The Last Safe Place for Girls
Mad Men: S05E04 - Mystery Date
It struck me, watching Mystery Date, that this was possibly the first episode in the entire series that was really about women. They normally show women through the lens of men (which they still do in this episode), they show women reflected by men, they include strong women in their stories, but they had not yet just shown women.
Mad Men talks below, scoot on by if you’re not up to it yet - nothing specific past the S4 finale.
I have yet to watch the newest ep of Mad Men, but I was talking to Fiona today about Betty & Megan, and how Megan is getting kinda tired as a character - and I realise that’s how it reads, but I think really the underlying point is that Don married a fantasy and that fantasy is refusing to stay two dimensional. I think it’s wonderful. He lost control over the truth of his real identity a few seasons ago - the women to whom he owed his very name gone, he is cut loose from another’s history, and instead has started to morph into this new, Dick/Don creature. It makes total sense that during this period, this period of getting to know himself, his children, of leaving Betty, of both streamlining and centrifuging aspects of his past and future identities, that he would seek someone simple, easy, beautiful. Megan was a holiday - and you can’t move in to your holiday. The languid pace becomes stifling pretty quickly, and reality kicks in. You need a job, you need a house, you need money: same shit, different postcode. And that’s Megan. Same shit, different girl. She’s lovely, she’s smart, she’s very beautiful, she’s a complicated girl insofar as humans are complicated, and unfortunately for Don she is not on this earth to serve as his crashmat. I think it would be lovely for him to work this out with her, but I sort of feel like she’s a lesson for him.
Anyway. I enjoy her, I enjoyed her zoopy zoo dance, and her strange teeth.
Aaaaaaaand finally gym stuff under a cut because I recognise that no one wants to read that.
I think, before I can sleep, I need to get out the really suffocating idea that’s settled in my head after watching the Six Feet Under final.
In the end I think the big reveal were the Fisher’s physical death notices: it implies so quietly, so logically, that all those people who died at the beginning of each episode had lives just as big, just as complicated, just as lovely, as petty, as hysterical, as fortunate, as tragic, just as sprawling as the Fisher family. They were all as deserving of narrative as Nate, or Billy, or Claire, any of them, though they were only ever presented as narrative parallels. They were illustrations, metaphors for the Fishers, but the ingenious implication of that coda was that life, everywhere, is huge and beautiful, that death is inevitable, that the most average-seeming life (from the outside) is actually this complicated microcosm of history and response and environment. And for me, anyway, it pulls a pretty intricate looking glass over your own life: if this was the end, what does your history tell your future great-grandchildren, who will never know you personally? Will only have dates and occasionally told, half-remembered stories? What will the plot points of your life reveal to them? Your love and your tragedy. Are you happy? How much of what you have right now is important to you?
So the intense, human sadness at watching this family die, one by one, in ways both natural and tragic, is multiplied to all the other people who served as those opening plot parallels, and then by extension everyone who has ever died and who is living. To ourselves.
We get almost no time at all to weave a life. I’m 28 years into mine, and I have no idea what stories I even want to leave behind.
Following on from that nerd post yesterday.
I guess technically it’s too early to call it, but I think I want my new job to be watching Six Feet Under. It was built up so much by people, the imperative that I watch this, I was cautious. But no. I feel like I was hit by a bus.
No pun intended, oh my god.
It’s giving me feels, ones that even I am actually too embarrassed to explicitly analyse, and I basically have no shame.
But basically I think the cleverest aspect of story telling is setting up different shaped mirrors around one central shock, so there is nothing but feedback between the ground zero event, what is reflecting it, and the ways those reflections interfere with each other. It’s a tumultuous effect, and done right it’s when you feel absorbed, punished, connected, represented by the latticework of ideas, personalities, motivations, flaws.
That’s where I’m at.
Just in case, you know. You didn’t believe my post yesterday about how nerdishly invested I get in shit.
There’s really no point trying to suppress any facet of it: I am, by nature, a nerd. I have always obsessed over things, to a degree that seemed overwhelming to those around me. As a kid I remember my older sister’s raised eyebrow admonishment at my unprompted recitation of a history book on Egypt and hieroglyphs during my Indiana Jones-inspired archeologist phase. I like knowing the mechanics of the things I love – an aspect of my personality that strays into my relationships as well, to some detriment. I like knowing things backward, taking them apart, piecing them together in new ways. Finding the outer limits, analysing why I react, why others react.
So, Julia asked me why I like Supernatural, that it can’t just be that the Winchesters are attractive. It’s not that, it’s far from that. It’s partially that they are so easy to watch, it’s partially my lifelong obsession with ghost stories, my weakness for mythologies and investment in dark stories that are not necessarily lightened. But first, a digression, how I got here.
SHERLOCK FANDOM RAGE OK.
HI I’M TUMBLR AND I WILL SHIT ON EVERYTHING APPARENTLY FOR THE SAKE OF BEING CONTRADICTORY!!
For fuck’s sake. OK, Re: Sherlock. Can we at least acknowledge that even though A Scandal in Belgravia didn’t overtly hat tip to every single fucking flavour of sexuality that it is possible for someone to identify as, they still produced something complex by even the most conservative comparison with other mainstream, prime time, large budget screenplays.
Sherlock 2x01 thinkings and feels.
Moffat and Gatiss show every permutation of love, they give the same respect to every kind of love, they are generous in the portrayal, understanding, screen time, message and hierarchy (lack of hierarchy?) of them.
Irene is gay. John is straight. Sherlock is asexual.
This was such a generously written episode in terms of sex.
Well shit. What a ramble bones I am today.
I was just thinking, as I sit at work with no work to do, about how much I revere transience. A lack of rules and structure, a non-repetition of acts, minimal reliance, no responsibility other than to keep moving. I fetishize road trips in this way, the beginning of one is like an overfull heart a normal girl might have about new love,
(I drive at night when I’m bored sometimes, hours trying to get lost. it’s impossible, you know. You cannot get lost in Sydney, or the outlying suburbs.)
but to me is the jubilation at having a far-off destination, the wide-pupilled gaze ahead, away, onward. The excitement wanes the closer I get to a goal: this is true of absolutely every aspect of my life. And when I get there, I am bored. I am bored in the immediate approach. It feels a little like I am packed away like a survivalist, I understand what is coming at any given time and I don’t care for it.
I (ugh) post a lot about Supernatural, and I have only recently figured out that my strange interest in that show is rooted firmly in it’s central theme of transience. There is no home, yet they are not homeless. It’s as simple as that. I enjoy the narrative because it leads around and around and around and around, and even when things are resolved, no one goes home again, but they are not alone. I like that.
I suppose I should say that I am working on changing this, in some vague way. I want to, at least. I’m open to it. I don’t regret anything I’ve done because of my lacking interest in permanence - and it was with a curious mix of pride and confusion that I realised that just now - but I sort of would like to stand still, metaphorically, for a bit. I’m still planning my road trip mid-year but it’s not a pilgrimage, or an end goal. It’s just something I enjoy, being under wall-to-wall sky with no building to hinder the view, with no barrier between here and there; transparency in where I can go, and what that would mean.
ETA: I think this is actually my long-winded way of saying - of realising? - that I might be quite happy right now.
everyone will stop here.
I just watched The National Anthem, the first of Charlie Brooker’s new three-part miniseries, Black Mirror.
Donna is the only companion who wasn’t in love. She was the only companion who was in control.