mad existentialism, stella’s neighbors, bulletproof patriot

There were preview Mad Men articles like  Season 4 Preview: What Will the Show Do With Betty Draper? and instant reviews – “Mad Men” recap: Who is Don Draper?

“My job is to write ads, not go around talking about who I am,” Don tells them, but he might as well be voicing the concerns of a whole generation of professionals encouraged to prattle endlessly about their value to Twitter followers, industry magazine writers and Facebook friends alike. At a point when self-branding has replaced psychotherapy as the cure to every malady under the sun, whether fiscal or identity-related, Don’s sudden unsteadiness couldn’t be more timely.

Don’s stubborn refusal to sell himself like another product is one of his few admirable qualities. That quality is an odd companion to his general arrogance. The later would fit in fine with the make sure you fellow my every utterance on Twitter crowd. Though Don’s tweets would probably be about a new product or client that had signed with the firm not about building a cult of personality. With so many Mad Men commentators and many of very good it’s kinda hard to find an angle that someone else has not already mined. Of all places the WSJ let’s an existentialist take a stab at Roger Sterling (John Slattery) – ‘Mad Men’ Gets Deep: ‘The Existential Void of Roger Sterling’John Slattery as Kierkegaardian hedonist, Roger Sterling.

The existential philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813 –1855) sketched three stages of life, processes by which we make choices, act, and define ourselves. Kierkegaard’s first stage, the aesthetic stage, fits Roger Sterling more crisply than one of his own custom-tailored three-piece suits.

The person in the aesthetic stage basks in the immediacy of the moment. The pursuit of sensations and feelings rooted in particular pleasures defines this stage of life. Detached from firm commitment to the extent possible and governed by sense, impulse, and emotion, Kierkegaard’s aesthetic person recognizes no fixed, universal moral standards. Instead, aesthetic persons strive for the absence of all limits, except those imposed by their own tastes. Boredom is taken to be the worst evil. Immersing themselves in pleasure, whether sensual or intellectual, aesthetic people live overwhelmingly for the moment, in search of yet another self-gratifying experience.

Yea, but Roger was married for over twenty years and has very deep feelings for his daughter. Mr. Belliotti gets to that. It was a long interval which was frequently punctuated by affairs during which Roger never made a real internal commitment. Marriage was something that a young man of his wealth and social status did. His wife, along with the other accoutrements and furnishings that one  acquires in living the life which gives all the proper appearances. Which doesn’t mean that Roger was completely cold and calculating, only easily bored. The word neurotic is said not to be a legitimate clinical term any more, but behind the high philosophy of aestheticism Sterling is just a guy that gets tired of things almost as fast as he acquires them. Sterling believes in God, but is sin all week and pray for forgiveness on Sunday type. He has read the fine print and knows he has an escape clause in his holy contract. He’s white and rich, and hasn’t killed anyone for goodness sake, people like him don’t go to, well you know Kierkegaard was a Christian existentialist). If there was a real Sterling and  were alive today he would be pleased at all the coverts he’s made. Many of them expert at rationalizing the worse behavior and projecting their sordid traits on others. To Sterling’s credit, few have his charm. If you’re going to be stabbed in the back, or front, it might as well be someone with a sense of style.

stella’s neighbors

At Military Contractor’s Trial, a $100,000 Buckle

The expense-account abuse, the prosecution has said, represented a pittance compared with the $190 million that Mr. Brooks and another top employee are accused of making through a stock fraud scheme in which he falsified information about his company’s performance — including significantly overstating the inventory of bulletproof vests — to inflate the price of the stock before selling his shares in 2004.

As a whole, the accusations might present just another cautionary tale of excess and entitlement in a powerful individual, but Mr. Brooks’s story stands out because of details and characters that give it the strange and sordid depth of a long-running soap opera.

“What makes it interesting isn’t that there is anything novel legally about it, but just how egregious this guy’s alleged behavior is, how gross the abuses are and how much greed is involved,” said Meredith R. Miller, an associate law professor at Touro College in Central Islip, N.Y. “Add in what the company does — the fact that this is a military contractor — and the facts are really interesting,” she said.

Sterling is practically a saint compared to David H. Brooks. Brooks has described himself as a real patriot who’s flak vests were just what the country needed at the right time. Vests that did not work as well as touted in high heat – you know like the desert – or protect some body parts as well as they should have. Brooks cared about his family and employees too, in his own way. He bought plastic surgery for his wife, pornography for his son and hired prostitutes for his employees.

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