01.14.1992

Image Nothing could come close. It was too bright. It’s meaning too extensive, dominating and clear. It was the bible, only younger. The Koran, only spelled different. It brought you your breath at birth and showed you your executioner at death. It did deliver. And you were healed by its sacred waters. It could not be flawed.

Your strangeness it couldn’t see. Your imperfections it plastered over perfectly. Blindness became sight. Truth, more truthful still. Intelligence donned a new garment of clear steel. On it’s day of betrothal it wed power. Now the correlation between what you knew and what you could do was 1.0. The potential for humanity became infinite.

What Mad Men has meant to me.

From the title sequence with the falling avatar, to the chimney stack chuckle heads that litter this masterpiece, Mad Men has resolutely entertained, edified and fascinated viewers for years now.

The morbidity of a look at the long dead and forgotten age that is 1960’s America has caused us to revisit a less innocent, less evolved period in US history. For some this has been a geek fantasy driven by the ever present opportunities to undress the writer’s attempts at accurately depicting the past. Others, myself included, sometimes sit pensively, waiting for someone to drop the N-word, crack an insensitive joke and otherwise condemn all the lepers who missed out on the distinction of being born rich, white and male.

Image  This is the age when rifts were formed in America during the civil rights movement. In a sense Mad Men has given us a look at the less illuminated aspect of this time period. We usually only hear about the marches, and the dogs and the racism in the south when this period is discussed. It was quite refreshing to see some easily relatable characters struggling with everyday problems of less epic magnitude than racial integration. The characters explored in this series have failings just like all of us. Their smoking habits are so rampant and ubiquitous that they draw parallels with the obesity epidemic which the world faces today.

Its hard to believe that there was ever such a shameless extent of sexism in the workplace, as that depicted in Mad Men episodes. The visuals of this bizarre behavior is striking and its depiction adequately conveys the point of the significance of different historical ages. Each time period is truly unique. Even though history is often reduced to mere dates and events, it’s innards are composed of cultures far removed from our global, politically correct village. In the details is where the real history happens. Like how we often convince ourselves that the true “savages” beloved to ages long past when in fact it is our own which allows billions of people to go hungry as millions of us waste precious food and water daily.

Back to Mad Men though, it has also enlightened me to the perspective the individuals alive at that time had with regards to their news consumption. I had previously been under the impression that those people in history books were in a sense one with their news. I never before thought that it was once new to them.

Like they were all characters in his coherent narrative where everyone  was in perfect step with the causes and effects. I have lately realized that this was due to the approach of some of the historical texts I’ve read. These depict history as a constant narrative without attempting to sift these abstract causes and effects from the people who happen to live in the time period.

It is works of creative historical fiction like Mad Men that have truly figured out the less concrete, but arguably more important type of history which is woven using the twine of individual narrative.

This approach usually has the advantage of keeping the audience involved and interested and ultimately better positioned to receive the more concrete type of history. The narrative is the key.

Image Mad Men has proven itself the superior of old tomes and dusty volumes with its approach to history. As such, it is a force good more than an agent of evil.

Near Sighted

My fist flaw was my eyes. You see I’m what they call myopic. This is a literal fact that I live with every day. My inferior sight was my first metaphor. You see I’m also a mild autistic. I cant see it! All the things I’m supposed to know how to do in a social context, I don’t. I don’t know exactly when to laugh or the difference between, its embarrassing laugh; and its embarrassing so let it alone. I’m the kind of jerk who snickers at funerals, speaks out of turn, changes a conversation mid sentence and falls in love with moments. I am the very embodiment of uniqueness. Normal for me is like a river; you never cross the same one twice.

Early in my life I discovered this fact. I then sought for a solution to the problem. The most obvious and expedient solution was to simply be like everyone else. So I decided to define just who everyone else exactly is. The problem that soon came to light was simply put: there is no such thing as ‘everyone else.’ Each man is an individual and a story all to himself.

So the facts as they stood then were: I exist. I am different. I want to be the same in a general sense.

To expound on the last item of the preceding paragraph, I would like to say that I should have seen this coming. Since there is no ‘standard’ normal person, I would pick a person and ‘do’ them. I first picked my dad as my other options were the family dog and my older sister.

This  worked well until round age ten. At this time my inability to grow up without dumping that early shell became obvious. Being the resolute coward and budding social scientist that I was I decided to run more than one personality. One to cover my home base and keep father unit bamboozled. And the other to survive in a society that was increasingly intolerant of useless relics aka my middle aged father’s mind.

At first, and mainly because I had never done it before, the characters started to melt and alloy. This is the only time wherein my character was any kind of original. The frequent weekends and school breaks helped me separate the wheat from the chaff. The problem was that I kept the chaff instead of the wheat. He was happy as long as I was like him. She loved aspects of me but hated herself for thinking that she was responsible for me turning into that page of red ink; my father.

In high school I had a unique opportunity to change the state of things. I shed both personae:  the Father one, and the decent primary school student one, in one wash. It was one of the clearest moments of my life. I think all the bullshit was made inert in that moment. Then came the son of all unintended consequences: apathy.

I’m still riding that last kick. I don’t see it now same as ever. The difference it that I don’t want to see it anymore. I have diagnosed my true flaw: the people around me. I have a disease, a cancer flowing through me and attacking my very self and apathy is the cure!