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.