Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Beautiful Mine

Mad Men Season 3 Premiere is a short but distant two and half weeks away.

AMC's website has an awesome interactive program that for a fan like me, was irresistible.

The cultural history is layered. It's doubtful you'd see someone like me, even in my Mad Men avatar, move so freely in that space without it signifying some aspect of the past social contract. But it's nice to imagine that animated me could be patron in a bar, rather than server. It's a period of history I'd rather pretend never existed, and skip to the good part, when we got civil rights and I get to experience integration and live in a 'post racial' society. However, Weiner's drama is still compelling. The nuanced day to day interactions of race, gender and class in what we can now refer to as modern America, are so exquisitely rendered that I can't help but watch the show as if it were a cultural document. For our post-modern, 'post-racial' society, it's an interesting history to watch unfold week to week, a close examination of how far we've come in our own narratives, and a reminder of how far we still have to go.

As a writer, I find Don Draper, Betty Draper and Peggy Olson fascinating. I grew up poor, so suburban ennui, unhappy marriages, or inhibited women are fascinating for me. The women in all of these narratives seemed to be silently screaming. The tension was building last season with the women. Over drinks last weekend, three very liberated women (me and my friends) got to discuss the implications of psychotherapy from that era. We were trying to convince our friend that she needed to get caught up on the show; we were talking of the scene where Betty's psychologist talks to Don about what Betty discussed in therapy earlier. A detail that we found alarming. It was such a common practice, no one questioned it, until 1970. A lawsuit created what we've come to accept culturally as doctor-client privilege.

It just makes me want to reread John Cheever and Richard Yates. Maybe Patricia Highsmith, too. It also makes me want to listen to RJD2 on repeat.

Go Mad Men Yo'self.

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