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Myths of the Golden Age

There is an air of uncritical enthusiasm about American television drama these days. It is time for a reality check

By Richard Beck  

Difficult men: Do shows as Mad Men, The Sopranos and Breaking Bad display an “aggressive and resentful masculinity”?

Earlier this year, the novelist Teju Cole logged into his Twitter account and decided to carry out a small experiment. He had been thinking about Gustave Flaubert’s Dictionary of Received Ideas, in which the great novelist laid out many of the French Empire’s most common clichés for ridicule (of the waltz, he wrote, “Wax indignant about. A lascivious, impure dance that should only be danced by old ladies.”) Cole decided to update…

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