William S. Burroughs

Don Draper

Nancy Mattoon writes on the similarities and differences between William S. Burroughs and the fictional character Don Draper from AMC’s Mad Men:

Insiders wanting out, outsiders wanting in. Flamboyantly embracing the outlaw life, desperately seeking status. Life on the junk, life selling junk. Creating a nightmarish truth, concocting a glamorous lie. Writing to save your soul, selling your soul to write. Spectacularly surrendering to the siren song of smack, self-medicating with scotch and soda to maintain the social surface. The psychotic outlaw-addict and the man in the gray flannel suit. Both hell bent on that great American pastime: reinvention. But the artistry of the addict betrays the poetry in his soul. And the Marlboro Man has a cancer at his core. Neither Burroughs/Lee nor Don Draper can escape the one thing they’re trying to outrun: themselves. As William Faulkner put it,”the past isn’t dead, it’s not even past.” Or to quote Dr. Buckaroo Banzai, “No matter where you go, there you are.”

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