A drive-by media blow at high speeds:
The Confusion: I liked this more than Quicksilver, its predecessor. Perhaps because it dealt in greater depth with two subjects that fascinate me: the growth of credit markets and pirate swordfights. It introduced the same baffling array of characters as the first novel did, but gives us more convenient hooks on which to hang our memory: El Desamparado, Bonaventure Rossignol, Jean Bart, Lothar von Hackhleber, Edouard de Gex. Stephenson also proved himself a sport in tidying up several loose ends I thought he’d wait until the third novel to resolve: Eliza’s vengeance upon the men who enslaved her, for one. I enjoyed it tremendously, and hope The System of the World continues in the same vein.
Invader Zim: A delightfully subversive cartoon. Masquerading as a 12-minute zany about an alien invader who disguises himself as a 10-year-old boy in order to conquer Earth, Invader Zim has more depth than its sponsors – Nickelodeon, and thus Viacom – could have expected. It’s really about the secret fear of any adolescent: that the private fears and ambitions he nurtures make him an alien. Zim speculates constantly about what the “Earth filthies” might think of him, even as he plots to subjugate them. Consider particularly Zim’s fears in “Bestest Friend” or “Parent Teacher Night.” But beyond adolescence, Invader Zim also comments on the suburban willingness to conform, ignore the unusual and buy the oddest things.
Plus there’s GIR.
Mad Men: “He’ll never golf again.”
I won’t say anymore (though feel free to bandy about spoilers in the comments), except that Season 3 has been my favorite season so far. This holds true for so many of my favorite shows: The Simpsons, The X-Files, 24, The Wire, etc. A good show needs two seasons to build its characters up and place every piece on the board. Then, in Season 3, it gets to change all the rules.