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March 20, 2010




very good! More please.

Paul Sagar

What an excellent post!

Indeed, following this blog and advice from a friend, i'm going to watch Mad Men. I'd been led to believe that it's just horrible sexism and glrofying male dominance, but it seems there is far more going on.

Will Davies

And it turns out I'm not the only one to have made this sort of interpretation:

Though that is more specifically about the construction of gender and about specific scenes/characters

Ian Christie

A brilliant post. And to anyone who has yet to watch MAD MEN, I can only urge you to get the first two seasons on DVD and then catch up with series 3. It is better even than THE WIRE, and on a par with Edgar Reitz's hitherto matchless HEIMAT trilogy.
If I were any younger and less busy, I'd be working already on a MAD MEN PhD thesis, provisonally entitled 'Dream Lovers: desire, memory and modernity in Mad Men'. And if I did, I'd be citing Will's analysis.
Among many other things, MM is about the postwar origins of present neoliberalism in the USA. The surface conservatism masks (barely) amoral individualism - Ayn Rand's pro-capitalist variation on Nietzsche (the founder of the ad agency is a Rand fan), and the war veterans' sex-hungry existentialism (Don Draper 'lives like there's no tomorrow, because there isn't one').

Dick Pountain

Excellent post, and totally agree about brilliance of Mad Men. For me its poignancy lies in showing us the point at which the post-war Keynesian settlement was still in force but about to decompose. The characters, for all their different statuses and pay packets still just barely occupy the same world. The '60s "counterculture" eventually tipped us into "winner takes all" economics and predator capitalism: Sterling Cooper people would never even *see* each other nowadays - separate lifts, limos, jets, restaurants.

Eric Treanor

The essential difference between The Wire and Mad Men is not theme but genre: The Wire is epic, whereas Mad Men is satire. From this difference all others follow.

I attempt to develop that point here:


That distinction explains why The Wire is superior to Mad Men and will prove to be timeless, indispensable art.

Good stuff here, though. I really enjoyed the post.


Good work on the use of a thesaurus. I chuckle when I see intense intellectual effort expended on contemporary entertainment. If Mad Men were somehow creating a significant and permanent shift in American behavior then it might be worth it.
To further the overdevelopment of your arguments you should have also injected these terms: Manichean, paradigm, metanoia, Apollonian versus Dionysian, and anomie.

Will Davies

Tell me which bit you didn't understand, Tom, and I can try and explain it.


Chung in teak!

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