Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks, from left), Roger Sterling (John Slattery), Lane Pryce (Jared Harris), Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Bertram Cooper (Robert Morse) and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) are cast members of AMC's "Mad Men."
Photo by Frank Ockenfels/Courtesy AMC/MCT.
By Liz Smith
Tribune Media Services
I WROTE recently about the return of AMC's great series, "Mad Men" - how the show was morphing to incorporate the impending swinging '60s.
One amazing and amusing aspect of the series' premiere was Jessica Pare's sexy little song, performed at her hubby Don Draper's 40th birthday party. The song was called "Zou Bisou Bisou." Jessica (Megan in the series) sang it in a little whisper, with a French accent. Well, now the song has hit number 10 on iTunes and the producers of "Mad Men" have rushed it out to stores. Best part - they released it on vinyl! (Remember, 1966 was about 20 years before the compact disc took over, rendering the warm, rich sounds of vinyl obsolete.)
Gotta hand it to those "Mad Men" producers. They know how to push their product.
"FUKU AMERICANUS" writes the brilliant Junot Diaz in his prize-winning novel "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" about descendants of the Dominican Republic.
These people believe that America has made a bad bed in the Antilles and is now forced to lie in it. Junot's unusual book won everything in sight a few years ago, including a Pulitzer Prize.
I don't know how I escaped knowing more about it, but one of the things I've never been in life is superstitious.
After reading Diaz, I am! And I go around crossing my index fingers and saying the anti-fuku chant - "Zafa" - to ward off evil spirits. It means actually "victory!" (According to Diaz, the U.S. hasn't always done the right thing in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and this is the only one surefire counter-spell that will keep you and your family safe from historical blunders.)
ARE GOOD manners and etiquette dead? Not quite, but life support is desperately needed.
Now comes something much needed for today's man. "Emily Post's Essential Manners for Men." It was written by Peter Post, the great-grandson of the late doyenne of what to do, how to do it, and what to wear while you're doing it.
The book offers much of what you might expect, including the old stuff, like opening a door for a woman, helping her into her coat, promptness. "These things remain appreciated," says Mr. Post.
But in deference to our new world of cellphones, texting, iPads and all the other gadgets that are causing a generation of wretched posture, Mr. Post weighs in. "Make sure you are in control of your smartphone, don't let it control you."
SPEAKING OF control or lack of it, director Spike Lee offered us yet another example of how dangerous and irresponsible tweeting can be. Spike "re-tweeted" an address where George Zimmerman - the Florida man who killed young Trayvon Martin - was supposedly staying.
Actually, the address was that of an elderly couple with no connection to Zimmerman. They had to flee their house in actual fear for their lives.
Nice going, Spike. The director has apologized, but he'll probably be on the losing end of a lawsuit. Good grief, even if it was George Zimmerman's address, it's no business of Spike Lee's, or any private citizen, to involve themselves in a law enforcement matter. If the innocent couple, or Mr. Zimmerman himself, had been harmed or killed, Spike Lee would be facing far more than a lawsuit. Think - everybody - before you tweet, text or post intimate photos of yourself online.
MY ADVICE TO ALL PARENTS is to accompany your children to see the important documentary "Bully," which is about the epidemic of adolescent bullying in the United States. Harvey Weinstein released the movie as unrated, because the MPAA would not lower the R rating. Children under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. However, the AMC Theatre chain will accept a written note from a parent or guardian. Either way - try to go with your kids or give them a note. As has been remarked upon, the violent, disturbing and fictional "The Hunger Games" is rated PG-13.
Children are exposed to so much pointless garbage on TV and on theater screens. Let them see "Bully." Let them see for themselves how actions and words can have tragic consequences.
E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com, or write to her c/o Tribune Media Services, 2010 Westridge Drive, Irving, TX 75038.
(c)2012 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
This was printed in the April 22, 2012 - May 5, 2012 Edition