Monday, January 30, 2012

From Rod Dreher
  • Catholicism and politics. Dan McCarthy: Readers deserve fair warning: today I am not a very observant Catholic. To hear the media tell it, Catholicism has only two categories, devout and dissident. Actually there are a lot of people who fall into neither set... A little over a generation ago there were enclaves of Catholic thinking within liberalism and conservatism – certainly the conservative movement once had an influential Catholic component. Now there are enclaves of partisan liberalism and conservatism within Catholicism. On the right, a political ecumenism has been pursued in the name of fighting the culture war, and while it may be necessary in some degree, it has politicized and protestantized many Catholic conservatives.
  • Re-creating the Catholic ghetto.
  • Obama’s f*ck-you to the old Democrats, the immigrant working-class Catholics. People I like, such as the Reagan Democrats and John Murtha. More from Pat Buchanan.
  • What’s good and bad about ‘Mad Men’. I understand it’s starting again on March 25 and Matthew Weiner’s hinted it will end in two seasons, near the present.

    First the good:
    The reason I watch – and I assume this is the case for many other fans – is the aesthetic. Regardless of the moral degradation and heavy-handed critique of patriarchalism on display, we like to see depicted an age when ambition was still rewarded, when men and women regarded their public appearance seriously, when good music was still the order of the day, and when the American dream was still a dream within reason. In short, everyone likes a well-dressed man.

    IMHO it got good right around episode #6 when they finally stopped flogging the whole “aren’t we so much better now” meme.

    One reason I was initially drawn to “Mad Men” was the moral complexity of its characters. Nobody was all good or all bad – just like life.

    One thing I’ve appreciated about “Mad Men” is its exploration of the netherworld between ideals and reality.
    Like Dan McCarthy speaking for the Catholics who are neither hyper-devout nor lapsed. I like the traditional version of that. Like... a lot of people around 1960.

    But:

    I noticed of course that Don Draper doesn’t believe in much. ‘There’s an essential nihilism at the heart of the series.’ For all the good still in the culture then, the rot had set in so the self-destruction of the culture isn’t that surprising.

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