An American Reformation

Amy Kittelstrom Somehow the word “godless” got hitched to the word “liberal.” The story of this coupling has something to do with the Cold War against communism, but behind this unholy union lies a much more interesting history of how some American elites led a very different fight against—well, elitism. Seven liberals, whose lives interconnected across two centuries through shared readings, relationships, and concerns, were so far from godlessness that the pursuit of truth and virtue dominated their lives. 

Don Draper: Dharma Bum, Priestly Sage

S. Brent Plate In episode 9 of the final season of Mad Men, Don Draper sits in his empty Manhattan penthouse, having lost his wife and all his domestic possessions. A few episodes later he is driving his Cadillac through the western states with nothing but a bag of belongings. In the ultimate scene of the penultimate episode he gives his car to a local grifter. These final episodes turn Don into a Dharma Bum, some modern-day bodhisattva eliminating attachments through carefree wandering. He’s straight out of Japhy Ryder’s vision in Jack Kerouac’s 1958 novel Dharma Bums.