Monday, July 26, 2010

Mad Men, redux

Mad Men Barbie doll collection, image from

I sent out the following invitation to some guys for a "Beef, Bible & Beer" evening, which I share so that I can see if you feel the same way about Mad Men and contentment. Beyond what's below, it would seem that the fourth series of the show is at that moment when the everyday features of life (particularly clothes, but behaviors, too) were still hanging onto the 1950's, but were about to give way to what is popularly conceived of as the 1960's (which is really 1968 onwards).

Gents --

It's been observed by many that the television show Mad Men uses light and darkness on camera to show that life at the office is bright and exciting while life at home is dark and dreary. Many men experience this: work hard at the office and get rewarded for it at the office; work hard at the office so that home can function and be rewarding, but come home and everything is actually hard. Many a man who doesn't, or is made to feel that he doesn't, meet expectations among family or friends, drives himself more at work -- which rewards him for it and encourages him with a sense of success.

The root of this cycle is a lack of contentment in what we've been given (in terms of relationships, abilities or even amount of time). And a lack of contentment in our circumstances leads to, initially, a "chasing after wind" as termed in Ecclesiastes, with wealth and pleasure our goals. Like the first couple seasons of Mad Men. Lack of contentment leads eventually to self-destruction, or what the Apostle Paul termed "glorying in shame" in Philippians 3. Like the last season of Mad Men, and where this season seems to be going. Who is Don Draper? A man who needs grace, and who needs to learn the secret of contentment. Next Sunday, we'll be looking at Philippians 4 at Christ Church. This Thursday, we can chat through the passage together in greater depth.

Come along to Beef, Bible & Beer this Thursday...

What do you think? Are there any spiritual questions arising from Mad Men beyond these? It seems like the alienation and destruction is fairly universal among the main characters. Of course, it is their deep flaws that draw us in -- I just wonder if they'd be so interesting if it wasn't for the cool clothes!

I need to admit that I haven't watched too much of the show -- but the few episodes I've seen have pretty much shouted out: "This is life without God...this is life lived only for now!"

1 comment:

Anne Swartz said...

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