Question: Was Albert Einstein really the first person to say, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”? Did he say it at all? We expect every great man to be a veritable squirrel stash of koans and kernels, instinctively prefer Churchill’s wit to Washington’s eloquent silence.
J.L. Wall points out in an excellent post that both The Sopranos and Mad Men play on the contradiction between stoic ideals and a therapeutic culture. Tony Soprano’s ideal is Gary Cooper, “the strong, silent type.” Don Draper, meanwhile, is supposed to represent how such a type fares in our contemporary world. Anyone who holds it in ends up on the psychiatrist’s couch. For now, at least, I’m hoping that Mad Men’s writers let Don triumph without or in spite of the help of the therapists. Which I guess is my way of saying that silence still has its value, and that I hope Einstein didn’t say what Phil Davison says he did.