Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mad man

"But I don't want to go among mad people, " Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that, " said the Cat: "we're all mad here. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat,
"or you wouldn't have come here."
--Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The fourth season of Mad Men begins tonight, and the question remains, "Who is Don Draper?" The enigmatic main character is a study in contradictions; he's a family man and philanderer, he defends one colleague's alcoholism, but dismisses another for being gay, he's a savvy, ambitious executive and a reckless, tormented deserter. We know from the title sequence that Don Draper's carefully constructed reality verges on catastrophic collapse. From the first episode he is established as tightly wound, with dangerous secrets. As the stories unfold for each of the other characters, we realize Don is neither alone in his angst nor the only imposter.

"You are what you repeatedly do," a quote attributed to Aristotle, begins to describe the true nature of the characters within the world of Mad Men. The audience is privy to the infinitely interesting, strangely complex, secret lives and lies of Don and his family and co-workers; they are mysterious only to each other.

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