“Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.” ~ St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae II-II q. 188 a. 6 co.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Truth Well Told: How "Mad Men" Made Me a Better Person




“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” 
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
 
Preface: Three years ago, I was invited by a Midwestern college's Catholic Society to give a talk on a theological theme. I chose to pare down a paper I had written in a graduate class that was on the idea of spiritual transparency (especially in the novel and film, Diary of a Country Priest). Before wading into the primary source material, I waxed poetic about stained glass in churches and strung together some of my favorite ideas from all of the homilies I've heard since my reversion to the Faith. The title of the paper was, "Through a Glass Brightly."
 
When I finished presenting, I happily agreed to take questions. A young professor (who actually had founded the group that invited me) raised his hand and said something like, "Through your paper you've claimed that truth, goodness, and beauty are all one. Well what would you say about something like the popular TV show, Mad Men, which is arguably very aesthetically rich and even beautiful, but lacks those other two qualities?" Little did he know, I loved (LOVE) that show with a burning ferocity, so I confidently replied, "No! It's all three." My twinkling eyes scanned the faces of a couple dozen impressionable undergraduates whose expressions ranged from surprised to scandalized. I scrambled to explain myself for the next several minutes, but ultimately felt that I hadn't done the show or the question justice. Feeling embarrassed, I thought, "Good thing I won't have to see them again."
 
Then, we moved there.
 
But in the meantime, I started this blogmostly so that I could practice my ideas on several other topics before tackling this huge one when the show would finally conclude after seven seasons. That has now happened, and I'm ready. But I can't do it all here. I've tried. I've written many different versions of this, and ultimately I just don't want to spoil any of it for you. To satisfy myself fully, I plan to write a book-length compendium to the series with an essay on each episode exploring its themes in light of the whole narrative. (Knowing the ending really changes the re-viewing experience. It's wonderful.) If that's something you're interested in, let me know.
 
What I want to do here is give a brief apologia for the show in order to encourage those of you who gave up to give it another chance or to inspire new viewers to dive in. Above all, I want to honor the show for what it did for me and can do for you.
***
 
"Love the sinner, hate the sin." I had no idea what to do with that for most of my life. For a long time, I thought it was just something cryptic that Jesus said that we were not really expected to understand or practice. Leave that to Him since He's God and we're not. But it turns out, it's something that St. Augustine said, and it succinctly sums up an important dimension of Christian discipleship.
 
As an adult Catholic, I had embraced the apostolate in the purest mode I could imagine: I became a theology teacher and taught New Testament and Apologetics. I wanted to pass on the amazing things I had learned in college and give students the formation that I never had in high school. But with no teacher training and about six weeks under the bridge, I couldn't stand most of my students. In the middle of a class about the Passion account in John's Gospel wherein I practically opened a vein, ecstatically linking passages and illuminating themes, a student smugly said out loud, "You're just making this up as you go along." I stared at him in horror and sent him out of the room. As I tried to compose myself, I heard a low rumbling voice in my head: "Pearls before swine."
 
That seemed like a logical paradigm for a while: "I'm giving these kids gold and they don't appreciate it. To hell with them, then." But something about that didn't quite gel with the point of my job which was to present Jesus to teenagers...
 
I needed good spiritual direction. Thankfully, I got it.
 
"Like the material, love the kids." That's what the priest said. It sounded just as impossible as the first puzzling aphorism. "But the material is GOD! The kids are heathen idiots!" I huffed through the grille. "No," he gently corrected me. "The kids are human beings. God is more present in them than in the books, however great they are. And you'll never reach them if you don't get to know them." And so, I began to get to know some. I went the easiest route possible and focused on my A students. Loving them was enough to keep me in the classroom. But I didn't learn to love my D studentsor anyone in the world like themuntil I met Don Draper.
 
Watching Mad Men coincided with a moment in my personal life that allowed me to see myself and my work differently. Good art is good by its own merits and for the ways it allows vastly different people to make sense of their own experiences.
 
***
 
After five seasons of enjoying the show with my husband, together dissecting and analyzing each episode, I wanted to get to know the show's creator, Matthew Weiner. I listened to his interview with Terry Gross during an episode of her NPR's show, "Fresh Air." About half way through the discussion, Gross suddenly asked Weiner,
"How much do you want us to hate Don Draper, because as much as - speaking for myself, as much I, you know, to some degree, empathize with his existential crises and, you know, sympathize with it, as well, he's such a hypocrite, he's such a louse. He so mistreats his wife that I just get so angry with him. And I just want to know how angry do you want me to be with Don Draper? How much do you want me to dislike him as opposed to feeling some sympathy for his existential crisis?"
Then it happened. Weiner revealed himself to be the kind of artist I hoped he was:

"I'm going to sound like an idiot here. I don't want you to dislike him at all. I don't dislike any of these people. I am not judgmental when I am in drama or in life. And I think that you are supposed to identify with the dark parts of yourself [...]"


Yes. This is how I felt. Weiner's goal was reached in me.

When I was in college, I was particularly fascinated with two ideas: 1) the causes and effects of a bifurcated mind or identity as presented in works of  literature (particularly Doctor Faustus, Richard III, Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, Gollum/Smeagol in The Lord of the Rings, and Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley) which explore in rich detail just how sins of deceit corrode the soul, often leading to madness; and 2) a line from Brideshead Revisited, "To know all is to forgive all," which helped me to appreciate our all-knowing, all-merciful God. These concepts went hand in hand: the devil divides, God unifies. So I came to understand that one of the primary goals of the spiritual life is to foster personal integrity. After all, if we're supposed to love others as we love ourselves, how can we even begin to do that if we ourselves are fractured and broken? How can we be healed by forgiveness if we won't reveal our transgressions? Is unconditional love really possible? That, my friends, is what Mad Men is about.

I have heard so many people say they lost interest in the show because there was no one to cheer for. I just don't understand it. The characters are just like real people, only we know them even better. We see them even when they're alone. In fact, we may even know them better than they know themselves, and that's why we are able to root for them. For instance, the audience knows early on that Don Draper's true identity is Dick Whitman: His mother was a prostitute who died giving birth to him, his father was a "dishonest man" who taught him nothing but how to drink, and after his father's death the poor boy spent his entire adolescence in a whore house. What does that do to a person? How does one recover from that? How?

Art can tell us because it imitates life. And this television show can tell us because it imitates great literature. Its power lies in its transcendent qualitiesall three of them:

Truth

Realism is one of its most defining characteristics. Matthew Weiner is obsessed with it. One time he called off a day's worth of shooting because the apples on the table were too biggenetically  modified ones didn't exist in the '60s. The props and costumes get a lot of attention. Yet what dazzles me is the truth about human nature. The people on Mad Men behave just like real people, especially those searching for meaning with little to no guidance from religion. But religious truths punctuate the show from beginning to end. The show functions as an education in the way things are.

Sin is treated as sin—as something that really harms the sinner, not as something that is merely disapproved of by others. Don's philandering is confronted in every season very directly and pointedly: "You're garbage and you know it" (Jimmy Barret), "You are not a good person!" (Allison), "Dying doesn't make you whole. You should see what you look like" (the ghost of PF Dinkins). "I'll do you a favor and take it out. But it's not your tooth that's rotten" (the ghost of Adam Whitman). There are clairvoyant ghosts! It's like a Medieval allegory play!

The show is often praised for its originality, exemplifying what C.S. Lewis meant when he wrote:
"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it" (Mere Christianity).
Goodness

The show is honest about the bad and rejoices in the good. It has a few blind spots but appreciates man's inherent dignity. It believes in the pursuit of virtue. Matthew Weiner is Jewish and may or may not be practicing. But his formative roots undergird much of the show. Shooting from those roots are Christian images and themes. He said in a recent interview, "I really do believe in the continuum of the Old Testament and the New Testament together." That shines in the Judeo-Christian values upheld in the narrative (family, loyalty, forgiveness, love, etc.), sometimes in relief. He has also said that he is "fascinated with Catholicism," which is clear in most of the ads made by Peggy, the entire sixth season, dozens and dozens of images, concepts, and lines throughout, and the finale (VERY MUCH SOnot spoiling is killing me). A recent Humans of New York post, featuring an Eastern Orthodox priest, reminded me (at least in part) of Weiner's presentation:

           "Who do you love most in the world?"
           "God."
           "When did you find it most difficult
            to  love God?"
           "Childhood."
           "Why during childhood?"...
           "Because I always wondered why things
             happened to me."
           "How long did you wonder why?"
           "Until I found God, then I knew why."
           "Why?"
           "Because people aren't bad, they're sick.
            And sick people do bad things."
 
 
Let's take a commercial break and read that again, along with the quote from Solzhenitsyn in my epigraph. Meditate on them for a moment and let your sick heart find solace. Brought to you by Mad Men.

Much of this goodness comes from the Western literary canon which permeates the narrative, especially Shakespeare, Dante, and T.S. Eliot. Weiner said in an interview, "There were a couple years there where The Waste Land was the most interesting thing in the world to me. I loved that it was so personal and grimy and gross and epic at the same time." I, too, studied the poem in college and noticed the affinity between it and Mad Men all along, so much so that the first version of this post was written over a year ago and it was titled, "Man Men in the Waste Land." I spared you the 1600+ words, but here's one point: The epigraph to The Waste Land contains a Greek phrase that means, "Lust is too burdensome, death is seen as a welcome." That might as well be the epigraph to all of season six in which Don is fixated on death in the midst of his most dangerous affair. He makes a pitch to Royal Hawaiian, the resort at which he spends Christmas with Megan, that features footprints and clothes left in the sand and no sign of a body that has been swallowed up by the beautiful blue waters. The clients can't see anything but suicide, and Don is surprised. He imagined that the man launched himself into paradise, but not by dying. Or does he? Later in the season, there is a moment when Don takes hallucinogenic drugs and sees his body floating in a pool. It calls to mind Eliot's fourth section titled, "Death by Water" about a Phoenician sailor, which ends with the line, "Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you." It's as if Eliot is talking to Don as he stares at himself facedown in the water, inviting him not to death by drowning, but to new life by baptism.

Also, I recently stated that the feel of the show is remarkably similar to the wonderful novel, Kristin Lavransdatter. If I don't get to it, someone please write a dissertation about that. Mad Men also makes many allusions to literature from the time period that the show depicts: Jack Kerouac, the Beat poets, Meditations in an Emergency, and many more. I know next to nothing about those, but I just want to point out that there's plenty in there for people with tastes that differ from mine.

Beauty

Oh, it is so beautiful. I don't even mean the actors, costumes, and sets. Yes, they are aesthetically rich and pleasing, but so are many other things that do not also evoke a truly religious response in me. I can't make anyone else feel this way (alas), but if only I could show you what it's like when this show breaks me open, pours me out, and raptures my heart with love for God. I experience this every time Don and Peggy express their non-romantic love for one another. I experienced this in season one's episode, "Babylon," because I had just taught the Book of Revelation to my New Testament students and I was amazed by the apocalyptic imagery: New York City as Babylon, the men of Madison avenue as its kings, and in the final scene, the "scarlet woman" and the "caged bird." It is so well-crafted. Another time I died and resurrected as a better version of myself was when Don rejects the woman on the plane who invites him into another affair. He turns from her and opens the shade to let the light in. Later in that episode, he chooses not to drink himself numb and instead goes out on his balcony in the frigid winter air and mortifies his fallen flesh. He wants to be better. He may have "broken the vessel" as he says of himself, but he is not nihilistic like his seatmate on the plane. He will not resign himself to brokenness. It so thoughtful and sincere, so sad and moving and hopeful. The angles, the sweeps, the pacingit is all wonderfully generous to the viewer. Weiner cares immensely about our experience of the show. He doesn't beat us over the head with anything. He lets insights germinate within us instead of on the screen. Bless you for that, Matthew Weiner.

Mad Men is a work of art. It certainly has gritty, troubling elements but so does life, so does nature, so does any famous depiction of the Last Judgment. Weiner isn't the judge of the characters, he's merely the storyteller. Anyone who finds him- or herself in Hell on earth (the dominant theme of season six which opens with Don reading the Inferno) is there because of the choices they made. They are logical and true to life. And by watching the way in, we learn the way out.

That is how this show changed me. It held a mirror up to the dark parts of my own fallen nature; and after naming, claiming, and repenting of those things, I was able to see more brightly. It taught me not to disregard people who seemed like lost causes. There are no lost causes this side of Heaven. I had read that dozens of times in religious books before I believed it thanks to Mad Men. I love Don Draper. I will the good for him and anyone unfortunate enough to carry his crosses.

These lessons can be learned from many sources, but we must learn them. I know that people I love do not experience Mad Men in the way I do, but one must experience it. You know what it is. It's to take the time to know a person very well. It's to empathize rather than only to sympathize. It's to look at a stranger and believe in his or her eternal worth. It's to give someone the benefit of the doubt. It's to judge not lest ye be judged. It's to love one another.

It's the real thing.




















***

If you're already a fan and watched to the end, check out these links:

"Mad Men and the Domesticity of Love" over at Ethika Politika.

"Don Draper's First Confession," by Haley Stewart at Carrots for Michaelmas.

"Mad Men Recaps," by Christy Isinger at Fountains of Home.

"Mad Men and the Meaning of Love," a Fountains of Carrots podcast.

"Love Among the Ruins in Mad Men" from Patheos.

"End of an Era," a montage of clips set to music. Grab a tissue.

***

34 comments:

  1. Mad Men was a work of art. I had difficulty watching because I either saw myself as the character or for some reason wanted to be that character...or wanted to warn the character. Watch out! Mad Men captured the decade. The progressive and rushing in of the modern era. Women casting off the role of mother in lieu of success...that of a man. It made me cry. It is too real.

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    1. Thanks, Sherada. Happily, the characters may have heard you. Many of them do learn to watch out!

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  2. Well, I had the exact opposite reaction. I started out really enjoying the show. But as season followed season, I came to see that virtually every character was completely immoral. Underneath all their charm, they were empty, sad, vicious, selfish little creatures, essentially completely lonely and lusting to fill that loneliness with something. It was a show about rotten, pathetic people. It was too depressing. I stopped watching after the fifth season.

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    1. You stopped too soon. The sixth season is where so much is brought to light. And the seventh is where the payoff is.

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  3. Not sure if I believe that once any content follows the subjective litmus test of truth, goodness, and beauty, it is deemed so. If this is considered worthy art I believe that we are not looking deeper, creating more profoundly, or seeking that which truly depicts the sublime.

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    1. Our hope is to become wise and prudent men, with the wisdom of the Gospel. So, let us not be scandalized by the presence of evil; let us not be deceived by some evil which might present itself as good; let us not be surprised when we discover that evil and good are mixed together.

      Let us invoke the famous prayer of Solomon: Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil… (1 Kings 3:9).

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    2. I was not scandalized. It was not an occasion of sin for me. If it is for you, then it's not worth watching.

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  4. Does it make me a better individual, does it call me to action, or is it merely a passing indulgence that has no virtuous merit whatsoever?? I am aware of sin and the acts of a sinner, but I am more inclined to feel exonerated in subverting the inclination (or observing it in others even for philosophical or contemporary social dialogue with others) and marveling at the beautiful sky.

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    1. It made me better. That was the point. It might work for you and it might not. But you have to find something that does.

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    2. “Such grapes have grown on a vine shoot entangled among thorn bushes, and have not sprung from the thorns themselves. To be sure, when you see something like this and are hungry, you must pick carefully, for fear that when you put your hand out to the grapes, the thorns may severely scratch it” (St. Augustine, “We are Your Servants”, Augustine’s Homilies on Ministry, p. 92-93)

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    3. Anonymous, Jesus sat at dinner with prostitutes, yet His heart remained pure. I think if you can't keep your heart from being tempted by hearing a realistic story that shows the natural law, you should exercise that self-knowledge. If you can see the whole narrative and the consequences of sin, you have gained a great sympathy and insight.

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  5. Thank you for your post! I just started watching Mad Men on Netflix. I was really turned off by the early episodes. I honestly couldn't figure out how some of my faithful, Catholic friends watched it. It reeked of immorality clothed in glamour. I thought it would be just another show worshiping the seven deadly sins, wrapped them neatly in pretty images. I stopped watching it for a few months. But when I kept noticing intelligent and faithful Catholic fans, those who thoroughly understood our faith and sin, who wouldn't risk their soul for a TV show, I decided to give it another go. Now that I am in season two, I understand the depth, beauty, symbolism, and reality here. The sadness and emptiness I felt after those early shows were my first clues that this show wasn't just about glorifying sin in a bygone era -- I didn't walk away feeling exhilarated or desiring their lives. I am looking forward to finishing all the seasons, and I'm glad to see that I'm not off track in my thought process here. Your post confirms my hopes for this show.

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    1. I meant to add that I think the creator intended to convey sadness and emptiness in those initial episodes. It was intentional and, thus, my first clue that this show was not about justifying or glamorizing immoral behavior.

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    2. Bless you, yes--you are on to it. I hope you'll email me and tell me how the rest of the seasons are going for you. :)

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  6. Great writeup! Mad Men is a show I feel like I need to go back through and discuss every episode now that I've seen the whole thing. It's just fascinating.

    Have you watched Breaking Bad? I was determined not to watch it because I figured it was just a celebration of depravity, but then I read the show's creator say this about his inspiration for it: "I want to believe there's a heaven, but I can't believe there's not a hell." BAM! And talk about a God-haunted affair...

    I'm really grateful for the higher quality storytelling on TV these days, and I hope to see more Catholics interact with said shows like you have here.

    And I'd love to hear your thoughts on the finale...maybe add an addendum with **SPOILER ALERT**?

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    1. YES! I love "Breaking Bad." I wrote a post about it: http://through-a-glass-brightly.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-bad-man-is-hard-to-break-revelation.html

      I'm going to write a separate post about the ending. Email me and I'll be sure to send you the link when it's finished.

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  7. JMJ So your a better man because of an Immoral show Mad Men, the title is so we may excuse them for their 7 deadly sins, (Yes I know it's a show, just as in reality shows that are sinfull cause us to commit sin as we Joyfullly watch them. God really Loves you, did you think of that at all while loving the show

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    1. The blog author is a woman :). For those who feel like the show is a celebration of sin, I do empathize. I thought the same in watching the first few episodes. But Mad Men is full of sin much like the Old Testament is full of sin or, as the blogger offered other great literary examples, like "Brideshead Revisited" or "Kristin Lavrensdatter" are full of sin. Reading about and watching sin in literature and on television is not necessarily wrong. A lot depends on the author's portrayal of sin -- Does the book or show reflect our human nature, with consequences, and ultimately point to God (or truth, beauty, and goodness), or do they celebrate and promote sin as a good, which is a lie and contrary to the order of creation? The OT is obviously the Word of God and higher than any book or show, but we read the sinfulness and depravity of human nature all through it. But it's part of our salvation story, part of our redemption, and it clearly illustrates our fallen nature in need of redemption, completed for us in the NT. Other works of literature reflect this in varying ways, and Mad Men is one of those shows. Like I wrote earlier, I went into the show thinking it was a typical modern show, glamorizing the seven deadly sins. But after giving it a second chance, I realize that this is a great work of art, one that speaks to us as sinful beings, warns us against bad choices, shows us the devastating consequences, and points us to God. Avoiding all sin in literature and television is a shallow approach to art, because many beautiful works of art, television, and literature contain sin; but they ultimately draw us closer to the truth when including the entire story of human nature. That being said, I would not encourage someone to watch a show that glorifies sin and twists the reality of human nature. Mad Men is not that, though.

      Naturally, heavenly and sublime art are important too. They remind us of our home in heaven. But art that includes our sinful nature, rightly ordered, also helps us fully understand our state on earth and our need for God.

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    2. Thank you, Elizabeth. You said all that I would have said. And keep track of the theme of "home" as you progress in the show.

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  8. I've only seen women get excited and blog about that show. My thought is basically that the reason women like it so much is the same reason female characters in the show like Don Draper so much and are attracted to him. Basically, they got seduced by Don Draper, a wounded but powerful man, and they sense his woundedness and want to touch it and at the same time to bask in his power. He's simultaneously vulnerable and powerful, infuriating and reassuring. Since he's a TV character and not a real person right in front of them, backstory was necessary to amp up the woundedness, which is harder to portray than power. The strength of Draper's seduction in the show is the women do the work for him, by creating their own stories to explain him to themselves on the way to bed and even when they hate him they yearn for him. The reason men like the show, apart from the appeal of the days when girls were girls and men were men, is summed up by Don Draper, "Women want him, men want to be him."

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    1. I was not seduced by him. I could have just as easily written a post like this about Pete Campbell, another main character on the show who is not seductive at all.

      Also, I know plenty of men who love this show.

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    2. Sure, but you didn't. I mentioned men who like the show.

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    3. How much of the show have you seen?

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    4. I'm analyzing and appreciating the whole, not a part.

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    5. Right, right. Pearls before swine, opening a vein, etc. etc. Course I'm mainly analyzing and appreciating the response to the show, not the show itself, so 12 episodes is enough.

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  9. I do not accept this show as a work of art. Shakespeare's works are. Mad Men did not reflect reality in the 60's in Manhatten as it pretends to portray. My husbamd worked for the largest ad agency during the sixties, J. Walter Thompson, and he was astounded how inaccurate it was depicting the social environment of ad agencies. The characters were all stereotypical of godless people and some of the scenes bordered on soft porn.












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    1. How much of the show have you seen?

      I know great art when I see it. I know the effect that it has. It converted me because it is about conversion.

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  10. I came to Mad Men late, after several attempts to watch the show. There were many reasons why I initially couldn't find a reason to keep watching, some of which others here have also noted. I think that Kathryn has pointed to some clear and compelling reasons why the human element of the show offers all of us a chance to evaluate the state of our souls and our reactions to and judgments of others. For myself, I see--in addition to the human story—a really powerful narrative of how representation works, particularly in post-war American society.

    The ad world that grounds many of these characters is a world built on images and representations of products and lifestyles with the endgame of consumption. One way to read this emphasis is to say that we viewers of Mad Men are seduced just as those mid-century consumers were by the likes of Don Draper and his ilk. And of course ads still exercise a major influence over our desires; I'll admit to my own weaknesses and occasional greed when I see an advertisement for high-end kitchen appliances or clothing. But another way to read the show's engagement with the concept of representation is to see Mad Men as a way of teaching us all how to read, how to engage with signs, and how to differentiate between the sign and the thing itself—very Augustinian concepts.

    If I read her correctly, Kathryn is actually trying to point up the differences between imitation and reality, between guides and the truth itself. All the literature she references is also concerned with how best to represent not only the human condition but the social and political circumstances that surround our lives. Shakespeare took ideas from medieval and sixteenth century sources and figured out how to enliven a representative form—the theater—not only to give new life to these stories but to give them a form that could be consumed by a variety of people. If anything, Shakespeare knew the power of images, not as truth but as pointers toward truth. It was the Puritans who shut down the theaters in England and excoriated any use of imagistic representation. John Dos Passos, being read by a waitress at the start of Mad Men's season 7, wrote his U.S.A. Trilogy in the 1930s (for all intents and purposes a world away from Don and Roger as they enter the 1970s), and that piece of literature's form is a mash-up of newspaper clippings, radio reports, autobiographical fragments and other forms. The world that Mad Men creates is a kind of mash-up too, I think, and that can be disorienting. But the fragmentation of forms that it shows us need not lead us into error. Augustine himself worried over his love for the Aeneid, but his Confessions is an extended meditation on how he once read the world and how he reads it now in the light of revelation. We can participate in this type of self-reflection with the cultural forms that engage us, and I think this is the major point of Kathryn's essay. And as she has emphatically noted, if we find ourselves in error then we can disengage.

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  11. Wow! What a great essay and what a crazy bunch of comments it has triggered! (You must be doing something right. ;) ) I returned to Mad Men after giving up a few seasons in, at your prompting, and I'm so glad I did! I think your arguments are sound and I love that you're tackling these modern stories and shedding some Catholic light on them. All the best! -Angela

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  12. I've never seen Mad Men before, but you made such excellent connections and insights. The whole time I read this article, I was thinking of my Old Testament class. We would follow the story of each character and see how the entire narrative taught so many lessons. There are obvious moral codes and examples, but sometimes the more striking moments are the ones that are subtle and drawn out. It reminds me of Jacob and his multiple wives. You are thinking, "Wait, this guy is a polygamist! I thought he was supposed to be good." As you go on, you see the challenge and brokenness of polygamy, but God never says directly (that I know of), "Jacob, don't be a polygamist!" This is a powerful art form and tool for evangelization. It lastly reminds me of a talk given by Dr. Peter Kreeft about the Walker Percy book, Lost in the Cosmos. He makes a great analysis of direct and indirect communication and their different effectivity.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I love the OT connection. I think that is a major foundation for the show since Matthew Weiner is Jewish. He has talked about it in a few interviews. Thank you so much for writing!

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