Open Levinson

Paul Levinson's Open Salon Blog

Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson
New York City, New York, USA
March 25
Fordham University
Paul Levinson's The Silk Code won the 2000 Locus Award for Best First Novel. He has since published Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003), The Plot To Save Socrates (2006), Unburning Alexandria (2013), and Chronica (2014) - the last three known as the "Sierra Waters trilogy". His science fiction and mystery short stories have been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, Edgar, and Sturgeon Awards. His eight nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), New New Media (2009, 2013) have been the subject of major articles in the New York Times, Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, and have been translated into twelve languages. Paul Levinson has appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" (Fox News), "The CBS Evening News," the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” (PBS), “Nightline” (ABC), and numerous national and international TV and radio programs. His 1972 album, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was re-issued in 2010. He reviews the best of television in his blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009. Paul Levinson is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City


APRIL 30, 2012 1:32AM

Mad Men 5.7: People of High Degree

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Well, Megan's father certainly has one, formally - as we find out in Mad Men 5.7, he has a PhD - but as for his humanity, and most of the rest of the characters, we get another stellar performance to the contrary, in this fine, feisty episode.

Back on the "beans, beans, the musical fruit" front, Megan comes up with a great idea for pain-in-the-ass Heinz: a commercial that will show families eating Heinz throughout the ages, from the prehistoric times to the present and on to the Moon in the future.   It's a sad note, to my eyes - that the Moon was still a symbol of the future in the 1960s - and the client loves it.   Megan, actually, is a person of high degree, as Don is beginning to more fully realize.

So is Peggy, who truly congratulates Megan, even after Peggy failing with Heinz as we saw previously.  And so is Joan - which we already knew - who congratulates Peggy after Abe asks her to "shack up" with him, a little less of a proposal than Peggy was hoping for after Abe had invited her to a special dinner just the two of them.  But as Joan wisely says, this does show how much Abe cares about Peggy.

Not so Peggy's mother, one of the most horrible characters in the series, who walks out on dinner with Peggy and Abe after they tell her the news, and then lectures Peggy on Abe's using her.  Peggy has struggled with her mother most of her life.   And in one of the best scenes in a night of excellent scenes, Peggy asks her mother if she wants her to be lonely.   Peggy's mother answers: if you don't want to be lonely, get a cat.  (This, I guess, being the embittered in love equivalent of if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.)

Sally has a good night - Don let's her accompany Megan and her parents and Roger to the award ceremony (which Don is receiving for his anti-smoking screed) - until the end of the evening, which I'll get to in a moment.   At the ceremony, Megan's father expresses his disappointment in her - not a very nice father  - while her mother, aware of her husband's transgressions, winds up in a back room pleasuring suave Roger.   This is what Sally sees at the end of the evening.   It's been quite a year for her along these lines, having seen Megan somewhat naked in bed in the morning earlier this season.

But in many ways the worst blow is taken by Don, who finds out near the end of the evening that the people at the awards ceremony - people whom Don sees as potential clients - really hate him for his anti-smoking declaration, because it showed that Don could turn turncoat on a client.  It's an apt lesson in a show about selling, and resonates with Matthew Weiner's work on The Sopranos, where anyone who was applauding you could just as likely be enemy as friend .   Not likely to be the case, though, with fans of Mad Men, including me.

See also Mad Men Season 5 Debut: It's Don's Party  ... Mad Men 5.3: Heinz Is On My Side ... Mad Men 5.4: Volunteer, Dream, Trust ... Mad Men 5.5: Ben Hargrove ... Mad Men 5.6: LSD Orange

And from Season 4: Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..."  4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists" ... 4.10: Grim Tidings ... 4.11: "Look at that Punim" ... 4.12: No Smoking!  ... Mad Men Season 4 Finale: Don and -

And from Season 3: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through

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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

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