Last Thursday night I watched the second episode of Mad Men -- the engaging and very stylish new TV drama on (of all places) AMC about the business and home/family lives of young, upwardly mobile American ad men in the very beginning of the sixties. The show, which was created by former Sopranos * writer//producer Matthew Weiner, perfectly nails the whole style and feel of that era in American history when things were radically different from today, both socially and culturally. It was a time when everyone seemed to smoke cigarettes, often chain-smoke, and also happily knocked back cocktails during as well as after work every day. And did it sans any guilt or conscience whatsoever. Different times indeed!
As the show reminds us, it was time when people weren't all caught up in safety issues. A different time for sure when one didn't fuss with such silly distractions as putting on seat belts while driving. As last week's episode showed, neither mom nor her kids in the back of the car had seat belts on when she had a little crash. And speaking of mom, this was before the idea of women's rights was a common concept across America. Men were cads, or at least could act that way towards women. (Although you can tell in this well written script that their dominant ways will not go unchallenged by all women for too long.) As well as getting away with being cads, men also got all the good jobs. Women, it seems, were either wives who stayed home or else single women who became secretaries in offices like the Madison Avenue one in Mad Men where they're likely to be subjected to harassement -- except this was eons before the concept of sexual harassment really existed.