Misunderstood (And Other Emo Thoughts)

The more Mad Men I watch, the more convinced I become that Pete Campbell is one of the most misunderstood characters on the show. From a moral standpoint, he’s arguably one of the best of the main characters, but he gets little respect from his colleagues because he’s such a lousy communicator. Sound like anyone you know? He really doesn’t help his case by being so whiny and oblivious, but I’m on season four right now, and the outright condescension that he receives from Roger Sterling is simply contemptible. On a lot of issues (such as civil rights in season three), he’s not only right, but ahead of the game. Also, not that it has anything to do with anything, but I keep wishing Sal would come back. He was great, if extremely conflicted.

To be fair, Pete does have a very punchable face.

To be fair, Pete does have a very punchable face.

My spring break sucked. I didn’t do much except go to work and (unsuccessfully) look for a job, so I guess it could have been worse, but I really didn’t have much fun. For me, that’s basically par for the course, though. I have so much shit on my plate right now that I don’t even know what to do with it. It’s like all of the pressures that I’m facing have twisted into a hard knot inside me. I wish I could just reach in there and remove it, but there’s no way to do it without ripping out something that I actually care about. Last night, I stupidly spoiled one of the key plot twists in the third Song of Ice and Fire book by venturing into the spoiler section of an article about the second season finale. I don’t know why I did that–I think I just wanted to have a vague idea of what would happen, but not an overly specific one. Instead, I stumbled across two words that basically gave away what I’m guessing is the final scene in the book. It’s not completely ruined–I’m still not entirely sure why this Red Wedding that I’ve heard so much about is so important, nor do I know why George R.R. Martin said it was the hardest thing he ever wrote–but the oddest thing about my unfortunate discovery was that the instant I made it, I wanted to read the plot summary on Wikipedia so that the whole thing would be ruined for me. I resisted the urge, but it’s hard for me to do anything halfway.

I guess what motivated me to do that was anxiety. I have a lot invested in this story and these characters, yet I can never quite catch up with all of the fans who have plowed through the whole series multiple times. Yeah, I know: It’s important to live in the moment and all that. But this moment, for me, could be a whole lot better. And I’ve only had a handful of truly outstanding moments in my life, yet would like to experience many more before I die. I’ve been on Earth for close to a quarter century, and I still can’t escape that feeling so many young people have of thinking that everyone has it figured out except for them. I want to plan for my future, but since I don’t know what that will be, the best I can do is just sit around and fail repeatedly. By the way, if you’ve come here looking for a nice, inspirational pep talk, you should probably go somewhere else before I talk you into killing yourself.

Mad Men holds special appeal for me because I am drawn to the sight of people struggling against forces they don’t fully understand. The world of the 1960s was a heavily repressed one, and when it started to shake off that repression about midway through, it did so with a vengeance. There is a constant feeling on the show that the characters are miserable, and have honestly no idea why. Times are changing, but who is changing them? Some people, like Don Draper, benefited from the old ways, and others, like Peggy, benefit from the new ones. Without realizing it, they square off, and as one rises, the other falls. (As I said, I’m only on season four right now, so maybe that will change soon. I’m just describing what I see so far.)

I don’t usually talk about this, but my dreams have gotten even more intense lately. I lie down and the voices in my head scream nonstop for hours on end. Again, this is nothing new. It just sucks, that’s all. I’m trying really, really hard to gain some sort of control over the constant howling, but so far, all I’ve managed to do is take the edge off of it. A little. And it keeps coming back. I had a birthday at some point in the recent past. (Or maybe I’m having one in the near future. I’m not going to say.) Normally, I try to avoid getting reflective about what the last year meant and what I hope the new one will bring (I already avoided talking about that back on New Year’s), so I will say only that I hope I am still sexy, funny, and cool in another twelve months. Nothing else is constant, so I might as well hold onto that.

I used to make an effort to watch all of the notable movies that came out every year, although I’ve started to slip lately, just as I no longer see all of the Best Picture nominees. Actually, I still saw Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi (that was with friends), The Hobbit, Les Miserables, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Brave, Cloud Atlas and probably one or two others that I’ve forgotten about in theaters, so compared to most, I’ve probably been a fairly consistent moviegoer. But I also skipped LincolnThe Master, Holy Motors, and several other critically acclaimed films that a younger version of me would have rushed out to see. The two that I was absolutely itching to see but didn’t get around to were Beasts of the Southern Wild and Moonrise Kingdom. I find that Wes Anderson films can feel a bit airless and repetitive, but still have little moments here and there that will take your breath away. Ultimately, they might help to relieve some persistent tension. That’s pretty much all for now.

Don’t go away.

I’ll be back soon.

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