Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Mad World.

So I have less than a month of graduate school remaining, and I am presenting my master's project on this coming Thursday, and I am preparing to move back out West; so I have been somewhat busy and distracted, although I did leave my previous job due to stress and the desire to retain any level of sanity I possessed. Although the title of this post could double for current events in the world today, that is not my intention. I just finished watching the show Mad Men, or rather what was available on Netflix (for some reason the episodes stopped abruptly in the middle of the 7th season). A good friend of mine recommended it to me so I thought I'd try it, although based from what I heard I wasn't that thrilled about it. To be sure after I began watching the first episode I knew I was going to despise the show if it remained as it was going, but I thought I'd stick it out hoping something would happen to redeem the show. Nothing did however, and the show was as despicable as when I began watching it. I'm not going to write about how poorly the show was written, or how shoddy it was filmed or acted or presented because none of that is true; the show is technically brilliant, but that's not my problem with it. The show follows a group of men and some women from the 1960's who work in New York city in the advertising business, and it focuses on one particular character, Donald Draper, who is the quintessential chauvinistic womanizer, manipulative liar, drunken opportunist that a good many men, particularly affluent from that era are stereotyped. I would consider him worse than James Bond, as there is no honor whatsoever or higher purpose what it is that he does. One woman does rise throughout the ranks of men to an important position, but she is not really taken seriously and since she is a woman she has faults for that which impeded her ability to do a good job like a "man" could do apparently. Wives from the show (and thereby portraying women from that era) are apparently good only for raising children, sexual toys when needed, cooking and cleaning, and hosting dinner parties (although they are quite adept at cruelly gossiping as well). Married men can have sex with whoever they want and it is fine (although it is very wrong for the wife to do this), they can ignore their children and go partying with their friends and co-workers whenever they want, and this carries on into most behavior as well in general. Okay with that said, I have never watched a show that is full of more depraved characters in my entire life with the exception of Game of Thrones, although that is heavily fictional and there were at least good and redeemable characters in it. In the show Mad Men there are perhaps two solid, good characters; everyone else is basically poison. I've noticed a trend lately in television shows, films, and media in general that are popular; sex and violence. Yep that's right, Sigmund Freud's most favorite topics and that's because he was right. The majority of his research came from upper class women who didn't work and were very wealthy; women who were bored, and probably some men as well with similar circumstances. I'm not sure about the rest of the world, but in the United States people are bored, and when bored people are left to their own devices sex and violence are sure to follow. Granted this is not the de facto rule, but rather a plausible theory explaining a behavioral pattern concerning popular media consumption. I'll name a few: Game of Thrones, 50 Shades of Gray, Hemlock Grove, Master's of Sex, How to get away with Murder, American Horror Story, Penny Dreadful, Mad Men, and Orange is the New Black. Many of these shows also have either subtle nuances or are straightforward about their treatment and presentation of women as sexual toys or possessions, or less than men. I think a question needs to be asked that why are these shows rather than wholesome shows with positive characters, and more particularly heroes, are more popular and in demand? I found Mad Men more disturbing than entertaining, and I found it even more disturbing that the show is popular; why would people want to watch and enjoy a show that glorifies such a perverse lifestyle and perverse characters, and these aren't even the villains, these are the "heroes" or main characters. There is no foil to Don Draper's character; he is the worst of them. Right now I think it is safe to say that American culture is an absolute mess, and the media isn't helping as many people unfortunately take their point of behavior from popular media rather than more wholesome and wiser sources. Not sure what should change, but one thing that would help is some positive characters and heroes in popular media for people to look up to since their eyes are cast in that direction. I think that would be a good start to a very large and widespread problem.

Mad Men: Don Draper Scene

Mad Men trailer

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 trailer

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