Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Mad Men and Morality

Mad Men’s recently wrapped-up fifth season was possibly its best season yet, and at least its best since season two. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the most ambitious season thus far because it dealt most directly with morality—and was the least preoccupied with subject of happiness.

Most of the time, Mad Men is all about happiness: Is happiness an illusion? Is it ever sustainable? Are the things that make people happy the same? Etc. This can be compelling, but it tends to get self-indulgent and repetitive quickly.

What made Season Five so different, though, was that it took as its starting point the idea that Don Draper, the perpetually self-loathing protagonist, was actually happy. He was finally in a happy marriage; he had a cordial relationship with his ex-wife and he was getting along with his kids; his company was relatively safe, and his relationships with most of his co-workers were good. This was so jarring to some viewers that they seemed intent to find problems where none existed. Every fight with he had with Megan supposedly hinted at the faulty foundation of the marriage—even if the fight was minor and they made up afterwards. People seemed completely unwilling to accept the idea that Don could be happily married and generally content; it was so unlike the Don we were used to. Continue reading

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Monday Medley

What we read while narrowly avoiding an NPI shutdown…

Monday Medley

What we read while calling Klondike 5-3226…

Why I Still Hate Christmas

John S explained why he hates Christmas last year, but it’s all still true:

Today is December 18th, which means we’re a week away from the 25th, the two-month anniversary of Christmas. So now seems as good of a time as any to explain why I hate this “holiday” with a fiery passion.

It probably doesn’t come as much of a shock to you to hear that I hate Christmas: For one, I like hating things that are popular. More substantively, though, Christmas combines two of my least favorite things in the world: religion and consumerism. At Christmas, people are encouraged to buy a bunch of stuff that they don’t need in order to celebrate the birth of a god that doesn’t exist. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while wondering why nobody asked us to testify before Congress…

Monday Medley

What we read while frantically pushing Clueless up the Netflix queue:

Why I Hate Christmas

Today is December 18th, which means we’re a week away from the 25th, the two-month anniversary of Christmas. So now seems as good of a time as any to explain why I hate this “holiday” with a fiery passion.

It probably doesn’t come as much of a shock to you to hear that I hate Christmas: For one, I like hating things that are popular. More substantively, though, Christmas combines two of my least favorite things in the world: religion and consumerism.  At Christmas, people are encouraged to buy a bunch of stuff that they don’t need in order to celebrate the birth of a god that doesn’t exist.

Whether or not you’d like to admit it, it’s hard to deny that Christmas brings out the worst of both of these already-pretty-bad things. Every year, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on Christmas, plenty of it horribly misallocated; advertising and the general holiday spirit inspire a sense of “rewarding yourself” and “remembering others” that can only be done through a commercial transaction.* As for the “religious” element of the holiday, Christmas cloyingly spoon-feeds us sweet and formulaic messages about the value of family and generosity: It translates moral and religious dogma into clichés and after-school specials. Continue reading