In Memoriam: Maurice Sendak, 1928-2012A small token of appreciation for one of children's literature's all-time greats

MAURICE SENDAK UNDERSTOOD. He understood that children are not the pure, delicate flowers they are so often made out to be, but wild, curious creatures, full of passion and imagination and mixed-up emotions. He understood that adolescence is just as—if not more—discordant and turbulent than any other stage of one’s life. He understood that growing up is a process that never truly ends.

That’s why his books are almost certainly among the first you remember reading. Sendak’s stories take us to dark, fantastical places—but they always feel familiar, as if those places were inside you all along. They were. And they always will be.

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The Week in Entertainment, Vol. 37We discuss the songs, shows, flicks, and videos that caught our attention over the past seven days

This week, hip hop loses a pioneer; A$AP Rocky takes on Paris; the latest Spidey flick looks less than amazing; President Obama shouts out Young Jeezy; Bethesda Softworks goes steampunk for its latest game; and a young man’s drinking prowess is not quite what it seems. 

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Cigarettes & Sentimentalism: A Changed Man?Don Draper and the fickle nature of happiness

CERTAIN TRAITS HAVE come to define what it means to be an alpha male in American society. In a culture chiefly driven by competition, success is judged not only in terms of results, but how those results are achieved. A successful man has to remain in firm control of his situation at all times—and no one exudes a sense of control more than Don Draper. On Mad Men, he dominates every room, every conversation, and (usually) every person he comes across. His dapper, refined persona easily conceals the whiskey and women swimming around in his head. The practiced stare reveals nothing except a man firmly rooted in confidence.

The character has achieved a sort of folk status in pop culture. Sure, the public has admired characters before, but rarely in such a sweeping, pervasive way. A fictional ad man from a show set in the 1960’s has become an influential style icon and public figure. This is chiefly because the image of the ideal American alpha male remains more or less the same. We expect the truly admirable men to juggle a career, family, and a parade of women without breaking a sweat. Moreover, they’re supposed to do so with sophisticated swagger—smoking a cigarette, sipping a strong drink, and firing off witty one-liners to whoever is lucky enough to be listening. Draper possesses all of these traits in spades.

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