Madmen Yourself ("Why We Love Mad Men")

Thursday, September 3, 2009

posted under , , , , , by Unit for Criticism

A few weeks ago, inspired partly by some columns that the New York Times published on the topic, I decided to write a short essay on Mad Men, the AMC television series about the world of advertising in the early 1960s. Even if you have never watched the show you may be aware that it has a large following among academics (among others). As I wrote in the essay-- originally titled "Madmen Yourself" and which appears in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education--audience enthusiam for the show is itself a remarkable subject:
"By the time the season-three premier was promoted this month, my friends (men and women in their 30s and 40s) had taken to posting Madmenized avatars of themselves on their Facebook pages. ...What had happened to make these politically progressive adults in the last days of their youth identify with characters from their parents' generation?"

(I should add that Mad Men has many committed viewers who came of age in the 1960s including, fortunately for me, the editor at the Chronicle.)

The brief analysis I offered seems to have worked for the readers who have commented on it. And yet I know from having shared the essay prior to its publication that there are different ways of appreciating Mad Men and of thinking about the dialogue it provokes about history and the present day.

I would love to hear more about them.

Oh and neither the New York Times column nor my essay in the Chronicle contains any season-three spoilers.

Lauren Goodlad


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Anonymous said...

that was the last generation of no-bullshit, that's why people are facinated with it, before the cultural revolution rang the death knell to western civilization.