Madmen

I have been hooked on the AMC original series “Madmen” which is about the Madison Avenue advertising business in the early 60s.

One thing that jumps out immediately, is of course that the execs are almost all men, and the only person of color is the elevator operator. But then the cigarette smoke pops out. I was forced to remember my first job in the late-70s as a reservationist for Aeromexico at 500 Fifth Avenue, more than a decade after the setting of “Madmen”. Everybody smoked. The man who sat next to me reeked. He must not have drycleaned his suits too often because he just reeked. I had a woman in front of me who lit a cigarette while the last one was still smoldering in her ashtray. And there were ashtray fights; the smokers accused each other of ashtray theft, or yelled when someone didn’t clean out their ashtray often enough. An accidentally-overturned ashtray could dump mounds of ashes, which then blew in all our faces.

In those days, I ran outside to the front of the building for fresh air. Now, it’s the opposite– the front of the office buildings are polluted with smoke, from far less smokers than there would have been in the 60s or 70s. Sometimes I long for the “good old days” but then I watch “Madmen” and remember running from a smoky office to a grafitti-covered subway car. And I am glad for the present condition of NYC.

4 Comments so far

  1. yttrx (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 6:35 pm

    The present condition of NYC? I miss the graffiti and the air pollution, and most of all, the crime.

    Listen:

    When NYC was full of pollution, violence and graffiti, it was THE mecca of art, music and literature. Those fires are always, always created by the sparks that fly off the friction of extreme discontent–and now that we don’t have the discontent, there are no sparks. No sparks, no fire.

    No fire, no art, no music, no literature.

    None of that? No NYC. Thanks Guilliani.


  2. Blaine Zuver (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 10:44 pm

    yttrx – Miami is the NEW New York. Move here !


  3. Blaine Zuver (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 10:47 pm

    yttrx – Miami is the NEW New York. Move here !
    http://miami.metblogs.com


  4. setmo (unregistered) on September 15th, 2007 @ 11:46 am

    i am hooked on madmen too. both blog comments illuminate this show; it’s quite dynamic that it inspires such disparite thoughts.

    for me the show recently portrayed a “vomit” scene that was soooooo realistic better than any vomit scene attempted to date in film or television, period.

    i hav to respond to NYC under guilliani. it did change drastically. it does suck now, it is a mall, it is a tourist trap; it does not smell like pee anymore…

    but art evolves to this change, which is cool; art just continues, you have to know where to look, to find it, to seek it out.



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