I Forgot How Much I Loathe Don Draper in Mad Men
While I’ve been working the past week or so, I’ve wanted some background noise so I loaded Netflix and began watching the 5th season of Mad Men, which I hadn’t started, yet. I forgot how much I truly hate Don Draper. I feel … contempt. I loathe – that’s a rare sentiment for me but accurate, loathe – everything about him; how he treats people, how he betrays, without knowledge or consent, the women to whom he has made a commitment and whom love him, how he refuses to open himself up to others about his past or live in any sort of authentic or honest way with his family.
He is a case study of terrible behavior, self-destructive morality, and arrogant oppression being glossed over because he is successful at what he does. Even his affection for his children is constantly overwhelmed with the impression that they are a damned nuisance that are somehow distracting him from more important matters. Saying goodbye to them, you always hear this, “Bye … just acknowledge it so I can run.”
There is nothing “manly” about him. He is a coward. He is so terrified of being honest about anything, about facing rejection for who he really is, that he’s erected this enormous facade of falsehood.
He is a man who, by the end of his life, will be celebrated but not loved. That’s a miserable failure to me.
I know I live in a bubble, but I find it hard to believe so many people cheat on their spouses, so many people get drunk before noon, so many people keep secrets from their family, and so many people are prejudiced and bigoted when the door closes but refuse to say it to someone’s face. The private you and the public you should be identical. That’s part of living an integrated, healthy life. That doesn’t mean telling people about your personal matters if it isn’t their concern, but, rather, being consistent in what you say, how you act, and what you believe.
And it’s a travesty that Joan’s mind is wasted when she should be running a logistics company with the talent she has. Thank God for the first wave of feminism that made is possible for people like her to run Fortune 500 empires. Perhaps I’m sensitive to it because I know how frustrating it can be to live in a nation or society that doesn’t value your contribution because of some intrinsic characteristic such as your race, gender, or sexual orientation. The United States is by no means perfect but compared to even 60 years ago, we’re a paradise. It’s strange to think but I realize whenever I’m watching one of these older shows that I couldn’t have been a member of society. I would have been kicked out of the Mad Men office and shunned; a social pariah in every sense of the word.
It is a great show, though. The attention to detail, down to the cereal boxes, is a work of art. The acting is suburb. The character development wonderful. I don’t want a lot of television (the average American spends 27 hours a week doing it, whereas I prefer to put my entertainment hours into reading or video games so I monitor it fairly tightly) but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a show as well thought out or executed as this.