by: L.P. Hanners
This week’s episode of Mad Men analyzes “The Quality of Mercy”……
Don Draper is a phony. He was born in 1926 and christened Richard “Dick” Whitman. His childhood was extremely unhappy and his stepmother never let him forget for one minute he was the child of a whore. While serving in the Korean War Dick Whitman assumed the identity of a man that he was posted with at an isolated base, after that man was killed. This man’s name was Lieutenant Don Draper. Dick Whitman, now Don Draper, cut off all contact with his family and created a new life for himself. He, impressively, weaseled his way into a position at a top ad firm without any real credentials. His good looks and charisma got him in the door and his talent has taken him the rest of the way. He has built the new life he had always wanted on a foundation of an enormous lie – much like Bob Benson.
The big reveal in this week’s episode of Mad Men, entitled “The Quality of Mercy”, is that Bob Benson is not simply gay, but rather a man with no past, no name, and who is conning his way to the top. He does not have a Wharton degree, an important family, or a prestigious resume. Rather, he is simply a nobody from The Mountain State who has a shady history of disappearing from jobs, the most notable of which was working as a “man-servant” to a senior vice-president.
by: Michael Shields
Calculating the appropriate level of outrage to the recent NSA scandal isn’t as easy as it may seem….
I am having one of those confused moments with this National Security Agency (NSA) scandal, one of those moments where the assault of information has left me not exactly sure what to think – uncertain of the exact level of outrage appropriate. Initially, I was fuming. I could be found storming around my apartment, cursing at the television and vowing to disassociate myself from the “worst civil liberties administration of ALL TIME!” How could they be doing this? I was fired up. Demanding answers I hit the Internet to make some sense of the scandal. I had to know how bad this genuinely was, as on the surface it reeked something awful.
Longtime Across the Margin contributor Douglas Grant shares with us an excerpt from his latest novel – “Imaginary Lines“
Cover art by Chris Thompson
“The youth are the most vulnerable,” Eddie continued. “Find a boy and get sway over him, often with the promise of cash, and you can mold him into whatever you want him to be. Those with very little to lose who see opportunity are easy to manipulate. Men like you and me will never know what horrible acts we’re truly capable of. But the boys poised to become men in Mexico are discovering these things about themselves every day.”
Eddie paused, and Kyle wondered if he was finished. When the pause lingered, Kyle spoke up. “But we’re talking about Mauricio. He’s not in Mexico. He’s here in California trying to earn an honest day’s pay.”
by: L.P. Hanners
In an episode full of poignant outings the biggest bombshell lands directly upon young Sally Draper…..
There is a saying in this world, a very popular one at that, which goes, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” It’s all about receiving in return for what you give to others. Yet, there is a school of thought that believes the joy is actually in the giving, that it is far better to give than to receive – for when we give without expecting anything in return we have done something good. This school of thought, we learned in this week’s episode entitled “Favors”, has no place whatsoever within the Mad Men universe; an episode where all “righteous” acts are performed selfishly, solely with the thought of what could be garnered in return.
by: Chris Thompson
The dripping of waters and the pouring of rains, what power it wields when it never fades…..
The rains were perpetual. Infinite. An unwelcome visitor that came at you with jarring fists and a thundering roar. Only the fists weren’t hands, they were dense, swollen droplets that harassed you from above, drenching your frame in endless barrages of tepid moisture. Its saturating presence tugging at your limbs and toying with your mind, weighing you down as you hacked your way blindly through the dense, sweltering jungle. Such was the nature of Dawn, a hazy-blue moon orbiting lazily above a swollen gas giant, and all who made planetfall felt its watery sting.
To set foot upon Dawn was to realize that the rains weren’t alone in their persecution, for the jungle was alive as well. Its dull, pulpy vegetation writhing like a fistfull of snakes as it propagated amidst the endless showers of slanting rain. From every direction snaked dense cordons of bruised-looking tendrils, flitting treacherously between your feet and harassing you as you trekked. One had to be mindful of where they stepped on Dawn, for the jungle creepers quickly grabbed hold, overwhelming anything that paused long enough for them to take notice.
by: Michael Shields
The television industry hastily responds to Game of Thrones SHOCKING “Red Wedding”……
In an urgent reaction to the Game of Thrones episode that fans are referring to as “The Red Wedding”, executives and showrunners at top networks are scrambling to adapt, and benefit from, the buzz and fanfare generated from the shocking, and bloody climactic scene. In the episode entitled “The Rains of Castamere,” three beloved family members were surprisingly murdered at a wedding in horrific fashion. This week’s gut-wrenching episode thrilled long-time fans of the franchise (and book-readers) who have been eagerly awaiting this moment for three seasons. For those who had yet to read the books, or understand the causal nature of life and death in the series, “The Rains of Castamere” left viewers stunned and appalled, sending shock-waves resonating throughout the internet for days. The episode corralled 5.2 million viewers, and just may have changed television forever.
Vince Gilligan, the creator, producer, and writer of Breaking Bad, which airs its final season this August, has re-assembled the cast for some “re-shoots” after the events of this past Sunday. In an interview, which took place as Vince was sprinting to the writers boardroom, Vince responded to questions about “The Red Wedding”, generously offering that he originally “planned to pick the lead characters off one by one” as the series came to its conclusion, “but now they’re all going out in one giant blaze of glory. We’re even gonna try to hire that Walder Frey guy, what a sick-o!”
by: Heather Fawn
We are all drowning in a sea of memes, links, and pet pics…..and it is high-time we all learn how to swim….
Everybody is a little bit right, and a little bit wrong.
I’ll admit it – even I can be wrong sometimes. But the internet, as much as I am on it, really highlights this point, and the overwhelming amount of “isms” I have seen lately has become difficult to simply ignore. When it comes to the sheer volume of sexist and materialistic content online, I don’t always feel comfortable sitting idly by. Since I was 14, the internet has been a kind of surrogate friend to me. But I am not immune to the fact that it can be a tool used to spread dysfunctional ideas and half-baked “super truths”.
Posted on June 5, 2013
by: L.P. Hanners
Fierce rivalries reach a tipping point in a ‘Tale of Two Cities’……
Mad Men has finally taken its foot off the gas some, examining the power struggles we deal with in life, and the concessions we are forced to make due to them. In an episode entitled ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ we learned once again how hard is can be to go from A to B sometimes, or more aptly put – from SCDPCGC to SC & Partners…….
‘A Tale of Two Cities’ focused on fierce rivalries: DNC protesters vs. the establishment, East Coast vs. West Coast, Ginsberg vs. The Man, business vs. politics, and Joan vs. Pete. The episode begins with a shot of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, the city calm on the evening before the riots occurred, alluding to one of the central themes of this season: impending doom. As the riots begin, and are interlaced with the escalating struggles within the office, it is clear that the violent tension occurring outside the office is a higher-stakes version of what’s happening within.
By: Tom Rau
The future of currency has arrived, but are we ready to set our paper money to flames?
Jon is a computer programmer, a self-proclaimed brogrammer. Jon is plugged into the machine. The machine was plugged into Tor. Tor is world behind a world behind a world; the man behind the man in the mirror. Jon bought 1000 Bitcoins, the cryptocurrency that changed the world, when they cost fifty cents. Jon could see the future. Now Jon is another millionaire plugged into the machine. He’s been sitting in his basement going on 290 hours, frizzled, fried, and frayed. Jon is locked the fuck in to the future.
We are all connected. We’ve always been connected. We’re all part of the same thing, made of the same shit. Throughout time as we’ve evolved we’ve traveled further and further away from our roots and lost touch of much of our connectedness. But like all things, eventually we circle back to the beginning. Through technology, we have rebuilt the connection. It might short out, hell, it might not even be real. But real or not, we are all connected again. Our brains, our bodies, our hearts, our voice, our souls, and our pocketbooks are all connected to that crazy motherfucking thing we called the internet. We live in The Matrix. It’s a lot cheaper than Manhattan.
by: Michael Shields
Often all it takes is a little push, to do what you know you must….
The paralyzing roar of the room encompassed my entire body. The laughter, the overzealous opinions spit from inebriated tongues, and the mindless carousing banter carelessly harmonized with the droning rock pounding out of the jukebox. Dense morsels of noise composing an overwhelming pulsating buzz, which magnified my heightening anxiety.
What am I doing? I wondered aloud. Time was precious, and without wasting another moment I hastily emptied the quarter inch of whiskey in front of me and slammed the empty glass back upon the weathered oak bar. I whisked my black leather jacket from the back of my chair and threw it on as I aggressively pushed through the crowd towards the front door, the brown fire water working its way down into my stomach, igniting all my senses, and furthering my resolve.