March 26, 2014
Mad Men Creator: Nothing To Laugh At By The Time You’re In The Late ‘60s
Really? Nothing to laugh at? From the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test to Radical Chic to The Me Decade, culminating in his Purple Decades Anthology, Tom Wolfe spent the late ‘60s and entire 1970s having lots of fun mocking the Weimar-esque excesses of the New Left and the damage they wreaked upon society. P.J. O’Rourke’s entire career has explored similar terrain with often even zanier results. (…)
It’s fascinating to watch a man who’s pose is that of being cool and skeptical about America drop the mask and admit his outrageous credulity, that he’s a true believer, baptized in the Electric Kool-Aid of the 1960s.
I knew I was right not to watch this show.
Its “knowing” vibe always seemed so superficial and “point-missing.”
Like the creators got the “cool” details right but the recreation didn’t seem to have any… wholesome purpose or foundation. All very masterbatory.
Even cargo cultists (foolishly) expect “stuff” to arrive. Mad Men seemed more like an exercise in fake-landing-strip-building, just for the sake of it.
Taking in the scene, I started thinking about the paradox of the field. Why is it, I wondered, that people feel so compelled to seek out and preserve a pastoral simulacrum built entirely for commercial purposes by a multinational movie studio? Part of the appeal, of course, is how closely the land still resembles the ball field people saw onscreen. But something deeper struck me, too: even though it’s a Hollywood fabrication, this slice of the heartland feels authentic. By conserving the site, Dyersville has built a bizarro time machine on the cheap, one that transports visitors into an actual setting that seems to occupy a mythical place in the American past—the wholesome sandlot we’ve long outgrown.