Mad Men is like Moby Dick? Really. More like "Don Draper IS the Great White Dick."

Comment on article by Ron Ben Tovim comparing Mad Men to Moby Dick and Don Draper to Ishmael…

(As my late father would have said: “But why does it have to be a Jew? Don’t we have enough problems without assholes like this passing off dreck as if it were actual thought?”) 
Really? To paraphrase Mr Tovim's quotes from the show about the ad agency drones peeking at the Rothko:(shameful disclosure -- I played in the creative dept of a major ad agency in the early 60's and there were still plenty of the 50's hyper-Protestant Christ-in-concrete types around, a la Madmen)
"Is this a joke trying to get us to pretend it makes sense?"
He's got it backwards -- it goes the other way -- Moby Dick is the matrix for the American obsession, what has been and still is any and all things that fit into what is called "The purpose-driven life."

Jews weren't a threat. Advertising was the preserve of the great Protestant power elite, handmaidens to industrialist "We built America, so we own it" types.
They let a few in -- like Allen Ginsberg -- because he could actually think creatively, and was tolerated -- like others -- as long as the Jew's horns weren't too obvious.

(I actually know of one man -- a very talented copywriter, unemployed because of an account change, who, for a joke during his out-of-work weeks, glued some faun's horns onto his forehead -- and went for an interview at a major agency in New York with them still on, and GOT HIRED. His wife made him take them off before he started work, and the first thing the Creative Director said to him when he showed up as: "Where are your horns?" and it was obvious he'd told everyone at the agency "He has horns but just be cool.")
Not a lot of people have ever read all of Moby Dick, let alone all of Melville's works (Moby Dick just about destroyed his career). He had a seriously keen sense of humor that was well ahead of his times (if you haven't read The Confidence Man, do so -- it's a delight -- spoiler alert: the title character is God.)
Or as Melville had Ishmael say (Ishmael really was the Poorboy at the Party, more an observer than a participant, when watching the heavily tattooed Queeqeg doing a religious ritual):
"I cherish the greatest respect towards everybody's religious obligations, never mind how comical,and could not find it in my heart to undervalue even a congregation of ants worshiping a toad-stool...
Then Melville goes on, no longer commenting on Q's very unfamiliar religious practices, but now commenting on what he saw as the odious evangelical aspect of New England Protestantism for which he had no love:
" Now, as I before hinted, I have no objection to any person's religion,be it what it may, so long as that person does not kill or insult any other person, because that other person doesn't believe it also.
But when a man's religion becomes really frantic; when it is a positive torment to him; and, in fine, makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in; then I think it high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him."
To put more of a fine point on it, Melville tipped his mitt with this statement, at another time:
Truth is the silliest thing under the sun. Try to get a living by the Truth and go to the Soup Societies. Heavens! Let any clergyman try to preach the Truth from its very stronghold, the pulpit, and they would ride him out of his church on his own pulpit bannister."

Or as the wonderfully odious John Wilmot, 2d Earl of Rochester said two centuries before, more simply:
"Any man who calls things by their rightful name will surely be hanged."
The character, Don Draper, is no special Ahab, pursuing the impossible, nor a somewhat innocent participant like Ishmael.

Draper is an odious self-justifying prick pursuing the most simple, stupid and basic easily-achieved goal -- wealth -- and willing to do what it takes (oh so ruefully) and claim it's not his fault when he destroys those who gets in his way.

Dexter is a more honest and admirable fictional character.



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