Mad Men Indeed

by Michael Potemra

My favorite TV show, Mad Men, is often criticized for catering to its viewers’ smug sense of superiority to the mores of an earlier time: Look how ridiculously backward the people of 1963 were, thoughtlessly accepting behavior we enlightened ones know to be horrible. They smoked a lot! They were racist! They were sexist! They thought it was okay to rape a working-class girl as long as you didn’t hurt the feelings of the upper-class employers! I confess that I do not share the views of the show’s critics on this. I absolutely love feeling superior to the people of 1963 on these issues, and this is, I admit, part of the fun of the show for me. But I offer in extenuation of my self-satisfaction the fact that I realize that, this year, some children are being born who in the year 2049 will be writing the Mad Men show about our times.

Here’s a little something I noticed, while Googling an abortion-related issue. I file it away in a little time capsule for the writers of that 2049 show. An ad for an abortion clinic was headlined “Gentle Abortions 4-24 weeks.” And the ad promised: “No pain. No memory. Abortion $340. Pill $400.”

Forgiveness, across the generations, will help heal some of the wounds our culture is inflicting. But the mockery will be deserved.

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