Thursday, February 26, 2009

Once were madmen

Mad Men is one of the most impressive television series I
have ever seen. Certainly I can think of nothing better to
have come out of America. It deserves all the praise piled
on it. The scripts are outstanding, the casting faultless, the
acting superb. Above all, of course, it shows with painful
realism, and without abusing the advantage of hindsight,
what the 20th century was like in middle-class Western
society before the rise of feminism in the late 1960s. Not
that women have achieved full equality with men by any
means yet, but the sexism then was so blatant, so egregious
and all the more shocking—to us now—because so matter-
of-fact. It explains a great deal about the way we are now,
and how far we still have to go before the conventional male
sense of superiority is eradicated. Men should look at the
subject matter of this series not as an historic curiosity, a
photograph album of the past, but as a mirror in which, if
they have any self-honesty, they will see themselves and
their attitudes towards women reflected. We may not like
what we see; but then, the series is called Mad Men.

2 comments:

Giovanni said...

Certainly I can think of nothing better to have come out of America.

Here walks a man who has never seen The Wire!

You might be interested in Mark Greif's take on Mad Men (I'm in your camp, but his piece is intelligent and very nicely written):

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n20/grei01_.html

Noel said...

Mad Men is indeed the best thing on TV but it was only when I started reading Richard Yates' novel Disturbing the Peace, about an ad man in the 60s, that I realised it was also derivative.