February 9, 2012 Mad Men
Mad Men is a TV show on A&E. It premiered on July 17, 2007. Since it was a channel I did not get and was on so late, I never got a chance to check out the critically acclaimed show about advertising in the 1960s. At long last I got seasons 1-4 at the library. I am working my through them I took a brief break to catch up on Season 6 of Bones and Season 7 of Grey’s Anatomy, but now I’m back.
Several things jumped out at me about Mad Men. Not only were the sets and costumes authentic, but so were the racist and sexist attitudes. Then there is all the smoking and drinking! Doctors and nurses wouldn’t dare smoke in a hospital today nor would Ad execs smoke in the office. They even show pregnant women smoking and drinking!
All I could think of was that MAD TV skit where the children discover home movies of their mom doing such dangerous things like roller skating, drinking and smoking while pregnant! lol. The mother kept trying to explain, “There were no labels in the 70s!” Or the 50s or 60s for that matter. In that sense we’ve come a long way. We are more aware of health concerns now.
I just wish I could say the same about Women’s Rights. There are many days I feel like Don Draper’s wife Betty. She sits at home with the kids all day while her husband is busy at the office. He often stays late or is off womanizing instead of spending time with his wife and kids. Though he appears to love Betty and their children, Don is often distant and selfish. His marriage gives him that sense of stability and normalcy that he needs despite his unhappiness. Betty tries to be everything she is supposed to be, but she isn’t happy either. Her needs are completely subjugated to her husband’s needs. She has no job or career to help her feel fulfilled. She returns briefly to her modeling, but finds it too disappointing to pursue any longer.
I also read Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing is As It Seems this week. It tackled the topics of feminism, racism and morality. One article in particular questioned the morality of Don Draper. He lies and he cheats, yet we still like him. Why? Because he isn’t a total jerk. He cares about his clients and his co-workers. He shows loyalty to them even if he fails to be loyal to his wife. Don also gave Peggy a fair chance in the company. He does have redeeming characteristics even if he is deeply flawed. Don keeps his most intimate relationships at a distance and is closer to people at the periphery of his life. Once might surmise that he has fear of intimacy.