You know, I quipped last week about my last koldtbord attracting possible smorgasbord enthusiasts to our shores. The funny thing is, thinking I should link to the meaning, maybe find a different take on the definition, I Googled and the third result was my previous entry. I just realized, in light of this episode that I Googled sounds like something someone might due during a hot episode of a spy show from the ’60s. And away … we go!
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Masturbation is our first and natural form of sexual activity and if that’s inhibited or damaged, then we suffer for the rest of our lives.
Sally plays Solitaire: Sometimes you do have to Google, and trust me that I mean use a search engine, things that you feel a little creepy about. I thought it might be informative to this entry to read about children and what Sally was doing on the couch. It was just sad. For those of you who think Betty was a bitch again, you’re right, but she’s not alone on this even today. I kept on finding sites where parents were freaking out because their little angel was caught masturbating. One parent made a point of mentioning his four-year-old daughter was physically disciplined for it — “the thrashing of a lifetime.” I was pretty much too appalled to read on. The universally held advice from people who don’t recommend beating or exorcism is to tell your child there is nothing wrong with it, but that it’s something they need to go do alone. Make sure there are no prying eyes:
I know people are floating out the idea that Grampa Gene did something bad, but there is no evidence of that, and Sally really is (in this case) at that age. While the kid is stressed beyond belief and that might have also led to the impulse, that’s no different from one of the reasons adults do it. Stop picking on Gene Hofstadt when he’s not here to defend himself, ya’ll!
Gene touched his daughter once because of brain changes. He thought she was his wife. Betty is an adult woman. The man never showed an interest in children. I understand that at the time when we saw Sally hanging around with him that most of us wondered, but the show clearly did not go there, and isn’t going there now. Admittedly, I write this as a woman who didn’t think Peggy was pregnant either, and this knowledge casts a shadow of self-doubt on everything I type…
Betty’s expression when she said Sally and Gene were close spoke to a regret that, while she loved her father, she wasn’t close to him. My grandfather spoiled me me rotten when I was a kid and my mother had a quite different relationship with him. I can only imagine how that felt. What I don’t think Betty’s expression meant is suppressed memories. (Also, yes, Gene would have liked Henry Francis — he has people.)
I’ve seen a lot of talk around wondering what was so stimulating about The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Spoiled! All spoiled children! Before the wonders of internet surfing and Skinemax, people used completely innocent T.V. shows and the Sears catalog and we they were happy to have it! Also, that first wave of hormones is something else!
Of course, at the heart of this is hypocrisy. Betty has enjoyed self-gratification as both a child and as an adult, and so the only lecture needed was time and place. By the way, the females are “winning.” The only male who has been seen allegedly, um, holding his own is Paul.
Kiernan Shipka is an amazing little actress and I have to imagine that this was a difficult scene for her, as professional as she is, and for the adults to navigate her through. I wonder if some of this gives her an insight into the weirdness of adults as she has a window into being a child then and now and at the mercies of people who don’t always know what to do — but think they do.
Which leads us to…
There are two things that Jack Bauer never does. Show mercy, and go to the bathroom.
Sally locked herself in the bathroom to cut her hair. Teen boys spend a lot of time locked in the bathroom. When Sally walked out of the bathroom I thought for a second she’d started her period. Interesting that the storyline went where it did instead.
I cut my hair in the bathroom when I was a little younger than Sally. I took a pair of scissors and, instead of using a mirror, used the metallic door to the laundry chute and gave myself the start of bangs. I instantly knew I’d done screwed up. I don’t recall being slapped or spanked, but I’d be surprised if one or both didn’t occur. Not as bad as my fire pretty stage when I set fire to my mother’s bedroom (it was an accident, really), but since I had hair midway down my back that my grandmother would willingly drag a comb through every week rather than cut, not good either. You know, between the mercifully brief arson stage and the bed wetting, I’d only need animal abuse to hit all the markers of a future serial killer. Well, that and male. I did like to dress the Yorkie in doll clothes, but pretty much grew up to be a humble servant to my pets, so really little Daisy the Yorkie got the last laugh.
I really related to Sally. The poor child had two moments last night when she had to dread her mother’s reaction. I don’t know if it’s the case today, but that’s a terrifying thing. Waiting for the ax to drop. Wanting to explain what the hell you were thinking, because you know that’s the first thing she’ll want to know, and not having the ability to say you just lost your mind for a moment. Of course, after the trip to the hairdresser she looked more like Betty.
I think the slap was played right. The reactions. Parents did feel they had the right to do that, but it wasn’t pretty to see or comfortable to be around. The fact that Don was angry, but didn’t take his kids immediately, speaks to how times have changed. Even though you know in households everywhere some parents still think that’s valid discipline. Not even necessarily the same households that would beat a 4 year old for thinking they have some ownership of her own bodies, but the concepts are related.
Do you think Don was disappointed that HE didn’t get slapped? (I kid because I love!)
Hypocrisy II: (Electric Bugaloo) Parents teach their children that their bodies are their own, that no one else has the right to touch them against their will, and yet tell them they have to hug Aunt Suzie or she’ll get her feelings hurt or punish them by hurting them physically. Yes, most of us survived it, but I think a lot of this is why people resent Betty. She reminds us that children are often at the mercy of adults until they reach an age where they can claim full personhood. Betty clearly was also at the mercy of her parents. Betty has no intention of cutting of Sally’s fingers, of course, but even the words speak to a conflict involving ownership vs. guardianship. Are your children your property or are the under your care until they can go out into the world and make their own lives?
If it’s not one thing, it’s a mother…
I’ve seen comments where people take Betty talking to Dr. Edna as proof of her narcissism. Maybe. I’m positive that Dr. Edna, like another doctor in this episode, deliberately drew Betty out, and for good reason. I’m not even saying what others are thinking, that Sally’s problem IS Betty, but that you can’t understand a child until you have some insight into the parents. As School House Rock says:
As your body grows bigger
Your mind grows flowered
It’s great to learn
Cause knowledge is power!
People fling the term narcissism at Betty and don’t think about how people become that way through low self-esteem. They behave like they’re superior because they feel inferior. This is a woman who has more than once expressed the feeling that she wasn’t enough for Don. Narcissists also tend to be the result of a narcissistic parent: overly critical, judgmental, demanding, a perfectionist. Yes, that’s a “watch out, Sally,” but it’s also a chance to reflect on all we know about Betty’s mother. Betty didn’t wake up one day and become self-involved, but was damaged in her own childhood.
Dr. Edna’s best way to help Sally is to help Betty. Treating Sally as if she lives in a bubble and forgetting that she is a minor child who has to leave the office and go home does no real good. Help Betty and you help Sally. Get Don in there and get him on the right track, and help Sally even more. Get angry at Betty all you want, but she’s not the main reason her daughter has a better chance of seeking emotionally distant philanderers.
Betty tells Sally never to do this again — not publicly or privately. She tells Dr. Edna that she knows children do that, but it should be kept private. She tells to another adult things about Sally that she should tell Sally. I often heard little tidbits about myself — how the grown-ups felt about something I’d done or what plans were in store for me — by what they told others.
I’m guessing Dr. Edna doesn’t think Betty is right, but has some sympathy for her. I can relate. To twist around the scene to make Betty the bad guy or to imply Dr. Edna thinks she’s the bad guy is to ignore the acting of both women and the writing.
Roger: In the words of the song: You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
In order to send a man off to kill or be killed, you have to convince him that the cause is a just one. A horrified walk through the Holocaust Museum in D.C. will show you that the Germans had their propaganda machine — and we had ours. The Japanese had their machine too, represented in both their own artwork and in Tokyo Rose broadcasts. Vietnam, as has been mentioned countless times, changed war. The images, the stories, could no longer be managed. It’s for Sally’s generation to see war through different eyes. Roger’s soul, to pick up the Gibran quote, doesn’t dwell in the house of tomorrow. How could they have changed, because he hasn’t? You can’t put all your resources toward telling a man he should hate someone and then, when your purpose in fostering hate is done and lives are lost, think you can put it all back together again. “Never mind. Forget that!”
Roger’s reaction answers the question of how we could have justified internment camps to round up Japanese-Americans.
Of course, I’m pretty much expecting someone to suggest it for our new favorite hated group.
Mrs. Blankenship: Yes, she’s funny, but I simply don’t believe that Don would keep her on. It takes a lot to be worse than Lois. I think one of the reasons we laugh is that we’ve all known an incarnation of this woman. She’s old, she’s working for kids, she’s paid her dues, and you’re lucky if she even pretends to give a crap. She’s more likely to want to diaper Don than she is to want to bang him. (Oh, great, now I have that image in my head — and I don’t hate it.)
Bertram Cooooooper!: These are the details we love. A lot of shows would have let fall by the wayside the knowledge the viewer has of Cooper’s interests and the show would have been weaker for it. Robert Morse was just terrific here, playing his lines beautifully and making me believe that this is a man that understands Japanese culture.
Pete: It’s official — Pete is scared of getting his ass kicked. Did you see his reaction to Roger coming at him and how beautifully it worked with his reaction to Don coming toward him in Season 1? In the later scene I loved him tacking on the “I’m expecting a child line” because it seemed like exactly what someone would say in his place. He was ambivalent about Trudy getting pregnant, but now he’s thinking of his legacy. Pete had always wanted to be a provider, even though it was earlier couched in weird little hunting stories that made Peggy weak in the knees.
Don Still Has Game: He almost did the wrong thing and then won by making someone else step into that trap. Don succeeded by making the businessmen think he was following the rules when he was thoroughly deceptive. Also, “I’m still wondering what makes you work” still cracks me up.
I Enjoy Being a Girl: Brilliant, but poor Sally.
(Thanks to BestWeekEver.)