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Secular Sunday — with Late Breaking Important Suzanne News!!!

December 20, 2009

An old school, on paper, Webster’s New World definition of today’s theme:

Secular – of or relating to worldly things as distinguished from things relating to church and religion; not sacred or religious; temporal; worldly.

Ahhhh!  Let me start simply,  just as they like to vocalize on the local TV ads for the current wandering minstrel Monster Truck Show coming to an arena near us out here in the hinterlands, it’s  — Sunday!  Sunday!!  Sunday!!!*

*(early MM connection S2E4, “Three Sundays”)

Sundays, growing up Catholic in western Pee-Aaaaay!, could be unsettling and unfulfilling days.  There was too much to do in just twenty-four hours. It was primarily a day of leisure and it was Dad’s one full day home, away from his business, so it meant family dinner out and the pageantry and pomp of attending Mass had to be worked in there too. It was usually a major local sports day also.

In the fall and early winter in the 1970’s the Steelers commanded attention every week.  As the winter days rolled into spring, the Penguins served as a middling distraction.  Then the summer and fall had Pirate baseball (less of me is old enough to recall when these guys were more than a Triple A farm team dressed up and pretending to be a Major League franchise) on Sunday afternoons.

I remember 1970, my dad took me and my brother to a Sunday double header versus the Chicago Cubs; this was our first big league spectating of a live game together.  Pushing through the turnstiles into the crowded concourse, we were trying not to get separated from the big guy as he said “let’s get some food” and made a dash for the nearest concession stand.  It’s about twelve-thirty on a soon to be hot summer day, his one day of the week off, and Pop wanted a beer. Or two or . . . well, it was rather warm and we were there for two games and he was thirsty.

During the course of the afternoon, Dad was explaining the infield-fly rule, and telling old stories about himself and our grandfather going to games, and commenting on the overall talent of the players and the smarts and not-so-smarts of the coaches, when the umpire makes a call that brings a sudden cheer from the crowd.  Of course that means the call went against the visiting Cubbies and out of the dugout bolts their manager. And in this one moment in time, this one old guy arguing about a difference of opinion triggers a reaction from my dad that became my first true revelation of his very human, very complex, personality.

He cupped his hands near his mouth to help project a loud baritone — BOOOOOOO!!!!

The partisan crowd was into it too but Dad really let loose; he stood up and it bellowed forth even better. BOOOOOO!!!

Then as the Cubs manager kicked some dirt around to convey his continued dissatisfaction with the call, I learned my father could also kick it up a notch.

“Leo-o-o! You stink! Siddown you bum! You stink!”

Dad had an apparently deep-seeded personal animosity for Leo Durocher that he could no longer suppress. He continued for a few minutes riffing on variations of this proclamation; I don’t remember the details but he kept it PG-13 I think; he never went “blue”. But he kept at it with gusto, even after Leo had disappeared, having grudgingly returned to the bench.  As play began again, Dad sat down with this big Cheshire cat grin on his mug and hailed the beer vendor and told me and my brother about how he had hated Durocher from way back when, for something, something he had done when Dad was a kid. I forget the particulars. They don’t matter.

What does matter is this was my first insight into the duplicitous game we humans play with our identity and image.  Until that outburst I had never seen my father act that passionately in public about anything.  He ran his own business so wasn’t at home very much. Mom dished out the day-to-day discipline if needed. When he was around, Dad would stay out of the negative stuff for the most part all together, maybe play good cop once in awhile, trying to explain why Mom was so pissed and why and what I needed to do better. He was affectionate and caring, I experienced a great deal of his nice side. And every time I saw him at work he was always very controlled and professional with his customers and employees.

Of course these were the impressions of an eight year-old at the time but that was the person he projected himself to be to me up until that Leo-o-o rant, as just a fan in the crowd, when a few brews uninhibited him enough to reveal the less polished, more corporal edges of his nature; of human nature really.  Needless to say, I didn’t figure this all out back then; I was no pre-teen prodigy with regard to the human psyche but the Big Guy Role Model for me was now permanently chipped; disfigured. The sinew and bone were exposed a little and some blood dripped out. I wouldn’t completely forget that. I wasn’t disgusted or disillusioned or disappointed nor scarred for life; I was thoroughly fascinated. This meant there was something more to “The World’s Greatest Dad”; something I could relate to further down the road perhaps; something more meaningful and important than the manufactured, synthetic, spotlessly white, Team America uniform the managers of our great society demand all its better players to wear, if they wish to be in the starting line-up and cash a decent paycheck.

Obviously the Sterling Coopers of Capitalism have much to do with preserving and sustaining society’s continued addiction to this bogus role model charade. There is much moola to be made doncha know; many sheep to be sheared. Observant readers now smell a Tiger Woods article coming soon. LOM will not disappoint in this regard. It will be my Xmas gift to you.

I think recognizing the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the product that rolls out of the Role Model factory in our culture is an essential skill all human beings should learn to practice and develop, the earlier in life the better.

I wish to thank Iron City beer and the enraging, but now late, Leo “the Lip” Durocher for being such inspiration to my dad and to me.


More secularity.

Today I realized I have to start secular Sunday on Saturday because I got delayed by mundane, worldly events this morning  (leaky washing machine hoses fit the very definition of temporal items so I was being privately secular the whole fucking time), and I didn’t get to do much more than skim my favorite godless blogs. Therefore I’m just going to link you up to some of Pharyngula’s (the home page link is in the blog roll any time you want it) recent irreverence and pray to dog that’s okay with everyone this week.  Ha, ha!!!!

And as bonus motivation for me to start earlier on this next time, I’m amused by the fact I will be violating the Sabbath in conducting my advance preparation for desecrating the Lord’s Day. Win-win for the non-believer!

The heretic (used as a term of admiration of course) who runs that place, PZ Myers, is currently skirmishing with Master Skeptic, the Amazing Randi, about Randi’s recent opinions about the global warming issue and the give-and-take is entertaining and interesting.  Intuitively both parties should be on the same side of this topic but Randi wants to take his skepticism all the way to the end of the universe it seems and this creates some problems for PZ who prefers to work on this in a more earthly plane.

A few weeks prior, Myers also posted this explanation of why he doesn’t like the ritual thanking of the Thanksgiving season and I have to say I agree whole-heartedly with him.

The holiday spirit began to sour for me when I was around fourteen. There was always tension around Thanksgiving because my sets of grandparents would battle to see whose house the grandkids went to for dinner. The losing elders would generally get us kiddies for the primetime visit on Christmas Day as salve for the Turkey Day snub. Add to this joyously brutal competition the facts my mom’s dad did not like my father much and the economy was in a pronounced recession at a time when all five children were functioning at the peak of their most greedy egocentric potential, it’s not surprising I lost my Christmas Spirit then and there. Well I didn’t lose the Spirit figuratively as much as it was savagely beaten out of me; and while unconscious and wheezing, it was tossed in the dump with desiccated, no longer evergreens, and ached to be torched out of its misery as quickly as the Heat Miser could get to work.

That observation of the reality of basic, simple humanness later helped me reason my way into atheism,  and atheism firmly grounds me in the present temporal world, so I don’t feel the need to reflexively thank an indifferent universe for the nature of my existence. I choose instead to thank my sister and her pals for coming to dinner. I thank the rest of my family and friends for tolerating the inevitable times my general human disagreeableness gets in their faces. And I thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for brandishing his noodly appendage, just for laughs.

And last but not least this Secular Sunday, a word about Suzanne Farrell.

BREAKING NEWS!!!  Breaking news from the Madiverse!!  BREAKING NEWS!!

Aha! All you Suzanne Haters. AH-FUCKING-HA!!

She will be back in Season Four as Don Draper’s date nut bread baking, “I-have-a-dream”-speech teaching, epileptic brother-loving, in-the-dark-before-dawn running, sweet little Sally-mentoring,  “I-want-to-scream” love doll and all-around excellent paramour , AND . . .  get this . . .  wait for it . . .  hold on to something sturdy now, this will rock your Suzie-hating world but good . . . wait for it . . .

Mother to Don Draper’s Lovechild!!!!!

The truth lies, people, we all know this, but internet photos most certainly do not. Get used to the reality of it. It will be better if you will deal with this now. Come to terms with it or you will hate next season nine times as much as you disliked Season Three.

There’s enough disharmony in the uncaring universe, come walk with LOM into the light!

Remember this Secular Sunday evening:  eat all your veggies, wash behind your ears and no praying or worshipping until after midnight! Peace.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Ruth permalink
    December 21, 2009 5:51 am

    Re: Mother to Don Draper’s Lovechild

    Mother & child shot worthy of Raphael. However….in TV world two brown-eyed people can’t have a kid with blue eyes – this is well known to fans of Agatha Christie adaptations. I’m sure in the scientific world things are more complicated but… is the baby yours?

  2. less of me permalink
    December 21, 2009 9:23 am

    You’re absolutely right! In TV Land, the mere existence of that child is impossible.

    Of course I have to blame the casting director. It is clearly a ridiculous choice; bad baby casting has killed many a good show.

    Or maybe the writers got it all wrong. Suzanne would never have the baby in the first place, earthy teacher would opt for abortion, abortion is the next topic they should be writing about afterall. I don’t like it.

    Or wait a minute. This just proves how a weak ineffective actor can suck all the reality out of the scene. The baby is OK I guess, but Suzanne is the one horribly miscast and the girl shows little talent for this acting thing. Back to community theater for you, babe. Abigail Spencer is a TV sitcom actress, nothing more. Keep your day job sweetheart.

    Lastly, my eyes are much more fair than Don’s, it’s true. I’m splashing around in the proper gene pool, but I haven’t entirely perfected my virtual dream/displaced reality fantasy converter yet. Yet. and Wow those eyes are blue, I think the little rascal is wearing contacts.

    The cynic in me is planning to stalk Abigail on the rebound, after the break-up of her marriage. I’m a much more appealing obsessive lovesick whackjob to women on the rebound.

    • December 21, 2009 10:07 am

      LOM Editor’s Note: On the infinitesmally remote possiblity that the lovely Abigail Spencer ever, ever is directed by a friend of a friend of an acquaintence of a person who might have happened by this outpost in the cyberverse, to read what this blogger has written about her (and hey, I’m an amateur probability analyst but I still buy a Powerball ticket every time the odds are closer to fair)

      LOM would like to put in the record that the above comment is completely in jest; a snarky satiric rebuttal mimicking a previous opinion I strongly disagreed with.

      Abigail, eye heart Suzanne and enjoy every second she’s on screen. Keep up the good work! And personally feel secure please in knowing, I will never be an annoyance to you. I do not have the time or the resources to properly stalk you


      But if that lottery ticket ever comes in . . .

  3. Ruth permalink
    December 21, 2009 10:22 am

    Alternatively….that baby looks very like baby Gene. Suzanne’s really updated her look btw – that looks like Clinique Extreme Pink lipstick 30 years ahead of its time. Maybe Don got an advance sample? Or maybe Mad Men has discovered time travel? The shoulders on that jacket look oddly contemporary too. Well, it has always been generally accepted that Suzanne’s a woman ahead of her time… Abigail Spencer is a very good actress in my opinion too, as is January Jones, both of them have been way underrated this season. It isn’t necessary to like a character to appreciate the actor/actress behind it. Although I still find it hard to completely warm to Suzanne – though in the warm fire of your Suzanne-love I am thawing somewhat – well played by Ms Spencer – the fact that her character is getting such a strong reaction is testimony to her fine acting.

  4. less of me permalink
    December 21, 2009 10:54 am

    In all seriousness Ruth, I think the whole MW team is really enjoying the fervor and “passion” about this relationship. I think the writers wanted to reveal her in snippets and make her somewhat tougher to get a read on; make her less of a “type” and more of a contradiction of types.

    Maybe fans feel manipulated if they think about that being the big bad plan at work here, but they are writers afterall, it’s their business to manipulate; to cover up and reveal, whenever and however they choose.

    I think those “creatives” are having a fine giggle about it all.

  5. Ruth permalink
    December 21, 2009 1:15 pm

    I find Suzanne’s character very interesting even if exasperating to watch – she certainly adds something to Mad Men. I promised I would revert in relation to your defence of Suzanne, here are my preliminary views (I have not yet had the opportunity to re-watch all of her scenes as promised)

    I think one of the reasons for the strong reaction to Suzanne has been because of the very Betty-centric show this season – there is a sense of having to make a choice between Suzanne & Betty, certainly that’s what I felt at first. I’ve a lot of sympathy for Betty because she keeps trying so hard (really to the best of her ability)to get through to Don & failing. However I welcome the opportunity to try to look sympathetically at Suzanne through the prism of your analysis.

    I agree that Suzanne is a Rothko, that is a very good analogy. Whether or not her mind is running on the same lines as the schoolteacher in Butch & Sundance – I don’t know – it’s certainly a plausible and sympathetic explanation for her behaviour but I don’t think it’s the only one.

    My main concern with Suzanne is not really the fact that she is involved with a married man (this is Mad Men, after all) but rather that the said married man is the father of one of her students – and in particular a student in whom she has taken a special interest, and who is particularly attached to her. I can understand how all of these matters might actually make Don more attractive to her – but they also make her behaviour less excusable. There’s a lack of boundaries here I think, something off-centre, which was highlighted by the fact that she had no problem with waiting in the car outside the house of the family she was possibly contributing to breaking up … wild horses could not have dragged me there in her position. What gets me is – not just that she did all of the above (we’ve all done stupid & out-of-character things when besotted) but that she apparently felt no conflict, no guilt about doing so.

    I think there’s a real male-female dichotomy in relation to Suzanne. I would strongly suspect that on reading the previous paragraph you are probably saying – but THAT’S her very attraction – the freedom from guilt, maybe even, the fact she’s not just a teacher but Sally’s teacher. However what is interesting is that it is these very matters that are the very things that make her so exasperating to me, and I would suspect, to other women. I realise that I’m fully falling into the trap here of being more judgmental about characters of my own sex.

    This doesn’t mean that I have a problem with the character, or the way she is written, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed feeling Mad at Suzanne this season, she’s given good Bitchfest, also as most TV characters are so one-dimensional it is nice to have a character who can’t be pigeonholed.

    What I would like to see is more of a back story in relation to Suzanne. There’s a sense about her that she’s waiting to be hurt, wanting to inflict pain on herself. I also get this feeling with Don. Maybe that’s what they have in common. I think it goes back to their childhoods. I just have a feeling of folie a deux about the two of them….

  6. Ruth permalink
    December 22, 2009 1:17 am

    Just one further point about Suzanne-Don; there is a bit of a Jane Eyre-Rochester thing going on there. Poor governess perceived by some as dowdy, handsome brooding father/guardian of student tired of sophistication and materialism & looking for simplicity and plain speaking. Plus, quasi-telepathic connection between hero & heroine. There are many differences from Jane Eyre (as a Betty fan, I would have to dispute any mad wife in the attic analogies) but there are some parallels. No spaghetti in Jane Eyre though.

    • December 22, 2009 2:36 am

      Ruth, Ruth!! Am I correct in surmising you are functioning in Greenwich Mean Time? Yours and my hours mesh differently. For example, I need a few hours shut eye now before work. I apologize for not yet responding to yesterday’s last comment. You expounded so cogently in such fine detail of thought, I felt it would be disrespectful to bang out some half-arsed, distracted reply from the Cube. You helped crystalize a few Suzanne ideas for me and I wanted to return your cogency. But I napped and when I awoke I got sidetracked attempting to straighten out something I felt somewhat responsible for starting over at BoK. And now later, Morpheus calls my name once more.

      But I feel an eerie but pleasing serendipity forming around our discussions of Suze. I dropped what I thought was an obscure Jane Eyre phraselet earlier today for very unrelated reasons and have been thinking a lot about this very parallel you just noted up here. And so we’re clear, I would not care to put Betty in the attic either. I really like Betty, I don’t feel a need to choose between her and Suzanne and that may have a reason and explanation related to your compelling posting. I need sleep though but I’ll make an effort to elaborate on the bigger Suzanne issue after work tomorrow. Have a fine morning!

  7. Ruth permalink
    December 22, 2009 1:53 am

    Don & Suzanne looking very handsome in bonnet & sideburns

  8. Ruth permalink
    December 22, 2009 4:52 am

    Timber wolves…gallic sylphs – I read the comments on the Solstice post before going to bed and I knew there was some reason why I woke up at 6 a.m. GMT (most unusual for me) thinking Don & Suzanne= Jane Eyre. It just shows the subliminal force of your words.

    GMT is a bitch. I have gone to work bleary-eyed so many Monday mornings this last summer & autumn after staying up all night to read the liveblogging of Mad Men. Don’t even get me started on how I get to actually watch the show over the following week. Mad Men has not really taken off here & I am still persuading family and friends to watch it – though I expect increased interest after Christmas as the DVDs of Season 1 and 2 are selling well. Season 3 apparently comes on TV here after Christmas.

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