits:

1) The opportunity to teach Physics 101 to snotty-nosed HBD nerds.

2) Summers off.

3) Unlimited use of the "do you know who I am" card.

4) The unspoken authority to wear corduroy jackets with suede elbow patches, and bloviate unceasingly about the Antidisestablishmentarianism of the bougeois class.

It simply is not everyone's goal in life to spend 5 years buying the title "Dr."

You on the other hand, made the assumption you did precisely because of who you are.

wintermute said...

What say you, Svigor? What say you, fellow with the skulls on your blog? I am genuinely curious.

Substantive commentary on this question is no longer allowed.

On a related topic, Steve, now that you've wrapped up The Wire and Mad Men, do you feel to take on what might be the greatest achievement in modern propagandistic serialized storytelling, namely Battlestar Galactica?

Let me throw you a piece of red meat in this case. The cast of BSG presided over a special assembly of the United Nations and were instrumental in passing a resolution that "we're all one race" and that "division by race was wrong intellectually and morally" and that henceforth everybody was a human being.

I wouldn't want to waste time listing all the La Raza style organizations that Edward James Olmos belongs to - including La Raza itself! - that make hash of his hot air UN speech, but there's a lot more from a HBD standpoint in the show to write about. Olmos has to wear blue contact lenses to pass as the father of English actor Jamie Bamber, there's a lot of material directly about crypsis and dual loyalty (which was also extensively dealt with on Ron Moore's previous show Deep Space Nine), the legacy of slavery, the importance of democracy as religious fiction (the lesson of the show is that democracy is so holy that vote rigging is perfectly justificed if the populace is going to elect the wrong person and that resistance to the progressive leader is flat out evil). Indeed, resistance to progressive leaders is shown as the last possible evil, except of course for harboring suspicious thoughts against the race responsible for your genocide. Real resistance against against overwhelming odds (biowarfare) is another no-no and at one point the Mary McDonell, the president/ matriarch figure, delivers an impassioned denunication of the use of suicide bombers against occupation forces. Of course, she pushes Cylons out the airlock so often fans call her "Madame Airlock". Wonder what the special moral opprobrium for suicide bombers is all about?

The only morally good act on the show is racial miscegenation (seriously!), the most important character in the show is a mixed "race" child (Human-Cylon)and in the end it all turns out to be part of God's plan - Holy Obama, Batman!

If ever there were a TV show begging for a Steve Sailer reading, it's this one. Evidently, Ron Moore has written other 'race mixing is our salvation' sci-fi including a show called 'The 4400' which I didn't watch, so I can't speak to that. I will say that his stint on DS9 turned out much more reliably interesting writing about genocide, moral responsibility, crypsis, dual loyalty, and related topics, but there he was a junior writer, who worked under other writers who were engaging a a bit of unconscious biography, I think. BSG reliably shrank back from every issue that DS9 rather bravely addressed.

Anyway, if you're short of TV to watch or to write about, now is the time. I think you'll find it worth your while. From a standpoint of advocating racial suicide, BSG is the most radical show ever made or broadcast. It disguises it's radicalism (I'm curious how much comes from Ron Moore's Irish Catholicism) underneath a slick veneer of military fetishization (Moore's naval background).

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the pilot episode(s?) of the new BSG.

It really caught my attention, I was already to sit back in wallow in the subsequent series.

But as Wintermute points out, yuck.

I bailed out very early on as the show hit its stride. I did watch the vomit inducing final episode just to see how a mighty race died with a whimper.

Fred said...

"Wonder what the special moral opprobrium for suicide bombers is all about?"

Maybe because there were only ~40k humans left in the universe? Remember, the formerly liberal Madame President also acceded to banning abortion on an (earlier?) episode, so that's consistent with the opprobrium for suicide bombers. Seems a more likely explanation than the one you seem to be intimating, that Ron Moore is a Ziocon.

"I enjoyed the pilot episode(s?) of the new BSG."

The pilot miniseries was definitely the peak, and the show did go over the top with the diversity worship (though not so many blacks on the show -- perhaps because there aren't many black actors in Vancouver, where it was filmed? -- and one of the recurring black characters was a cylon). But the last half-season was pretty good. And the finale kicked ass, IMO.

Svigor said...

'Mute is right about BSG, it's a gold mine. I only watched the first three seasons - I think I got that far. Easily the most politically egregious thing about BSG was, as 'Mute pointed out, the slavish obeisance to liberal democracy. The liberal-fantasy-humans of BSG care more for liberal democracy than their species. They're whittled down to what, 30k or something, grand total population for the species? But keeping the abortions rolling is top priority. Woman's right to choose to destroy the species, and all that. They make ridiculous choice after ridiculous choice. And making sure the species sticks with liberal democracy and rejects fascism is more important than the species actually surviving. Oh, and protecting robot infiltrators sent by the enemy that has all but wiped out humanity from "rape" is a vitally important goal (and the human perpetrators deserve death). And we should feel lots of sympathy for the "romance" between a human moron and a robot infiltrator. A chick is the best pilot in the fleet of course, and can go toe to toe in a boxing ring with muscular dudes. If I didn't know better I'd think it was a deliberate parody.

Oh, and even though humanity is now down to the size of a small city or large town, the White House press corps has survived intact; just to show us the important stuff has been preserved, I guess.

To be perfectly clear: if humanity was down to 30k we'd make ants look like radical individualists. We'd be rigidly autocratic and highly religious. Liberal democracy would die in a heartbeat. And no man in Adama's position would have put up with the crap he put up with; if he did, one of his subordinates would kill him and do what needed doing. We'd be fascist and no one would shed a tear over the luxury of liberal democracy. BSG is fundamentally the opposite of what would happen in the circumstances described.

There is the occasional un-PC moment though, like when an enemy infiltrator refers to a name humans use for its kind as "racist."

Svigor said...

Fred, the Scots-Irish thing sorta went with the job description, I doubt it was down to the Jewish producer. Not saying he's gritting his teeth through the whole thing, or anything like that...

I just finished watching the second season and it was pretty good. Too bad it's over, I think it could easily have gone another 2 or 3 seasons before the soap opera effect killed it (the way it's killing Supernatural for me).

Oh, the DS9 reference reminded me of my eternal amusement at the demographics of sci-fi in general, and Star Trek in particular; aren't we all going to be coffee-with-two-creams everymen by then? Nope, the demographics of 25th century humanity will be identical to the demographics of standard 20th century Hollywood productions! Go back to sleep Joe and Sally!

Svigor said...

I guess if one's an optimist he could see Moore's theme as "liberal democracy = death of the species in a clutch" but that's a bit of a stretch.

Svigor said...

Evidently, Ron Moore has written other 'race mixing is our salvation' sci-fi including a show called 'The 4400' which I didn't watch, so I can't speak to that.

I was embarrassed for the whole production at that train wreck of an interracial "relationship." It was hilarious, almost like the chick told them "okay, but no kissing" or something. Zero heat, zero chemistry, totally just going through the motions. And that subplot, the interracial relationship plus their Overman-child, ruined the series it was so bad.

Anonymous said...

the demographics of 25th century humanity will be identical to the demographics of standard 20th century Hollywood productions! Go back to sleep Joe and Sally!

If the demographics we can see of Starfleet represent that of the Federation as a whole, then the most parsimonious explanation is that there are wholly black planets, white planets, vulcan planets. So the logistics of interracial mating make it pretty limited.

Or, more complicated, planetary populations that are racially segregated.

Fred said...

Svigor,

If I remember correctly, they decided to ban abortions on BSG, due to the low population count, so that was an example of pragmatism instead of slavish devotion to lefty ideas.

You're right that the press corps seemed pretty big, given the scaled-down scope of humanity, and as a previous commenter mentioned not using the bio weapon against the Cylons was completely retarded and made no sense. That was one of two giant WTF? moments for me in the series. The other one was Starbuck going toe-to-toe with Apollo. A female fighter jock is believable -- Russia had them in WWII. But in RL, the actor playing Apollo would have dropped the actress playing Starbuck like second period French.

Re the fascism versus democracy deal, did you see the miniseries (or two-part movie) centered on the BSG Pegasus (it starred the Asian-Aussie chick from TSCC)? In that storyline, the captain of the Pegasus goes the fascist route with her civies, but that seemed a little over the top to me.

Overall, though, I think the show did a decent job with the democracy/authoritarianism stuff on BSG.

Incidentally, I don't know if you watch The Doll House (which seemed pretty crappy at first, but sort of sucked me and the gf in), but a few of the BSG actors have been on it. The guy who played Helo was featured in another relationship without any apparent chemistry; he's a regular. Apollo, Colonel Tigh, and the lawyer fellow guest starred as well. And Summer Glau, from TSCC, is going to be on it too.

Anonymous said...

Dude, I've met T:SCC's showrunner. He named his kid after Huck Finn and Johnny Cash-- Jewish though he may be, he's absolutely obsessed by Americana and Scots-Irish culture. The show was also surprisingly brave in showing LA's criminal underworld as being populated by Mexican, Asian, and Armenian gangs instead of WASP businessmen. Even the token black guy was a sympathetically portrayed evangelical Christian-- another oddity on network television.

Middletown Girl said...

You know what'd be interesting? Comparing movies about corporate suits in the 50s and 60s with Mad Men the tv show. As movies back then were also mostly made by liberals, rebellious mavericks, or populist crowd-pleasers, good many movies back then were quite critical too.

Consider The Apartment with Jack Lemmon where the Boss guy and his friends/clients exploit and push around the decent main character.
A bunch of movies by Douglas Sirk--I can't stand them--were actually quite critical of the repressive hypocrisy of the white middle class. In Splendor in the Grass, I think affluent white kids went crazy because society was stuffy with conformity,foreshadowing a whole generation of middle class kids who decided to tune in, turn on, and drop out. I haven't seen Peyton Place but that too was supposed to be a harsh critique of American middle class hypocrisy. Elia Kazan's Face in the Crowd was an unsparing expose of how American media corporation manipulates public opinion. Noir movies usually had good looking white guys in leads, but they offered a pretty dark vision of American life and capitalism.

Throughout the 60s, wealth and power were simulataneously glamourized and condemned. Take Breakfast at Tiffany's for instance. George Peppard is a golden boy type who falls in with the rich crowd but ultimately chooses to be an honest writer than remain a whore to the rich. There was a lot of European films in similar vein, such as Fellini's La Dolce Vita which splashed the screen with lifestyles-of-the-rich sensationalism but then condemned it all as shallow and meaningless in the hang-over ending. Antonioni did much the same with films such as La Notte and Eclipse, movies which were both chic and critique. He later made Blow Up about style-cool but soul-cold Swinging London and then Zabriskie in the US. Both movies were obsessed with wealth, privilege, and the rich life-style but also radically subversive. Zabriskie Point ended with a secretary-turned-radical fantasizing about blowing up the mansion where blonde CEO types are gathered. Point Blank presented gangsters as no different than corporate suits--it's all about money and power, everything can be sold or traded. Swimmer, based on a short story by John Cheever, showed green lawns and suburban affluence but also the quiet desperation of these people.

Middletown Girl said...

Looking back earlier to the 30s and 40s, there was Frank Capra who was said to be a conservative Republican but his movies tended to be populist liberal and often prsented rich white guys as no good.

So, critical portrait of American white middle or rich class is nothing new. The first American Nobel prize for literature went to Sinclair Lewis, and his most famous novel was Babbitt, an affectionate but biting look at the shallowness of the business class. Fitzgerald was also both drawn to and repelled by the wealth, privilege, pleasure, and emptiness of upper middle or upper class life. Miller's All My Sons was pretty scathing.

Maybe the critique today is more along PC lines, but artists and entertainers have always been both fascinated and infuriated by rich society for as long as we can remember. Of course, things get consirably more complex when the starving writer or artist becomes rich and famous himself and part of rich society--like Truman Capote. But then, some of the strongest critics came from within the world of privilege. Think of Auchincloss and Mary McCarthy.
There was also a conflict between old rich and nouveau rich. The post-war period was probably a fabulous time for nouveau richers, both white gentiles and Jews. GI Bill and postwar boom meant go go years for many. Anyway, art isn't fun if it only had GOOD GUYS.
Interestingly enough, some of the most loving portraits of white bread middle class life came later in the form of John Hughes movies, which despite token class angst schtick on a few occasions, embraced middle class privilege--Ferris Bueller, Planes Trains, & Home Alone for instance,

Risky Business was both satirized and reveled in the materialism of the 80s.

togo said...

One of the worst aspects of the early Sixties was the knuckle-headed attitude re free weights-the sappy machines had yet to show up-beyond the borders of Venice Beach. How many guys worked out in secret to avoid implications of narcissism or "Third Sex" orientation? But that mindset persisted for a quite a few years thereafter-when did the NFL first introduce the Bench Press test?

But seriously, the worst part of the early Sixties was creeping muddle-headed liberalism. Sex differences were not a topic for non-jocular discussion and race differences could only be discussed in very unpolite company. A tendency toward liberalism as default position led to the non-prole population rolling over when confronted with the rapid spread of malignant high kookiness starting in 1965. Which doesn't mean they shouldn't have joined the John Birch Society in opposition to the Viet War.

Anonymous said...

Too bad it's over, I think it could easily have gone another 2 or 3 seasons before the soap opera effect killed it (the way it's killing Supernatural for me).

Ever wonder why there's this apocalyptic war between Michael & Lucifer [with a guest appearance last night by Gabriel, as "The Trickster"], and plenty of talk of "God", but strangely there's NEVER any mention of "The Son", or "The Holy Ghost"?

Oh, how silly of me: Supernatural is the property of a couple of fellows named Kripke and Singer.

Which makes it the Mad Men of SciFi/Fantasy/Religious Apocalypticism.

PS: A few episodes back, didn't you just love that seat-of-the-pants improvising on the teleology of an anti-Christ?

Anonymous said...

Middletown Girl - all you are doing is documenting the fact that this war of propaganda, disinformation, and lies has been waged against WASP America for a long, LONG time.

The whole purpose of a paleocon blog like this is to give people a place to say, "No Más".

Svigor said...

If I remember correctly, they decided to ban abortions on BSG, due to the low population count, so that was an example of pragmatism instead of slavish devotion to lefty ideas.

True, but the idea that they were even worried about it at all is preposterous. IIRC it was an agonizing decision.

A female fighter jock is believable -- Russia had them in WWII.

I don't have a problem with the idea of females in any and all military roles under those circumstances. On the contrary, anything else would be unrealistic*. But the best in the fleet? One sex or the other is bound to have an edge in something like that; if it's females (in which case the best pilot being female would make sense) then that should have been explained, because it's incongruous.

*on the other hand, there's the fact that every fertile woman would be pregnant all the time, voluntarily or not, so maybe not.

Re the fascism versus democracy deal, did you see the miniseries (or two-part movie) centered on the BSG Pegasus (it starred the Asian-Aussie chick from TSCC)? In that storyline, the captain of the Pegasus goes the fascist route with her civies, but that seemed a little over the top to me.

It doesn't ring a bell, no.

Overall, though, I think the show did a decent job with the democracy/authoritarianism stuff on BSG.

They might've gone as far as they dared, which in itself would be a sad commentary.

No one should mistake my position as pro-fascist, BTW. Yeah, I'm an ethnic nationalist but my personality is opposite the fascistic type (makes sense; if I was big on authority I wouldn't ascribe to something as politically and socially deviant as ethnic nationalism in the first place). My breaks with progressives generally result from priorities. But I know human nature well enough to know that under those circumstances we'd be Bible-thumping Nazis in the time it takes to learn the Roman salute, and rightly so.

Incidentally, I don't know if you watch The Doll House

Nope, I've heard the name but don't know the first thing about it. Whedon's show, right?

Barack Hussein Obama said...

Truth,

No one knows for certain what Obama's half-brother's situation is, but leaving Stanford with a M.S. in Physics is statistically a sign of failure to successfully complete a PhD.

First, unlike Computer Science or Engineering, a M.S. is not the usual desired terminal degree for Physics grad students (the only thing more useless than a Physics PhD is a M.S.).

People pursing a PhD in physics are very idealistic and realize they are sacrificing material gain for truth/knowledge. Obama's brother may have been even more idealistic because he certainly had many more profitable alternatives than physics grad school as a "clean and articulate" black male.

Second, an elite physics program like Stanford is only interested in turning out top notch PhDs. Anyone seeking a terminal M.S. degree would be not be accepted. The culture among the professors and grad students would reinforce this value system.

Third, affirmative action is most evident where the underlying disparities are greatest. A PhD in Physics at one of the world's top research institute is where the disparities are greatest and AA probably strongest. Unlike an MBA, one can't disguise failure to meet the objective criteria in physics or give students an additional year or two like MD programs.

Whatever Obama's brothers' true situation, he is to be commended on his idealistic pursuit of knowledge forsaking ready material gain. Within the limited terms of raw brain power, a decent State U Physics or Math B.S. is probably above most Ivy non-STEM B.S. and many M.S. degree holders.

He's definately bright and sounds far more well-adjusted than his half-brother.

Ward Cleaver said...

Middle Town Girl...

Can you explicitedly state your claim at the top of your long posts for clarity?

For example, your last two very long posts seems to beat around the bush in stating:

"Films of the 1950's and 60's were just as anti-WASP and anti-male as contemporary films."

Is that your position?

Svigor said...

Dude, I've met T:SCC's showrunner. He named his kid after Huck Finn and Johnny Cash-- Jewish though he may be, he's absolutely obsessed by Americana and Scots-Irish culture.

Odds are this is why Cameron hired him.

The show was also surprisingly brave in showing LA's criminal underworld as being populated by Mexican, Asian, and Armenian gangs instead of WASP businessmen.

Yeah, I was surprised at the black homosexual who thought JC was "delicious." I listened to the commentary right after watching and they mentioned wanting to make him less "predatory" and that what wound up in the final cut was the least "predatory" take they could get from him, lol.

Even the token black guy was a sympathetically portrayed evangelical Christian-- another oddity on network television.

Most sympathetic Christian characters on American television are black, AFAICT. (Catholics seem more warmly considered than Protestants, too)

Anonymous said...

Any chance we could get a discussion of "V"?

It features [or featured] a lot of old Joss Whedon people [both in front of the camera and behind the scenes], but it was so politically incorrect that the reactionaries who run ABC/Disney had to send in the Waffen-SS to crack a few heads.

Apparently the reference to "Universal Health Care" was the straw that broke the camel's back:


'Chuck' This Out: 'V' Gets a New Leader
By Josef Adalian
Published: November 03, 2009
thewrap.com

The red-hot alien drama, which premieres tonight following glowing reviews, has nonetheless made a change at the top. Original showrunner Scott Peters has been replaced by "Chuck" alum Scott Rosenbaum, ABC confirmed Tuesday...

UPDATE 1:40 p.m. CDT: Insiders also confirm that writer/executive producer Jeffrey Bell ("Alias") has left "V"...



Chicago Tribune: "V" Aims at Obamamania
Posted by: Ace at 04:03 PM
November 04, 2009
minx.cc

But... The producer has been replaced, and the pilot rumored cut in half, in order to reduce the more-blatant Obama parallels. That "rumor" part isn't from the link, but a rumor sent by OgreGunner, without attribution...

Iblis: There's also rumors going around that the premier was cut to 1 hour, to minimize the Hopey-Changey critique.

schizuki: I know that's just a rumor, but I was very surprised that it wasn't a two-hour premier like every other Big New Series event, and the pacing was rushed as hell. My wife and I both said that it looked like a two-hour show cut to an hour.

So, my confidence in this rumor is about 90%.


Hollowpoint: The rumor that they cut the premier in half sounds very plausible- it felt extremely rushed.

In one hour they portrayed the aliens landing, acting friendly and inspiring devotion, being deceitful, killing the beginnings of a resistance movement, and presence of aliens on the side of the human resistance. I'm not sure that two hours wouldn't have been rushing it a bit.


soulpile: I liked the pilot and yes, it was rushed. The biggest disappointment was the fact that it was only an hour long.

barbelle: I wasn't even paying that much attention and I thought they were cramming too much in one hour, like they were scared they'd strain the viewers' attention span.

I don't doubt this premiere was originally 2 hours. I also don't doubt it was an incredibly bad decision to chop it up like that.


stefanite: When I set my DVR to record the "V" pilot last week, the guide showed it as a two-hour program. Then last night I saw that the recorded program was only an hour. I thought maybe the guide had just been wrong, but now I wonder... If the rumor is true, I would love to see the lost footage!

Svigor said...

The red-hot alien drama [...] has nonetheless made a change at the top. Original showrunner Scott Peters has been replaced by "Chuck" alum Scott Rosenbaum

LOL! Sloppy guys, verrry sloppy.

Middletown Girl said...

Actually, I would like to see a truly intelligent and honest movie about the advertising world whether set in the 60s or today. Advertising has become the perfect metaphor of what has become of American capitalism. It's more about the art of selling than what is actually being sold. We no longer have a manufacturing economy that makes things but more of a service economy that schmoozes everyone. American students are more likely to major in business--shaking hands--than in engineering--using hands.

Of course, this has been a long-running theme in American history. As long as there's a sucker being born every minute, why not go for the easy buck? The American West was filled with snake oil salesmen of all stripes. Prior to regulation and government control, one could advertise just about anything. Indeed, advertising men haven't been much admired through most of American history.

But, at some time in the 20th century, advertising turned into a kind of high concept art and a prestigious institution. Just as gambling had started in the underworld but gained respectability via Las Vegas and Atlantic City, advertising became a choice industry for ambitious people. And, in a way, this was understandable given changes in the economy. The reputation of capitalism that had suffered terribly during the Great Depression recovered during the postwar yrs. US economy was dominant around the world, and Americans made stuff--a lot of quality goods ranging from can openers to cars to jumbo jet engines that were envy of the world. Americans had great things to sell, and so what was being sold and how it was being sold went hand in hand. There was no shame in advertising the latest American car or refrigerator or TV set. But gradually, America become an importing nation. Advertising came to mean more about promoting foreign goods than American goods. Trade deficits mounted but advertising companies made us feel good about buying a Toyota or shopping at Walmart.
Also, despite government regulations which curbed many of the abuses of the past, pervasive hyper-consumerism emphasized the desirability than the durability of the stuff. Desirability was linked to disposability. Consumerism meant always looking for the latest and hottest stuff without thinking whether one really wanted or needed it. It's as though we increasingly began to judge a book by its cover.

In a way, we all went along because we didn't want to face reality. We wanted to be told that if take certain drugs, we'll be happy If we watch this or that TV show and emulate a certain character, we'll be cool and hip. If we listened to this self-help guru, we'll find enlightenment. If we followed the advice of that financial genius, we can become overnight millionaires.
And, it even extended to politics which became more about selling a candidate than finding one who's truly qualified for the job. Though Reagan was indeed a great president, much of the appeal was marketing. Clinton upped the ante, playing the role of rock star celebrity. Bush sold himself as a NASCAR Mall Church beer buddy All-American. Obama was sold as Will Smith messiah, as the Son of Virgin Oprah. Palin sells herself as Moose hunting barbie. None of this really new but the level of marketing and the naked superficiality have gone totally out of control.

And, the mythic romance with capitalism has led to all sorts of frauds since the 1980s. Perhaps, David Mamet captured it most powerfully in GLENGARRY GLENROSS where the trick is to fool clients into buying worthless land. It doesn't matter what you sell, only how you sell. The main commodity is not the commodity itself but the conmanship.

Middletown Girl said...

Though capitalism is the best economic system known to man, a blind kind of Ayn Randism prevailed among many Americans who came to look up to rich people as demi-god heroes and even saviors of mankind. This was understandable to some extent as the wealth of nations does indeed depend on risk-taking entrepreneurs and corporations. But, Americans forgot that powerful people must be watched, scrutinized, and criticized.
Because what passed for American conservatism and new liberalism(under Clinton) cooked up a simple formula where BIG GOVERNMENT is corrupt and intrusive whereas businessmen were all heroic, honest, and hardworking(and since US turned into a center-right nation), many of us turned a blind eye to what was happening in the corridors of American capitalism and just took faith in the idea that the rich guys were doing the right thing. But, what happened? ENRON! Enron turned out to be more about the art of selling than having a superior product or service to sell. In a way, it was more of a advertising company for energy than an energy company. And, look at the dot.com rise and fall in the late 90s. Though an handful of internet companies were indeed the real thing, many had nothing to sell but still managed to raise gazillions through the art of selling. Since the mantra was 'technology is the future', clever geeks and their financial partners-in-crime could fool the public into thinking that their companies would be the next Microsoft, and every investor would become a millionaire.
Then, there was the whole business with the so-called OWNERSHIP SOCIETY which might as well be called the UNIVERSAL HOUSE-OWNERSHIP PROGRAM. In all of this, the very people promoting, marketing, and selling this stuff may have genuinely believed in the garbage they were spewing. But, as the art of advertising and promotion had risen to such masterful heights, it was easy to be dazzled and fooled by the illusion--in the way that cosmetics and coaching can make even a no good bitch come across as a beautiful wonderful person.
The biggest fraud of them all was the financial instruments that enabled the housing bubble and led to the Great Recession. Again, it was more about the art of selling than what was being sold. It turned out that the financial instruments created by Wall Street wizards were really retarded, fraudulent, or delusional, but what did it matter? We were all sold on the notion that they were brilliant innovations by the best and the brightest from top business schools of Harvard and other great schools. We were assured that the financial instruments were blessed by yoda-like gurus Alan Greenspan, Bernaeke, and Hank Paulson. To question them would have been like questioning God, Jesus, and the pope during the Middle Ages. Essentially, Wall Street packaged and sold dead rats inside boxes, but as long as the boxes were beautifully wrapped in gold-leaf paper and scented with perfume, it was "DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY."
With loss of American jobs and rising trade deficits, things were not adding up to sober people. But, there was no reason to worry, we were told over and over. The admen in government, Wall Street, academia, Hollywood, media(both Milton Friedman from the right and Thomas Friedman from the left) and etc assured us that things would all work out. We could just keep borrowing and borrowing. Housing prices would go up and up, and we could live on mortgage-backed loans.

Middletown Girl said...

Not that Obama's 'socialism' is any better. It too is just a vast marketing ploy, more a mega conjob to empower himself and political allies than do something difficult, constructive, and longterm to set the US economy and society on the right track. The STIMULUS PLAN was an advertising fraud. We were told we had to pass it right away or unemployment would go past 8%. Well? The Banks had first gotten everything their way by effectively ending regulation of their industry. After their financial instruments and shenanigans brought down the economy, they used the media and government to sell the notion that they MUST BE bailed out or the whole economy will sink.

We see much the same in Hollywood. It no longer has new ideas and only regurgitates old ideas repackaged with bigger explosions and more expensive special effects. But, Hollywood sure knows how to market and sell their stuff. Worse, people seem to prefer this stuff if only because it makes them feel good and assured that happiness and pleasure are there to be easily had.

Journalism, the so-called Fourth Estate, is supposed to play the role of truth-speaker and skeptical commentator, but even it has become part of advertising. Just consider how the news media sold Barack Obama as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Remember the media's cheerleading for the Iraq War. Consider the fact much of financial news in the past decades have fed us Panglossian fantasies about how the world is gonna be part of a new global order in which everyone is much better off. There may indeed be lots of good stuff about globalism, but the news media were more sellers than tellers of what's really going on.

Perhaps, the people deserve a lot of blame too. No one likes bad news or at least non-sensational news which upsets us or fills us with anxiety. It's no wonder then that most people would rather hear liberal or mainstream conservative fantasies about race than the harsh and troubling truth discussed by members of the 'alternative right'. No wonder that people would rather listen to Oprah than James Watson.
Of course, radicalism too can be sold as something fashionable and satisfying. Though the whole Climate Change movement is about gloom-n-doom, people sign up because it gives them a cartoon vision of good vs bad. Everything is simplified and easily digestible to the heart and mind, and there is the happy promise of salvation of all mankind(and a lot of glib self-righteousness) IF we do the right thing and bow before Al Gore. Christianity too is both about gloom and doom AND uplifting salvation. Indeed, simple-minded negativity and simple-minded positivity seem to go together--just as comic book superheroes need to be confronted by grand villains. No doom, no boom. Indeed, Obama's presidency is inconceivable without the economic woes, from which he was to save us like Superman saves a woman tied to railroad tracks. Just another Superman comic hero created by liberal Jews.

Udolpho.com said...

V was awful. The original series was tacky but a fairly dignified (for the time) presentation of the aliens as Nazis theme. In addition to seeming very rushed during its hour pilot, the new one suffers badly from the network version of casting--everyone looks like an actor playing a character. The priest, who appears to have just left a casting session for a movie of the week about a father drawn into an affair with his babysitter, is by far the least plausible. Following close behind is the female FBI agent with personal life issues (AND a family...AND an ex-husband...book this chick on Oprah, stat...this tough cookie can crack a case wide open just by glancing around the room). Then we have the super-smarmy network anchor...

Was the series supposed to take some anti-Obama tack? Sounds like paranoid pseudo-con thinking to me. Perhaps Vince Foster himself had a hand in the production. But all I could think of afterwards is whether they remembered to give the black alien extra girth when they applied the cloned outer skin.

I think they were shooting for something along the lines of 24--lowbrow drama with pretty characters talking urgently to each other--but they are missing the camp factor of Keifer Sutherland so the result was a boring one hour pilot that felt like two hours and change.

Anna is prettier than the old series' Diana, but all the aliens this time around are so vague and bland that it made me miss those arch looks from Jane Badler. And their intro was all wrong--the giant viewscreen announcement looked like a Verizon ad.

With the conspirioso back story (mimicking BSG's Cylon gimmick--ANYONE YOU KNOW COULD BE AN ALIEN!) they should push it in a more overheated direction and parody the nutjobs who believe in reptilians...well there are a zillion fresh takes possible with this material, but it looks like the network managed to narrow it down to only the boring ones. Matt Weiner can crow again next year about having the most creative freedom in the biz.

Tanstaafl said...

Any chance we could get a discussion of "V"?

Aliens who manipulate the media to avoid being seen in a negative light?

Such preposterous fiction, what's to discuss?

Svigor said...

Ever wonder why there's [...] NEVER any mention of "The Son", or "The Holy Ghost"?

Nope. This isn't just the rule for Supernatural, it's the rule for the media in general; Christianity is usually portrayed in a way that makes it indistinguishable from Judaism. Christians tend to think of the Old Testament as the redheaded stepchild, but TV Christians are the opposite.

PS: A few episodes back, didn't you just love that seat-of-the-pants improvising on the teleology of an anti-Christ?

No. Which episode was it? I'll go back and take a look.

Svigor said...

I'd love to see a statistical analysis of the words "Jesus Christ" in mass media; outside of explicitly Christian programming, I'd be willing to bet 99%+ of the time, it's used in vain. Probably 99.9%+ of the time.

Anonymous said...

No. Which episode was it? I'll go back and take a look.

I Believe the Children Are Our Future
Thursday October 15, 2009

Maybe I shouldn't tell you anything more for fear of spoilers.

Fred said...

"Whedon's show, right?"

Yep. And I agree that making Starbuck a woman in the first place was gratuitous. As for every fertile woman being pregnant, remember that a lot of the humans aren't really sure they want to keep on living, so that might play into it.

"Nope. This isn't just the rule for Supernatural, it's the rule for the media in general; Christianity is usually portrayed in a way that makes it indistinguishable from Judaism."

Really? Christianity (Catholicism, specifically) is pretty clearly portrayed distinctively as a force for good in numerous supernatural movies (e.g., The Exorcist, etc.). There really isn't much confusing it with Judaism in those movies. Christ figures and allusions are also pretty common in film (you think John Connor's initials are coincidental?).

No interest in seeing the new V, but I liked the old one.

Svigor said...

Actually, his initials never occurred to me. :) There are a few Christ references in horror movies, yes Exorcist comes to mind, and I remember Van Helsing invoking Christ against Coppola's Dracula.

But consider, the effect is to move Christian belief into the realm of, well, the supernatural. I.e., suspension of disbelief means Christianity (though usually not distinct from Judaism) gets a pass, too. I don't want to get into that whole mess, but; Christianity's usually pretty much powerless in the face of the very real forces of evil in horror*, if you don't count its (usually agnostic/atheist and inadvertent) human servants; e.g., ye old crucifix has become a joke in vampire movies, previously one of its last holdouts. Christianity is reduced to just another folk religion, a source of ritual and talismans to be employed against supernatural evils.

But you're right that Christianity is generally portrayed in a white hat role (reduced, emasculated, fetishized, but white) in horror movies. And the crucifix does appear with some frequency (Catholicism again) especially but not at all exclusively in horror.

Btw, I didn't mean that the motive or process is to confuse Judaism and Christianity. It strikes me more like an effort to make Christianity inoffensive to Jews. I mean, can promoting Jesus Christ be considered a mitzvah under normal circumstances? (this runs parallel to the OT/NT thing I mentioned) Sort of a multiculturalization of Christianity, a "Rabbis and Priests alike praise God, so let's leave it at that" sort of thing. This is much more observation than criticism on my part. What, I expect Jews to carry Christian water? I just find it interesting that JC's name is so rarely invoked not-in-vain that it sticks out like a sore thumb, despite the fact that there are millions of Jesus Christers watching television. My guess is still that it's in the ballpark of a 99.9:00.1 ratio. I listen for it, and almost never even hear his name on the lips of his clergymen, even while they're reading scripture (!).

I have the old V laying around and haven't gotten around to watching more than a couple episodes.

*Also, consider what I call the "Frailty Effect"; a program spends every minute except the last degrading its target, then pulls a switcheroo or comeback victory for the target. My speculative theory, but I suspect psychologically the fig leaf is for the forebrain while the rest of the brain has absorbed the degradation. In Frailty, we spend the entire movie fearing the evil nutball fundie Christians. This is where the real psyop occurs, then our forebrain is suckered into thinking "it all worked out in the end"; in Frailty the audience discovers in a twist at the very end that our fundie wackos were right all along. Does it really obviate the conditioning we've been subjected to? I strongly suspect not.

As an exaggerated hypothetical example, consider a film where a guy spends 90 minutes scatalogically violating a church and a bunch of nuns, then in the last 15 seconds Mr. Hero kicks the door in and brings the villain to justice. Have we really just watched a positive portrayal of Christianity? Or 90 minutes of anti-Christian psyops with a fig leaf ending? Gothika and Unbreakable were like this for me, but in reverse; are we really seeing black villains when they're on screen as villains for all of 30 seconds?

Svigor said...

Maybe I shouldn't tell you anything more for fear of spoilers.

Don't worry on my account, I've seen every episode that's out on DVD, except that cheesy one about the racist black-hating truck or trucker or whatever, I skipped that one after about two minutes in. I'm just not remembering the episode atm.

Anonymous said...

Christianity (Catholicism, specifically) is pretty clearly portrayed distinctively as a force for good in numerous supernatural movies (e.g., The Exorcist, etc.).

2009 - 1973 = 36 YEARS AGO.

Leonid Brezhnev was at the halfway point of his reign when the Exorcist was released; Mao Tse Tung would rule for another three years, it would be another year and a half before the fall of Saigon, and almost another year before Nixon resigned.

Fred said...

Svigor, you ought to watch the The Exorcist. It's only arguably the most influential horror/supernatural movie ever, and pretty much none of what you wrote applies to it. Both priests are portrayed as good, selfless, intelligent, courageous, and powerful. The young priest is (in addition to being a former amateur boxer) a psychiatrist trained at top schools; the older priest is a scholar and archaeologist. Both are men of reason and faith, and neither of them comes quickly to superstition.

The older priest doesn't doubt that the girl's possessed because he has faced the demon before, in Africa, and in Iraq (he leaves Iraq because he has a premonition he'll have to face him again). When the possessed girl's mother asks the younger priest to perform an exorcism (after visits to various physicians prove futile), his first reaction is to tell her she needs to find a time machine back to the 17th century.

Great movie. You should really watch it again.

As for Jews and Jesus, no, we don't accept his divinity, but that hasn't stopped Jewish filmmakers from making films that do (e.g., Spielberg and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Business is business.

Anonymous said...

I wondered about his initials.

But the alternate explanation is that they are also the initials of the creator of the franchise.

Actually, though, maybe both explanations apply.

Fred said...

"2009 - 1973 = 36 YEARS AGO."

There are a number of more recent examples. That was the most familiar one to me, since I've seen it a number of times. It also influenced a number of subsequent films.

"I wondered about his initials."

When you look for it, you'll find similar allusions used elsewhere. E.g., the initials of big black fellow sentenced to die in The Green Mile (Hey, Christianity's J.C. was a gentle guy sentenced to die too!).

J.C. himself has also made occasional appearances in film and TV. He was in a great episode of NYPD Blue, for example when Det. Sipowicz meets his murdered son in a dream. J.C. was the blue collar Scots-Irish guy sitting between Sipowicz and his dead son. Sipowicz asks him to move, and J.C. says something like, "You can talk to him across me".

Anonymous said...

Don't worry on my account, I've seen every episode that's out on DVD, except that cheesy one about the racist black-hating truck or trucker or whatever, I skipped that one after about two minutes in. I'm just not remembering the episode atm.

Okay.

[SPOILER ALERT]


In the Kripke-Singer-verse, ANY time ANY demon-possessed human copulates with ANY [normal] human [resulting in pregnancy], you get AN anti-Christ, so that there's nothing particularly special about any particular anti-Christ, and the obvious conclusion we're supposed to reach is that there's nothing particularly special about a Khristós/Mashiach, either.

The ham-handed-ness of the scene in which this is explained is really quite appalling in the condescension of its pedantry.

And it was after watching that episode that suddenly the names "Kripke" and "Singer" set off a warning bell in my head [ding ding ding ding ding!!!].

Svigor said...

As for Jews and Jesus, no, we don't accept his divinity, but that hasn't stopped Jewish filmmakers from making films that do (e.g., Spielberg and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Business is business.

I disagree. Mel Gibson shot the idea that business is business all to hell (and even when you look back to a time when Hollywood was willing to make Christian movies, they conformed to my OT/NT reversal).

Anonymous said...

Fred, my guess is that Svigor was born on or after 1973, so suggesting that he look to The Exorcist for an example of Christianity in Holloweird movies would be akin to me telling you to go watch The Grapes of Wrath as an example of Marxist propaganda and disinformation coming out of the same crowd.

Svigor said...

I've seen The Exorcist, though I don't remember much of it. I have the latest cut on DVD waiting for me to watch it.

But even if The Exorcist is the greatest example of supernatural horror of the Christian flavor, it doesn't define the genre.

And you're not far off on my birth year.

Anon, wow, none of that is ringing a bell at all. It's not like me to blank out on a whole conversation like that, maybe I didn't watch that episode after all.

Fred said...

"I disagree. Mel Gibson shot the idea that business is business all to hell"

There's portraying Jesus positively in film and TV, and then there's perpetuating a blood libel that the Church itself walked back from decades ago. Mel Gibson's a great director -- what I saw of his Jesus movie looked exceptionally well crafted (I stopped watching when the torture porn started in earnest), and Apocalypto was a great film. But Mel Gibson has the Jew thing, and he is -- literally -- more old school Catholic about that than the pope. So I wouldn't equate disinterest in distributing Mel's movie with opposition to Jesus movies per se.

"Fred, my guess is that Svigor was born on or after 1973, so suggesting that he look to The Exorcist for an example of Christianity in Holloweird movies would be akin to me telling you to go watch The Grapes of Wrath as an example of Marxist propaganda and disinformation coming out of the same crowd."

Svigor, unless he is a child prodigy at Internet debating, was born before the NYPD Blue episode I referred above, The Green Mile movie I referred to above, and other examples I didn't refer to e.g., The Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), which also featured a courageous and positively portrayed priest.

Svigor said...

There's portraying Jesus positively in film and TV, and then there's perpetuating a blood libel that the Church itself walked back from decades ago.

I thought business was business.

Box Office Mojo says Passion made 612 million on a 30 million dollar budget. I think it's safe to say it was one of the 5 most successful films of the last 20 years, at least in terms of budget:gross ratio. I pulled top 5 from my ass but it was undeniably a smash success; the rest of Hollywood would kill to have 20x returns. Hollywood follows up this kind of success on breakthrough projects with similar projects until the market is saturated. Total Hollywood follow-ups to Passion: 0 (AFAIK). The argument prior to Passion was that they didn't think Christian movies could make money (How TF they knew this God only knows). What's their excuse now?

I guess business ain't business.

As for the "blood libel" (i.e., scriptural accuracy), last I heard that was edited out, at least for the theatrical release. Do I have that wrong, or has that changed?

And last I heard, Mel is dead to Hollywood. I guess business ain't business.

Anonymous said...

Blatty based Father Merrin, the older of the two exorcists, on Jesuit scholar Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. They even cast Max von Sydow largely due to his remarkable resemblance to Chardin.

James Kabala said...

Svigor and others (including Steve himself) often seem to assume that Gibson's career is permanently dead, but in fact, according to IMDB, he has two movies coming out next year (both directed by others, one being Jodie Foster) and two more in development after that.

A genuine Hollywood follow-up (or rather a prequel, I suppose) to The Passion was The Nativity Story (2006), which was a modest success, neither big hit nor bomb.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) is a film I have not seen, but that supposedly has a priest as hero. According to Wikipedia the director, Scott Derrickson, has a film of Paradise Lost (!) as an upcoming project, which, if it ever comes to fruition, would certainly be a Passion follow-up.

Udolpho.com said...

blood libel...good grief...can a jew go a day without mentioning those words...or auschwitz?

Middletown Girl said...

Maybe this Mad Men show should be taken as a cautionary tale for white folks: Never mistake the image for the reality. One reason why many people believe that WASPS still control America is due to the media imagery. Jews are prominent in the movies butgenerally not in POWER roles. Jews hide their power. There was a time when WASPS did indeed have dominance over American culture, politics, and life. Back then, Jews in Hollywood presented the positive wasp image to flatter and win approval from whites. As Jews gained greater power, the image of WASP power became more image than real. As time passed, the image was all that was left. Regardless, Jews had the power to keep the image positive or turn it negative. Looking back to the 50s, we fixate on The Image too but often ignore the weaknesses and corruption in wasp society that led to its decline. This is what happens when we prefer image over object.

Take the movie SANJURO where a bunch of clean-cut young samurai admire an official because he looks good and clean--archetypal CEO type--and initially loathes the character of Sanjuro(Mifune)because he's uncouth and gruff. And the young samurai disrespect an uncorrupt official because he's old/ugly. The notion that white society was once great for its clean-cut image was pernicous back then as it is now. Look closely at the middle class white world of the 50s and much was shallow, desperate,corrupt, hypocritical.

Jewish role in all this is interesting for Jews both promoted the ideal Wasp image(many Jews didn't want to 'rock the boat' and stir up the ire of the white majority. But, the rise of Holocaust consciousness, Civil Rights movement, and the profound changes among white kids into rock & drugs and rebelling against their parents changed Jewish attitudes. Jews got bolder.)

Even so, there are two kinds of oppositions. The loyal kind and the subversive kind. In movies like SANJURO and RAN, the gruff characters speak up out of higher loyalty. But, can we say that the Jewish opposition to the WASP order was out of higher loyalty to reform the WASPS for their own good--or for Jewish interests? And, was the Jewish support of the WASP order prior to the 60s genuine loyalty?

To an extent, Jews played an invaluable role in holding up a critical mirror to WASP society and making the white man see all the warts beneath the seemingly smooth skin. Jews exposed the zits on the white face. A show like Mad Men could well be about WASP self-delusion/illusion before the Fall.
And, Arthur Miller exposed the American Dream as an American Myth--the notion that one can make it with the right look and style without honest grueling work. WASP elite and nouveau riche fell into this complacent mindset. Of course, Miller was criticizing the mentality of many Jews as well.
(The difference between an ad man and a salesman is probably that the former deals mainly with sellers whereas the latter deals with buyers. Salesman's job is grubbier.)

The alternative right may be playing the role of Sanjuro or Saburo--the son in RAN--to the Mainstream Right, but will the Mainstream Right ever listen? Are Neocons part of the loyal opposition--sincere supporters of the Right? Perhaps. David Brooks is right to warn about Sarah Palin, a political airhead. But, are Neocons trying to make Jews serve America or making America serve Jews? Why was Norman Podherotz's venom was far stronger against Paleocons than for liberal Jews? Is he a conservative first or a Jew first?

Whatever role Jews may have played in exposing the irony between the golden image and rusty reality of the wasp order, they've become infatuated with their own golden(calf)image of self-adoration. Even when Madoff was exposed as a giant fraud, the main spin was that helpless and saintly Jews were defrauded by a single bad apple among Jews! Someone needs to do a MAD MEN on Jewish power and Jewish self-image.

Anonymous said...

Wow - in the season finale last night - could they possibly have painted a more stark contrast between the dark, swarthy, struggling Democratic Farmer Labor Party Whitmans and the blond, blue-eyed, Aryan, "mainline" [their term] silver-spoon Republicans [Betty Hofstadt Draper & Henry Francis]?

I told you they were setting up January Jones to play that role.

BTW, do you remember how the blond, blue-eyed, Aryan, "mainline" silver-spoon Republican, Betty Hofstadt Draper, was shown to be a CHILD MOLESTER in Season One?

If you people can't see the agenda at work in this show, then you're blind:


Who are you calling a "coot"?
Incoming! Readers demand answers about WASPs, Tim Russert and Obama's teleprompter skills.
By Camille Paglia
Wednesday, Jul 9, 2008 04:00 PDT
salon.com

...One can be WASPy without technically being a WASP -- a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. WASPiness is a genteel American style created by the old Northeastern elite, which the sociologist Digby Baltzell studied in such books as "Philadelphia Gentlemen: The Making of a National Upper Class" (1958) and "The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy and Caste in America" (1964). WASPs, ruling from pastoral country clubs with their restricted membership, once dominated American business, politics and education. But their power rapidly waned after World War II.

I have been at war with WASPiness since I grew up in upstate New York in the 1950s and early '60s. There is no way to describe the brute social power of the WASP establishment of that period -- the smooth, bland, coded good manners; the hidden past interconnections of families and business associations; the mysterious alliance between chic sororities (overpopulated by blondes) and the most prestigious Presbyterian church in town.

College at the State University of New York at Binghamton in the revolutionary mid-1960s was a delicious relief for me. The counterculture was booming amid a fantasia of new influences from psychedelia, African-American blues, London Mod, and Andy Warhol's glittery Factory. And at my college there were so many dynamic, super-articulate, politically activist, and screamingly funny Jewish students from downstate New York that I felt the world had changed forever.

Then I hit graduate school at Yale. Oy! What an exquisitely preserved WASP cosmos that was. Even the Jews behaved like WASPs. It was no coincidence that my dissertation director was the one Jew who refused to adopt the academic WASP style -- Harold Bloom. And they had fired him!...

Anonymous said...

Another thing - in addition to abandoning their families - did anyone notice how the ostensible good guys in the Season Finale stole from the parent company both its abstract intellectual property and the actual physical representations of its intellectual property [e.g. when they broke into the Art Department]?!?

I wonder how, ah, certain "folks" in Matthew Weiner's neck of the woods, like, say, a Dan GLICKMAN, of the MPAA, or a Matthew OPPENHEIM, of the RIAA, would feel about that in real life?

Or heck, I wonder how Matthew Weiner would feel if someone were to walk off with all of his intellectual property?

Like, say, maybe if someone were to leak all the episodes of Mad Men onto Youtube, or The Pirate Bay, and thereby deprive Matthew Weiner of his precious revenue from the DVD sales?

Anonymous said...

I predicted that Mr. Hilton would mention to Don Draper how the WASPs whacked Kennedy. I was wrong, perhaps the writers most likely read this and chickened out?