Catching up on the second viewing of the last episode of “Mad Men.” I seem to be swimming against much of the critical tide here, but I thought it was great. A great season, and while the final chapter didn’t include any severed feet or fistfights or “Zou Bisou Bisou,” it was a fitting end to the run. Truth be told, the show is starting to make me nervous, as we’re up to mid-1967 now, and I remember a great deal of this stuff.
Not that I didn’t recall the Kennedy assassination and the rest of the various collisions between history and this particular fiction, but this stuff I remember — my sister bringing home “Revolver,” the Richard Speck murders, when hemlines suddenly climbed past the knee. In the dramatis personae of the show, I’m Bobby Draper, and sometimes I feel as though just as many actors have played me through the years.
And while Matt Weiner is younger, he has a good eye for this sort of thing, or at least the sense to hire the right writers. I was 10 years old and living in suburban Columbus, but he captured the pivotal nature of the era, how everything was one way and the next, another. The episode ends in May 1967 and in two months, Detroit will be in flames. The summer of love is about to begin and next year, all hell will really break loose — student revolts in Europe, Chicago, more riots. Next year will be the final season, and it’s a fitting year to end it.
Although Weiner might not. He might flash forward to 1974. Or die of petulance over the summer. You never know. And that, my friends, was three paragraphs of pretty much nothing. But if you’re a “Mad Men” fan, you’ve already read 10 recaps by noon on Monday, so why bother?
I heard a report about day one in the Jerry Sandusky trial on the way home today. Yeesh, did I ever need a shower after that one. Did you know that in Sandusky’s “culture,” it’s common for men and boys to shower together? The culture, I gather, is “athletics,” and to some extent, I agree — one of the very puzzling things about jocks, to me, is their willingness to shower together and make don’t-drop-the-soap jokes. As to whether men shower with boys, late at night, after everyone’s gone home, just you and me kid, and Joey, have you ever seen a grown man naked? — I guess more will be revealed on that score. I can hardly wait.
But do not despair! Some fine bloggage today, courtesy of Hank, who unearthed a 1992 essay by Martha Sherrill, written on the 20th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, and asking, What if Watergate had never happened? Well….
Elizabeth Taylor is dead. She was never saved from drugs and booze and overeating by the Betty Ford Center, because the Betty Ford Center does not exist, because Betty Ford remained a perfectly happy golf widow in Grand Rapids, Mich., who sometimes acted a little silly at Christmas parties. …Edmund Morris was able to finish the second installment of his Theodore Roosevelt biography because he never got tied up doing Ronald Reagan, since Ronald Reagan, after an unsuccessful run at the presidency in 1976, quit politics. He was wholly satisfied that a good conservative — Spiro T. Agnew — had finally made it into the White House. Reagan resumed a successful career in television, and in 1980 accepted the part of Blake Carrington on “Dynasty.” He dyed his hair gray.
It was a wonderful life after all.
David C. said on June 12, 2012 at 6:57 am
During the time of Watergate, Jerry and Betty hadn’t lived in Grand Rapids in over 20 years. They did have an empty house though. Back in those days, I don’t think anyone thought it unusual that congresscritters lived where they worked – in Washington.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 12, 2012 at 7:09 am
I thought “Mad Men” had two more seasons to go — Weiner said 7 seasons, and this ended 5. Loved (?) the finale, because of all the same stuff you mention starting to crowd forward in my memory, and I’ve had the “You Only Live Twice” theme stuck in my head for two days.
The most haunting reflection for me is watching Don Draper, and recalling all the indirect and even direct ways I had “Don Draper” put before me as the kind of guy I should want to grow up to be. And there but for the grace of God . . .
Come, suffer with me: http://youtu.be/XgFtQPgHyek
alex said on June 12, 2012 at 7:21 am
Hell, let’s fantasize about what would have happened if the Florida recount had been allowed to take place in 2000. For starters, the Supreme Court would look—and behave—a whole lot differently than it does.
Sarah Palin would have been a one-term governor, well known and a laughingstock only within the borders of her own state. The economy would be humming along because instead of “trickling down” those Bush tax cuts would have funded jobs for much-needed teachers, police, firefighters, infrastructural maintenance and more. For vacationers in the Big Apple, the top of the World Trade Center would be a top attraction as always because instead of looking myopically at Iraq and trying to find excuses to bomb the hell out of it our intelligence services would have been on the ball. And President Gore would have been the first sitting chief executive whose wife up and left him, setting off all sorts of right-wing tabloid speculation about their sex lives that would make the Clinton-Lewinsky affair seem like an innocent walk in the park.
Alas, I’ve awakened. Dammit, why is it only conservatives who get to live in their own fantasy world?
nancy said on June 12, 2012 at 7:51 am
Hey, Alex — anyone in your world in the Fort know this supermodel with an adam’s apple?
beb said on June 12, 2012 at 8:05 am
The quote from “Airplane” was a nice touch.
Did Hank mean if the Watergate break-in had never happened or had never been caught? Agnew would not have succeeded Nixon as president because he was caught up in home town corruption and would have been sent to prison anyway. It’s hard to say who Nixon would have proposed to replace Agnew. Somehow I doubt it would have been Gerald Ford. I think he was selected because he was the kind of bedrock conventional person that Nixon needed to get a pardon from. But we can assume that Jimmy Carter would not have been elected. He was popular only because of the great disgust Americans felt towards all politicians following Watergate and Nixon’s pardon. The Georgia governor ran as an outsider, and won. Of course as an outsider he was easily hung out to dry by beltway insiders. even so I always thought that the botched hostage rescue attempt was what did him in. And that would have happened to whoever was president at the time.
So Reagan would have been elected anyway and when the Iran-Contra scandal broke it would have been devasting to Reagan because we did have scandal-fatigue from Nixon. And Reagan would have been impeached, which would have put an end to the Bush dynasty before it began. And sans Bush II 9/11 would never have happened, iraq would not have been invaded and our nation would be a lot better off today. But the economic crash would have still happened because psychopaths still ruled the Financial markets.
alex said on June 12, 2012 at 8:09 am
Nance, it doesn’t look like anyone in my social sphere, but it sure sounds like a Fort Wayne guttersnipe drag queen. “Baby, my phone’s about to get turned off, could you send me a couple hundred bucks?” She obviously takes people for stupid because, hey, that’s pretty much all she’s ever known, living in Fort Wayne and all.
Jeff Borden said on June 12, 2012 at 8:44 am
Like Alex, I’ve long wondered what the world would look like now if the Supreme Court had not awarded the election to George W. Bush in the first of a series of craven, right-wing decisions that would eventually result in the low esteem in which SCOTUS is held today.
Honestly, I have no idea if 9/11 would not have happened under a President Gore. I believe al Queda and other extremists don’t particularly care who is in the Oval Office –witness revelations that Osama bin Laden dreamed of assassinating President Obama– but it’s for damned sure Gore would not have been burdened with the Oedipal issues and advisers skilled at exploiting those issues to further their own hard-right ambitions. We would never have invaded Iraq.
To the SCOTUS nominees, I can only sigh in agreement. My God, but we’re in for it for a very, very, very long time, unless Fat Tony or Silent Clarence are finally brought down by arterial sclerosis.
nancy said on June 12, 2012 at 8:46 am
Every picture of Clarence Thomas I’ve seen lately makes him look larger than the one before. If he doesn’t have killer high blood pressure yet, he has to be getting close.
Prospero said on June 12, 2012 at 8:54 am
Gerry Ford’s pardon of Nixon was an astonishingly corrupt act from Mr. Wonderbread. But just when you thought everything was lost, the dBs have a new album. One of the greatest rock bands ever to have lived. and gutdom, they look like geezers:
I do think REM’s last was mighty good, but that might be the Athens in the boy. People and critics were rude to Monster, but I think it’s a great album:
Something I always wondered about Mad Men. Were all those guys good in bed, or were the women just happy for the attention? Hard to believe Pete Campbell wasn’t just a Mountie and finish guy. And sorry, but I can’t get enough of that shitheel getting his ass kicked. Beb, the game changer would have been RFK kicking the stuffing out of Milhous. It’s truly hilarious these days when conservobots call Obama “corrupt”. These bastards voted for Nixon and Reagan. But what’s astounding is the haters insisting Obama is dumb, and pardon me, but that is racism central Mark, when they also claim the great birth certificate conspiracy. Which is it you aholes? Dumby or Macchiavellian genius?
Prospero said on June 12, 2012 at 9:03 am
Greatest dBs song:
How I felt when my daughter’s mom divorced me.
Prospero said on June 12, 2012 at 9:07 am
Nancy, I knew Clarence in college. He was an immense phony. As a justice, he is always going to be homunculus to Scalia’s girth. They can have simultaneous infarctions.
coozledad said on June 12, 2012 at 9:26 am
one of the very puzzling things about jocks, to me, is their willingness to shower together and make don’t-drop-the-soap jokes.
When I started doing the “classical studies” thing in college (here dumbass-see if you can memorize some dates) It became immediately apparent to me that the farther we’ve tried to get from Rome, the deeper we’ve descended into the sweatier, oilier locker rooms of Hadrian’s baths. Homoeroticism is so ingrained in sports culture I’m surprised post-game interviews don’t feature more anal in the background “I ain’t no queer, man. I just like something tight after the game. Know I’m sayin’?. My own brief experience in athletics left me with a couple of Socratic questions for the vocally heterosexual.
1. I am uncomfortable hanging out in a damp, tiled room where young males might slap each other with wet towels, especially when I just saw “Sally” Salzano pull one out of the hamper and baconstripe it. Why is this?
2.Are we so primitive I can’t get a loincloth here?
3.What is Coach’s hand doing on my ass?
It all made sense to me later, when in my Roman history survey course we were offered extra credit if we attended a viewing of Satyricon at the campus theater. The few jocks in the class walked out early in the film and missed all the fun. I guess if Ascyltus had breached the third wall and said “I only do this with other hets. There is no way I’m letting a queer suck my dick!” They would have felt more in their element, and stayed on to see the cute black girl get naked.
alex said on June 12, 2012 at 9:53 am
Baconstripe as a verb. Cooz, your way with words never ceases to amaze me. In my school, people did that to the towels of others.
Pros, you went to school with old Uncle Thomas? Do tell.
Bitter Scribe said on June 12, 2012 at 10:16 am
Sandusky is taking the infuriating, cowardly, weasel way out: Portray his accusers as opportunistic liars and hope to get enough Penn State loyalists on the jury to skate by.
The prosecution evidently hopes that the many jurors with Penn State ties will be disgusted with what Sandusky’s actions did to the institution. Here’s hoping they’re not naive.
(Any Sandusky apologists out there can save their “innocent until proven guilty” line. That’s a legal principle, and this is not a court of law. If he skates, there’s no way you will ever convince me that that’s justice.)
Trying to write a Reagan bio nearly drove Edmund Morris off the rails. IIRC, he resorted to desperate, bizarre rhetorical devices like inserting himself into the story. I think the poor man became unhinged because he just couldn’t accept the fact that Reagan really was as dumb as he seemed.
Jeff Borden said on June 12, 2012 at 10:27 am
I’m generally immune to things like the Sandusky case. My time as a night police reporter underscored the depravity that hides among us all too frequently. But I can’t deny I feel a real sense. . .a physical sense. . .of revulsion whenever I look at Sandusky.
There’s something about the guy that is wrong, wrong, wrong. I sure hope you are wrong, Scribe. This is a deeply creepy pervert who belongs off the streets. I’ll leave it to others to speculate whether some time in prison. . .where he might be the victim of the kinds of assaults he performed on little boys. . .would be a fitting punishment for his crimes.
nancy said on June 12, 2012 at 10:34 am
Sandusky is, indeed, deeply creepy, but like Borden, I’ve reconciled myself to the fact monsters walk among us and don’t necessarily show their claws.
The story, to me, is how many people willfully looked the other way, in the interest of protecting a goddamn football program and the fantasy of its saintly coach, Joe Pop-pop, or whatever the hell they called him. This is the lesson we cannot seem to learn, that when powerful institutions find rot within, they always, always act first to protect the institution, and only secondarily, if at all, to protect the innocent.
Watson said on June 12, 2012 at 10:47 am
Bitter Scribe: I had dinner with Edmund Morris a couple of years ago. Believe me, he knows that there was no there there.
Julie Robinson said on June 12, 2012 at 10:59 am
Joe-pa. I think Sandusky’s jury ensures he will walk. How many of them work for Penn State or have a family member, or know someone involved in the scandal? It’s huge, because Happy Valley is a small town with one industry, Penn State. The venue should have been moved, or an outside jury brought in.
As I was listening to the stories yesterday I remembered the locker rooms at my junior and senior high, with windows between the showers and the PE teachers’ offices. You had to go, in a towel, and report that you had showered or taken a birdie-bath (upper body only, when you were on your period) every single day. No one saw anything wrong with it at the time, but now I shudder.
Judybusy said on June 12, 2012 at 11:17 am
As I read NPR’s website today, there was a very disturbing story about how the Assad government is using kids as shields, detaining them, and torturing them in detention. The article ended with a depressingly long list of countries which are involving children in armed conflict.
North Dakotans today are voting on whether to eliminate property taxes. The chief proponent argues that it will draw businesses to the state. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any whackier. There are some really funny quotes from the proponents’ spokesperson.
Jumping into the alternative history stream, I think the crash still would have happened, perhaps not as severely, because wasn’t much of the deregulation started under the Clinton administration? And just think how much further we’d be in battling climate change if Gore had won the election.
KLG said on June 12, 2012 at 11:21 am
From the third grade through high school senior (football, basketball, baseball) I never saw a coach in the shower with his players. Never. Even in college it was almost unheard of. I guess they do things differently in Happy Valley.
Jolene said on June 12, 2012 at 11:32 am
I think having Sandusky’s trial where it is will have, if anything, the opposite effect, i.e., that it will increase the likelihood of conviction. Nancy is right about the insiders protecting the institution, and, certainly, there have been defensive reactions on campus and elsewhere. But most people, I think, want Sandusky to be put away forever in some dark place–in part for what he is alleged to have done and in part for what his apparent crimes have done to their world.
MarkH said on June 12, 2012 at 11:49 am
My experience as well, KLG. Coaches never intermingled like that. But, it was not, “they” at PSU, just one guy. But too many “theys” knew, and were too gutless to not let him get away with it. Revulsion is the word here, too, Jeff.
Deborah said on June 12, 2012 at 11:51 am
Not to change the subject but in case you’re interested the photo that I am in is out now. It is for Interface carpet company, there is a brochure for a new line of carpet tile product by Flor called Urban Retreat. My photo is on the first spread http://issuu.com/interfaceflor/docs/urban_retreat?mode=embed&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true. I think it is a gorgeous photo, not because of me (because my face is covered and I’m pretty small in the view) but the whole composition is spectacular. The building I live in is in the background. The whole thing was pieced together. The ivy wall in my photo does not have that background. The photographer did some other photos that are in the new product line that are fantastic too. I don’t know how to link to those yet.
edit: Here is another photo from the shoot, taken earlier in the day. Again this view was pieced together. The guy under the bridge is one view and the building in the background was photoshopped in. I think it’s beuatiful http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=455131881181728&set=a.455131781181738.114967.124823057545947&type=3&theater
brian stouder said on June 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm
Deborah, very interesting stuff.
I was taken aback by the masking effect – Artie Johnson-like – of the potted greenery, and then I read this:
Sparks fly when disparate ideas sit side by side and Urban Retreat ignites
and then I sorta’ got the drift!
adrianne said on June 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm
Just finished reading “Watergate,” the novel, by Thomas Mallon. Really good stuff. He makes Fred LaRue, one of CREEP’s lawyers, a major character with a big reveal at the end. I highly recommend!
MichaelG said on June 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm
Wow, that is a great picture, Deborah. You look all urban and classy and mysterious.
Bob (not Greene) said on June 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm
Deborah, You live in a Mies building!?!! I used to work at the Hancock for a while and used to walk by there all the time.
Scout said on June 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm
Deborah, that was beautiful! And you have the body type I’ve pre-ordered for my next incarnation.
Sue said on June 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm
Can anyone explain why there is a sudden interest on the part of insurance companies to format some kind of ‘good parts version’ of Obamacare? I assume it’s got something to do with the Supreme Court’s expected decision, but what is their message and to whom? Their silence during the fight to get this passed was a clear message – we won’t change anything until you force us to. Now, a bunch of them have decided to self-regulate on the covering adult children portion of HCR and announce that it stays either way the decision goes.
So, who are they signaling? The Supreme Court? Maybe letting them off the hook if they want to decide against HCR? Republicans? Voters? Suddenly seeming open to being good corporate citizens removes the incentive some might have to vote for Obama to protect whatever’s left of Obamacare once the Court gets through with it.
I just don’t know what the end game is, although I’m absolutely certain this has nothing to do with the insurance companies suddenly deciding to play nice. I should be happy that they’re coming around but instead I’m uneasy.
Julie Robinson said on June 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm
Très chic, Deborah! I hope they gave you a framed copy.
coozledad said on June 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm
Sue: They will not cover preexisting conditions for children voluntarily. The business model is to keep the parts that make money for them, or don’t cost them anything, and continue to rake in money which goes to obscene executive compensation. They are still not doing anything to demonstrate why the insurance companies and their supporters shouldn’t lie in their own filth until the tumbrels come for them.
Jolene said on June 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm
Exactly, cooz. They can keep the provision to cover kids up to 26 years old both because they can charge for this coverage and because this generally healthy population does not add greatly to their outlays. Including coverage for certain kinds of preventive care (e.g., mammograms) may actually reduce their costs. But these provisions will not change life for the uninsured.
4dbirds said on June 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm
Ref Clarence Thomas and his size. Access to good medical care and medications can keep very unhealthy people alive for a long time. Since I’ve promised myself to be a better person I won’t comment further.
Brandon said on June 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm
KLG said on June 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm
MarkH: Totally agree about the “they” in Happy Valley. The one thing Joe Paterno would never have been able to explain (away) was why Sandusky retired at the height of his career (age 55) as the “best defensive coach in college football,” never to be heard from again. It was because Paterno knew the man was a menace. The only reason no one ever hired him again was because Paterno told them not to hire him.
brian stouder said on June 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm
So at lunchtime today, I was rooting through the refrigerator and found a sandwich in a baggie which had sliced beef and bacon strips on it, and my immediate and involuntary response was “ugh”; and then I had macaroni salad.
(by the way, if you get a chance to have “Veggie Straws”, do so! The things are crunchy and colorful, and they taste better than the name implies. Just sayin’)
As for healthcare, I wonder what will happen if the Supremes decided to go ‘Full Theocratic’-mode and smashed the entire Affordable Healthcare Act. If the nub is that the “individual mandate” is actually unconstitutional, how can the income tax possibly survive? And, will a draconian smashing of the national healthcare act collaterally damage or destroy state acts (such as Massachusetts)? Equal Protection, and all of that, y’know?
nancy said on June 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm
But he *was* heard from again, KLG. He continued to have full access to the Penn State football facilities, and continued to bring his young friends around, for years before they finally took his keys away. *That’s* what’s so disgusting about this. Like you, I believe Paterno knew all about Jerry and his predilections. He chose to look the other way.
Paterno’s lucky he died when he did.
Brandon said on June 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm
And his nickname was Joe Pa.
KLG said on June 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm
Totally agree, Nancy. Should have been more explicit. IIRC one very famous former head coach said out loud that those in a place to be “in the know” absolutely knew. More today at statecollege.com (from Atrios and Lawyers, Guns and Money): “The report of a file maintained by Schultz, who was at the time in charge of Penn State campus security, comes a day after NBC news reported that former Penn State President Graham Spanier did not report alleged abuse to non-PSU authorities because, according to e-mails between he and other campus officials, he felt it would be ‘humane’ to Sandusky to not report the matter.”
These people, all of them, need to go to a very dark place for a very long time.
And I need to stop checking the interwebs while taking a break.
Sherri said on June 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm
Now word is leaking that there are emails among Penn State officials, including former president Spanier, that they decided it was “humane” not to report McQueary’s witness of Sandusky’s raping a little boy to local officials.
coozledad said on June 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm
KLG, Sherri: Funny, that’s Timothy Dolan’s argument for giving a generous severance package to his in-house rapists. Maybe Penn State uses the same consigliere.
Kim said on June 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm
So much to comment on today – but Prospero, I’ve gotta tell you that sometimes I think we must have shared a record collection. The dBs are right up there for me and just hearing “Amplifier” takes me back.
Deborah, just gorgeous photos.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm
KLG, that’s a most succinct and comprehensive description of what is really at play in the Sandusky case. “(He) retired at the height of his career (age 55) as the “best defensive coach in college football,” never to be heard from again. It was because Paterno knew the man was a menace. The only reason no one ever hired him again was because Paterno told them not to hire him.”
In junior high, high school, and college (’72-’84) I never once saw a coach showering with his team. Ever. Scouting made separate showerhouses or at least separate walled spaces with different exterior doors an absolute, non-negotiable for camp certification in the late 70’s, and showering in the same group shower area with under 18 year olds is an immediate, no appeal, registration canceling action, and has been since ’82.
The Horace Mann Prep article in the Sunday NYT Magazine is another anguished slant on the same subject.
Sherri said on June 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm
How do you live with yourself knowing that you’re basically aiding and abetting a monster? Evidently, Paterno did it as self-righteously as ever.
As for Dolan, sigh, what a corrupt organization. All churches have failings, but the rot is deep here, with no sign of change.
coozledad said on June 12, 2012 at 10:17 pm
From Teddy Roosevelt to the Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, fears about “race suicide” and “human weeds” were common among self-conscious progressives, who saw the quest for a better gene pool as of a piece with their broader dream of human advancement.
This progressive fascination with eugenics largely ended with World War II and the horrors wrought by National Socialism. But while the West has discarded the theory of the eugenics era, the practice urged by Fisher and others — the elimination or pre-emption, through careful reproductive planning, of the weaker members of the human species — has become a more realistic possibility than it ever was in the 1920s and ’30s.
The eugenicists had very general ideas about genetics and heredity, very crude ideas about intelligence, and deeply poisonous ideas about racial hierarchies. They did not have, as we do, access to the genetic blueprints of individuals — including, most important, human beings still developing in utero, whose development can be legally interrupted by the intervention of an abortionist.
From Jeff Davis to Lothar von Trotha, fears about black dick and the wayward nature of white womanhood were common among the homosexual * militarist elites of the nineteenth century, who saw vaginas and erect penises in their nightmares, and sought to construct a burgeoning death-industrial complex devoted to the destruction of the filthy blighters who actually fucked.
This fascination with death has persisted past two wars which eliminated roughly 140 million people from the globe and was only enhanced by the development of weaponry that could achieve similar kill rates in a twelve hour envelope. And with enhanced targeting techniques it has become feasible to eliminate religious undesirables, even in remote desert locations, where fey white men would shrivel and die within seconds of exposure, like an ant under a magnifying glass.
The militarists had very general ideas about sex. They knew it involved penises and vaginas sometimes, but they couldn’t figure out where the cavalry fitted into this scheme, and they did not have access to the chemistry we have today, that produces both shaped armor piercing projectiles and blue pills that enable doddering old fools to fuck.
*Not a split-tail among them.
Brandon said on June 13, 2012 at 12:11 am
The Douthat column was reprinted in our local paper today but mistakenly under Frank Bruni’s byline.
“*Not a split-tail among them.”
Does this mean they were all pitchers, not catchers, or that they never played ball, only thought about it?
coozledad said on June 13, 2012 at 12:35 am
I have a grotesquely naive sensibility when it comes to the Viennese sexual mores of the right, but to me, “homosexual” at least in in Teutonic, means standing athwart history, with your thumbs in your Sam Browne belt.
“Queer” on the other hand, seems to apply to anyone who knows the game is rigged for the dumbfucks.