- - Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Takes all types

“While I’m still trying to wrap my head around Maureen Dowd’s ‘Mean Girls’ column, I think it’s worth noting that, for a clique to splinter, there has to be a clique in the first place. And I think that’s what bothers me the most about Dowd’s column, her assumption that there IS such a clique.

“I don’t know that there’s ever been a monolithic ‘Republican woman,’ and the rise of Sarah Palin and the introduction of the Tea Party has only made it more difficult to stereotype conservative women. In Dowd’s eyes, there seems to be no difference between Jan Brewer, a woman with nearly 20 years in state government, and Christine O’Donnell, a 37-year-old with only failed campaigns under her belt; no difference between Meg Whitman, a self-made billionaire whose views are too establishment for much of the Tea Party, and Sharron Angle, who’s pretty much a creation of the Tea Party.”

Rachael Larimore, writing on “Does Maureen Dowd Miss High School?” on Oct. 18 at the Slate blog Double X

Not-so-dandy Don

“Was the American Cancer Society pitch Don [Draper]’s worst ever [on ‘Mad Men’]? It felt like the first sign that his one genius go-to pitch — variations on nostalgia — might be going out of style as the sixties roar into gear. In the middle of the most spectacular youthquakes in American history, Don is looking at teenagers and thinking that they’re ‘mourning for their childhood more than they’re anticipating their future,’ as Don says, in a reprise of his Carousel pitch, or his Glo-Coat pitch, or almost any other pitch he’s ever made.

“Don’s talent as an adman has always been to touch that raw nerve in himself that he doesn’t quite understand, like a Method actor using that painful internal thing to connect with customers. But he’s grown so far away from this new generation. Images of ‘mothers and daughters, fathers and sons … playing catch’? Really? Even Don is making this decision to move away from nostalgia and his past (Faye) and into the young unknown (Megan). Like his son, he doesn’t want to ride on elephants, he wants to fly jets.”

Logan Hill, writing on “Mad Men Finale Recap: Did Don Disappoint You?” on Oct. 18 at New York magazine’s blog Vulture

Liberal religion

“A columnist at the Wall Street Journal used to regularly feature snippets from sports columnists who fancied themselves political pundits. You’d be expecting a nice piece on the last golf tournament but you’d instead get some tirade about the Iraq War or how awful President Bush is. But I think that The New Yorker gets a special prize for its treatment of the Berenstain Bears in an app review …

“Ian Crouch says something is deeply troubling in Berenstainland: ‘I … noticed something odd about this incarnation of the Berenstains: they’d become practicing Christians! … in the new app, the universal theme is tied directly to a Biblical source: Matthew 7:12. … Other titles in the series include “The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers,” “The Berenstain Bears Go to Sunday School,” and “The Berenstain Bears: God Loves You.” … Now, I’m faced with the unthinkable: would these once agnostic Reagan-era bear creatures now vote Tea Party in the next election?’

“Um, this is just utterly bizarre. Saying prayers, going to Sunday School and believing that God loves you might be views that some in the Tea Party hold. But what does it say about The New Yorker that these activities are so beyond the pale that they think that only those awful Tea Partiers do them? I mean, I actually know political liberals who pray, go to Sunday School and believe that God loves them, too!”

Mollie Hemingway, writing on “New Yorker fears Berenstain Bears?” on Oct. 18 at Get Religion

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