Mad for Mad Men

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Aug 12, 2009 10:28 AM
Good article from Taki's Mag by Scott Locklin on the Mad Men TV show, of which I've watched just one of the three or four seasons that have been produced so far. I chose not to continue watching because I am a bit of a vigilante against philanderers, and the entire show consists of men running around on their wives; as I progressed through the season, my delecate temperments were routinely throw off with nausea and disgust. But that doesn't mean the show didn't have it's virtues, one of which -- the show's ability to make one think about social conventions -- Locklin addresses at some length, saying that we're more guilty of being jerks than the 1960's-era characters that are portrayed.
Instead of valuing sexual fidelity, we sort our recyclables. Instead of general consideration for the feelings of others, we have developed a sort of Kabuki theater of politically correct groveling. Rather than fly-fishing, sailing and hunting, the modern upper middle class goes on ecological vacations to third world hellholes to marinate in their superior state of moral consciousness. Upper middle-class sanctimony is now generally directed at people who drive large cars, or who make “insensitive” jokes, rather than the old WASP vilification of people who abandon their families, or who cheat and steal. Being rude and egotistical is now considered “being yourself.” Back in the dark ages of 1961, you couldn’t be that much of a jerk any more than you could come into work wearing sweatpants.
I generally agree, though I'm not sure that people weren't jerks in 1961 just as much as they're jerks now. Perhaps we're just more eager now to report what we feel. Either way, show should be commended for at least making us think about our past and current social mores, and where we'd like to go from here.