Great Silence

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    If there are any people who would actually be in need of professional help it would seem to be the mob boss and Don “complicated history” Draper. They have a bit more going on then just living up to a stoic ideal. Each is a persona created, at least, partially by movie and media images. If they have found those ideals inadequate for living their lives its more about the ideals not being grounded on real life and people. Men haven’t always been so caught up in the Stoic idea.

    And another thought. Don might be able to deal with his life better if it hadn’t worked out so well for him for so long.Report

    • Avatar Matthew Schmitz in reply to greginak
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      says:

      @greginak,

      Agreed. The point of both shows is not only that those ideals are insufficient, but also that they’re *ideals*. They’re justifications or explanations for very different (non-stoic) modes of living in the world. What I think would be interesting, though, and heighten the conflict in Mad Men is if they give as much reality and grounding as possible to what is, admittedly, just another bit of clever self-invention.Report

  2. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
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    says:

    When I teach the Cato interns about the use and citation of sources, I always warn them that famous people often didn’t say half the things attributed to them. There’s a long, long list of famous folks who end up dumping grounds for wit: the American Founders, Lincoln, Churchill, Voltaire, Einstein, Gandhi, Wilde, Victoria, and of course the granddaddy of them all, Confucius.

    The problem with all of these people is that they have been very, very extensively studied. Every last known scrap of writing that survives from Voltaire has been indexed, and historians (whatever their other faults) usually know how to use an index. What’s true of Voltaire is mostly true of all the rest as well. If they wrote it, we probably know it, and if they didn’t write it, we can probably rule it out. But that doesn’t stop the fake quotes from flowing.

    The American Founders are a particularly dangerous lot to cite unattributed. Much of what they supposedly said, especially on the subject of religion, is a pure fabrication. Most who cite them on the subject either don’t realize it or are deliberately perpetrating a pious fiction.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    I’m a real man, so I have nothing to say. (I am going to squint meaningfully.)Report

  4. Avatar Rufus
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    says:

    After watching this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKFKGrmsBDk
    the first thing to go through my mind was “I’m pretty sure Aristotle never wrote that line about tolerance being the last virtue of a dying society.” Also, you know, I’m not convinced the guy’s up on his Thomas Paine either.Report

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