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September 09, 2008

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You have explained why I'm a tad less taken with this season. The cultural markers are so obvious. It's as if those details are driving the plot and not the other way around. How about the way Betty left behind the detritus of the picnic in those pre-"don't be a litterbug" days? I can't get enough of Peggy though and was sorry she was mostly missing this week. Thanks for this post.

Thanks, Ken, for this thoughtful take on a series I have indeed been watching with rare interest. I wonder how much my attraction is impelled by a weird nostalgia for a period dear to me because it's as gone as my youth: I was 11 when the first season began, and I believe I am three years older now, since, in that self-conscious way you note, the series keeps dating itself and Marilyn Monroe sang happy birthday to JFK about two weeks before I turned 14. Right about now Sandy Koufax is pitching the first of his no hitters, against the Mets.
"Mad Men" reminds me a little of one of my favorite musicals, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying" -- and not only because Robert Morse played the lead in Frank Loesser's satirical show 46 years ago. Finch was in a hurry to get to the top, and in some ways "Mad Men" is a continuation: I guess "Finch" (Morse's moniker in "How to Succeed") never vacated the executive suite even if here he is "Cooper."
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" is terrific, and I'm glad they've been plugging it as a hot show of the day, but it would be nice to see a nod in Loesser's direction too.

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Radio

I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
                   

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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This Way Out

THE RULE OF THUMB
by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.

 

 


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