May 31, 2012 | by Adam Wilson
Just wanted to check in, as I can’t help but feel slightly responsible for your actions in this week’s episode. I thought these letters from the future would do you all some good, providing twenty/twenty hindsight into your blindingly Day-Glo historical moment. But Doc Brown was right: messing with the past can alter the future in unexpected ways. Matthew Weiner and company thrive on this very notion; they’ve remodeled the mid-sixties into an era in which cigarettes don’t cause cancer, and the advertising industry is the pinnacle of glamour, filled with beautiful people in beautiful clothes making eyes at each other across rooms then retreating into bedrooms with beautiful bed frames for bouts of steamy congress in which panties always match the bra, and a woman can achieve orgasm just by inhaling Don’s smoky musk.
No surprise, then, that here in 2012 we’ve gone gaga over sixties style, sporting skinny ties and summer plaids, puffing cigs like we’re unaware of science, and ruining perfectly healthy marriages because, according to Pete Campbell’s friend from the commuter train, variety is the spice of life. We should probably all reread Richard Yates. Maybe it was wrong to tease you with a glimpse into third-wave feminism when the second wave is only now breaking against your shoreline.
But don’t think I’m judging you.Read More »
May 29, 2012 | by Andrew Palmer
Ashley’s father died from a brain aneurysm two years ago. Chantal didn’t talk to her father for the last fifteen years of his life. Alli’s father came to her and was like, “Oh, you have a little sister.” The other Ashley’s father struggled with addiction; she hadn’t been in touch with him for years. “What makes you you?” the Bachelor had asked them.
It seems on the face of it like an awful idea to reveal deeply personal things about yourself on a show like The Bachelor, since to do so is to trivialize not only your own life but the lives of the people who love you, to cede primary control of your identity to People and Us Weekly and the Internet comment monster. But if you want to win The Bachelor and/or win the heart of the Bachelor, sooner or later you’re going to have to tell the saddest story you know about yourself. It will be about your father, and it will make you cry. As you wipe away the tears, you'll smudge your dark eye makeup. The Bachelor will put his arm around you, maybe run his hand through your hair, maybe even kiss your forehead. You’ll laugh and say, “I can't believe I’m crying.” The Bachelor will tell you it’s okay to cry. He’ll be so grateful that you finally made yourself vulnerable for him. He really will. He knows it’s not easy for you to open up. Those tears will tell him you’re here for the right reasons.
May 23, 2012 | by Adam Wilson
Dear Joan Holloway,
First off, a thank you. Thank you for reminding me why I still tune in. Things were iffy for a while, what with Don’s extramarital dalliances confined to the boudoirs of his fever dreams, Betty in a budget fat suit, and Campbell and Price going all Fight Club on us.
But last night you were back, barely contained by a skin-tight scoop neck that left no curve concealed. You were back and in top form, trotting out instaclassic lines, like “My mother raised me to be admired,” in your signature, sultry deadpan. You were back, and what I’m saying is, Joanie, without you there is no Mad Men; there are men and they are mad, but you add the uppercase.
May 15, 2012 | by Adam Wilson
As I write this I’m live-streaming President Barack Obama’s Barnard College commencement speech on my laptop.
What’s a laptop? Imagine a typewriter that’s also a Sears catalogue that’s also a post office that’s also a high school yearbook. Oh, and in the dark before dawn, when the wind howls like a pack of rabid Dire Wolves and thunder claps like a thousand canon balls colliding in the ether, you can log on and look at pictures of cats wearing Halloween costumes.
As for Obama, it’s true: he’s of African descent. More importantly, he’s brilliant and beautiful and a supporter of gay marriage. I wish you were with me, Betty, watching the president tell the women of tomorrow that, yes, you can close the gap between life as it is and life as you want it to be. Read More »
May 10, 2012 | by Adam Wilson
You’ve always creeped me out. This isn’t entirely your fault. You can blame your parents for the beady eyes and the cheeks as yet untouched by razor; for your emotional immaturity; for the fortune they squandered and the love they withheld; and for the Waspy sense of privilege they nonetheless managed to confer on your skinny ass.
And so I don’t hate you, Pete, as others are wont to do. Sure, you’ve done some shitty things—getting Peggy preggers then treating her like trash; blackmailing Don into making you head of accounts; last night’s display of pathetic adultery with that chick from The Gilmore Girls—but I feel a strange affinity for you anyway. Read More »
May 3, 2012 | by Adam Wilson
You know what’s weird? You could be my mother.
I mean, you’re not, obviously. My mom’s a ginger and Jewish, and her sixties childhood was really quite different from yours, what with her not having Don Draper as a dad or Betty as a mom, and her not seeing her step-grandmother go down on Roger Sterling in the back room at an American Cancer Society Benefit.
So yeah, sucks to be you.
But what if things had gone differently? What if my mom had stayed with that painter who looked like Charles Manson and once punched my grandfather in the face, and my dad had met you instead among the bohemians inhabiting seventies Jerusalem, drinking wine on Old City balconies, discussing poetry and politics, and inhaling the sweetly mingling odors of bellflower and frying falafel?