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On Don Draper

A Man's Man: Don Draper

A Man’s Man: Don Draper

After watching the entire first five seasons of Mad Men in two weeks I  realized that I fucking hate Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and that despite all the talk about how cool and suave he is, I have found him to be nothing but a philandering, obnoxious, selfish, disloyal, sexist, unpleasant asshole incapable of love.

He is handsome. He is sexy. He is a panty creamer. Absolutely. But that is were the fascination ends.

Let’s recap Draper: he cheated on his first wife Betty (January Jones) at every opportunity and when he got caught he only apologized because he did not want to mess up his perfect little white picket-fence life with the good, gorgeous and dutiful wife and the model kids by his side (and not because he really regretted what he had done).  As a matter of fact, he kept cheating on her while he was temporarily moved out and supposedly regretting what he did and he continued to sleep around when she forgave him.

After she eventually found out about him and his secret past and his affairs, he threatened her and called her a whore. When she had gained weight due to emotional problems and a health condition, he called her a fat whore.

He uses people and treats them, especially women, with the same care as the cum stained tissues amidst his luxury satin sheets. For years he took advantage of and disrespected Peggy (Elizabeth Moss), talking down on her and letting her do all the work while taking the credit for it, including awards. Despite her stellar work he  pays her a fraction of what he pays his other, mostly untalented, male copy writers; she landed them account after account and when she asked for a raise or at least recognition he reached for his pocket, threw a handful of dollar bills in her face, literally, and patronizingly told her that she would go to Paris after all. He never apologized to her and on the same day he threw a wad of money at her face like she was a whore, he made Joan (Christina Hendricks) partner after having her sleep with the head of the Jaguar account

He is a lousy father to his three children whom he treats like puppys in a pound he occasionally agrees to take for a walk and he is never there while their mother dearest goes psycho on them.

After all the quality women he has met so far, he chooses to make his sweet-brained secretary Megan (Jessica Pare) his wife whom he pretends he is totally in love with (as if he could) and who of course gets billing before Peggy at his firm for the sole reason that she is pretty and fucking him.

Yes, the 50s Sucked for Everyone Who Wasn’t a White, Straight, Male

This is what the culture was like in the 50s and 60s. I understand. However, it seems as if the admiration for the magnetic, charming sexist, straight, white, racist homophobe Playboy was not just confined to that era.

A Hard Drinker - err Thinker too

A Hard Drinker – err Thinker too

Don Draper today is a source of fascination and admiration in our pop culture. Ask Men asked why people want to be like Draper.  The answer was evident: he is, after all, a real “man” because he is so unlike the chronically unmotivated, sexually clumsy, socially inept, economically immobile, and childish boys in most of today’s movies such as Knocked up and The 40 Year Old Virgin; movies filled with “men” who are really boys and obsessed with fast food, video games and bodily functions.

As if there were only two kinds of men: the chic, suave, handsome selfish assholes like Draper who treat getting married or being a father like it’s doing someone else a favor, or the Seth Rogen, stoned-all-day slacker with no motivation or checking account. Uh-huh.

A Man’s Man

AskMen praises Draper’s “masterful manhood” and most importantly his professional and upward mobility above all, because god knows upward mobility and “the accumulation of wealth” as someone once told me after I asked them what they wanted out of life, are the things that truly matter in this country and define one’s manhood. 

It doesn’t surprise me that despite all his other very serious character flaws such as his infidelity, his disloyalty, his lack of compassion, his misogyny and cowardice the one thing people know him and admire him the most for is the fact that he is good with hot women and upwardly mobile. Nevermind that he regularly fires people for things that are his fault or things that he does himself but judges others for.  Or that he fired a gay employee because he did not want to sleep with a client, or when he made his secretary and long term friend sleep with a client to get the account, and when he drove a business partner and close friend to suicide by refusing to give him a break after that friend had a temporary laps in judgment.  Nope, that is no big deal. As long as he is sexy and rich doing it, it’s endearing. 

The only things he is criticized for are his chain smoking, his alcoholism and generally unhealthy vices. He is rarely, if ever, criticized for his deep misogyny and just the shitty way he treats people in life. Ironically, his wife Betty is considered the least popular character on the show while Don the most popular, even though he is the philandering asshole.

A Woman’s Man

As AskMen put it “even those who consider themselves died-in-the-wool feminists — admitted that Don Draper represents just about everything they want in a man: not only is he tall, dark and handsome, but he is commanding, enterprising and always — always — in control. When we have, on occasion, pointed out to these same women that he is inwardly unavailable, hopelessly uncommunicative and serially unfaithful, many of them have conceded that, as one friend put it, “he would probably make a lousy husband and a bad dad in real life.”

Umm…no. I don’t know who all those legions of feminists are that AskMen is referencing here but no feminist would find a manipulative, abusive man like this “everything they want in a man.” In fact, I doubt that any woman with an ounce of self respect and aversion to abuse would want a man like Don Draper in their lives.

Aside from his aforementioned blatant and obvious misogynistic and cruel ways (qualities I cannot imagine many people finding attractive or enticing), Don Draper – as a partner – a husband – insistently wants his women to be someone that they manifestly aren’t, which is classic emotional abuse dynamic. Draper does not respect his partner’s agency and consent and he is someone who continually asserts to know their partner’s needs and desires better than themselves. Thing is, someone who is emotionally manipulative, sexually coercive, and conditionally affectionate will never just be okay with accepting their partner’s feelings for what they are, or respecting their boundaries.

When you watch Don Draper interact with women – his lovers, girlfriends and wives – what you really see is a horror scene, set to romantic music.

So, when AskMen asserts that Don Draper is what women really want, especially feminist women I a) highly doubt that the editors over there at AskMen know diddly about what either women want or what constitutes feminists and b) I am horrified that there are young men, lots of young men (and even women) watching this show and then reading articles like this thinking that this is what women want, that this is what women should want and that this is how men should behave because… this is what women (allegedly) want.

They walk around thinking that these kind of relationship dynamics are the norm, healthy and desirable. That if you are a man and you act like this, you are cool  – and that if you are a woman accepting a man acting like this, you are romantic, when in reality Don Draper and his behavior isn’t a model for romance. It’s a blueprint for abuse.

It is certainly not what woman want. Or what women who want to be in emotionally healthy relationships with men who respect their agency and boundaries, should want.

It is ironic that the editors at AskMen agree with one of the male copywriters in the show who once told Draper that women basically just want a man and that they’ll buy anything that’ll help them get a man

Apparently assholishness is very complicated

Apparently assholishness is very complicated

Of course AskMen portrays Draper as the kind of guy not only all women want, whether they know it or not, but also as the kind of man most men wish they could be. You know, being “able to drink and smoke with abandon, womanize with impunity, […] rule over everyone while being ruled by no one [despite being] an alcoholic, a chain-smoker and a depressive introvert.”

Note again, that nowhere are Draper’s misogyny, lack of compassion and bigotry mentioned as character flaws.  Apparently in the world of Men, that is a non-issue.

So Why Does Everyone Want to Be Don Draper? 

Because in essence not much has changed from the 1950s/60s with respect to the patriarchy and how our culture sees the two genders. I bet a lot of men watch this wishing things were that way again.

It is not surprising. After all, we live in a culture that considers “men” who are self-reliant, shrewdly ambitious, emotionally inaccessible and philandering misogynists to be the ultimate hallmark of masculinity.

draper 4

The article laments manhood and white, male privilege of the 50s as a lost opportunity; a fall from greatness that still somehow appears to linger in the hearts and minds of men today who look at it fondly exclaiming that “if only things hadn’t changeda man could still be a man“.

Ah, the 50s and 60s – the decades where men could be men instead of human beings who are no better, or less, than any other human being around them, male or female, black or white, straight or queer, thin or fat, handsome or ugly.

Progressive Masculinity

That is, of course, a very outdated and primitive notion of what constitutes masculinity. Or is it?

The patriarchy teaches young men, even today, that anger is safe and manly. Hurt equals weakness. If anyone questions your masculinity you must fight. Be assertive, be in control. Only a sissy pussy is not in control and so forth.

Don Draper is the opposite of that and according to AskMen, those are the hallmarks of not only real masculinity but also success, attractiveness and sex appeal.

The brilliance of the show is that no matter how redeemable Don Draper is made out to be and no matter how much sensitivity and vulnerability he is shown to possess, at heart he is a sexist and a bigot and overall terrible human being who does not believe that women (and gays and blacks) are deserving of and entitled to the same rights as men. He does not see them as equals, no matter how much he may ultimately care for one of them on the personal level – such as Peggy or even his own daughter Sally.

His misogyny is so rooted in him, such a fundamental part of his core, that he cannot part from it. And the writers don’t try to. They do not try to all of a sudden make him an advocate for equal rights or an enlightened man who really  stops to check his immense white, male, straight privilege.

For Draper, women being nothing but child bearers, sexual conquests, housewives and neat accessories at parties to show off are a given that will never change.

The fact that our pop culture of today looks at someone like Draper and laments his greatness and masculinity that somehow seems to be amiss amidst all the equal rights mumbo jumbo, says a lot more about how far we have come (or not come) in that area rather than how bad things used to be.

When people look at a black man like Obama running this country and yell “we want our country back“, Don Draper and the world of Leave it to Beaver and housewives like June Cleaver are what they are referring to. That’s the America they want back. The America that was great for no one but straight, white men; for the Don Drapers of the world.

The truth is that the masculinity of men in the 50s and 60s and thus of Don Draper  – much like the masculinity of men today – is a mask; a facade hiding a person deeply out of touch with who he is on the inside.

It is also a mask that allows them to navigate the world unhindered and thus without ever having to question the status quo. After all, why would you question a world that is so perfectly suited to and tailored towards your needs as a straight, white man?

draper 6

On a personal level, feelings and emotions are tools that help you deal with life and when you constrict them the results are people like Don Draper in the 60s and a culture that considers everything Draper stands for, some 5o years after he stood for them,  as the gold standard of masculinity and success ultimately.

Mad Men is a brilliant show and I thoroughly enjoy it, but the hype about Don Draper is just that. He is nothing but a pretty face in a nice suit attached to a big dick.

I enjoy following his journey but boy, I can’t stand the guy. Especially after he got married to his office bimbo and penile-equivalent Megan – whom they are trying to pass up as a really interesting person – I lost whatever little hope I had that there may be a worthwhile human being behind that spineless, quivering soul of his.

In Mad Men, Draper is portrayed as a complicated man. Even Hamm, in his recent Rolling Stone interview, admits that Draper is a “complicated man”. Someone lost in the woods, halfway through the journey of his life, who ends up exploring hell. Only that Draper is not that complicated man going through hell.  Unlike Dante, Draper is part “The Inferno” – including, and especially, his fucked up sense of masculinity which – more than anything – is the source of his ruin and distorted sense of self,  rather than its consequence.

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Kim Kardashian Defends her Fame-Whoring As Hard Work. Proves Jon Hamm Right Five Minutes Later

Jon Hamm, in a recent interview with ELLE UK, slammed Kim Kuntrashian’s ass harder than Ray J when he said that “Whether it’s Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian or whoever, stupidity is certainly celebrated […] Being a fucking idiot is a valuable commodity in this culture because you’re rewarded significantly.” He went on to say that “Incuriousness has become cool… It’s celebrated. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Hamm’s statement, while harsh,  hits the nail right on the head. Just a few months ago, Kuntrashian was given 17 million dollars for faking a for-profit 72 day marriage and everything she has been doing since that sex video of hers that accidentally on purpose hit the ether, has been as a result of the moronic vacuousness she’s been spreading and celebrating.

She and her sisters will do whatever it takes to stay in the limelight. As long as Kim can selfishly profit from her celebrity status, nothing is sacred. Be it her vaginal opening and labia we all got to see when she made the sex tape that shot her to fame, or her sister schlepping the camera team to her gynecologist when she had a pelvic exam, or even when they took the camera crew to the cemetery where her father is buried; nothing is sacred for these bitches.

With these kinds of stunts, as well as aligning herself with brands and products to promote,  Kim K has made millions. She has no talent, no education, no brains and contributes nothing even remotely worthwhile to the world she inhabits. She is a parasite at best and Hamm was right with his comments about her idiocy getting unduly rewarded.

Khloe Kuntrashian getting a pelvic exam with half the E! film crew in tow.

But Hamm is not the only who has come out against cultural vulchers such as Kardassian. In November, actor Daniel Craig also referred to the Kardashians as “fuckking idiots” when expressing his distaste for reality television to British GQ. Likewise, actor Jonah Hill told The Huffington Post in December, “The fact that the Kardashians could be more popular than a show like ‘Mad Men’ is disgusting. It’s super disgusting to be a part of that culture.”

Hearing her name in the news and immediately thinking about another publicity stunt she can squeeze out of this, Kim tweeted this today in response to Hamm’s remarks:

I just heard about the comment Jon Hamm made about me in an interview. I respect Jon and I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that not everyone takes the same path in life. We’re all working hard and we all have to respect one another. Calling someone who runs their own businesses, is a part of a successful TV show, produces, writes, designs, and creates, ‘stupid,’ is in my opinion careless

Fame Whoring is hard Work

Kim K is right, it takes  cleverness and ambition to get someone to pay you millions of dollars for things like getting your hair and make up done, shopping, being photographed and attending award shows while promoting everything that pays you a dime. But isn’t it taking a little too far to state that she owns her own business? Yes, she is the highest grossing cash cow in the Karadashian whore ranch, but Mama Kris runs the show and she determines the rates.

And if I am correct, before becoming “famous” for being a pissed-on whore she had her daddy give her money so she can open her own boutique.

And ripping off the designs of others does not make you a “designer” either, just as executive producing a reality show that ran for 8 episodes  doesn’t make you a producer.

The only thing Kim has ever created, besides superficiality and greed, someone else paid for and no, having your publicist write your blog entries that consist of you promoting something or giving make up tips does not make you a writer either bimbette.

Jon Hamm is On to Something

The irony, of course, is that five minutes after politely slapping Hamm over Twitter for calling her a fucking idiot that promotes an idiot culture, she posted pouty pictures of herself in a blonde wig, wondering how’d she look like with blonde hair and then went on posting some more pics of her barely clothed and with blonde hair, wondering the same question for the remainder of the day.

So is Hamm really that far off? You have to look at the bigger picture here, as there is a broader canvas that Hamm was referencing. I mean, we live in a culture where a man who runs for president and actually wins a few primaries holds the notion that wanting our citizens to be educated and to go to college makes a person “a snob” who’s trying to “indoctrinate you” and telling you how to live your life. One in which the Vice Presidential running mate believes that you can see Russia from your backyard and who is so devoid of ideas and core principles (i.e. doesn’t know what she’s talking about) that she has to write notes on her hand to remind her of what she actually should be saying during a public address.

We live in a culture in which 52 percent of  Mississippi Republicans believe that the President of the United States is a Muslim. Where we pretend that a warlord on the African continent can be taken down by liking a movie on Facebook.

One in which nearly 80 percent (!) of the population believes in Creationism, which is the notion that god created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years and where 70 percent believe that a  presidential candidate’s views on evolution are not really relevant and therefore should not be discussed as part of the campaign (but where nearly 80% believe that their religious beliefs, on the other hand, are relevant and should be discussed as part of the campaign).

We live in a culture in which over 50 percent of Americans, that is half the population, believe that god created man exactly how the Bible describes it (Source: Gallup)

And Kim Kardashian exists in this country, within this very culture. Her political counterpart Sarah Palin gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for spreading misinformation. And Kim gets paid millions to be on TV and talk about how itchy her Botox makes her and her sister’s rate of sexual intercourse with her husband and how well he is endowed.

Of course Hamm is not suggesting that the above mentioned is Kardashian’s fault. And she does contribute to charity (which also makes for a nice tax write off, but that’s another story). But a woman who’s made millions making a sex tape where someone peed on her face, and who thinks that “the worst thing on the planet” is wearing the wrong foundation and whose life consists of giving make up tips, partying and injecting Botox at the age of 29 (thus also setting a horrible example for teens following her), is not someone who is contributing to raise the collective IQ of the nation.

She is the quintessential product of  the stupidity-rewarding, greed-promoting and moronic Jersey Shore culture of this nation.

So, memo to Kim: when you are famous for being a pissed on whore with perfect foundation, you really should be happy that you continue to get a paycheck and not tweet challenge someone who actually does have an ounce of brain and then prove his point by Tweeting a picture of yourself doing exactly what he accused you of being.

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