Mad Men, and Better Men

by Jay Nordlinger

Would like to share a little mail, relating to today’s Impromptus. In the course of my scribbles, I write,

I have never seen Mad Men, but I understand it’s an excellent show. I also understand that it’s the Left’s view of what America was like before the Left took over everything, basically. (Do you know what I mean by that?) Mark Helprin says that the show is, at its core, a lie. He knew the world depicted in the show very well; the show smears that world.

I go on to say, “Anyway, you may remember something that David Axelrod, the president’s political strategist, said about Romney: ‘I think he must watch Mad Men and think it’s the evening news. He’s just in a time warp.’” Romney is a throwback, a man out of step — that’s true. One of the reasons I like him so much.

A reader of ours writes in,

Mark Helprin was right. I started my career in advertising in the mid ’60s at a big New York agency (actually on Madison Avenue), when and where the series is set. You wouldn’t believe how much they got just factually wrong, particularly about how business was done then. That’s why I stopped watching in the first season.

In my column, I also happen to mention Judge Kenneth Starr — and the man to whom he is linked in history, Bill Clinton.

There could hardly be two more different Americans. One as decent as the other is not. Which one reigns as the nation’s political sweetheart? And which was thoroughly demonized?

Ken Starr is so decent, he probably saved Clinton’s presidency — in this sense: He told the president what evidence he had, though he didn’t have to. That allowed Clinton to shape his testimony — his lies — just so.

A reader of ours writes,

I was at Baylor from 1993 to 1998. [Starr is now president of that university.] I witnessed what I would describe as horrendous athletic programs. I went to all the games I could because I love sports, but I was one of the few. To witness what Ken Starr has helped achieve at Baylor is amazing. He came into a very divided faculty and an indifferent student body and helped transform the school.

Granted, he had help from Robert Griffin III [a star quarterback] and the men’s and women’s basketball teams, but it’s amazing how little credit he gets. He came into the school with few knowing more about him than his association with Clinton, but he’s brought many diverse groups together for the common good of the university.

I have never met him personally, but I would be honored to do so. He, at least in my estimation, is a great leader and a wonderful man. It’s a pity there aren’t more like him, and that, as you mention, he’s demonized in our country.

I have met him — he’s been a guest on our cruises — and it is indeed an honor. The man sets an example of grace and guts.

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