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Kerning does a triple back flip over the shark

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 22:16 EDT
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Image by Dyna Moe.

Ever since Benjamin Schwartz implied that both the civil rights struggle and feminism were not as necessary as “Mad Men” implies—because wouldn’t you know it, Bryn Mawr didn’t have sororities!—I figured that it was likely going to be open season on the show from the wingnutteria. After all, few things are as central to modern conservatism as constantly refighting the 60s, and “Mad Men” is going to present a problem for them, because it’s both utterly compelling and also makes you realize that yeah, maybe the 60s did have to happen. Clearly, defeating this show is extremely important in winning the culture wars. Perhaps they’ve been weak before, eagerly watching and enjoying, but the wingnutteria knows they must stand firm and deny that there’s anything approaching real meaning in the show.

The tool with which “Mad Men” will be defeated, thereby securing conservative victory in the culture wars? Well, anachronisms and minor historical mistakes, of course. As Schwartz demonstrated, you can deny the entire importance of the feminist movement by pointing out that Bryn Mawr didn’t have sororities, thereby demonstrating that there’s no way there were unhappy housewives like Betty Draper in the 60s, as Betty Friedan claimed. But so much more work has to be done in proving that “Mad Men”‘s detail work is not infallible, toppling the entire liberal empire.

Former Bush screenwriter Joshua Treviño has begun this important process.

If you look on the bookshelf behind Betty, you’ll see books by W.E.B. Griffin, who wasn’t writing books in the 60s. Using the Benjamin Schwartz patented “Bryn Mawr Sorority” technique (which he didn’t pick up in a Bryn Mawr sorority, because they so didn’t have them!), we can safely assume that this shows that “Mad Men” was wrong about a lot of stuff:

*John F. Kennedy wasn’t really a Democrat. Duh, too popular. Also, LBJ wasn’t actually a person, but an animatronic robot that is still around today.

*New York didn’t have a subway system then. It was a communist innovation created in the 1970s, before Giuliani “cleaned up” New York.

*There were no homosexuals in the 60s, closet or not.

*On the same token, feminists hadn’t invented “date rape” yet, and so women like Joan who were subjected to it genuinely liked it and found it to be a refreshing show of manliness. They also enjoyed sexual harassment, but did not have sex out of wedlock.

*There weren’t any hippies prior to 1967. There was a civil rights movement, but we can safely assume that 100% of rich white people in the North were eager to help, instead of showing the indifference the characters on the show demonstrate.

*Women like Peggy simply didn’t exist. Without the feminist movement to tell them that they should want careers and have ambition, how would they get such silly ideas?

*Men in the 60s didn’t cheat. Cheating was only invented by men when women started to get so full of themselves. Prior to that, every man was blissfully happy in a marriage with a housewife who was totally fulfilled folding napkins and wiping butts for a living.

I’m sure this is just a small sampling of the various claims about the 60s made by “Mad Men” that can now be assumed to be false because someone in the props department cheated while putting together Don’s home office bookshelves. I’m sure that Pandagonian commenters can think of many other historical fallacies.

Of course, there’s always the off-chance that Treviño just likes the show and thought it was funny that they had a minor screw-up. But we are talking about the founder of Red State; there’s not much that can’t be spun into an us vs. the liberals thing when it comes to Red State.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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