Don Draper read it for the good parts
When “Mad Men” debuted in 2007, and I first noticed Joan Holloway wearing a pencil on a chain around her neck, I had an epiphany:
Lee Holloway, the central character in “Secretary” (2002), also wore a pencil on a chain around her neck, in a particularly memorable scene.
Joan Holloway was Lee Holloway’s mother! (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)
This kind of pencil necklace is often referred to as a "chatelaine", a term once used to describe "the woman of the house" who often wore a series of short chains around her waist, to which were attached things like keys, thimbles, scissors and other small, useful domestic objects.
And chatelaines often included pencils, typically enclosed in an ornate silver or gold holder. Chatelaines enjoyed a renaissance in the 1950s, in offices, libraries, and anywhere else someone might need a pencil in a pinch.
Here is a modern version:
And here are some antique and some whimsical examples (with a couple of them being more of an homage than being functional):
The best chance for a renaissance of the chatelaine pencil these days, given how most of us do work in an electronic way most of the time, would likely involve the Apple Pencil, or another stylus.
Don Draper is not real. I don't care about the real McCann Erickson guy who thought up the iconic Coke commercial, "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing". And I'm not interested in speculating about how Don would have fought through the corporate culture at McCann to sell his concept. The ending of the Don Draper part of the series finale was just so perfectly cynical and so in character for Don, that it deserves to stand on its own. That's how that character in this story would have pushed through his darkness and gloom to re-invent himself once more at an ashram, taking out of the EST-like group therapy "seminars" those elements he needed in order to experience the breakthrough that would propel him forward.
Last night's series finale of "Mad Men" was very satisfying for me. As someone who has watched every episode more than once, I had imagined several different ways that Don/Dick's story might have ended. But the image of Don "finding" himself at the Northern California retreat - putting himself through the hippy-dippy seminars and using his experience as a vehicle for his own self-discovery - was wonderful. That he came out of that with the concept for the iconic McCann Erickson Coca Cola ad was so perfectly cynical and so perfectly reflective of what the show has always been about that it almost brought me to tears. Well, not really. But you know what I mean.
And I love the way Matthew Weiner inserted a sneaky preview in the penultimate episode, with Don attempting to fix the motel Coke machine, of how Coke would be at the core of Don's epiphany on the mountaintop.
"There’s a reason why no one has created a computer program that allows you to create a cartoon version of yourself as a hippie."
"It’s because that’s called a Halloween costume and at one point or another, we’ve all dressed as a hippie, knocked on a door, and said 'Trick or treat, man.'’’ Boston Globe
While I love Janis Joplin (above) and think she was the most powerful performer I've ever seen, the writer is right about Hippie fashion.
On the other hand, the fashions featured in such exquisite detail in "Mad Men," set in 1960-1964 (the final years of what we think of as the Fifties) have inspired a make-your-own-avatar site, which has been wildly popular. And they have influenced current fashion as well.
Time certainly has a way of separating the wheat from the chaff.
Jennifer Aniston's comment that she'd love to be on Mad Men has sent the Mad Men bulletin board into overdrive with script ideas on how to cast her in Season Three.
"I could see Jennifer Aniston coming in as the phone operator that replaces - Flo, the Progressive Girl (can't remember her real name).
Jennifer manages to squeeze her way through the metal bars in the phone dungeon and becomes Don Draper's new secretary.
Lois is furious, but then again, she can't go back to being Don's secretary right? Lois is still convinced that Sal is in love with her and decides to take lessons from Joan.
Joan brushes off the red dress and gives it to Lois. Joan proceeds to show Lois how to shake her hips so hard it causes earthquakes at Sterling Cooper. Joan advises Lois to throw her chest out so far that her breasts knock down anything in her path.
Joan has decided to learn a lesson from Jane and tell Lois to leave at least one or two buttons undone whenever possible. This should reel in any men who missed the hip shaking or cleavage plow.
Lois starts getting noticed by more men than Sal. Jennifer Aniston will get a little threatened and we will see a showdown at high noon between the two."
Sounds like there are a lot of closeted screenwriters out there!
Some interesting observations today from Judith Warner about the current fascination with late 1950s/early 1960s America, on television (Mad Men) and in the movies (Revolutionary Road):
"Unlike the baby boomers before us, we “baby busters” of the ’60s never rebelled against the trappings of domesticity represented by our images of the 1950s. Many of us, deep down, yearn for it, having experienced divorce or other sorts of family dislocation in the 1970s. We keep alive a secret dream of “a model of routine and order and organization and competence,” a life “where women kept house, raised kids and kept their eyebrows looking really good,” as the writer Lonnae O’Neal Parker once described it in The Washington Post Magazine."
"The fact is: as an unrebellious, cautious, anxious generation, many of us are living lives not all that different from those of the parents of the early 1960s, yet without the seeming ease, privileges and benefits. Husbands have been stripped of the power perks of their gender, wives of the anticipation that they’ll be taken care of for life."
As with all of Judith Warner's columns, the Comments about them are always worth reading too:
"My life as a 50s and 60s housewife was quite pleasant, although we managed on far, far less than the two-income homes of today. Married women today have a mountain of debt to worry about, now that their husbands are unemployed.It couldn't last--the grandiose culture that so many women expected to enjoy. Self-indulgence has led so many ordinary couples to financial ruin, despite the wife's second income. Expectations of self-fulfillment have been far too high."
BEST FEATURE - DRAMA
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
BEST FEATURE - COMEDY
“Burn After Reading”
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
ACTOR - DRAMA
Leonardo DiCaprio - “Revolutionary Road”
Frank Langella - “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn - “Milk”
Brad Pitt - “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke - “The Wrestler”
ACTRESS - DRAMA
Anne Hathaway - “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie - “Changeling”
Meryl Streep - “Doubt”
Kristin Scott Thomas - “I’ve Loved You So Long”
Kate Winslet - “Revolutionary Road”
ACTOR - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Javier Bardem - “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Colin Farrell - “In Bruges”
James Franco - “Pineapple Express”
Brendan Gleeson - “In Bruges”
Dustin Hoffman - “Last Chance Harvey”
ACTRESS - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Rebecca Hall - “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Sally Hawkins - “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Frances McDormand - “Burn After Reading”
Meryl Streep - “Mamma Mia!”
Emma Thompson - “Last Chance Harvey”
Tom Cruise, “Tropic Thunder”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Ralph Fiennes, “The Duchess”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt”
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Amy Adams, “Doubt”
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis, “Doubt”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader”
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Sam Mendes, “Revolutionary Road”
SCREENPLAY - MOTION PICTURE
Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire”
David Hare, “The Reader”
Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”
Eric Roth, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
John Patrick Shanley, “Doubt”
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“The Baader Meinhof Complex” (Germany)
“Everlasting Moments” (Sweden)
“I’ve Loved You So Long” (France)
“Waltz with Bashir” (Israel)
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“Kung Fu Panda”
Alexandre Desplat– “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Clint Eastwood — “Changeling”
James Newton Howard — “Defiance”
A.R. Rahman — “Slumdog Millionaire”
Hans Zimmer — “Frost/Nixon”
“Down to Earth” — “Wall-E” (Music by Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman; Lyrics by Peter Gabriel)
“Gran Torino” — “Gran Torino (Music by Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens;
Lyrics by Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens)
“I Thought I Lost You — “Bolt” (Music & Lyrics by Miley Cyrus, Jeffrey Steele)
“Once in a Lifetime” — “Cadillac Records” (Music & Lyrics by Beyoncé Knowles, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarnon, Ian Dench, James Dring, Jody Street)
“The Wrestler” — “The Wrestler” (Music & Lyrics by Bruce Springsteen)
TELEVISION SERIES - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES -COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Christina Applegate - “Samantha Who?”
America Ferrera - “Ugly Betty”
Tina Fey - “30 Rock”
Debra Messing - “The Starter Wife”
Mary-Louise Parker - “Weeds”
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES -COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Alec Baldwin - “30 Rock”
Steve Carell - “The Office”
Kevin Connelly - “Entourage”
David Duchovny - “Californication”
Tony Shalhoub - “Monk”
TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
“In Treatment” (HBO)
“Mad Men” (AMC)
“True Blood” (HBO)
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Sally Field — “Brothers and Sisters”
Mariska Hargitay — “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”
January Jones — “Mad Men”
Anna Paquin — “True Blood”
Kyra Sedgwick — “The Closer
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Gabriel Byrne — “In Treatment”
Michael Hall — “Dexter”
Jon Hamm — “Mad Men”
Hugh Laurie — “House”
Jonathan Rhys Meyers — “The Tudors”
MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
“A Raisin in the Sun”
“Bernard and Doris”
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Judi Dench — “Cranford”
Catherine Keener — “An American Crime”
Laura Linney — “John Adams”
Shirley Maclaine — “Coco Chanel”
Susan Sarandon — “Bernard and Doris”
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Ralph Fiennes — “Bernard and Doris”
Paul Giamatti — “John Adams”
Kevin Spacey — “Recount”
Kiefer Sutherland — “24: Redemption”
Tom Wilkinson –”Recount”
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Eileen Atkins — “Cranford”
Laura Dern — “Recount”
Melissa George — “In Treatment”
Rachel Griffiths — “Brothers and Sisters”
Dianne Wiest — “In Treatment”
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Neil Patrick Harris — “How I Met Your Mother”
Denis Leary — “Recount”
Jeremy Piven — “Entourage”
Blair Underwood — “In Treatment”
Tom Wilkinson — “John Adams”
Adultery was not far behind, although (as Mad Men demonstrates so well) it was probably no less common (at least among men) than it is now, because back then it was privately tolerated (or suffered if you were a woman).
I mention this because I recently heard some national bloviator go on about how hypocritical it was of what he called “The Right” to rail against abortion, and not against divorce and adultery.
But values really got scrambled in the 1970s – so much so that now we read about young women across all social strata thinking they need to incorporate aspects of the porn world into the way they present themselves. This is because guys, they think, spend all their free time (when not watching sports, or gaming online) watching porn, and they perceive this as the competition.
While marriage may still be their objective, there is a tacit assumption that divorce and adultery are always options for them in the “futures” market.
“The Rules” have certainly changed.
So it wasn’t surprising to read this morning that ashleymadison.com, which appears to be an eHarmony for adulterers, has begun advertising its services on mainsteam media outlets, with little or no objection.
"'The agency was drawn to advertise here [Boston]," Biderman said, because many Bay Staters were seeking out his Web site, and because Boston is “a heck of a sports town” and "male fans are a target demographic.'"
"Biderman said his agency has more than 2.7 million members - 70 percent men and 30 percent women. The average male member is in his mid- to late-30s or early 40s and has been married five to 10 years."
While the membership numbers may be suspect, and how different this may be from an "Escort Service" is certainly debatable, and the advertising rollout may still catch a lot of flack, it would appear that a mainstream market may in fact exist for this kind of service.
You don't need to lean your head out too far from Desolation Row to know which way the wind blows (sorry, Bob).
The Second season of "Mad Men" is over, and I can’t believe how fast the thirteen weeks went by. I’m grateful that AMC has been making the episodes available for free OnDemand (even in HD) because there are some of them I need to watch again – particularly the ones that deal with Don’s three-week California odyssey.
For those of us who came of age during the late 1950s and early 1960s, there is a way to connect with some aspect of almost every one of the major characters in “Mad Men” - especially the women --as they began to encounter a lot of turbulence on a flight that up until about 1962 had been pretty smooth.
Season Two’s final episode accurately captures the impact the Cuban Missile Crisis had on everyone in 1962, especially those who had been scared to death as school kids in the 1950s, practicing “Duck and Cover” in their classrooms.
In case you weren’t around then and wonder why everyone at Sterling Cooper seemed so spooked by those sixteen days in October 1962, think back to the way you felt on 9/11/01 and how things never felt as secure from that point on. Then you’ll have a sense of what it was like.
I don’t think series creator Matthew Weiner will skip ahead two years again (as he did after Season One) for Season Three, because 1963 truly represents the end of the 1950s, and contains the event that rattled us even more – the assassination of John Kennedy.
Mad Men (photo above), Pushing Daisies, John Adams and In Treatment deserved even more awards than they received, but I’m pleased they were recognized for the exceptional acting, directing and writing that characterize each of them.
Season Two picks up the story on Valentine’s Day 1962, and I’m looking forward to discovering over the next several weeks what happened (and is happening) to these people as the world around them changes from the Fifties to the Sixties.If you missed Season One and are interested, click the title to get caught up