Friday, November 7, 2008
Mad Men: A Taste of the '60s
I think one of the reasons Mad Men has been so successful is that it taps into a widespread, innate curiosity about the 1960s held by my generation as the children of the Baby Boomers. We've always regarded the '60s with a bit of grass-is-greener envy of the cultural mystique it had and now wields like a hammer over those born later on. I missed the decade by a decade and still somehow feel beholden to its cultural superiority, reverential of its icons and nostalgic of the good times all the same.
Mad Men works in part by giving us a glimpse into this important, golden age of art and politics that we missed. This is an amazing point of view for informing both the background of a pop culture movement that exists to this day and the social structure from which we've come and evolved so far. We feel at once attracted and repulsed by this sexy and backwards culture that is the immediate predecessor of where we are today as Americans.
We recently considered women in the upper echelons of both parties and elected a black President. This advertisement from 1970 is evidence of a time not so long ago where that would have been unthinkable but selling Winston cigarettes through Flinstontes cartoons was cutting-edge, widely applauded advertising.