A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mad Mannion

Lance Mannion's take on "Mad Men" here is provocative. But lots of works -- Shakespeare's romances, the plays of Chekhov and Beckett, the fiction of Kafka -- can be played or read as both comic and tragic. Criticizing "Mad Men" for not being played as a comedy seems to me to miss the point -- we do laugh at it. (Well, I do, anyway.) To assume that its creators intend it to be taken seriously because the actors are playing it straight is to miss the genius of the work. And to reduce Don Draper to just "a jerk" is to miss the devastating portrayal of the compartmentalized life.

No comments: