The Places You Will Be From

As always, Mad Men is brilliant. In 75 seconds, they touch on so many edges of what we're considering in our Advent series on Recovering Place.

Don ever searching for the good life, a better woman, a deeper pleasure, a stiffer drink, or higher honor. Inside the show, he is described at times as a man without people, past or place. This clip is taken from season 1 episode 6, pregnantly titled, "Babylon." Every character has been exiled to some extent, and in their wandering they cry for roots.

They get wrong the origin of the Utopia pun (no real evidence that it's actually Greek; Thomas Moore seems to have created the word for the sake of the pun in his 1516 work Utopia...but I digress). They miss the etymology, but they nail the substance - I're referenced it a couple of times in our sermons: EU-topia, "the good place," and OU-topia, "no place/ nowhere, or the place that is not."

Rachel's explanation of the ideal you can imagine without committing is revealing and a delusion, but you can watch her cynicism open Don's eyes to the self-defeat of his own wandering. Of the show's many premises and recurring themes, Don's incessant wandering and detachment is key to his character. As the show unfolds season after season, it becomes clear that Don's placeless existence has chosen him in many ways, long before he started choosing it for himself. And regardless of who's driving things - whether Don or his circumstance - his uncommitted smile is hollow.

"I'll visit, but I don't have to live there..."