Mad Men: In the Land of the Lost

One of the recurring themes in Mad Men involves lost children, children who have lost their parents, parents who have lost their kids. We see characters who were abandoned, orphaned, or simply didn’t get enough love (Don Draper included) who go on to pathologically treat their own offspring the own way, often without much awareness or self-reflection about doing so. Don was a lost kid who became a lost adult, though he's kept it covered it up with bravado and a good sell over the years, albeit with a few cracks emerging.

This “lost” storyline goes well beyond Don, though. Pete lost his mother, in part because of Bob Benson. [...]


Truly Terrible Twos

"What's the difference between a toddler and a psychopath? Apparently, not too much. In 1980 Robert Hare, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, developed a 16-point checklist for determining whether a person was technically a psychopath. After taking a look at this list, and taking a look at the daily behavior of my two toddler girls, I can only conclude one thing: a psychopath is just really a person who has never grown out of the toddler stage." —Rhiana Maidenberg takes us point by point through the list and wow, she is onto something. Take, for the easiest example, #1: "Superficial charm & [...]


Come on, Kids

Only half of all kids make up imaginary friends? That's sort of disappointing. ("Who are you playing with?" "What? No one, obviously." "… Arrre you sure?" "Oh yeah, sorry, um, what was his name supposed to be again?" "Seriously?" "I'm sorry, Mom. Todd or something?")


New York: The Besieged Children

This article on foster children in the New York Review of Books is best if you're not wearing mascara, or eyeliner, or a white shirt that becomes transparent when wet:

Shylah’s experience in foster care was relatively benign because Nicole had managed to have her placed with close friends and, unlike most parents whose children are removed, she was allowed daily visits. But Nicole hadn’t realized how traumatized Shylah had been when she was first dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and taken away. At the time, the child protection officers did nothing to reassure the girl that she and her mother would be OK. [...]


The Lure of the Stuffed Animal

"The child got into the machine as we walked past, and I said 'you have no chance of getting her out' so I started filming to see what was going on. I didn't see the child get out as I had to go back to work." —Kids climbing inside crane games is totally normal now. Did it ever occur to you when you were little?


L'Enfant Sauvage

Here is an illustrated nonfiction piece by Antonia Blair, published in the current issue of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, about our collective fascination with feral children. Speaking of: the 2009 Pulitzer-awarded newspaper feature, "The Girl in The Window," is a must-read if you share even a sliver of that fascination, or have a heart that could use a little breaking.


The Worst Sound in the Wo-orld Is …

"A new study has found that the power of whining to distract people while doing simple math was even greater than other noises that people typically find annoying. It didn’t matter whether someone was a parent or not."