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May 30, 2014

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These recaps have been fantastic. My prediction for the final episode: fast forward to the year Don would be, say, 75 (that would be when? 2000?). It's his retirement party. The show is all about his final day in the office. Joan and Peggy are heads of accounts and creative, respectively. Could Sally be the new head of Sterling Cooper, having learned to "lean in"?

David and Amy--
Already looking forward to the delayed second half of the last season--as much for your commentary, that blooms so many details we might have overlooked--as for the show itself.

Thank you, Stacey. Thank you, Angela. It has been a great experience corresponding with Amy each week of this half-season, and knowing we have readers is a powerful incentive for us to continue the practice when "Mad Men" resumes.

One of the scenes I can't forget from this season is the dance between Don and Peggy. Dance scenes are always sexier than sex scenes. There's something between Don and Peggy--I know it.

David,

What a wonderful tribute to Robert Morse. That final scene made me wish that Bert Cooper had been written as someone who regularly, at home at least, did a soft shoe. (Sorry, Bert, I guess it should be a soft shoeless). As the final scene echoed in my mind, I interpreted two meanings beyond the very deserved tribute. Of course, Don is imagining all this, so the hallucination is some part of his mind offering messages. "The Best Things in Life Are Free" is some message from a man who has spent his life in advertising, which tries at its heart to get people to think the best things in life cost money. I think Don's mind is trying to tell him to get out of the business, that it does not offer a meaningful life. The second message has to do with the bevy of attractive women. I can't quite get all of this, but Bert couldn't have had a romantic relationship with these women because of his physical deficiency. Perhaps there is a message that Don is like that. He's surrounded by beautiful women but he can't really love any of them. That is poignant in the light of his marital break-up. I do habitually over-interpret, but there you are. Thanks to both of you for doing this!

Larry

Thank you, Barbara. What you say about dancing echoes Shaw's great line: dancing (he said) is the vertical expression of a horizontal desire. In every dance song ("Come Dance With Me,""Dancing in the Dark," "Let's Face the Music and Dance," "I Won't Dance") I see dance as the graceful synonym for the animal instinct. And thank you, Larry. The hallucination scene at the end was a stroke of genius that seems to have stimulated a lot of speculation. It's hard to read Don's mind. Didn't one season end with Don, alone, at a bar, where an attractive woman approaches him and asks him to light her cigarette? I see that scene repeating itself more than once. -- DL

These are wonderful --as good as the show-- where I will go back faithfully as church on Sunday in a hat, veil, and white gloves. Thank you both

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

 

 


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