“The reason you haven’t felt it is because it doesn’t exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons. You’re born alone and you die alone and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget. I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one.”
That’s a line spoken in one of the first episodes by the character Don Draper, in the AMC TV series Mad Men. Pretty fucking intense, right? Though there is much to be said about the complex & nuanced female characters on this show, I am, oddly for me, completely transfixed by this Don Draper character. I’ve only watched like 5 episodes of the first season, but I am definitely hooked.
I don’t know if it’s because I identify heavily with people who have a horrible secret, or serious guilt issues, or maybe I’m just a huge cynic, but I almost completely agree with that statement above. It kind of knocked the wind out of me when I heard it articulated right back at me on TV. Maybe that’s sad. I guess my amendment to that statement would be that yes, most people can’t and won’t feel love because it doesn’t exist– at least not in the way one thinks it does. Most people, I think are living in a fantasy world, and are pretty much just lying to themselves. That doesn’t mean there is no love, but I think that it is very few and far between, and doesn’t look like what you think it does or should, necessarily. In my opinion, romantic love as we know it, is a completely constructed notion.
In that sense, I agree that all these distractions, these rules, all these things in our life that surround us on a daily basis that both shape and are shaped by us distract us from the fact that we are born and will die completely alone, and that ultimately, you are the only one you can depend on. Basically, yes, we are actively and collectively fooling ourselves. Though this may sound incredibly depressing, I thinkthe last part of the statement is really what illustrates Draper’s motives for not wanting to completely kill himself. Namely, that because there really isn’t a tomorrow, and all we have is right now, fucking live it up. Do the best you can, rage ahead because you know there is no hell, there is no one you will ultimately answer to but yourself. Do the things that make YOU happy, do what YOU want, don’t live for other people– people that will ultimately dissappoint you, fuck you over, manipulate you to advance theirt own interests, or leave you hanging. I mean, as long as you’re not hurting or impeding anyone in a malicious/fucked up way, you should live by your own terms.
It’s very anti-hero in the Tony Soprano sense– I mean, clearly, Don Draper is flawed (and was written by on of the guys who wrote for The Sopranos). But I think there’s something refreshing about a main character who doesn’t buy into the “all people deep down are good” philosophy. He’s like somewhere in between Batman & the Joker.
Also, someone started a blog called What Would Don Draper Do? Awesome.