clan skirmish on mad men

first of all, let me apologize for the lack of posting over the last few weeks. annoyingly, i have been unwell since just before easter. the family curse has finally caught up with me! =/ (dr*t! i thought i was going to get through this life without experiencing it, but it was not to be.) you do *not* want to know any details, trust me. but suffice it to say that the d*mned condition often leaves me with only enough energy to lay on the sofa and press the retweet button on twitter or to binge watch stupid tv shows.**

the good news is: i’m all caught up on mad men! the bad news is: i’m all caught up on mad men! (>.<)

steve sailer had a run of posts recently on how one of matt weiner's major personal drives in creating mad men has been his grudge over what he perceived as discrimination against jews by wasps when he was growing up in los angeles in the 1970s and 1980s. (see here and here here, for examples.) here’s weiner himself:

“I’ve always said this is a show about becoming white. That’s the definition of success in America—becoming a WASP. A WASP male. The driving question for the series is, Who are we? When we talk about ‘we,’ who is that? In the pilot, Pete Campbell has this line, ‘Adding money and education doesn’t take the rude edge out of people.’ Sophisticated anti-Semitism. I overheard that line when I was a schoolteacher. The person, of course, didn’t know they were in the presence of a Jew. I was a ghost.”

i have to say that steve’s posts (and weiner’s own revelations) certainly make the show much more understandable. i honestly couldn’t make head nor tail of it before learning about weiner’s hang-ups (the clothes were fun to look at, though!).

[SPOILER ALERT!]

one scene from the final season (in “Time & Life”, s07e11) really makes sense now! it’s not available on youtube, so i’ve transcribed the dialogue for you. in it, pete campbell — a wasp (at least his mother was) — and his ex-wife, trudy, meet with the principal of a school — the school in their area — when their application for their five year old daughter is rejected. i should say that, for the audience, this whole scene comes right out of the blue. we haven’t heard before that the campbells are having difficulties getting their daughter into the best of schools, and we don’t hear what they decide to do instead either when their application is once again firmly rejected, although their big ending [they move to another state] changes all the possibilities for them anyway. still, when i saw this episode, i thought it odd that this is really a stand alone scene that has no bearing on the rest of the storylines. it’s like a play within the play.

so, here it is. pete campbell and his ex-wife, trudy, go to the school to meet with principal macdonald. here’s what happens:

pete campbell: well, i assume you know why we’re here, mr. macdonald. we feel there’s been a mistake regarding our daughter, tammy. it’s a campbell family tradition to receive the inimitable education of greenwich country day.

mr. macdonald: but you didn’t go here.

pete: no. but a campbell has been in attendance since…it was a barn! (laughs. pete’s attempting to use his best accounts man/sales persona here.)

macd: i’m sorry, but our decision is final.

pete: now, trudy explained to me that you said it’s a question of space, and i say tammy would make it worth your while. she wouldn’t feel extra at all.

macd: it’s not a question of space. your little girl scored very low on her draw-a-man test.

pete: well, that’s news to us. and i find it hard to believe.

macd: your ex-wife and i discussed this. children had to draw a man, and their development is assessed based on the volume of details: eyes, nose, ears, ten fingers, ten toes, etc. your daughter had only a head, moustache, and necktie.

pete: moustache? (looking suspiciously at his ex-wife. pete doesn’t have a moustache.)

trudy campbell: she didn’t understand what you wanted, and i’ve been told anything beyond a stick figure is considered advanced for her age.

pete: albert einstein didn’t speak until he was four years old.

macd: this is not about your little girl.

(pete and trudy looked puzzled.)

mcd: the real problem is that your former wife failed to submit applications to other schools. that was careless and arrogant.

trudy: what?!

pete: how dare you!

macd: i think we’ve said all there is to say. (getting up.)

pete: we’re not leaving until you apologize to trudy!

trudy: (to her ex-husband.) peter, it doesn’t matter.

macd: (shaking his head.) heh. einstein.

pete: would you like to step outside?!

macd: are you sure you wouldn’t rather get me while i’m sleeping like a real campbell?!

pete: are you kidding me?!

macd: no macdonald will ever mix with a campbell!

trudy: what are you talking about?!

pete: it’s some stupid story! it’s three hundred years old! he’s obviously nuts!

macd: (addressing trudy) you should know that his clan took advantage of the gift of hospitality and murdered my ancestors while they slept!

pete: the king ordered it!!

macd: (still addressing trudy) just be grateful you can remarry and get rid of that name.

trudy: (shocked, raising her hand to her mouth.) oh!

pete punches macdonald.

pete: come on, trudy. (escorts her out.)

macd: (rubbing his chin.) another sucker punch from the campbells! coward!!

so, here we have it, i think — matt weiner fiiiinally getting a chance to show wasps — and not just any wasp, but the very guy who made the snide comment about “the rude edge out of people” — how it feels when the shoe is on the other foot. pete campbell can’t get his daughter into an exclusive school simply because of who they are — campbells! so there!

the scene plays out as a comic one — principal macdonald comes off as a complete loon (once he reveals his true motive for rejecting tammy’s application) — but it’s a lesson for us all: there are crazy people out there in the world who hold grudges for a loooong time (like members of the macdonald clan…and some weiners?), and if they have any power, they will exclude people that they don’t like.

the most fun for me was just getting to see a heeland clan skirmish on tv. that’s always a good time! (~_^)

edit: see also “Mad Men” Trolls HBD Chick: Clan War in Connecticut from steve sailer. (^_^)
_____

**never fear! i have every confidence that i’ll get this thing under control eventually (with diet, etc.) and will feel better once again! (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. the king ordered it!)

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38 Comments

  1. My grandparents live on the border of the Culloden Woods. My grandmother was rational on all subjects except the Campbells, whom I was to shun.

    For them the massacre of Glencoe and the Battle of Culloden were recent history.

    Reply

  2. Sorry to hear of your health problems. I’ve had the same condition for decades. It’s seems to be hereditary (my father had it). It’s hasn’t quite as disabling for me as you describe but it’s generally awful. I used to miss a lot of time off work on account of it. There are some meds available.

    Reply

  3. Pete’s mom is Dutch I thought.

    Anyway, I know I personally don’t consider people with last names like “Campbell” and “MacDonald” to be Anglo-Saxon. Is this out of line with the HBD community’s feelings on the subject?

    Reply

  4. This is really a bit much. First almost my entire fantasy baseball team goes on the DL, and now you, too?! Seriously, it grieves me to hear that you’re ill. I wish you a speedy recovery.

    Reply

  5. Dylan Matthews explained the scene in Vox:

    But mostly, making Pete one of those Campbells is a brilliant character note. Pete is a deeply privileged man who’s always coming up short.

    On the one hand, his pedigree is impeccable. His mother is a Dyckman, the descendent of a family that used to own much of Manhattan. He went to Deerfield and Dartmouth. But his adult life has seen humiliation after humiliation chip away at this image of himself. His parents were embarrassed by his choice to go into advertising. He had to accept money for an apartment from his wife’s parents after his only family wouldn’t help him (and because Sterling Cooper didn’t pay him enough). His father squandered the family fortune. He got divorced, with all the social ostracism that entails. For heaven’s sake, there’s an entire episode devoted to Pete failing at stuff: fixing a sink, fisticuffs with Lane Pryce, sleeping with the high school girl he has a crush on.

    The Clan Campbell — Scots who allied with the English crown — is a wonderful metaphor for this. Pete isn’t a real WASP, not on his father’s side at least. He will never be at the top of the social ladder. If the Upper East Side elite were the Mafia, he’d never be a made man.

    And yet he tries all the same, just as the Clan Campbell tried to gain the favor of the English for a taste of the privileges Englishness offered. The result is that Pete gets humiliated by a preschool headmaster. In 1970, even fake Englishness doesn’t buy you much of anything anymore. Even the toniest nursery schools are run by goddamn MacDonalds.

    To people whose ancestors didn’t hold British titles of nobility, these distinctions probably seem very fine and trivial indeed. But one thing I did like about the episode, which you gesture at, Todd, is that it’s partially about the evaporation of distinctions amongst the powerful.

    Today, we don’t talk about WASP privilege relative to Scots; we talk about white privilege relative to nonwhites. I remember in college hearing an Irish-American classmate protest that he wasn’t really white; he wasn’t an Englishman, and he didn’t have those privileges. It sounded ridiculous at the time, and even more so now. It was a narcissism of small differences, a person in a position of privilege desperately trying to claim the mantle of the underdog without enduring any actual oppression.

    That’s what Sterling Cooper & Partners’ freakout at the prospect of being taken over by McCann feels like to me. SC&P wants to think of itself as an agile, nimble team of innovators who’ve been shaking up the industry and playing by their own rules. But as you say, Todd, they’re just another group of white guys (plus Joan and Peggy) painting the same Norman Rockwell visions of America as everyone else.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/4/30/8519749/mad-men-glencoe-massacre

    Reply

  6. “The Clan Campbell — Scots who allied with the English crown”: no, you could scarcely be more wrong. The Campbells allied with the Scots crown, a relationship that suffered serious vicissitudes only once the King of Scots had also become King of England.

    Reply

  7. Even WKPD gets some of this.

    “Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow was knighted in 1280. In 1445 James II of Scotland raised Sir Colin’s descendant Sir Duncan Campbell to the peerage…Colin Campbell (c. 1433–1493) succeeded his grandfather as the 2nd Lord Campbell in 1453 and was created Earl of Argyll in 1457.”

    See: while dealing with the King of Scots, all was sweetness and light. (Well, unless you were a foe of the Scots crown, such as many McDonalds were.)

    “The 8th Earl of Argyll was created a marquess in 1641… Upon the restoration, the marquess offered his services to King Charles II but was charged with treason and executed in 1661.”

    See: the problem came from the Englishing of the King of Scots.

    “…his son in 1663, Archibald, who became the 9th Earl of Argyll. In 1685 the 9th Earl was executed for his part in the Monmouth rebellion.”

    See: ditto.

    Reply

  8. Note too that the froideur between the Campbells and McDonalds goes back long before the little local difficulty in Glencoe.

    Reply

  9. Hope you get well soon, but in the meanwhile Mad Men is as good as tv shows get.

    Despite antisemitism, I think America was better off with WASPs as their dominant tribe. Their dominance was broken in the 1960s and the country has looked shaky ever since.

    Reply

  10. @steve – “A local rival of Weiner’s Harvard-Westlake School alma mater is Campbell Hall School”

    heh. =P

    @steve – “The Mad Men screenwriters were possibly inspired by a 2013 Game of Thrones episode based on the 1692 Glencoe Massacre”

    that’s something i meant to mention in the post but forgot to (typical!) — this episode was written by matt weiner + one other writer, erin levy. whoever she is. -?-

    Reply

  11. Anyway, the best Campbell/McDonald story I know is this. Boney is defeated and must abdicate. The only Marshall who would stand by him, MacDonald, is in Paris to negotiate on his behalf, awaiting a British emissary. Enter Colin Campbell.

    I love that one.

    Reply

  12. i don’t disbelieve the reports that I read about discrimination against Jews from WASPs up until the 70’s and even 80’s, but I have to say I have never seen it. I am 62, from NH WASP stock (England 1600’s, Sweden 1800’s) plus a few Scots-Irish and never heard anything but admiration for Jews from the lips of my family and their friends. Ditto College of W&M early 70’s. The only negatives I have ever heard were from two people from Jersey.

    Reply

  13. “Anyway, I know I personally don’t consider people with last names like “Campbell” and “MacDonald” to be Anglo-Saxon. Is this out of line with the HBD community’s feelings on the subject?”

    In America, most people with Scottish names will not have predominantly Scottish ancestry. The Scots and English mixed freely in America. And Scots in Scotland appear to be genetically more similar to the English than they are to the Welsh.

    “The Clan Campbell — Scots who allied with the English crown — is a wonderful metaphor for this. Pete isn’t a real WASP, not on his father’s side at least. He will never be at the top of the social ladder. If the Upper East Side elite were the Mafia, he’d never be a made man. [. . .] Today, we don’t talk about WASP privilege relative to Scots; we talk about white privilege relative to nonwhites.”

    Dylan Matthews is, of course, deeply confused. There was never “WASP privilege relative to Scots”. “WASP” is a term that was invented in the middle of the twentieth century to refer to the people who had previously simply been known as Americans.

    Reply

  14. AVI

    “i don’t disbelieve the reports that I read about discrimination against Jews from WASPs up until the 70’s and even 80’s, but I have to say I have never seen it.”

    Discrimination felt is the product of actual discrimination multiplied by individual narcissism.

    Reply

  15. “Avoiding oats and favouring wheat is a common recommendation for those suffering IBS.”

    Well I’m just an amateur but that seems odd given that coeliac disease is a wheat allergy.

    Reply

  16. HBD Chick, just wanted to send wishes your way for relief! Hope it’s not cutting into any potential gardening activities. That’s deadly serious work this time of year. Feel better soon, gros bisous from the south of France.

    Reply

  17. Evil wears Prada.

    Anne Hatthaway as ”Andy SACHS”…

    Meryl Streep as ”Miranda PRIESTLEY”.

    Evi

    Reply

  18. @dearieme

    “Avoiding oats and favouring wheat is a common recommendation for those suffering IBS.”

    “Well I’m just an amateur but that seems odd given that coeliac disease is a wheat allergy.”

    Actually now I think of it that does make sense if it’s connected to food allergies as it may be different food allergies for different folks.

    Reply

  19. @dearieme – “Avoiding oats and favouring wheat is a common recommendation for those suffering IBS.”

    @grey – “Well I’m just an amateur but that seems odd given that coeliac disease is a wheat allergy.”

    well, i’ve done quite a bit of reading on the stupid thing over the past couple of weeks, and as far as i can tell, nobody knows nuffin’ about this condition. (>.<)

    one diet that's been fairly well researched is the fodmap one — it relieves symptoms for a lot of people, but isn’t any sort of a cure. gluten should be avoided or kept at very low levels in the diet, so little to no wheat. oats should be ok.

    i feel quite a bit better after now three(?) weeks on this diet. the world is just lucky that dark chocolate is allowed (and doesn’t seem to be bothering me), otherwise i would’ve been one very ANNOYED hbd chick. (*^_^*)

    Reply

  20. Hi HBD chick, I wonder if you have ever considered that the poor genes you have – those that render you vulnerable to a physical problem that means you are unable to work – should not be reproduced. I do hope you have not been breeding more individuals with these bad genes.

    Surely you can see that no matter how good your IQ genes are, your health problems mean you wouldn’t survive without other people to help you?

    edit: aren’t some people just lovely? *roll eyes* – h.chick

    Reply

  21. oh dear you are taking it personally HBD chick and have not published my comment. How very sad but predictable.

    Reply

  22. Hi again, I’ll go away now and leave you to your self-serving puerile discussions about things you really do not understand. Clearly you are not as smrt – Homer Simpson said that – as you think your are or up to the level of intellectual discussion that you imagine yourself to be.

    Try this article and see if you can understand what is being argued here:

    https://scientiasalon.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/heritability-a-handy-guide-to-what-it-means-what-it-doesnt-mean-and-that-giant-meta-analysis-of-twin-studies/

    edit: see here – r.i.p. blank slate (and what does “the environment” mean anyway?). and don’t try to leave anymore uncivil comments. they will not be approved. – h.chick

    Reply

  23. I knew a guy with a very similar condition and there wasn’t much he could do except for just figure out what foods agreed with his body over the years. the silver lining? Pretty much never had to worry about gaining weight:)

    Reply

  24. @robert – “I knew a guy with a very similar condition and there wasn’t much he could do except for just figure out what foods agreed with his body over the years.”

    yeah, that’s pretty much what i am working on right now. the good news is: dark chocolate does NOT seem to be a problem! whew! (~_^)

    @robert – “Pretty much never had to worry about gaining weight :)”

    i’ve already lost about five pounds. and they will not be missed! (*^_^*)

    Reply

  25. rofl uncivil. Hohohoho. Well done for publishing my comments. I can imagine the cognitive effort it took for you to make that decision. I am a bit impressed but I guess you must have some sort of idea of reciprocity even if it is atrophied by your self-serving biases.

    But it is clear that you don’t approve of any comments that challenge you to understand what you are currently unable to understand.

    Is this an uncivil comment? It wasn’t meant to be uncivil. It is meant to start a discussion about your moral right to reproduce given that you have identified genetic problems. See the Bleeding Heart Libertarians lame-oh discussion of this ‘right’.

    And here is another laugh at you and your totally unearned hubris. Hehehehehe.

    Reply

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