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Is Don Draper the Devil or a Narcissist? July 23, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
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If you’ve had a close encounter with a narcissist, you know exactly what Don Draper would do.

The Devil in Don Draper is the lead story in the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times today. In case you’ve been living in a cave, Don Draper is the ever so manly ad man star of AMC’s Mad Men, the fourth season which premieres Sunday.

As I read the article by Mary McNamara, I observed the following Red Flags:
1)  In three seasons, Don Draper “has not done one single thing that wasn’t driven by rabid self-interest.”
2) “He lies to everyone all the time.”
3) “He cheats on his wife, he cheats on his mistress…”
4) “…the idea that his behavior needs to change does not seem to cross his mind – ever.”
5) He manages to “seem like he’s doing the right thing when that is not his intention at all.”
6) His children exist on the periphery of his life – cardboard cutouts at best.

While the writer comes to the conclusion that Don Draper is the devil (sans pointy tail), those who know a thing or two about NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) should have heard the bells a ringin’.

I religiously watched the first season of Mad Men because a friend who didn’t have cable watched it at my house. Sometimes I found Mad Men almost painful to watch as the women are stuck wearing those pointy bras, and when they get knocked up they have to go visit a relative. These are women whom the men refer to as “girls.” But the set design is spot on.

After the first season, I only watched Mad Men sporadically.  My interest picked up when my trainer told me that actor John Hamm, who plays Don Draper, was now having his hair cut at a local salon.  I’m sure he looks a lot more 21st century than on the the show and doesn’t really reek of Aqua Velva. I have yet to make a sighting.

But back to Don Draper aka The Devil. The character took on another man’s identity and reinvented himself to distance himself from his sordid beginnings. His walking talking False Self exudes confidence and cool, yet it’s all a facade. Gee, where have I heard that before?

After reading the article, I dug a little deeper and came across two great posts on The Last Psychiatrist unmasking Don Draper’s narcissism. Part 1: Don Draper Voted “Most Influential Man” and Part 2: You Want to be Don Draper?  You Already Are. Interesting reads! You gotta understand that there are men out there who aspire to be like Don Draper, who is but a figment of his own imagination. That’s scary talk.

Personally I think aside from being a Somatic Narcissist, Don’s got a bit of sociopath under the hood. Sociopaths make great sales people, so the field of advertising would be The Promised Land.  And I’ve already said that narcissism is like the ground fog that swirls around all the Cluster B disorders, including sociopathy and psychopathy. (The only people Don kills are consumers, though his emotional distance and affairs killed his marriage.)

Finally, my favorite take on the Devil is on the Home Page of Halycon, which is also on my blogroll and a great resource site. I think Don Draper might qualify, but see if you buy it.

Photo Credit:  Google Images

Reading The Girl Who Played with Fire July 19, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Entertainment.
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Book #2 in Larsson's Millenium Trilogy, all of which were published after his death.

Holy crap! What a ride! Although I loved Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first 100 pages read like an annual report. Larsson’s second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, puts you in a chokehold on Page One.

I’ve entered Day Five of being consumed by this book, which I literally haven’t been able to put down. Okay on Day One I took it to Children’s Court, but tucked it inside How to Improve Children’s Reading, so as not to tip my hand. It seemed downright wrong to be reading this book with so many children about. My husband pointed out that the movie is now out and got great reviews, but any bibliophile knows it’s not the same. So now I’m looking at another late night.

It’s not that I’m a slow reader, but there are so many twists and turns that I can only read a couple of chapters till I’m flat out exhausted. Then there’s the matter of IKEA. When Lisbeth Salander furnishes her new apartment, every item she buys at IKEA is listed, so it’s like I’ve been inside her apartment. Hey, I’ve got those BILLY shelves too!

Speaking of things that begin with “B.” I’m beginning to think half the surnames in Sweden start with a B, which makes it a challenge to remember who’s who. Blomkvist, the yin to Salander’s yang from the first book is easy to remember along with Berger, his long-time lover, and her husband Beckman. Then there’s Bjurman, Lizbeth’s guardian, and now in this book, detective Bublanski (Good Cop), and Bjorck (Bad Cop) and Bohman (Former Cop). I was half-expecting Bjork to make a cameo appearance.

And what’s with the characters grabbing a bite to eat at a 7-11? Or McDonalds for that matter? Something must be missing in translation as the last place I’d pick up pasta is 7-11. That’s where you go for the bladder-buster-sized soda or some lotto tickets, or to make some quick cash. No not Lotto – robbery!

Lisbeth’s obsession for Billy’s (there’s that “B” again) Pan Pizza got me to wondering, so I googled it. Who would have known?  To learn more about the best pizza you’ve never tried, you can go to Billy’s Pan Pizza – Comfort Food for the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Gotta go. Chapter 26 awaits. But if you’d like to read more about the series and Stieg Larsson’s untimely death, check out  Steig Larsson.com.

Post Mortem – I finished the book yesterday and came up for air. Whew, my heartbeat has returned to normal. Book 3, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, is now out in hardcover, but I’m biding my time. My husband’s friend couldn’t wait, but didn’t want to shell out the big bucks. His solution?  He went to Borders for three days in a row and stood and read the new book. He says it’s a slam dunk. I can wait, but I am feeling the need to go to IKEA. UPDATE: The Borders Option is no longer available.

Night Owls July 16, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Personal.
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3 comments

From September until the end of June, I’m up with the chickens (though chickens in LA tend to sleep in to get their beauty rest).  But come summer, I revert to being a night owl.  Oh, I still get up at 6 a.m. to feed the dogs and slop the hog.  I drink a Coke and spew toast crumbs on my keyboard, while I check my email.  But then I go back to bed – because I can.

In the summer, my mantra is, “Things to do – get dressed by 2.”  Today was a triple-digit day, temperature wise, which only served to remind me why it’s ridiculous to be up and about during daylight hours.  I’m blessed to have a son still living at home, who’s also a night owl.  There are no small children to care for.  The silence in the crypt house during the day is only punctuated by the incessant barking of the dogs.  But it’s too dang hot to even yell at them.  I just can’t get up the energy.

It’s like when we lived outside Seattle.  My son Ian, who’s a bona fide sun bunny, swore there was a coffee bar on every corner because people were trying to get up enough energy to kill themselves, but never could.  That’s basically how I feel about summer and the heat.  It’s best to lay low.

When I first moved to California, I worked the night shift at CBS typing scripts for TV shows – 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. or sometimes 4 a.m.  I felt out of sync with the rest of the world.  I remember walking into a supermarket at 4 a.m. and seeing the Christmas trees for sale outside.  At a gut level I knew there was something terribly wrong with this picture.  But, then I was still in culture shock after having moved from the Midwest.

Last night, to celebrate my finally turning in ALL of the coursework for my master’s degree, we had the neighbors over.  They brought nephews and nieces and their friends who’d moved to LA only days earlier from Georgia and Virginia.  Although the day had been uggy hot, it cooled down and we sat outside under the chandelier (my husband has a silver one rigged up to slide along a wire – Phantom of the Opera style). We swilled sangria and laughed ourselves silly.

I loved that these newcomers were so bedazzled by a typical Los Angeles night. And the best part? The night was still young.  Summer has begun!

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