WSJ (again) brings in Alan Brinkley to talk "Mad Men"

Historians in the News

Alan Brinkley is an historian at Columbia University.

The new era doesn’t seem to have had much impact on the ad men.   The opening moments of the season begins with a civil-rights demonstration on Madison Avenue, where cretinous ad men at Young and Rubicam are throwing water bombs out of the window down onto African-American marchers. At Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, there are no such juvenile attacks.  Not because they have respect for the marchers, but because the windows don’t open in their building.  Sterling Cooper publishes an advertisement showing that the company supports equal opportunity – eager to embarrass Y&R. But they soon find a crowd of African Americans in the lobby waiting for jobs.  Perhaps needless to say, they had no interest in hiring African Americans.

For a while in this first episode, it seems that Don has reached something close to contentment.   He has moved into an expensive, attractive apartment – not the drab, dark rooms he inhabited before.  His children are spending time with him, and the family looks more or less happy.  Even at work, he seems unperturbed when Peggy presents a failed advertisement for baked beans.  I had thought that by the time the new season began, Megan would be gone – or on her way to being gone.  But no. Don and Megan are married and still together. Megan is even joining him in the company, no longer a secretary but a colleague of Peggy.  And perhaps most surprising, Don has confided in Megan with her darkest secret – Dick Whitman....

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