Re: last night's "Mad Men" - Don Draper's “Last Tango in Midtown” routine was jarring - an act, perhaps? Yes, that’s it. This is his way of ending the affair, by pushing her until she rejects him. After all, we saw how shaken he looked when he overheard the row from the elevator. But we also saw how shaken he looked when she ended it. Which could mean that his elevator panic, stabbing the CLOSE button, was the act of a coward, and his collapse when she called it off was the act of a man who cannot respond when someone reaches into the raw nerve in the center of his ego and grasps it with a pilers and gives it a twist - a gentle one, mind you, out of remnant affection.

And then there’s the alpha-dogging Ted into a mid-afternoon stupor - he pounds three slugs of Canadian Club just to warm up, and uses his Professional Alcoholic skills to get some collab out of the session before depositing his victim in public where everyone can tell he’s sotted. .

Where the heck did that man come from? Why, it was the Don Draper everyone knows and loves, at least among the audience. But everything was turned up to eleven and played with soulless dead-eyed calculation, as though the last small sympathetic and admirable attributes had been revealed as something we read into the character, not something the character possessed. He’s a bad man. That’s what Weiner was telling us here. This is who he’s always been. What, you didn’t see that?.

If you wonder why he behaved that way, well, basic cheap psychology: faced with a comparable talent as a partner, he tries to dominate Ted with personality, only to lose face in the airplane; given a free hand with his mistress, he tries to dominate her completely, only to lose when she calls an end to the interlude. He’s bereft and unmoored at the end because both gambits went sour. Not that he’d thought them out. Not that he’d allowed for the reactions of other people. A guy who can correctly calculate the emotional appeal of a margarine commercial aired to millions of people can’t see beyond his own actions. 

"The Last Picture Show," by the way, was the book Don took from his girlfriend to read in the plane. Read into that what you wish.


VIDEO This is the modern world: when someone is kicked off a plane for repeatedly singing a Whitney Houston song, not only do you hear about the story, there’s video.



Here’s the story:

An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing after a woman on board refused to stop singing Whitney Houston’s hit song 'I Will Always Love You'.

The unnamed woman was handcuffed and removed from the flight by air marshals after it was forced to divert to Kansas. Remarkably she was still singing the 1992 song when escorted from the plane.

What stuck out for me was the Flight Attendant laying down the law for the rest of the passengers: no photographs allowed on the plane.Since when?

 Related: Most fliers had electronic devices on planes last year, and nearly 30 percent “accidentally” left them on. Yes, that’s it. Accidentally. Sure. And yet the planes arose into the sky without incident, found their way to their destination and gave the earth a smoky scorched kiss when its tires met the runaway.

 The NYT notes:

As I reported in 2011, travelers are told to turn off their iPads and Kindles for takeoff and landing, yet there is no proof that these devices affect a plane’s avionics. To add to the confusion, the F.A.A. permits passengers to use electric razors and audio recorders during all phases of flight, even though those give off more electronic emissions than tablets.

One of these days they’ll change the policy and there won’t be a jot of explanation or apology.


OKP That’s “Obligatory Kubrick Post,” since the internet has decided in the last few years we must either talk about “2001” or “The Shining.” Here’s a HoJo restaurant book for kids explaining “2001.” Why would they do that? Well: