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Slipping the bonds of Earth - The Ex-Communicator

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March 19th, 2009

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08:56 am - Slipping the bonds of Earth
This week's Mad Men (entitled 'Maidenform') was shot and paced quite like a horror film, although there was no overt horror. The shots panning through the insides of houses made you think that you would see something frightening, but you never did. Many of the characters stared at themselves in mirrors. Don saw himself reflected in his shallow lover, and so he left her tied to her bed and walked out - reminiscent of Gerald's Game. However, the bonds looked slippable.

Pete, who recently lost his father in a plane crash, is seducing a young woman in her apartment. Bizarrely her mother is sitting in the kitchen behind some screen doors, and he knows this, but he gets stuck in. The room appears to have no windows. It's like Eraserhead.

She puts the telly on, and there are pictures of bombers, and a strange announcer reading a poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr - a poet from Rugby, who fought in the Battle of Britain, and died in a mid-air collision at the age of 19. It's a flawed poem, it might seem mawkish but I think it's an interesting choice for this show. And he was a teenager when he wrote it.

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

ETA - try to get past 'laughter-silvered wings'

(8 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2009 09:06 am (UTC)
it might seem mawkish

It doesn't help with the mawkishness that it was quoted by one R. Reagan after the space shuttle exploded...
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2009 09:11 am (UTC)
Yes, king of mawk. Not the fault of the poor teenager who wrote it. And didn't Reagan say he had been a pilot, and it turned out he'd just played one in a film?
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)
I happen to like it!

I also enjoy Mad Men greatly despite the appalling sexism of the era.
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2009 09:21 am (UTC)
The way Peggy is trying to work with the sexism, trying to remake herself, is quite heart breaking. One thing I like about Mad men is how everything reflects and builds on everything else. Like slipping bonds seen visually, in the bedroom, and then heard in a poem on telly. Also Duck slippinghis dog off the leash, and losing the dog, and losing himself in alcohol. Just so many resonances and overlaps. I think it works on the viewer, even if you don't spot what is happening at the time.
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2009 09:25 am (UTC)
I hadn't even made those connections! And that bastard didn't lose the dog; he abandoned it. :-(
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2009 09:29 am (UTC)
Yes he did. I think he genuinely loved it and now he has symbolically sacrificed everything he loves for alcohol. I expect he'll lose his job next week.
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
I've always loved that poem!

And I can't watch Mad Men. Too...real, I guess. Makes me sooo angry and scared, because that's what I came from and no wonder I'm so fucked up. My mother even worked in advertising. I managed four episodes and then for the sake of my blood pressure, had to cancel the rest from my Netflix queue.
[User Picture]
Date:March 19th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
Oh no, really, did she? I'm not surprised it's too close to the bone. It's a powerful drama I think, but it's not an easy ride.

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