Blogging Again!

Now that I’m writing my dissertation full-time, I’m feeling the blogging itch once again. I’m working from home these days and am hoping to use the blog to work through some of the my dissertation writing, and to share interesting/humorous things I come across in my research.

I’ll also write about TV, so you can look forward to Mad Men recaps starting in early April when the show comes back for the final season, my thoughts on Girls, The Mindy Project, and whatever else seems worthy of extended thought and conversation.

Enjoy Mom & Sara and whoever else is reading:)

Unlucky at Entertaining: [Mad Men, Season 4, Episodes 7 & 8]

These past two weeks of Mad Men have been incredibly satisfying for me… they seem to prove my own assertion (in this blog) that the series is articulating Peggy and Don as parallel characters.

Who is Peggy Olsen?: Last week, Peggy and Don spent the night together at the offices of SCDP. Peggy chose Don and the Samsonite account over birthday dinner with her smarmy boyfriend and her family. I loved the way she handled herself on the phone, the way that she seemed to mourning not the loss of her boyfriend (whatshisname?), but the loss of what he represented for her: everything she is supposed to want out of life– a husband, a house in the suburbs, a couple of blonde kids. Peggy represents the paradigm of the working girl, and all of the contradictions she must encapsulate. Peggy’s resolve that this is what she wants to do has to be strengthened by the presence of Dr. Faye Smith, a woman with a career who is well-respected by both men and women. Note, that this feeling of respect does not extend to her name… she is referred to as ‘Dr. Faye,’ never ‘Dr. Smith’… I suppose in 1965, you have to choose your battles.

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first things first

This blog is a resolution for a new year. In this new year, I will supplement my graduate work with this blog… ideally, this forum will be a space of critique that is refreshingly non-academic. That is, at least, the plan.

I’ve called this blog “a keen vision,” not because I presume that that is what I can offer you, but in homage to a line by George Eliot (Marian Evans to her friends), in her masterpiece, Middlemarch.

Eliot writes,

If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well waddled with stupidity. (Eliot 181)

Eliot would probably say this passage is about the difficulty of understanding or sympathy. Middlemarch is a book all about misunderstanding… about how difficult it is to actually know what another person (even a person you love) is thinking about. Most of the time, we are too consumed with our own baggage to really allow ourselves to think about what is weighing down a friend.

Eliot posits ‘a keen vision’ as the ideal that we strive for but can never fully achieve. If we were to truly see and feel all ordinary human life, she says we would die. The strain would be too much, and we would (in that Eliot way) dramatically crumple under the strain of ‘the roar.’

The great part about an ideal is that it’s meant to be strived for but not achieved. This blog is my attempt at such a striving.

– e.a.