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Monday, May 18, 2015

East Of Mad Men

I tried my best to find a reason not to like the ending episode of Mad Men, but I admitted failure.

Of course, it was long and tedious for a bit, and I finally gave up at 10:45 pm and hit the <record> button in order to watch the rest of it in the morning. I mean, I am in bed by 8:30 and rise at least an hour before the birds begin caterwauling, so I was really into this show.

I had watched a number of episodes in the preceding Mad Men Marathon, but they were interspersed with homely chores, ironing, folding clothes, etc., and it did not seem to drag. Once I sat down to watch the final episode with no interruptions, it was another matter.
I could not muster enough feigned interest in what was going on, and rapidly began to fail.

I saw the last 20 minutes this morning, and it was a good ending.

It was the best way to handle things, I think.

I wondered a bit about the character of Don Draper, and I kvetched about his seeming "bi-polar" sociopathology, but it was good.

I am firmly convinced that the germinal inspiration of Mad Men was Mr. Weiner musing on what would happen to Caleb or Cal,  the character played by James Dean in East of Eden, when he grows up.

The character in Mad Men, Richard Whitman, who later assumes the identity of Don Draper, is the son of a prostitute, and so also is Caleb in East of Eden.
Richard Whitman spends some time in a bordello, and Cal happens across his mother running a bordello in Salinas.
Cal's father is remote and cold;  Whitman's father is gone and the only male influences he has are abusive.

Whitman joins the US Army and fights in Korea, where he inadvertently causes an explosion which kills the real Don Draper; Caleb takes his brother Aron to Salinas to their mother's bordello and forces him to meet her, an act which causes Aron to recoil in disgust and eventually join the US Army to fight in World War I, where he is killed in battle.

From the basic equivalence of Cain and Abel and Caleb and Aron in East of Eden was born Richard Whitman and Don Draper.

A very good journey.


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