Saturday, February 19, 2011

Annals of Epically Terrible Ideas

As you know (or not), I'm a big fan of Mad Men. And I stumbled upon this article. It's not like it's some kind of super-fascinating article; it's just January Jones assuring everyone that, in spite of there having thus far been no formal announcement, the show is indeed returning for a fifth season. Huzzah! No, the reason I link to this is because of some of the comments--now, as always, and especially on the internet, it's impossible to tell for certain whether our chains are just being yanked here, but some of the comments appear to have been made by religiously insane people. First, this, from "Chiquita Banana:"

You’re right, there probably wasn’t much in the way of adherence to religious values on Madison Avenue in the 50s/60s, which is precisely why I would be happy to see the show come to an end. The show depicts a time and place that can best be described as the Devil’s playground. It certainly has no place in my home and I would encourage others to make the same decision for their families.

Note here the same sort of culture wars dynamic that you see all over the place: it's not enough that *I* don't watch the show (though how she can judge its depravity without having seen it, I'm not sure); no, it would be better that nobody be allowed to watch it. But the real fun comes from some sort of creature called "bubba," who has some truly hair-raising suggestions for "improving" the show:

I couldn’t disagree with you more Chiquita. If Jesus has taught us anything is to love the sinner but hate the sin. Mad Men is a woderful [sic] show that tries to capture most of the societal issues and high points that I had the pleasure to live through, and thankfully got stronger for having witnessed thanks to my faith and my heavenly relationships. I understand that our views may not dominate Prime Time TV, but if the producers could somehow blend Mad Men with Touched by An Angel, I think our prayers will be truly answered.

And if that weren't ghastly enough, bubba then proceeds to kick it up a notch:

Lisa I agree with you that not every show needs to be family friendly but I was just airing how to add to the realism of a family coping with anguish and turmoil, more time should be spent on the spirtual [sic] turmoil as well. Maybe if they could get Kurt Cameron on board this heavenly dream could become a marketable reality. Don Draper meets Mike Seaver. That show would write itself.

I'm not sure whether laughter or screaming is the more appropriate response, but whichever it is, you can be damn sure it's going to be hysterical.

Lisa have you even watched the show? I mean Growing Pains not Mad Men. Thought provoking, entertaining, yet with a powerful moral compass. If Mike Seaver has taught us anything, it’s that faith can only enhance our lives rather than diminish it. Ridicule all you want, but Draper is headed to a 12 step program somewhere and he will have to accept a higher power. More importantly, Kirk Cameron or any of the Cameron clan only improve the projects that they deign with their presence. Maybe it’s time that Draper wasn’t the only office eye candy. There should be a new sheriff in town. Stirling, Cooper, Draper, Price and Seaver. Think about it.

As I said, I'm just assuming that this guy isn't fucking with us, which is maybe an assumption I shouldn't make, but, you know, Kirk Cameron does appear in movies (on occasion), and some people do like these movies (or so they claim), and this voice sounds very much like the sort of thing you hear from your Fuck-Us-on-the-Family-type forays into pop culture--so it doesn't seem particularly implausible to me that this is in earnest.

The greater irony, of course, is that the show as it stands shouldn't be alienating to any Christian with the capacity for critical thought: it is, to a large extent, about spiritual emptiness, which the characters are constantly and unsuccessfully trying to fill, with things--sex, booze, an idealized white-picket-fence life, whatever--I mean, it's about advertising agents, fercrissake; you don't exactly have to dig very deeply to see the resonance here. This is a message that should be easy for any Christian to embrace (though granted, the resolutely non-dickish way that the show addresses gayness and abortion might still be a turn-off). But nooooo, that's not good enough (or, more likely, it flies over certain people's heads)...what the show really needs is Kirk Fucking Cameron teaching Don Draper to Accept Jesus.™ That's the ticket. Note also that this person envisions Cameron--the guy who's meant to be the moral compass in this nightmarish scenario--as a partner, apparently entirely oblivious to the fact that this work and the entire culture and lifestyle that goes with it is the entire problem. I have a feeling that the only thing people like this really object to about the show is the promiscuity, and that these objections have absolutely nothing to do with the context and implications of said promiscuity. It's all very simple-minded, and given this, I suppose it's no wonder that "jam marginal evangelical cranks into the show" would seem like the best "solution."


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