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.