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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in the sopranos (3)


In Which We Have To Consider Why Shorty Always Wanna Be A Thug

East End Boys And West End Girls


"Men infantilize women and women tear each other down" - Tina Fey, 30 Rock

"I think you're overthinking this" - common response to my post on Boys' Clubs

Not all groups of men are Boys' Clubs. Boys' Clubs are groups of men that are misogynist and function in misogynist ways. Misogyny is hatred of women. Anything that depicts women as lesser (and strangely, sometimes as greater). Active misogyny involves denigrating women as a group through speech and practice, sexual harassment of all kinds, and contempt/overidealization of "Women" as an idea.

Passive misogyny (emosogyny) is underestimating and/or stereotyping women based on deeply ingrained cultural stereotypes and ignorance, and then getting defensive when you are called out because you do not consider yourself sexist and you do not like being wrong. The refusal to accept that you might ever be wrong is a big part of "Masculinity." It is called sticking to your guns, and it is what got us George W. Bush. 

Janeane Garofalo in the film in the Sopranos episode "D-Girl" where Chris goes to LA

Not all men are misogynists. Not all women are feminists. Men can be the biggest feminists (Alex Carnevale) and women can be the worst misogynists. The culture hates women (Hall Pass) because plenty of men do hate women. They hate women because they don't understand them. They don't understand women because they think they are different. "Good" women are untouchable and "Bad" women are disposable. They often hate women because they are fixated on the idea of women rejecting them sexually, and they project this perceived rejection onto every woman they meet. They think women and men are separate categories of human being. Separate is never equal. Misogynists run most of Hollywood. No lie. I'm not making this shit up. I wish I were! 

One of the best running jokes on The Sopranos was that every time Christopher Moltisanti went to Hollywood he would be horrified by how much worse it was than the Mafia. For some reason, he thought it would be different in a different Boys' Club (lol Chris, so did we). Hollywood, Wall Street, the music business. It's all pretty fucked.

Christopher was always the most sympathetic member of the crew, because he was aware of how sensitive he actually was (although he was constantly trying to repress this awareness). He attempted to channel this sensitivity into writing screenplays, which infuriated Tony because expressing your feelings is a betrayal of Omertà.

Because of the culture he grew up in Christopher never considered that he didn't actually have to join the Mafia at all. He believed he had no choice. He found it hard to kill somebody for the first time in the first season because everybody finds it hard to kill somebody the first time. It only becomes easier through repetition, and even then it never gets completely easy to murder other people, unless you are a sociopath.

Most people are not sociopaths, but "Masculinity" involves aspiring to be one. But most men are not gangsters. Not all men are capable of murder (and sometimes women are). Everyone has violent impulses, which is why women who have Postpartum often describe intense negative fantasies about hurting or killing their newborn babies.

"Excuse me, I'm a vice president! You fucking asshole!" - future Joan Holloway D-Girl 

It is not a tremendous reach to imagine that the kind of corrosive misogyny that dominates the Hollywood studio and agency Boys' Club atmospheres would reproduce itself in other extremely male-dominated corporate climates, particularly ones that run testosterone heavy. I respect aggression on the court, but not off the court (I respect Ron Artest much more than Kobe Bryant). Women are taught and told to suppress their anger and drive. Men are taught to rely too much on it. Intelligent women learn to channel that anger and drive (to do the black swan). Intelligent men learn to channel their anger into their work and leave it out of their relationship with/to women. 

Men who buy "Masculinity" believe there's a connection between channeling anger into your work and channeling it into the rest of your life. They don't understand compartmentalization. Jack Nicholson got trapped in being "Jack Nicholson" all the time and is having serious regrets at age 73. Robert DeNiro is by all accounts a very mild-mannered guy who channels his libido into his acting, into "Robert DeNiro."  

Kanye West is dealing with this on the public stage. All artists do, but now so does everyone who "exists" on the internet. You create/project the idealized image you want to see onscreen. Other people believe in this image, and you may start to believe that you are the same person offscreen. But make no mistake, it is different onscreen. Men who want to be Don Draper are buying the big lie that there is a Don Draper (that there is a James Bond). There is no Don Draper. There is only Dick Whitman. 

We all turn into Kirk Douglas at the Oscars eventually. That's the way love goes. :(

Let's use The Oscars as a microcosm of other rooms: The Kodak Theater auditorium was filled with a predominately white audience. White privilege is invisible, as is whiteness. White people tend to look at the room without immediately noticing that it is predominately white. They do not notice that it is white because a predominately white room seems "normal." Minorities appeared onscreen a few times, extremely briefly. An auditorium that accurately reflected the racial makeup of Los Angeles, the city where the Oscars take place, would be at least half Hispanic and also much more Asian and Black. That would seem "weird" in the context of the Oscars auditorium as we are used to it looking as of now, but it seems way fucking weirder that the room is still so incredibly white in 2011 particularly given the actual racial diversity of LA.

On November 16, 1972 Alfred Hitchcock was invited to a luncheon honoring Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel at director George Cukor’s house. From left, standing: Robert Mulligan, William Wyler, Cukor, Robert Wise, unknown, and Louis Malle. Seated: Billy Wilder, George Stevens, Buñuel, Hitchcock and Rouben Mamoulian.

The Best Director category was all men. Last year when Kathryn Bigelow was nominated and won, the other four nominees were still men. If there were two women nominated for Best Director, it would seem unusual. If there were three women and two men nominated, it would seem more unusual still. If there were five women nominated for Best Director, I don't know, the world would tip off its axis and spin into outer space.

Auteur Theory: all film directors must be Caucasian boy geniuses with father issues

That five white male directors is still automatically accepted as "normal" by both men and women is an example of how cultural stereotypes lead us to believe that unfair things must actually be fair, simply by virtue of tradition and continued existence. 

one of these guys has a serious drug problem but all five have a serious hair problem

"What if white men are just the best directors?" (- a troll) I am not saying those five guys are not all great directors, because I think they all are. I'm just saying the idea that five heterosexual white men in any room with a closed door, is suspicious in 2011. You can extend it to any field, to any room, to any socially exclusive club or profession. The Supreme Court. The Friars Club. The New York Times Book Review.

and you girls get the big important job of copying things on the new xerox machine!

"What if straight white men just happen to be the best directors/ surgeons/ judges/ chefs/ CEOs/ programmers/ musicians/ comedians/ DJs/ authors?" Sure there will always be some who are supernaturally talented, but always? All the time? Girl PLEASE. Most straight white men would not like to think too much about their privilege, because they would not like to think that they didn't deserve anything they have achieved, and they bring up their own weaknesses as proof. That is privilege denying. Unfortunately they are still in charge of a lot of shit that the rest of us want to do.

the world loves a tall handsome white guy but it also hates absolutely anything else

Straight white men have a special status in our culture that no other group has. And everyone else belongs to one of those other groups, and you're damn right we're aware of the privileges straight white men automatically receive in our society. The best straight white guys: Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, James Franco, use this privilege as a platform to ask why we are listening to them more than we listen to anyone else. 

Chris & Ade, a rare accurate depiction of the friendship between two people in love

Privilege is the absence of equality. The mainstream misogynist culture attacked Yoko Ono because John Lennon dared to suggest that she was an artist on the same level as himself, equally as important as he was in the world. That her ideas were just as if not more valuable than his. That his consciousness and practice were being expanded through collaborating with her, similar to (and building on) the way it had been expanded through his songwriting and friendship with Paul McCartney. Mainstream culture privileges bromance over romance because it privileges men over women. 

from the video for Bad Girl, part of David Fincher's indomitable Madonna trilogy

In the "Men Can Be Feminists" department, the films that were nominated this year were unusually feminist except perhaps Incpetion. Christopher Nolan cannot write women but also can't write human beings realistically. We can't discount Nolan entirely because of Ellen Page. In the "Hollywood Is Still Super Misogynist" department, despite making an incredibly high grossing film (Twilight) Catherine Hardwicke was not allowed a look at The Fighter script. She was told a man needed to direct it.

Black Swan was an aggressively feminist mainstream artwork (much like MIA's MAYA). "Women" and "Mainstream" are seen as incompatible by the misogynists that run Hollywood because the culture of "Women" is not mainstream, it is always secondary to the mainstream culture which is geared towards "Men." Television seems slightly more accepting of women than film because TV is the woman to film's man. The internet is accepting of women because the internet is a great space for queering media. 

Judd Apatow, after getting over his defensive anger at being accused of sexism, did the best thing possible by hiring Kristen Wiig to write Bridesmaids and producing a TV show with Lena Dunham. The next Woody Allen will not look anything like Woody Allen. She will probably look like Lena Dunham or Mindy Kaling or Liz Meriwether.

Black Swan got denigrated most often as Camp because Camp, like Women and Ballet movies, is not something to be taken as seriously as men and Westerns. That's why it's great that the Coen Brothers made True Grit a feminist Western, as if to demonstrate that the concepts of Feminist and Western are no more incompatible than the ideas of Feminism and Men. Raising Arizona is a feminist Western about fatherhood. 

The idea that any two ideas must be incompatible is the whole problem. That any dichotomy must be "vs." rather than "and." Binary oppositions are straw men. They are rarely actually in opposition. "I am large, I contain multitudes." Men AND Women. Good AND Bad. Virgin AND Whore. Loud AND Quiet. Peace AND Violence. Logic AND Feeling. Serious AND Funny. Eastern AND Western. High AND Low. New York AND Los Angeles. 

Molly Lambert is the Vice President of This Recording. Get your own goddamn coffee. She last wrote in these pages about Taylor Swift and Ernest Hemingway. You can find How To Be A Woman In Any Boys Club here and Speak Now here. She tumbls here and twitters here.

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"My Drive Thru" - N.E.R.D. ft. Santigold & Julian Casablancas (mp3)

"Under Cover of Darkness" - The Strokes (mp3)

"You're So Right" - The Strokes (mp3)


In Which It Feels The Same But Different Somehow



Boardwalk Empire

creator Terence Winter

The list of things that would never have existed without The Sopranos grows longer by the day. Mad Men, Ryan Gosling, the Brown University class "Middlemarch & The Sopranos," Michael Imperioli's career, 326 instances of James Gandolfini having sex with women, some of my fashion choices during 1998, and now Boardwalk Empire. People enjoy comparing these shows to novels, and since novels usually have terrible beginnings, we shouldn't be surprised that Terence Winter's version of the Roman myth begins slowly. As someone remarked, they should have just had a title card that said "Prohibition Begins."

Let's not let that discourage us from what appears to be an astonishing new show with a few severe but not unfixable problems. No one remembers that the first season of The Sopranos was a cartoonish melange compared to what followed. You usually need a season to work out the kinks in a concept, although Weeds only needed one season to completely ruin one.

Fictional depictions of historical life either adhere devoutly to realism or descend into wild fantasy. No one can take anything Chuck Bass says seriously anymore, but in contrast Boardwalk Empire seems fairly keen on not having anyone wear out his welcome. Many Gentiles struggled to tell the faces of the Italian foot soldiers apart in Winter's previous television effort, and there are no shortish of burly, mustachioed guys here. Al Capone looks more like a NJ extra than a crime lord on the come.

But no matter — you can always recast, or just kill people off, especially when one of those people is being played by Gretchen Mol. (Unfortunately for a lot of people, you can't kill off Al Capone.) The number one problem foreseen with Boardwalk Empire was whether audiences could tolerate Steve Buscemi's pasty face, and it's generally been concluded that he's at least competent in the role. Here's what I don't understand — other actors gain and lose weight for roles, and Joaquin Phoenix performs an accidental bj on Casey Affleck for the sake of his art, and yet Buscemi can't hit the tanning salon on the way to the set?

In The Sopranos Buscemi played a convict relation to Tony who returned to the family as an awkward accoutrement not long for this world. (They had smuggled his character's semen out of jail, and it became two twin boys. Remind you of anyone?) Here he is the most permanent fixture of life, a googly-eyed reproduction of a boss that is itself new enough to garner our attention. The fact that the real life Nucky Johnson more resembles James Gandolfini is a sad reminder that life is not usually as novel as it appears on television.

Does Boardwalk Empire attempt a simulacra of the period in which its action rests? Occasionally; but it is more insistent on a steampunk aesthetic that makes its denizens more like aliens than real folk. The show's real protagonist is Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), a up-and-coming thug who returned from the first World War lacking a healthy fear of death. His relationship with his wife is easily the highlight of the show so far, as she is the proto-New Jersey Jew and they get along in a funny way.

Sopranos production designer Bob Shaw creates a wonderworld of unlikely lighting and subtly changed interiors given the limitations of stage sets to represent entire whorls: Atlantic City, New York, and Chicago, the three centers of crime. When Buscemi's Nucky hits the boardwalk, it's more reminiscent of Disney's hotel than the actual degrading atmosphere of that troubled city, but let's face it, the bright and pastel fantasy is more interesting than the reality.

So it is with much of the milieu. When Boardwalk Empire gets historical, or tries to make fun jokes for tenured professors with unique portrayals of Lucky Luciano and gags about Arnold Rothstein fixing the 1919 World Series, it gets a little bogged down by its details, letting the background of the characters speak more loudly than their actions in the drama. Then again, part of the fun of The Sopranos was constant set-up with unexpected payoff — it was never too certain if your favorite hood was going to make it through another episode or become the next boss.

Deadwood experimented with the same time-shifting, and gradually morphed from hard-boiled western to a gaudy fantasy world of death. Boardwalk Empire is violent, but death and dying is not savored in a sadomachistic way. Wildness is celebrated, is cherished, as an expression of freedom. Once you start dating a call girl and gambling in the six figures every night (adjusted for inflation) a lot of joy is sucked out of things, a happiness that can only be regained by continuing to behave as if nothing else mattered. These are the feelings even a contemporary journey to Atlantic City invariably elicits.

Nucky rules the roost, taking kickbacks from every commissioner in his bureaucracy. Jimmy is his driver, and when he meets up with his mirror image in Chicago Al Capone, blood runs thick. Scorsese shoots the whole thing exactly the same way he would have in 1988, adjusting for inflation. Actually the Ray Liotta of 20 years ago would be a great add here. As in all Scorsese productions, the unattainable women are blondes and your sister and wife are brunettes.

The show is already better at creating convincing storylines for its women than its northern NJ cousin. It was genius to cast No Country for Old Men's Kelly MacDonald as a battered wife in Nucky's parish seduced by his power. Her inclusion was a master stroke; things will likely improve when they discard her immigrant accent and have her journaling about how much she loves Henry James. Her romantically-challenged storyline with Enoch has yet to be very convincing. No matter how many times they show Steve Buscemi pleasuring a woman, it never gets any easier to believe.

The rest is easy to fabricate, because our ideas of these times is already bound up in films like The Untouchables. (Mamet's influence on the dialogue is almost painful.) The way of speaking is neither too foreign or too modern, and the show takes advantage of the fact that modernity lurks 75 years in the future in Bill Gates' garage. Misunderstandings and isolated incidents affect life in unexpected ways. The freedom of doing whatever you want during a restrictive time in America is literally intoxicating.

Sometimes we forget how restrictive the society we live in now is. It's disappointing to live in a world where there is not more than an outside chance you will not be caught after committing a murder. The inherent chaos of perpetrating crime in this context creates a sprawling pastiche of action and character that is unlike even Boardwalk Empire's obvious progenitors.

Comparing any television show to a novel is an unserious analogy. No novel written in this period or any other had the luxury of so much action or such a spread of characters. Boardwalk Empire is more reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, an epic poem with many individual endings and stories.

Eventually the show will focus on who really possesses power — basically men in ballrooms stroking dogs — and will soon become a not-very-veiled attack on the indiscretions of the financial industry. All shows about criminals seek to prove that the taint of crime touches every sphere of life. It is tough to equate the actions of America's early entrepreneurs with offenses against the SEC. The first was the inevitable byproduct of the wild American economy, the second was the inevitable failure of a bureaucracy that was itself unregulated in a regulated industry.

In fact, there is a great danger in judging the past by the standards of the present. We live perpetually with the idea that this is the only age, but in reality the ancient Egyptians pursued the dream of flight and may have even constructed airplanes, the Indians of central America built massive suspension bridges, and indoor plumbing in Crete far predates the birth of Jesus. The tumultuous but vibrant life of another America is proof that these times look straight at their antecedents, not down at them. We have come not far at all.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He last wrote in these pages about the double life of James Tiptree Jr. He tumbls here and twitters here.

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"Don't Wake the Dead" - Guards (mp3)

"Crystal Truth" - Guards (mp3)

"Long Time" - Guards (mp3)

Time Has Been Kind To You My Friend


In Which There's No Use Crying Over Fish In The Sea

It Was A Confusing Time


Apart from the astonishingly disproportionate amount of attention it gets from the media, Mad Men isn't very popular. The show's ratings are worse than HBO's Hung or its AMC lead-in Rubicon, and dropped precipitously after the season premiere. The advertising industry itself is fond of saying that it markets to younger people, but while young people might do the buying, they don't do the watching. The people driving television ratings are the older crowd, and they don't like Mad Men.

The media loves Mad Men, and Hollywood loves Mad Men, but regular people don't like Mad Men. Despite its third consecutive Emmy for best drama, the show's audience has remained tiny in comparison to its inferior competition.

Although Mad Men is the best show on television, a fact that is not likely to change until Breaking Bad returns to the air, even the show's biggest fans can admit there are a lot of reasons not to like Mad Men. A few even seem to derive pleasure from speaking out against the show, as if not experiencing something were itself a badge of honor.

As we all know, exposure effect runs the world. In fact, social psychologist Robert Zajonc was doing his work on mere exposure effect during roughly the same period that Roger Sterling dumped his wife of thirty years. We not only are predisposed to like things that we've experienced, but if other people don't immediately share our view, there is trouble on the horizon. This line of sight runs both ways. We can barely stand to try to enjoy something that we are told we should enjoy. I know; I've tried to get my mother to read a particular novel for the last six months, and she can't even get past the first page. She also won't watch Mad Men. I should have told her it sucked.

Mad Men has a number of elements that make it incredibly unappealing to people of a certain generation. The first is that it's a lively caricature of a time period they already lived through, and the second is that it plays that time period entirely for laughs. In reality, the 1960s and 1970s wasn't all drinking in offices and waking up with your cleaning lady. It was a very scary time in American life for a lot of people, and reliving it must feel like it's happening all over again.

Older people don't want to hear catty jokes about how racist and sexist things were back then. Maybe they were a bit of both, come to think of it, but broadcasting it feels like an insult to the participants. On its own this could be overcome, because all period pieces bear more resemblance to the present than their own times. The more prevalent complaint that people offer about Mad Men is they don't find anybody on the show with which they can sympathize.

This is the least convincing of the world's slanders, primarily because people said similar things about The Sopranos. But in point of fact it is fairly hard to identify with characters on either show. It's no coincidence that the major relationship of both shows is a mentor-protege conflict. Peggy is really the protagonist of Mad Men, and it would be wrong to say that either Don or Tony Soprano is the antagonist, but in a very crucial way, they are the obstacle to the heroine getting what she wants.

Only, it was a little more obvious what Christopher Moltisanti wanted. He wanted Ben Kingsley for his movie Cleaver, and he wanted power, money, and even fame. Peggy just wants respect from her peers, equal treatment in business, and maybe a Clio. It's not a lot in comparison. And that's what we think she wants — we don't really know, and perhaps neither does she. She has dumped her sex-crazed boyfriend and seems willing to embark on a new adventure of some kind, but she is just as likely to castrate Pete Campbell and take the train back to Brooklyn as she is to come up with the Absolut Vodka campaign all by her lonesome.

Like many characters on both shows, we can't really say what we expect from them. It's gotten so bad that this misguided New York recapper insanely believes that Don and Peggy are about to embark on a sexual relationship. Believe me, that last thing Matthew Weiner wants to do to his protege is have sex with her.

We always knew what to expect from Tony Soprano, however, and that's how he became a hero in spite of himself. The Sopranos was one of the funniest comedies on television, because we usually knew exactly what Tony was thinking in every situation, and as such, his reactions — grimacing, snoring, rage — were their own mime show, the kind that you already know all the moves to, but you like anyway. We also have an easier time liking someone we're supposed to hate.

Don Draper replicates this utter sense of abandon; but because he is a mystery to himself, we don't know exactly why he's a piece of shit. There must be some reason every douchebag is one, but not everyone can be lucky enough to know it.

To new viewers of the show, Don must appear something like a hero, and no one wants to watch their hero drunkenly hit on every woman with a functioning vagina, and wake up with one named Doris. Don isn't a hero. He's not even nice, and he treats Peggy even worse than he treated his ex-wife. The only nice thing Don ever did was pay for a hooker that looked like Peggy for Lane Pryce, and that was more polite than genuinely good.

This makes it all more baffling that Jon Hamm's voice is being used to sell cars and insurance on radio and television. Clearly the advertising executives don't watch the show that is ostensibly about them, because if they did, they'd realize the voiceover is Satan's intonation. The most positive thing you can say about Dick Whitman is that he tells the truth when he's drunk.

So I can't blame people for not liking Mad Men. No work of art is intended for everyone, not even The Sopranos, the triumphant achievement of serial television from which Weiner's show takes so many of its tonal elements and characterizations. Besides being a period piece, Mad Men is a thinly veiled chronicle of how Matthew Weiner relates to the world. In brief, he mostly thinks we're his servants.

The culmination of four years of dealing with Don's garbage was last night's morality play, where the disease and poison of Don's own mental processes was reflected by mice, cockroaches, and the human vermin that is Duck Phillips. The late Mrs. Draper packs them all up in her Samsonite briefcase and takes off. The problem, as always, wasn't with the writing, although it took several unimaginative shortcuts to make the two closer — Don sobbing because he has to pay the mortgage for some Berkeley grad who wouldn't even give him an HJ, Peggy fishing for compliments about how 'pretty' she is (is that all this was about?) and Bert Cooper having no testicles.

The problem with having Don's protege relationship supplanting his love relationship is that while almost everyone has some kind of love relationship in their life except for Jennifer Aniston, not that many people can relate to the psychotic creative director-precocious protege relationship. And in fact, Peggy does a much worse job arguing her case than Don does his for treating her like his lapdog, making the conflict less than a battle of equals.

Peggy giving up her birthday dinner isn't the same as Don giving up his special time with Roger Sterling, whom he misses so much he plays cassette tapes of the man's voice. The mercurial Draper seems almost rational when he tells her that her time will come, avoiding the point completely; she won the Clio, not him. The work he stole from Roger's wife's cousin wasn't his either, it was just another drunken theft, the cure for the common being terrible at life.

It's fabulous that the new Don wants his door open, and that he shaved for the first time since his divorce. Congratulations. Jon Hamm gets to make out with Jessica Stein every night while Elisabeth Moss' ex-husband Fred Armisen has intercourse with every twenty-something in Park Slope. Peggy has to wake up in her own office with the Three Stooges when all she wants is to have Pete Campbell's baby inside her and the Popsicle account, and a fancy dinner where her mother isn't involved. (Really, she should probably be thankful she doesn't have to hear about Freddy Rumsen's arrowhead collection.)

When Mad Men attacks cliche, it usually does it in such an unusual way that you forget the basic storylines of Peggy's pregnancy, Don's infidelity, Joan's rapist doctor husband, and Betty's unfit mothering have been staples of daytime television since Susan Lucci was in diapers. In a way, it feels like this is the first time we're seeing these plots play out, and they take on a freshness other dramas can't approach. Don's Cassius Clay ad is now a terrible cliche itself, and let's face it, a million other agencies probably had the exact same idea that morning. But in his office, growing a slanted erection from the incidental touch of Peggy's hand on his own, it may as well be the face of the new sun.

This same sort of temporary enlightenment happened to Tony Soprano more than once. Each time he resolved to be a better man, it inevitably resulted in Carmela falling in love with Tony's imported henchman and Tony forgetting all about his resolution once he was crossed in any way. Don's not turning over a new leaf; his sickness may have been locked up in that eidolon's Samsonite briefcase, but his conscience carried it out the door and disappeared.

This season began with Don Draper's first fame, and he is now about to explode. If he takes Peggy along with him, it will probably allow us to enjoy the ride. Many people never watched The Sopranos while it aired, because they also felt they could not relate to its foreign milieu. This was their loss, and oh what a loss it was, like pretending Van Gogh wasn't painting or William Faulkner wasn't writing. No matter how many Emmys Mad Men wins, some people will stay away because of how little comfort the show offers us during a difficult time in American life. Matthew Weiner's show is no warm blanket, but taste is fickle, and nobody has to love every work of art, even when it's this good.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here and twitters here. He last wrote in these pages about Fairfield Porter and the New York school of poets.

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"Nobody Loves Me (Massive Attack remix)" - Portishead (mp3)

"Acid Jazz and Trip Op (remix)" - Portishead (mp3)

"You Find The Earth Boring" - Portishead (mp3)