March 25, 2012, - 4:49 pm
Tonight is occupied with the much-awaited two-hour cable debut of the much-awaited fifth season of AMC’s “Mad Men,” the series about a Manhattan advertising agency in the early 1960s. As I’ve noted on this site before, while I’ve followed the show (on DVD mostly from my public library–I don’t have cable), I recognize it for what it is: a fictional soap opera (with more high brow trappings and fanfare) in which American men are defamed as unethical, serial cheaters who are also racist and anti-Semitic.
Jon Hamm as “Mad Men’s” Don Draper/Dick Whitman
Oh, and every single bad guy on the show is a war veteran–Jon Hamm’s “Don Draper” is a Korean War veteran (who dishonestly assumed the persona of a dead fellow soldier), “Roger Sterling” (John Slattery) is a World War II vet, and “Bert Cooper” (Robert Morse) served in World War I, where he met Sterling’s late father. That all of these guys who served are creeps, should trouble Americans. But no one cares. Several million sheep will watch tonight and not even notice, just as they haven’t for the previous four seasons.
Sure, people cheated in the early ’60s, but not as rampantly as this show portrays. In fact, most men were faithful, something this show doesn’t really want to portray accurately. I’ve previously noted that the show is basically “Desperate Housewives” with men playing the wives, and an early ’60s setting, clothing, and props.
The women, though, are always the victims and always sympathetic, even though many of them are cheaters and very conniving, too. We’re supposed to feel bad for them, like hard-working Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), repeatedly put down and doubted by the men because of “sexism.” Yet, we’re supposed to look the other way when she slept with a married man who works at the firm and had his baby. It’s not exactly like she was raped, but in the “boy’s world,” she’s the victim. (I’m not sure why, though.) The same goes for office manager Joan (Christina Hendricks), who cheated on her husband who is serving in Vietnam, and who is pregnant with married boss Roger Sterling’s baby. She, too, is sympathetic and her cheating is looked upon as one of frustration, rather than the lecherous cheating of Roger and Don Draper.
And all of this is no coincidence because, as I’ve pointed out, almost all of the show’s writers are women, women who clearly have a feminist agenda for their carefully-coifed male actor puppets to play. And that’s to portray the men of the late ’50s and early ’60s–especially war veterans who served America–as louts and scumbags. Yay, grrrlpower! Even the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner–though he is married with four kids–certainly sounds like he’s gay (with a very, very feminine voice). And who knows? Maybe he is.
There is a strong, not-so-veiled theme running through the show: that times before now were very bad because men were creeps and women had no power, but that they deserve it. It’s kind of annoying, especially when, today, women in their 20s are out-earning men, and vastly outnumber them in colleges and grad schools; and men are more and more relegated to 30-something slackers living with their parents or stay-at-home dads.
Is that such a good thing–the way it is today? Nope. But the writers and producers of “Mad Men” want you to think it is. They don’t want you to believe that the early ’60s–before the sexual revolution and the counter-culture anti-war protesters–was a better time or had better values and family and sexual dynamics. They want you to think that the men were the same, but just the women were tamped down and that this needed to change.
Now, we have the change: 42% of kids born out of wedlock, most of them to the younger generations where the rate is much higher; fewer marriages and more couples just living together; fewer and fewer nuclear families. And, during all of this, our country is dumber and economically more behind than ever.
Yes, the early ’60s were a much better time in America than the “Mad Men” wants you to know. In fact, the only accurate things on this show are the decor, cars, and couture, all of which are window dressing to the storyline.
On Twitter (follow me on Twitter), I recently created a new word: MadMenophila. It’s definition: the illness of liking a highly stylized soap opera written by chicks and gay men to vilify traditional men of the early ’60s.
Yup, that’s about right. It’s well past time to see “Mad Men” as the left-wing, feminist soap opera that it is, albeit entertaining. It’s Occupy Wall Street fantasy parading as anthropologist history.
If you can’t watch “Mad Men” with a critical eye and know better, you should probably stick to the Kardashians.
Tags: anti-male, denigrates the military, Don Draper, Jon Hamm, Mad Men, military veterans, war veterans