I watched some Mad Men, and my main emotion was thank god for feminism. Of course, I knew that that was how women were treated in those not-so-distant days blah blah blah, but the in-your-face sexism depicted in Mad Med is vomit-inducing. My second emotion was how sick do you have to be to glorify those “good old days”, and idolize Don Draper and his ilk as some sort of vanquished but true types of manhood, what a pity there not around any more. Yes, there still are some around, but at least sexism is not so blatant and in-your-face, and we should be grateful for that. Yay.
Ah yes, so apparently Don Draper is a hero for many, despite the (or sadly in many cases, because of the) casual sexism, racism, and all-around fraudulence and intolerance. He is “good-looking”, wears a suit well, and has that sort commanding bullying tone of voice which in films makes men and women swoon, but in real life would make an ordinary person run for the hills. Or if no hills were available, twitch and hide. And apart from all that, he is a boring person, who does boring things. And part of his “tragedy” comes from the fact that he himself knows how boring he is and contrasting it with how exciting everybody else seems to find him (the looks and the suit and the voice).
So I don’t want to devote a post to how non-hero-ish and non-interesting Don Draper is, and instead I started about thinking my own fictional heroes, lest I be accused of negativity. And one name came to mind: Samurai Jack. Oh god how I love that man.
Like Don Draper, Samurai Jack is handsome, commanding, and very good at what he does. He has the same sort of dark good looks and piercing stare, and wears his suit (albeit a different sort of suit) very well- very well indeed. And both of them can recognize evil instantly. But there the resemblance ends.
It is not that S. Jack runs and jumps and wanders and sword-fights against evil all the time, while Don Draper sits and drinks and smokes and serves it. Or not just. Jack has a certain gentilesse, a nobility of soul, a passion for good. His enemy is not himself, he has no crises of the mind, as do Don and the rest of us. Don is a stylish filmic manifestation of our dark side. Jack is the lofty ambition of our hearts and souls.