Does artistic talent matter?

The cost of an education at an art school or in a college art department has gotten too expensive for merely learning how to express oneself in the likes of painting, sculpture, and printmaking. But as Peter Plagens writes in the Chronicle of Higher Ed,images

“Who wants to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt just to become another starving artist? Today’s art students now look to the commercial specialties—graphic design, fashion, comic strips and graphic novels, industrial design, textiles, video, filmmaking—to provide them with postgraduate employment and, in the bargain, status as hip young determiners of society’s style.

“This is why the Savannah College of Art and Design awards degrees in more than 40 majors. The school—founded by the hard-driving Paula Wallace in 1979 with just a handful of students—offers courses as varied as figure drawing and marine-vehicle design, with several 3D printers available for student use. The college has about 11,000 students, in Savannah (where it owns more than 60 buildings, including a first-rate contemporary-art museum in a beautifully renovated train station) and at new branches in Atlanta and Hong Kong. Wallace, as president and CEO, reportedly earns about $2-million a year. Continue reading “Does artistic talent matter?”

Academic jobs going unfilled

Much has been written about the plight of new Ph.D.s in search of tenure-track positions that are becoming increasingly scarce.

But according to InsideHigherEd, however, some schools can’t fill their job openings.

“Even as new academics across the country struggle to find permanent positions, often teaching at multiple campuses as adjuncts to pay their bills, tenure-track positions at some institutions are going unfilled. Faculty salaries at public universities in particular are failing to keep pace with those at private institutions and in other industries, making it hard for some campuses — especially regional universities in small-town America — to retain and attract talent.

“Experts say the trend could further erode the tenure-track system and educational quality.

“The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point isn’t alone in facing faculty turnover due to low salaries, but it may be among the most severe cases. Some 81 faculty members, out of an average of 340, have left during the past three years, about half from retirement and half from resignations – many more than in the years prior. And departures this year alone outnumber departures spanning the past three years. The College of Natural Resources alone has experienced a 25 percent turnover this year, although it is one of the university’s flagship programs. Continue reading “Academic jobs going unfilled”

The end of caring in teaching

“Teaching is a caring profession–a humane profession about human beings engaging with one another,” imgres-1says Brian Jones, a former New York City public-school teacher now pursuing a PhD in urban education. “Relationships between the teachers and the learners are an important part of the whole process.”A recent article in from In These Time, reports how this may be changing, as excerpted below:

“Jones and other teachers worry that the new system of teacher evaluations slated to be implemented this fall in New York’s public schools will take caring out of the equation.

“The new system, which was imposed by state education commissioner John King after the United Federation of Teachers and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration could not negotiate a deal, willbring millions in federal “Race to the Top” funds to the city’s schools.

“In a statement, Michael Mulgrew, the president of the UFT, wrote: “New York City teachers will now have additional protections and opportunities to play a larger role in the development of the measures used to rate them. Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s desire for a ‘gotcha’ system, as Commissioner King noted today, New York City ‘is not going to fire its way to academic success.’” He pointed out that there are additional opportunities for teachers to challenge violations of the process by supervisors before they get their ratings.

“But UFT members now face the possibility that they could lose their jobs if they receive “ineffective” ratings two years in a row. Teachers will be ranked “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing,” or “ineffective”—or, as John Surico at the Village Voice describes it, “Instead of pass/fail, we now have more of a letter-grade-esque method to grade our educators with more lethal consequences if you earn too many Fs.”

“The deal requires that 20 to 25 percent of the teacher’s rating come from state tests, another 15 to 20 percent from “measures established by the school” (which Jones says are likely to be more tests), and 55 to 60 percent from in-class observations or video-recorded performance assessments by principals.’

“But an “ineffective” rating on the tests trumps the other measures. Jones explains, “Teachers rated ineffective on the tests have to be rated ineffective overall. Even a glowing teacher with great rapport with her students, if the test scores don’t rise at the predetermined level, that teacher has to be rated ineffective. Carol Burris, New York’s 2013 Principal of the Year, criticized this aspect of the system in the Washington Post, calling it a “foolish inequity, with real life consequences.”


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Most still get news from television

Television is the main place Americans say they turn to for news about current events (55%), leading the Internet, at 21%. Nine percent say newspapers or other print publications are their main news source, followed by radio, at 6%, reports Gallup.

“These results are based on a Gallup poll of 2,048 national adults conducted June 20-24, in which Americans were asked to say, unaided, what they consider to be their main source of news about U.S. and global events.

“More than half the references to television are general, with 26% simply saying they watch television or TV news, 4% saying they watch local TV news, and 2% saying they watch the “evening news.” The two leading 24-hour cable news channels — Fox News and CNN — are named by 8% and 7%, respectively. However, no other specific channel — including MSNBC, PBS, BBC, and all of the U.S. broadcast networks that once dominated the news landscape — is mentioned by more than 1% of Americans.imgres

“The vast majority of those citing the Internet — 18% of all Americans — either mention the Internet generally or say they get their news “online.” Two percent identify Facebook, Twitter, or social media as their source, while 1% mention a specific online news site. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are each named by 1% of Americans — the only specific print publications to earn as much as 1% in the poll. As a measure of U.S. adults’ perception of their primary news source, the question provides insights into the importance of various types of media and news outlets as information sources to the public. It is not meant to indicate the total reach each news outlet has in the population, nor do the results necessarily correspond with television ratings data. Continue reading “Most still get news from television”

Alzhheimer’s, dementia, and stigma

In a time of medical breakthroughs, where cures are created for many conditions that were once terminal, it’s easy to forget that some conditions are still incurable and almost impossible to prevent or slow down, reports the Irish Times.

“Longer life expectancy means that by 2041 there will be 1.4 million people in Ireland aged 65 and over, making up 22 per cent of the population.


“Dementia and old age go hand in hand so the number diagnosed with dementia is expected to increase three-fold to more than 120,000 in the next 30 years. Currently, there are nearly 42,000 people living with dementia in Ireland.

“Alzheimer’s disease, a common form of dementia, causes memory loss and there is very little medically that can be done. Certain drugs may slow down the progression of the condition, but they are not a cure. The World Alzheimer Report 2012 looked at the stigma attached to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Families and friends often don’t know how to deal with it, which creates feelings of isolation and exclusion for people with dementia.  Continue reading “Alzhheimer’s, dementia, and stigma”

Warrior Princess

images-1Released last month, the book Warrior Princess is the transition story of a Navy SEAL, Team-6, veteran of 13 deployments – from Chris Beck to Kristen Beck.

The book received national attention over the July 4th weekend with an interview with Beck by Anderson Cooper on CNN. A thoughtful review appears in the Daily Beast, as excerpted briefly below:

“Washington-area psychologist Anne Speckhard, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, was running late for her appointment with Chris Beck one night in early February when she arrived at Freddie’s in Crystal City, Va.

“I didn’t realize Freddie’s was a gay bar, and I was late so I was looking around for him frantically among all these men,” Speckhard tells me. “Then I spotted a quite nice-looking woman at the bar—very elegant, not a drag-queen kind of thing. She wore a padded bra, and I would say nice clothes with good labels probably bought at a discount store, and a really good wig—brown hair.” Continue reading “Warrior Princess”

Migraines and stigma

Migraine patients face the same overall degree of stigma that is attached to epilepsy, although they may experience less discrimination, according to two studies reported in Medpage, as excerpted below:

“An Internet-based survey of 705 individuals quizzed on their attitudes toward patients with epilepsy, migraine, and other conditions indicated that levels of stigma — such as beliefs that such people would make poor work colleagues or dinner party guests — were similar between epilepsy and migraine, said Robert Shapiro, MD, PhD, of the University of Vermont in Burlington.imgres-1

“Separately, questionnaires distributed to 123 patients with episodic migraine, 123 with chronic migraine, and 62 with epilepsy indicated similar self-perceived levels of stigma associated with episodic migraine and epilepsy, according to William Young, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues. Both studies were reported at the International Headache Congress.

“Chronic migraine patients scored substantially higher on the Stigma Scale for Chronic Illness (SSCI) than either of the other two groups — mean 54.0 (SD 20.2) versus 41.7 (SD 14.8) for episodic migraine and 44.6 (SD 16.3) for epilepsy — but that appeared to be driven by the chronic migraine patients’ genuinely reduced ability to work, the researchers indicated. Continue reading “Migraines and stigma”

Guantanamo shame continues

At least 106 of the 166 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay detention center are reported to be on hunger strike, with 45 currently being force-fed, reports todays LA Times.imgres

“A recently published report by the Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment, to which we contributed, found that the practice of forced feeding at Guantanamo was “a form of abuse and must end.” A member of the task force, Dr. Gerald Thomson, described the process: “You are forced physically to eat, by being strapped into a specially made chair and having restraints put on your arms, your legs, your body and your head so that you cannot move. [You have] a tube inserted into your throat that extends into your stomach, and you’re trying to resist that with the only muscles that are free — in your throat.” Detainees have said that it is intensely painful.

“When the restraint chairs were first introduced to Guantanamo in December 2005, the force-feeding process was reportedly especially punitive. Several detainees said that guards kept them in a restraint chair for hours after the tube feeding ended — sometimes for as long as six hours. Continue reading “Guantanamo shame continues”

Stay out of politics, kid

By a 2-to-1 margin, 64% to 31%, Americans would not like their child to go into politics as a career. The results are the same whether the question is asked about a “child,” a “son,” or a “daughter.” There has been little change in the percentage of Americans who would favor a political career for their son or daughter over the past two decades.


The results are based on a June 20-24 Gallup poll, and find generally little change in the desirability of politics as a profession even as trust in government and confidence in political institutions, particularly Congress, are low.

The largest demographic differences among major subgroups are by race, with nonwhites much more likely than whites to say they would like to see their son or daughter go into politics. This is not a reaction to the fact that the current president is black, as Gallup has found that same racial difference when the question was asked in the 1990s when George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were president.

The racial differences may be behind the slight tendency for Democrats to favor a political career for their sons and daughters more than Republicans do, with a larger party difference for daughters. There are also small, but not necessarily meaningful, differences by gender and being a parent of a young child.

The 31% of Americans who favor a political career for their son or daughter can be seen as an average because respondents answer the questions differently depending on the order in which they are asked. Specifically, Americans are significantly more likely to say they would like both their daughter and son to go into politics when they are asked about a daughter first.

When Gallup asks about a daughter going into politics first, 37% say they would like to see their daughter go into politics. But 37% also say they would like to see their son go into politics when asked about it after being asked about a daughter going into politics.

In contrast, when Gallup asks about a son going into politics first, the percentage wanting to see their son go into politics is 12 percentage points lower, at 25%. And the percentage wanting their daughter to go into politics is lower, at 26%, when asked after the question about a son going into politics.


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California nears gender identity legal breakthrough

Gender identity will no longer limit California students in their decisions concerning which bathrooms and locker rooms to use, or which sports teams to join, reports today’s DailyCaller

“Under a proposed law that has passed the state legislature and now awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown, students in California will be able to make such choices based on their perceived gender identities, CNN reports.

“Assembly Bill 1266 aims to extend the rights of transgender students. The text requires that students “be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”In May, California’s Assembly had approved the proposed law, which was advertised as the School Success and Opportunity Act. This week, the state Senate passed the proposal by a 21-9 vote. Representatives for Gov. Brown have not signaled whether he will sign the bill. If the new law goes into effect, it will be the first such law anywhere in the country that expressly insists that public school facilities and school-sponsored activities provide equal access to all students based purely on the way they feel about their genders. Continue reading “California nears gender identity legal breakthrough”

How the health law delay could help adjuncts

In many ways, the White House’s surprise announcement that it would delay the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act by one year, until January 2015, is good news for colleges and universities struggling to figure out just who will be covered under the law. imgresInsideHigherEd says that “It gives institutions more time to decide how they’ll count adjunct instructors, whose credit hour-based schedules don’t fit neatly into the law’s existing metrics for qualifying for coverage.

“And while the announcement could lead to good news for adjuncts who have had their hours limited by colleges worried about the new provision taking effect, there was little celebration Wednesday. Colleges said that they were studying the situation, but no one was pledging to lift limits or restore hours to anyone.

“But in other ways, it adds a new layer of confusion onto what is already a complicated situation, particularly for those colleges that already have announced plans to limit adjuncts’ course loads to avoid having to provide them with health insurance as full-time employees. Questions remain as to whether institutions will temporarily backtrack on their plans, and if that’s even possible, given the timing of the announcement, so far into summer when planning for fall courses is already under way.

“I think that the government has poorly served institutions by announcing this delay so abruptly and so relatively close to the date of implementation,” said David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and research of the American Association of Community Colleges – one of many organizations that’s asked the federal government to issue long-promised specific guidelines as to what constitutes a full-time employee in higher education under the law. (In January, the Internal Revenue Service asked higher education officials to use “reasonable” means of calculating faculty hours worked.)

“At the same time, Baime added, “We hope that colleges will take this additional time given to them to evaluate their approach to policies in this area and, even more importantly, ask the government exactly what’s expected of them as institutions.”

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Gender in a Lego world

images-1It’s obvious from walking through a toy store that LEGO has focused its licensing and product development around boys.

Today’s carries an article on how LEGO is shifting on gendered products––driven, of course, by a profit motive.

“To capture the girl market, LEGO created the alternate, girl-only world of Heartlake City for Friends instead of incorporating more females into existing LEGO sets. LEGO says the line was one of its most successful to date, “surpassing early projections to triple the number of girls building with LEGO bricks” in 2012.

“But that still leaves the market wide open for children such as my daughter, who want more female “minifigs” in gender-neutral packaging. Instead, LEGO clearly distinguishes which sets are aimed at boys or girls, and our children take in the colors on the packaging and placement on the shelves through a cultural lens. They get the message loud and clear. LEGO is the second-largest toy manufacturer in the world; gender parity matters in a product that is consumed and loved by so many children. Continue reading “Gender in a Lego world”

Facts about artists

Instagram and Etsy have made everyone seem like artistic geniuses, but according to the National Endowment for the Arts, artists make up only 1.4 percent of the U.S. labor force. “Last week, we learned a lot more about the roughly 2 million artists in the workforce thanks to the NEA study,  “Equal Opportunity Data Mining: National Statistics about Working Artists.” imgresAs reported bu the Washington Post, “The study, based on Census data, classifies artists by occupation, demographics and region. The NEA also provides this handy interactive map, which ranks states according to artists as a share of the state’s total labor force. Here are five of the more surprising findings.

“Congratulations, California. You’re still an artist haven, with Los Angeles and San Francisco boasting the highest percentages of artists in their workforces, according to the NEA’s city-to-city comparison. Artists make up 4.86 percent of the Los Angeles workforce and 4.3 percent of San Francisco’s. The third-ranked city? That would be Santa Fe, New Mexico, with artists making up 4 percent of all workers.

“New York City is home to more artists than any other U.S. city, with 140,915 people engaged in artistic professions, but with a workforce of 4.1 million people, that’s only 3.4 percent of its total workforce. In fact, New York City has only a slightly higher percentage of working artists per capita than Washington, D.C., where artists make up 3.1 percent of the workforce. (This may seem unlikely, considering that the New York data include Brooklyn. But remember that the New York metro area is enormous. And to count, artists had to report income or be actively pursuing work as a primary profession, which means thousands of aspiring poets in Williamsburg were probably excluded.) Continue reading “Facts about artists”

Bad words are changing

imgresEven some of our most storied and longest-lasting profanities have proven susceptible to a gradual weakening in the face of changing social norms and technology-aided taboo-sapping overuse.

Today’s explains, in the excerpt below: “Damnhellshit, and fuck are not what an anthropologist observing us would classify as ‘taboo,’ ” says linguist John McWhorter, author of What Language Is: And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be, among other books. “We all say them all the time. Those words are not profane in what our modern culture is—they are, rather, salty. That’s all. Anyone who objects would be surprised to go back 50 years and try to use those words as casually as we do now and ever be asked again to parties.”

“As McWhorter notes, even fuck—the super-badass, cannot-be-effed-with, undisputed heavyweight champion of all curse words—has not escaped the passage of time with the full force of its offensiveness intact. Sheidlower, who is also editor of The F-Word—a comprehensive volume that delineates the impressive history of the word fuck, as well as its many uses and variations that have cropped up throughout the English-speaking world—is perhaps the world’s foremost expert on this topic. He has studied the progression of the word with precision and scholarly zeal. There are, he says, “a number of things going on with fuck.” Continue reading “Bad words are changing”

Gender in film study launched

Women account for less than 4 percent of business leaders depicted in movies.

This is one of several statistics from the Geena Davis Institute for Gender and Media, which is partner with the United National on an ambitious global study of gender in media.

images-1As reported in Pravda today, the survey will “analyze the depiction and representation of female characters in family films. \

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, has commissioned the study from Associate Professor Stacy Smith of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

“It will examine the top-grossing international movies in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom. It is the first such study ever undertaken.

“There is no doubt that gender stereotypes in the media are influential socio-psychological factors in how women and girls are perceived. They also influence their self-esteem and relationships between the sexes,” said Lakshmi Puri, Acting Head of UN Women. “We cannot let the negative depiction of women and girls erode the hard gains that have been made on gender equality and women’s empowerment. We hope that the study will address factors that positively impact the perception of women in society, positive role models of women and girls and men and boys, and the value of respectful relationships that can foster and benefit from women’s empowerment,” she added.

“While research into the consequences of media exposure is complex, there is a general consensus among health professionals, researchers and educators that high levels of media exposure to negative imagery are related to negative outcomes for children and adults. These outcomes include effects in the areas of academic performance, body image, early sexual behaviour, and social and cultural behaviours and beliefs. These effects may also affect future life and occupational choices for women.

“Previous research by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media revealed that gender parity still does not exist on-screen. In family films, only 28.3 per cent of all speaking characters were female. This translates into 2.53 males to every one female. Not only are girls and women under-represented on-screen, but many are depicted in a stereotypical and sexualized light. Occupationally, few women held positions of power on screen. Only 3.4 per cent of business leader characters and 4.5 per cent of high-level politicians were female.

“By virtue of the dearth of female characters of substance in the media kids see, we are in effect teaching our children that women and girls don’t take up half of the space in the world. We’re teaching them to see that boys are doing the important and interesting things in society,” said Academy-Award -winner Geena Davis, the leading advocate for positive change in gender portrayals in the entertainment industry. “Media images have an enormous impact on children’s self-esteem and aspirations. This is why we decided to launch a global gender in media study: if girls see it, they can be it.”


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Math disability affects 6 percent

A math learning disability similar to dyslexia affects 6 percent of people, although it gets little attention.

“Dyscalculia” is discussed in Discover Magazine as excerpted below:

“Steph Zech graduated from high school this spring with an admirable academic record. She especially loved chemistry, writing and literature — though she has some reservations about Dante. A bright and diligent student, she took two Advanced Placement classes her senior year, sailing through both.images

“But when it comes to math, Steph has struggled mightily. At age 17, she still counts on her fingers to add 3 and 5. She doesn’t know her multiplication tables. She can’t understand fractions, process concepts of time such as “quarter after” or read dice without counting the dots. She did recently figure out that if something costs 75 cents, the change from a dollar should be 25 cents. But when asked what the change would be if the price were 70 cents, she considers at length before venturing, “15 cents?” Continue reading “Math disability affects 6 percent”

Asian American segregation

Asians, the fastest-growing, highest-earning and best-educated race in the U.S., are almost as segregated from the nation’s white majority as they were two decades ago, according to a study released today, reports today’s Bloomberg Newsimages-1

“Specific Asian ancestries — including two of the largest, Chinese and Indians — are as isolated from the white population as Hispanics, according to the study by two Brown University sociologists. At the same time, Asians generally live in neighborhoods that are comparable — and in some ways “markedly better” — than those of whites, the study said.

“The Asian pattern is separate but equal (or even more than equal), raising questions about the prospect or value of their residential assimilation in the future,” wrote John Logan, who co-authored the report.

“The number of Asians in the U.S. surged 43.3 percent during the last decade, about four times faster than white population growth, to more than 17 million. Their ranks have more than doubled since 1990. Median household income has risen 2.3 percent to $70,815 for Asians since 2000 while white Americans have suffered a 1.1 percent drop.

“When viewed as a single race, Asians are less segregated than Hispanics or blacks. When Asians are divided into major ancestries, “they’re more segregated than we thought they were,” Logan wrote. Cultural values and the fact that a majority of Asians are immigrants are the likeliest reasons for their segregation, he said. While most immigrant groups assimilate over time, Logan said Japanese are the only Asian ancestral group that isn’t as segregated as the broader racial category. “There may be no motivation for spatial assimilation of these immigrant groups, that the current residential enclaves fully meet their needs in a way that could become self-reinforcing,” the authors wrote.

“The bulk of the nation’s Asian population consists of six ancestries with 1 million or more people each: Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Filipino and Vietnamese. All except Japanese are made up of a majority of immigrants. While Asians are the nation’s third-largest minority group, they’re concentrated heavily in three states. California accounts for 5.6 million of them, almost one-third of the nation’s Asian population. New York has 1.6 million, and Texas claims 1.1 million. Among U.S. metropolitan areas, New York and Los Angeles have the greatest numbers of Asians. New York’s Asian population consists primarily of Chinese and Indians; Los Angeles has a larger percentage of Filipinos, Japanese and Koreans. Texas leads the nation in its share of Vietnamese.”


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Universities begin petition for diversity

Thirty-seven college associations on Sunday issued a joint statement on the importance of diversity in American higher education, report’s todays Inside Higher ed.images-2

“A diverse student body enables all students to have the transformational experience of interacting with their peers who have varied perspectives and come from different backgrounds. These experiences, which are highly valued by employers because of their importance in the workplace, also prepare students with the skills they need to live in an interconnected world and to be more engaged citizens. Our economic future, democracy, and global standing will suffer if the next generation is not ready to engage and work with people whose backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives are different from their own,” says the statement, published as an advertisement Sunday in The New York Times.

“We remain dedicated to the mission of discovering and disseminating knowledge gained through direct experiences with diverse colleagues — a resource for achieving a stronger democracy and nation,” the statement added. Continue reading “Universities begin petition for diversity”

On worrying about Don

It’s no secret, Don has a lot of people worried.

Always the good guy (sort of), the ad man really hit the skids this year. Leave it to Entertainment Weekly to ponder this matter fully, as excerpted below:

“Since the very beginning of Mad Men, Don Draper has seemed doomed. images-1From the show’s opening-credit sequence, with a silhouetted suit falling helplessly from the Madison Avenue skyline, to this year’s season premiere, which featured Don delving into a copy of Dante’sInferno, the future always seemed bleak for our dapper anti-hero.

“Oblivious to the fact that he’s always on the wrong side of history, Don began to wither. What seemed cool about him in the beginning — his afternoon drinks and serial womanizing — has devolved to pathetic.

“So where will it end? And more importantly, when? Will the year be 1969 when Mad Menreturns for its seventh and final season? Or 1970? 1973…? Or might Matthew Weiner throw a curve and leap into the future — say 1980 — before flashing-back to the beginning of the previous decade.

“Let’s discuss…

“When we first met Don Draper in season 1, it was March 1960, perhaps the high-water mark of the American Dream after World War II and nearly a decade of Eisenhower prosperity,  with the youthful optimism of Kennedy’s Camelot on the horizon. The center was holding. There was order. Life made sense (at least for upper middle-class white men). The story of Don Draper — and to a lesser extent Roger Sterling and the other men at the ad agency — has been the breakdown in society during one of the country’s most turbulent decades: racial strife, feminism, Vietnam, political assassinations, etc.

“Weiner has only once jumped more than a year between Mad Men seasons — season 2 began in February 1962, 15 months after season 1 left off — and the average time-jump is about nine months. So it’s a safe bet that the final season will pick up sometime in 1969 after season 6 left us in front of Don’s childhood abode around Thanksgiving 1968. That makes some logical and symmetrical sense, too, since it wraps up the story of the decade quite neatly.

“But up until last week’s season finale, I thought Weiner, Don, and Mad Men were steering towards a very different end. Don’s downward spiral accelerated every episode, and to me, it all pointed towards Watergate — the ultimate figurative and literal corruption of the country’s soul. There was even a recent episode where a drunken and depressed Don watched a bland Nixon-for-President commercial, and I wondered if the light would go on in Don’s head saying “Hey, I can carve a better winning message for my pal, Dick, than this amateurish crap!”


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