In Which Adultery Is The Cure For What Ails Us

How Does Bobbie’s Daughter at Sarah Lawrence Feel About All This?

by Alex Carnevale

AMC advertised its celebration of the 15th anniversary of Philadelphia during tonight’s Mad Men. The only thing more out of date is the humor in Jerry Seinfeld’s Microsoft commercial. Who were the ad wizards that came up with that one?

If it weren’t for Philadelphia, we wouldn’t have Blindness, the movie that proves that white people would give anything to be another minority suffering from prejudice and discrimination.

before we even knew what you’ve got mail was

And yet even out of the tragedy of Tom Hanks losing his boyish good looks, great art is borne, most of all in Neil Young’s astonishing title track for Jonathan Demme’s gay procedural. Before Philadelphia there was no such thing as homosexuality or AIDS. True story.

Looking to illness, sexuality and race as determinative factors leads one to Jewish painter Mark Rothko, the emotional centerpiece of last night’s imaginative Mad Men, titled “The Gold Violin.” Mr. Rothko was white, and healthy, and he wished ill upon himself.

Pictures must be miraculous – MR

Have you ever read Kurt Vonnegut’s best book, his memoir of abstract expressionism, Bluebeard? It suggests that there were men far more erudite than those at Sterling Cooper during this period.

Rothko and his buddies went on vacation (in Gloucester and Lake George) together to discuss art. If we learned anything from Sal and Ken Cosgrove’s No-Good-Very-Bad Dinner Date, all great art has homosocial engagement as its foundation.

Like many artists, Rothko’s first mistake was that he met a woman and got married, a life choice that ends a man’s sexual provoclivity and tendency towards wish fulfillment. Not.

Rothko’s work began to darken dramatically during the late 1950s. This development is related to his work on a mural commission for the Four Seasons restaurant, located in the Seagram Building in New York City. Here Rothko turned to a palette of red, maroon, brown, and black.

the seagram murals

This was the first time he was required to not only design a series of paintings but to produce artwork for a specific space. Over the following three months, Rothko completed forty paintings, three full series in dark red and brown, altering his horizontal format to the vertical to complement the restaurant’s vertical features: columns, walls, doors and windows.

The following June, Rothko and his family traveled to Europe and while on the SS Independence he disclosed to John Fischer, publisher of Harper’s, his true intention for the Seagram murals was to paint “something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room. If the restaurant would refuse to put up my murals, that would be the ultimate compliment. But they won’t. People can stand anything these days.”

Last night’s television boiled down to when and where you find out your partner has committed adultery. How we would have given our lives to be there for the first moment after Hillary realized her husband had put a lit cigar in a woman’s vagina! If only it had been so easy for Betty Draper.

mccain & his first wife

Since men are always fooling around, Matthew Weiner’s Sopranos obsession with how families deal with adultery is always topical. The great unspoken subject of this campaign is McCain’s many affairs during his first marriage. John’s first wife, Carol, was a swimsuit model.

go talk to jimmy, he has something to tell you

Is John McCain also Don Draper? Did they switch identities in the shit?  Can’t you just imagine him, with that yellow smile on his face, saying this:

My marriage’s collapse was attributable to my own selfishness and immaturity. The blame was entirely mine.

As the former Carol McCain put it, “John was turning 40 and wanting to be 25 again.”

man and beard

The best type of person to cheat on your wife, husband or significant other with:

1) They don’t have a tumblr. If they do have a tumblr, it’s about food, architecture, or their dog.

2) A personality that is fun and wild in social situations, but when his or her mood turns dark they prefer to be alone. (If I wanted to hold someone’s hand during PMS, I’d just hang out with my wife/girlfriend/horse riding budday.)

3) Blue eyes and chest hair

sorry about leaving our sex to go play wii last time bobbie

4) One or two kids. If this liaison isn’t ruining someone’s life Sawyer-on-Lost style, what’s the point?

5) Knowledge of the Torah (in case he is called on during Rosh Hashanah to lead a prayer or something)

Don Draper fulfills all except for the not having a tumblr part, and he drives a blue Cadillac.  (To buy a Cadillac then was no big deal; now the GM employee discount won’t even get consumers in a domestic automobile.) As with Don, the tragic experience in Rothko gave rise to his greatest work. Seen in hindsight, this process gave Rothko all the justification he needed for his bad behavior.

Modern artistic aims ceased to be Rothko’s goal; from this point on, his art would bear, as its ultimate aim, the burden of relieving modern man’s fundamental spiritual emptiness, an emptiness created, in part, by the lack of a mythology to properly address, as Nietzsche wrote, “the growth of a child’s mind and … to a mature man his life and struggles,” and to provide the aesthetic recognition necessary for the freeing of those unconscious energies previously liberated by mythological images, symbols, and rituals.

In the spring of 1968, Rothko suffered an aneurysm of the aorta, a result of his chronic high blood pressure. Ignoring doctor’s orders, Rothko continued to drink and smoke heavily, avoid exercise and to maintain an unhealthy diet. However, he followed the advice not to paint pictures larger than a yard in height and turned his attention to smaller formats, including acrylics on paper. Rothko and his wife Mell separated on New Year’s Day 1969, and he moved into his studio.

As self-destructive as adultery can be, no one denies that it is loads of fun. It’s also reportedly what half the children in the Make-A-Wish foundation ask for. “The exhilarated tragic experience,” Rothko wrote, “is for me the only source of art.”

On February 25, 1970, Oliver Steindecker, Rothko’s assistant, found the artist in his kitchen, lying dead on the floor in front of the sink, covered in blood. His arms had been sliced open with a razor lying at his side. During autopsy it was discovered he had also overdosed on anti-depressants. He was 66 years old.

We have to admit that here at This Recording, we are hoping for an Obama victory. This is for the simple reason that if Barry cheats on Michelle in the Oval Office, Joe Biden won’t have to hire a bunch of skinheads to complete his dream. We find that amusing.

look deep

Cheating on someone is about going beyond the image, the static way of things, and into the deep Rothko red, as a way of surrender. Perhaps more importantly, adultery sells 20,000 copies of Leaves of Grass every year.

The question is whether or not Betty Draper wants to date drape some stable boy as revenge writ small. He will blindfold her and use an erect horse penis as a vibrator to aid their foreplay. Really people, we love this time, but how much longer do we have to wait for free love, a topless January Jones and the Age of Aquarius?

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.


“Journey of the Featherless” – Cloud Cult (mp3)

“The Ghost Inside Our House” – Cloud Cult (mp3)

“It’s What You Need” – Cloud Cult (mp3)

cloud cult website

There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing – MR


The last Mad Men.

The one before that.

The one before that.

Mad Men wishlist.

6 thoughts on “In Which Adultery Is The Cure For What Ails Us

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