August 23, 2010

Mad Men: saturation, psych, and beyond

@StudioDaily noted an insightful BBC blog post by filmmaker Adam Curtis, director of documentaries on desire and fear Century of the Self and The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear, on the real-life advertisers who inspired the TV series Mad Men. See also Meme tracking and the News Cycle; here's an excerpt from Madison Avenue: Experiments in the laboratory of consumerism:

"The widespread fascination with the Mad Men series is far more than just simple nostalgia. It is about how we feel about ourselves and our society today.

In Mad Men we watch a group of people who live in a prosperous society that offers happiness and order like never before in history and yet are full of anxiety and unease. They feel there is something more, something beyond. And they feel stuck.

I think we are fascinated because we have a lurking feeling that we are living in a very similar time. A time that, despite all the great forces of history whirling around in the world outside, somehow feels stuck. And above all has no real vision of the future.

And as we watch the group of characters from 50 years ago, we get reassurance because we know that they are on the edge of a vast change that will transform their world and lead them out of their stifling technocratic order and back into the giant onrush of history.

The question is whether we might be at a similar point, waiting for something to happen. But we have no idea what it is going to be."

Update: some may enjoy The Mad Men Era at The Museum of Advertising.

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