You are here

Crump's Expressway

Teaser
The pledge drive continues. Our goal is for participation from every member. Bring your signed pledge card to church. Receive from us a copy of the Walt Whitman art print by church member and artist Ross Jahnke. Every gift is important and needed. Thank you for your generosity.
Blog category: 

The pledge drive continues. Our goal is for participation from every member. Bring your signed pledge card to church. Receive from us a copy of the Walt Whitman art print by church member and artist Ross Jahnke. Every gift is important and needed. Thank you for your generosity.

Mad Men is a cable show with small audience but high critical regard. Even before the series received two Emmys for best dramatic series I was hooked. Someone at church first recommended the show to me. In 1963 America, women and men are smoking like smelters. Betty Draper consumes alcohol while pregnant and lights up a cigarette in bed while nursing her child. Don Draper (the dapper, handsome creative at Sterling Cooper Ad Agency) rolls his new chrome laden guzzling beast of a Cadillac out to the park for a family picnic after which Betty Draper (beautiful but unhappy trophy wife) shakes out the picnic blanket, scattering paper plates, cups, and napkins into the wind and all over the park. They don’t know yet that President Kennedy will die in November. Major cultural change is on the horizon but they don’t know what it looks like because they are living at the edge of it.

Women in the office and African Americans outside the places of power are not treated with much respect but they do not yet speak the language of liberation, though we hear the voice of M.L. King on the radio. The young man running the elevator for all the execs is referred to as a Negro, but he’s listening to that voice on the radio and TV. He’s getting what some today would call a consciousness; others might call an attitude.

I watch Mad Men at the end of my week (Sunday evening) for its truth-telling and for its exquisite 60s detail in fashion, furniture, art, architecture, cyclopean cars and omnipresent ash trays. The lead character is the 60s itself. As I watch I wonder if our own era could be on the verge of pivotal change of which we are mostly unaware. What do you think?

Change is on the horizon for Sterling Cooper. And American business, as we viewers know, will never be the same because a societal whirlwind is coming. The Draper’s kids have about everything money can buy but there is a hunger in the Draper family, an angst, a deep unhappiness, a spiritual hunger that people feel when they think all they need is a baby, a change of address, one great idea for an ad campaign, or an affair, --anything to stir things up to help them feel human and alive. The script (with its Arthur Miller theme) is compellingly subtle: most of the people, privileged though they may be, are in spiritual trouble.

The America we’re watching in Mad Men is a struggling but still segregated America that runs on oppressions where all people are affected. Don Draper admits, “I’ve been watching my life –scratching at it, trying to get into it.” Do the Drapers go to church? Oh, yes. But only at Christmas. That may not say it all, but it says a lot.