A Clockwork Orange is one of the greatest novels of all time. It has been listed on countless top one hundred books lists and inspired a cult classic movie that launched the career of arguably the greatest director of all time. Yet its author has repeatedly made it clear that he wishes it had never been written. The book was a nuanced critique on crime fighting techniques and the modern perception of humanity. Yet to many it was merely scene as an inspirational depiction of violence and rape. Ultimately copy-cat crimes stolen from the novel’s pages were being committed across the world.

Despite any great work’s intent or quality, it will always be misinterpreted by many. In some cases, this misinterpretation can be detrimental to society. This problem of perception is all too relevant to Mad Men. Its nuanced feminist messages and critique of modern societal norms seem to be largely lost to the internet. Here most recaps seem to only view it as a show about sex, smoking, and drinking. While many of these views are tongue in cheek homages, a similar and less self aware perception is taking hold across America. As Mad Men seeps further into the American social consciousness, it seems to be turning into a parody of itself. Its condemnation of the 60s is somehow being turned into a nationwide adoration of it. The Mad Men Barbie Line curiously does not include a Peggy figure, the most admirable female figure on the show. Banana Republic’s Mad Men line seems to emphasize domestic Betty looks over the wardrobes of ambitious characters such as Rachel or Peggy. Even breast implant demand is increasing due to desire to look like Joan.

In fact, this growing base of misinformed viewers seems to be turning into the target demographic for AMC. This would explain it’s take over of the Playboy website to promote the Mad Men season premiere. It would also explain why Clorox would fish out this controversial sexist ad from its past for a Mad Men time spot. Unfortunately for Matthew Wiener’s vision for the show, feminist intellectuals aren’t the most profitable demographic. While Mad Men remains great, this quality is lost on many of its fans. If AMC continues to embrace these viewers it could be remembered as a fond remembrance of misogyny and overindulgence, the antithesis of its actual message. Mad Men may not bring about a string of musical rapists, but as bloggers cheer on a rape scene as “thrilling," one must wonder whether this is much better.

Additional Source: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/mad-men-i-love-you-but-your-fans-are-freaking-me-out

1 comment:

  1. I agree, for the most part. I can certainly see how the show could be seen as idolizing certain negative life choices. That being said, I believe that, while a certain degree of hyperbole is evident, lifestyles were different back then. People smoked more, drank more, and got away with more. I think the show also does a fair job of showing some of the negative consequences of these choices. For example, Roger's heart attack(s), in later seasons as Don's life begins to fall apart due to his affairs and he begins to see consequences to his heavy drinking, Freddy Rumson is later fired because his alcoholism begins to conflict with his work and there are more subtle examples throughout the show. I do think it is important to show this lifestyle because it was part of the time period, and the negative aftereffects were also part of the period. Of course viewers are going to interpret the show however they want and there is only so much the writers can do to try and convey their message.