Future Vision: Mad Men

Last Sunday saw the launch of the third season of HBO’s highly acclaimed drama series Mad Men. As fascinating as I find the various intricacies of the plot and interpersonal intrigues of the characters, I am just as compelled as to how the show holds up a prism through which to view the change in attitudes between the early 1960’s and the first decade of the 2000’s.

The show highlights the self-destructive habits of certain types of executives forty years ago; over-drinking, self-medicating, breaking marital vows. It also highlights the limited view of a woman’s professional capacity, with many of the female characters restricted to either secretarial or hausfrau roles. While we have become somewhat more enlightened in changing some of these habits and mores, it will be interesting to see how much further we will progress in two score years hence. Will entertainment executives commission a show looking back at ad professionals of 2009-Burnett Boys, perhaps-and what will that say about our culture?

JS

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