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!).
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.
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!)