Posts Tagged ‘prostitution’

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

Ranking Bob Dylan Songs, #70: House of the Rising Sun

We’re back, baby! After a near two-month vacation, the Bob Dylan Rankings have returned…with a vengeance! And we’re making some changes. It’s nothing drastic, but after much consultation with the Bob Dylan Brain Trust, I’ve decided that proceeding through Bob Dylan’s catalog with no real rhyme or reason, as I’ve been doing thus far, is not ideal. So we’re going to impose some order on this madness, and go forward in a vaguely chronological fashion. The Top Ten will still be withheld until the end, and I reserve the right to switch the order up for any reason I deem fit, but, for the most part, we will go through Dylan’s oeuvre album by album, starting with Bob Dylan and moving through Nashville Skyline (the songs from The Basement Tapes will be dated based on when they were recorded, that is, between Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding, since they weren’t released until after my arbitrary cut-off).

First, a confession: for a long time, I was under the impression that Bob Dylan actually wrote “House of the Rising Sun.” Forgive me for my ignorance, but I can defend myself. After all, the grim darkness of the chords, the loneliness and desperation of the lyrics, and the vivid portrait of the protagonist that emerges from the song are all things that Dylan would eventually master and come to be recognized for. And whether or not it was Dylan who put his own trademark on this song or the song that put its trademark on Dylan, “House of the Rising Sun” was a perfect choice for his first album. Continue reading