New Scholarship: Poli Sci Fi

By Meredith Conroy

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Today on the blog we are featuring new scholarship from Boise State political science professors Michael Allen and Justin Vaughn. Their new edited volume entitled Poli Sci Fi: An Introduction to Political Science though Science Fiction (Routledge), brings together a series of thoughtful, provocative, and entertaining essays to explain fundamental political science theories and concepts through science fiction. The 16 chapters are organized into six different parts, with each part covering a core topic of political science, such as political institutions, behavior, and identity. Moreover, each chapter concludes with a set of readymade discussion questions, making it an easy to adopt text for political science faculty who want to liven up their course with the use of film, literature, and television.

I asked Michael and Justin a few questions about this innovative and exciting book. Below are their responses.

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Subverting Selectivity: Can music convey political information to the politically averse?

By Jessica Feezell

Kendrick Lamar @ Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg (9498442702)

By hds (Kendrick Lamar @ Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This article was originally posted on The Crick Centre blog.

“So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street?
When gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me?
-Kendrick Lamar, “The Blacker the Berry” (2015)

Researchers regularly explore the influence of various sources of political information including campaign advertisements, news, social media and entertainment such as late night comedy on people’s beliefs about politics. One source of information that has been largely overlooked, however, is music. In the current media environment, where those who want to avoid political information can do so more easily than ever before, it makes the question of ‘what can be learned from music’ even more pertinent.

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Mad Men, Season 7, Episode 14: Person-to-Person

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by Linda Beail and Lilly J. Goren

This post pays particular attention to the episode itself while drawing some broader conclusions about the arc of the entire Mad Men series as it pertains to Don Draper.

“Person to Person” focuses on the themes Mad Men has spent seven seasons exploring: relationships and missed connections, invisibility, nostalgia and moving forward, creation and creativity, the value and limits of work, appearance versus reality, emotion and commodification. It’s bookended by two important clients who have defined Don’s work and the arc of Sterling Cooper over the past few seasons: we begin with Chevy, the client who saved SCPD when Don won the account and joined forces with Ted Chaough to form a new agency, Sterling Cooper & Partners, as Don is seen racing a Chevy Chevelle SS across the Bonneville Salt Flats as a test driver. And of course, the episode ends with the iconic 1971 “Hilltop” Coke advertisement. Coca-Cola was the enticing account dangled in front of Don to make SC Partners’ being subsumed into McCann-Erickson palatable. Don has been on the road, running westward away from his career, his family, and his life; but he is also still on the carousel, turning back toward the next client and next new idea, and ultimately back east if we imagine what the future likely holds for Draper.

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Mad Men, Season Seven, Episode Thirteen: The Milk and Honey Route

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by Linda Beail and Lilly Goren

Where and how will Dick Whitman next reinvent himself, with that sly grin on his face, looking out at the horizon, sitting at the bus stop? The “milk and honey route” of this episode’s title is a hobo term for a railroad running through a valley of plenty where hobos were likely to find more food or help, according to 1920s sociologist Nels Anderson. Anderson cautions that what might be a “milk and honey route” for a young kid might be the opposite for another, older hobo, and that is certainly true in this episode. While Pete Campbell is “on a streak,” according to Duck Phillips, and young Andy the Oklahoma grifter ends up with a free Cadillac, other travelers are not so lucky. A bruised and battered Don sits alone at the side of the road, while Betty gets news that her studies and her life are about to be cut short by advanced-stage lung cancer, and Sally weeps over her mother’s parting instructions in her dorm room.

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Mad Men, Season Seven, Episode Twelve: Lost Horizon “Now It’s Time to Leave the Capsule if You Dare”

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by Linda Beail and Lilly Goren

The promise in episode 11 from McCann-Erickson was Paradise, Heaven. But the Sterling Cooper employees don’t find Shangri-La at their new offices—in fact, half of them can’t even find their offices, and Don ends up heading towards Minnesota. And all of the women get screwed at McCann-Erickson.

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Mad Men, Season Seven, Episode Eleven: Time & Life

Mad Men cover

by Linda Beail and Lilly Goren

Like so much else that has transpired during the final episodes of Mad Men, tonight’s episode, Time & Life, takes the plot twist that had worked so well at the end of the third season—in Shut the Door. Have a Seat as the partners essentially stole the advertising agency from their British corporate overlords (Putnum, Powell & Lowe) over the holiday weekend—and re-created a much less successful version of the same idea.  Not only is Sterling Cooper losing its offices in the Time Life Building, but their executives are discovering that the passage of time changes many things in life.  What worked in the past now seems tired and doomed to failure.

The episode (which, in a nice twist, is directed by Jared Harris, the actor who played late office administrator Lane Pryce who hung himself in the office in the fifth season) finds the partners who are still at Sterling Cooper having cold water thrown on their face by McCann-Erickson, their new corporate owners. Sterling Cooper, the subsidiary of McCann-Erickson, made the partners a lot of money in a deal to keep Don employed and to squeeze Jim Cutler out of running the agency. It all seemed too good to be true, and it was. McCann has every intention of absorbing Sterling Cooper—or at least the bits and pieces that it wants, and probably shedding the parts that it doesn’t want—like Joan and Dawn. Peggy doesn’t want to go to McCann, Stan doesn’t know what to do. Roger doesn’t want to go to McCann, and Don has never wanted to work there. Ted is just happy not to be in California and not to be in the driver’s seat any more. But Joan senses the real pitfalls for her in this new twist to the deal.

The main narrative arc in Time & Life is the attempt to essentially make the case to keep Sterling Cooper & Partners an independent subsidiary of McCann, as had been promised to Roger Sterling when he initially struck the deal. In all likelihood, McCann had been planning this absorption from the initial deal but Roger, as had been noted by Bert Cooper just before he died, was never enough of a leader; he often couldn’t see beyond his more selfish and immediate desires. Cooper had him pegged fairly accurately, even if Roger was disappointed by the assessment. And Roger, like Don and Pete, thinks they can persuade McCann. McCann isn’t interested in being persuaded—they have the money and the power and they make a nominal pitch to the SCP partners that they have died and gone to advertising heaven. Alas, the partners look like they are at a funeral but decidedly not going to heaven. The striking final shot of the scene, with the five partners from SCP, is an inverse of the memorable visual in the season five finale (The Phantom) of the partners standing in the empty space they are renting and going to build out as their new advertising agency expands. Then, they were standing, looking out the windows on the limitless horizon, with their backs to the camera as the audience shared the view over their shoulders at the future beyond.  Now the partners are sitting down at the conference table, looking downcast and depressed as they face the camera. They’ve been lowered and we are compelled to look directly at their disappointment and stunned failure.

What we have been watching since the second half of the final season started is the attempts by most of the main characters to do the same things that they have done in the past, that have succeeded, but meeting with failure instead of the anticipated success. Don and Pete have this conversation, in New Business, as they are driving to the golf course, about starting anew and Pete wonders how many times one can start again and succeed. We have seen Don, in the past few episodes, trying to work the same Don Draper magic (on Di, on Peggy, on Ted, on Sally, etc.), and failing. Mathis explained to him that Don had long succeeded because he was handsome, but at some point it just wouldn’t work any more. Now we see it fail more than succeed.   In Time & Life, Don is even prevented from finishing his pitch in the McCann meeting. Roger and Pete won’t let him try to persuade Ken Cosgrove; it won’t make a difference. The Draper charm isn’t working any more, but then neither is anyone else’s charm. Even California, Don’s perennial answer of where to go for a fresh start – “it’s a gold rush out there” – fails to deliver, as it is no longer the golden place where dreams can come true.

In another dimension of this same narrative, Pete Campbell and Trudy try to make a face-to-face pitch on behalf of their daughter Tammy to Greenwich Country Day School, which seems opposed to admitting her to kindergarten. Apparently Mr. MacDonald, the headmaster at the school, had ancestors who were killed by ancestors of Pete’s based on an order given by King George III during the Revolutionary period. What we have learned about Pete, over the years, is that his aristocratic heritage has protected him, his position, and his family. Bert gave Don and Roger a lecture in season one about how they couldn’t fire Pete Campbell because of who his mother was. Campbell was hired because of his name, his position, and his connections—in many ways the opposite of Don. Trudy tells the real estate agent about the Dykemans when they are trying to find an appropriate apartment in Manhattan much earlier in the series. In Time & Life, it is exactly who Pete is and whom his family was that had soured Greenwich Country Day School on him and his daughter Tammy. The headmaster even encourages Trudy to be thankful that she can marry again and shed the last name “Campbell” before Pete lunges at him and punches him in the mouth.

Later in the episode, after the failure of the McCann meeting, Don and Roger find themselves, side by side at the bar, drunk and disheveled. Roger notes the end of his name—through the demise of his company and the fact that his only child is his daughter, Margaret, who has already shed his name.  Roger also reveals to Don, again an inversion of the scene between Don and Roger in Shut the Door. Have a Seat, that he is going home to his new paramour, Marie Calvert, Megan’s mother. In season three, Roger had revealed to Don that Betty was seeing Henry Francis. Once again Roger is revealing personal information that involves Don to Don.  After Roger leaves the bar, Don goes into the night in quest of Di. But finds instead, in her dingy apartment, two gay men. The scene of Don coming through the dark hallway calls back to the very first episodes of Mad Men, when Don would turn up at Midge’s apartment in the Village late in the evening, looking for her to welcome him into her bed without questions or demands. He seemed to have hoped to recreate that with Di, but she has fled, leaving her furniture but no forwarding address or phone number. Don is at a loss.

Just like the men, the women in this episode all grapple with time and change as well.  Trudy complains to Pete that she has no friends out in Greenwich because, as a divorcee, the husbands of other women won’t leave her alone.  However, she notes wistfully that “in ten years, everyone will leave me alone.”  While Pete protests that she’s ageless, Trudy shakes her head, knowing her social/sexual value has an expiration date. Joan is realizing that her hard-earned partnership will be worth nothing after the move to McCann.  Jim Hobart mentions accounts for each of the other partners at their meeting (Buick, Ortho-Pharmaceutical, Nabisco, Coca-Cola), but to Joan he is conspicuously silent.  As she says to Pete later, “We both know they are never going to take me seriously over there.” Given her horrendous meeting with Peggy and the McCann boys over Topaz pantyhose, we have every reason to believe her fears are well founded.  The move from the Time Life Building will erase the gains she’s made in earning both respect and accounts, turning back the clock on her career progress.

Peggy, who shares no scene with Don in this episode, is also concerned about the move to McCann, but mostly because she doesn’t want to work at a giant corporate agency. She warms to the idea more than Joan does because the headhunter she meets with indicates that she needs to get some of the experience that a big firm like McCann will give her, and her salary will increase substantially by working at McCann. Peggy’s outlook about the McCann absorption, in some distinction to those all around her, is more positive—she sees opportunity where the older partners, even Pete (who divulges the information to her as they sit, in his office, their clothes singing to each other through the blue painting behind them), see mostly despair.

Interestingly, while some sense of loyalty or previous intimacy leads Pete to tell Peggy the secret of McCann’s takeover, Peggy’s sense of connection or trust leads her to tell Stan of the upcoming change.  The secret from Pete looks back at the past, but in Peggy’s divulging it to Stan, are we perhaps looking forward?

Peggy and Stan’s discussion of the takeover is interrupted by the child actor in her office stapling her thumb, and the ensuing yelling match between Peggy and the child’s mother over appropriate caretaking.    Later, Peggy and Stan argue about the incident.  Stan misunderstands Peggy’s emotions, thinking she is angry and regretful at not having children, but urges her to look at all she’s accomplished in her career.  Peggy tells him he doesn’t understand at all, and shouldn’t judge.  He says his own mother wasn’t that great, and Peggy protests:  “Maybe she was very young.   And followed her heart, and got in trouble.   And no one should have to make a mistake just like a man does and not be able to move on.  She should be able to live the rest of her life just like a man does.”  Stan has the dawning realization that Peggy is talking about herself.  It’s a poignant scene, not rushed by either actor, and so much is communicated in the silences.  When Stan finally asks her what she did, Peggy replies simply that she’s “here” and he’s with a family somewhere.  She doesn’t know where the baby is, “but not because I don’t care.  I don’t know because you’re not supposed to know.  Or you can’t go on with your life.”   Once again, the themes of self-reinvention and how much one is trapped by (or can escape) the past emerge, but with the reflection on gender difference and expectations adding another twist.

It’s worth noting that during Peggy and Stan’s conversation, Acker Blick’s instrumental “Stranger on the Shore” begins playing.  This is the third time the show has used this music: first in episode 2.13, Meditations in an Emergency, when an already-pregnant Betty Draper has sex with a stranger in a Manhattan bar, and again in episode 6.11, Favors, when Don has a drink in bar with Dr. Arnold Rosen, whose wife Don is having a secret affair with.   The scene is this current episode is also harking back to illicit sex (between Peggy and Pete, which resulted in the baby given up for adoption).  But this time, a secret is being revealed, and to someone who perhaps will be trustworthy.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t know that,” Stan responds gently to Peggy’s story.  Peggy braces herself, takes a drink and stands to leave, telling him there’s lots he doesn’t know about lots of people.  But he stands too, and stops her, making it personal rather than general.  His apology isn’t for judging others; it’s for not knowing something so essential about her, a person he respects and cares about.  The end of the episode shows them on the phones in their offices, staying on the line just to keep each other company, as Peggy discloses that she’s going to work for McCann and inviting him to come along.

In contrast to the previous three episodes, the final scene of Time & Life at least leaves Don surrounded by others, but in the process of being pushed out of his advertising agency. All of the Sterling Cooper employees are gathered, as Don and Roger announce the move to McCann.  But as Don tries to make a pitch to the employees at Sterling Cooper that “this is the beginning of something, not the end,” no one is listening.  The murmurs of the crowd grow louder, and Don looks bewildered as the secretaries begin milling down the stairs, not even pretending to hear his authoritative voice.  Time is passing, life is changing, and roles are shifting.  Strategies that worked in the past no longer succeed, and the voice that moved clients and commanded respect is literally drowned out – while back in their locked offices, Peggy and Stan’s shared silence connects them.

–Linda Beail and Lilly Goren are co-editors of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America, Bloomsbury Publishers, March 2015.

“I just root for the underdog”: Mad Men, Season 7, Episode 10 – The Forecast: Nostalgia, Generations and the Future

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by Linda Beail and Lilly Goren

Last night’s episode was a fascinating and perhaps hopeful narrative – even with Glen Bishop shipping off to war. The episode focused on imagining one’s future, and high-lighted conflicts among and between generations. Don is Sally’s father, but he is also acting as the parent mediating between Pete and Peggy as they continue to clash over the Peter Pan/Tinkerbell account. Betty is operating as Sally’s mother, instructing her about the trip that Sally is about to take through the United States. But the tables turn, as Sally is critiquing both Don and Betty for their egoism and self-centeredness. Betty and Sally clash over the Vietnam War—another generational conflict, even if it is a predictable one. Glen Bishop is trying to move into Betty’s generation—he always has, and joining the Army is how he is going to do this in 1970. Supporting the war and choosing to enlist is entre he sees into Betty’s realm. Glen wants to be the kind of hero who went to World War II—protecting the country, being brave. Glen’s step-dad is so proud of his stepson’s choice to join up. But Glen’s decision turns out not simply to be about becoming the man he thinks Betty knows he can be; he has flunked out of college, and enlists before he can be drafted.  He is out of options, and is trying to make the best of a desperate situation.  Even his pass at Betty “was going to be the good thing that came out of all this.”  The forecast for his future in heading to Vietnam in 1970 may be grim, but with his own dreams shattered he attempts to at least grasp at the daydream of Betty, or some moral (not just sitting home getting stoned) or patriotic rationale for what his wartime experience might mean, before he ships out.

The younger generation keeps putting the older generation in an uncomfortable situation—from Sally’s friend Sarah who keeps flirting with Don, to Glen’s pass at Betty, to the reality of Joan’s motherhood that Richard initially can’t accept. Joan’s articulation and performance of feminism, only at that moment becoming a real option for women like her (and Peggy), is encapsulated in her explanation to Richard that she works not because she has mouths to feed (though she actually does), but because “I just finally got the job I always wanted.”  This trajectory of increased possibilities is highlighted and reemphasized by Don’s questioning of Peggy, and then of Sally and her friends, about what they want to do in the future. These queries get real answers of the kind that were only starting to be normalized—even Don’s admonition to Sally that she has a pretty face, but that she should be more than that is a breaking from the past, indicating that she should choose options beyond what her mother chose to do (as even Betty is now opting for a possible career with her return to graduate school).

The “forecast” of the episode’s title is perhaps most straightforwardly the “nice Gettysburg Address type speech” that Roger asks Don to write about the future of the agency for a McCann executive retreat.  Don spends much of the episode thinking about how to imagine the agency’s future, and asking colleagues like Ted and Peggy for their ideas.  When they both give him answers about landing bigger accounts or becoming famous for coining a catchphrase, he presses them further.  Peggy responds that she’d like to create something of lasting value, Don laughs bemusedly, “In advertising?”  Peggy responds that this conversation is supposed to be about her job, not the meaning of life, and Don queries, “So you think those things are unrelated?”  His question indicates how much purpose is bound up in work for these characters – what else is there? – and perhaps both his hope and his cynicism that anything of lasting value can be created.

Don is also moving toward a different future by selling the penthouse apartment he shared with Megan during their marriage.  His real estate agent, Melanie, bears a striking resemblance to his first wife, Betty.  Her voice, as she snaps at a still-sleeping Don to wake up and get out before potential buyers arrive and nags him about replacing his stained carpet, sounds very much like Betty’s pitch and inflection.  Her short blond hair is teased and flipped up on the ends in the same hairdo that we see on Betty throughout the episode, and their style of dress is similar.  Most tellingly, two of the shots of the opening conversation between Don and Melanie are created by not showing her directly, but as reflected in a mirror as she speaks to Don; she is a reflection of his first wife, and from the distance the mirror creates, posed with her hand on her hip as Betty often does, the call back is unmistakable.  After two episodes of the dark-haired Diana reminding us of Don’s relationships with Megan, Midge Daniels, Rachel Menken, Sylvia Rosen, and even perhaps the young whore from his childhood, now we have the circling back to his marriage to Betty.  Is there any possibility of a new forecast for Don’s relationships?  Or is he destined to keep looping back around through his past?  One not-so-hopeful indication is Don’s response to the tag line for Tinkerbell Cookies:  “Love again?”  He dismisses it as a concept with little value:  “Kids won’t get it and adults won’t hear it.”  How true, in this show, that children do not understand or receive the love they so desperately want, and that adults can’t sense or accept it when it might be offered, as they are so often isolated or at cross purposes.

The apartment itself “reeks of failure,” its emptiness an indication that a sad, lonely person lives there.  Don tells Melanie not to blame him if she can’t sell it.  Its emptiness is just an opportunity for imagination.  In true Don Draper fashion, he tells her to make up a good story for potential buyers, with “a little glamour, a little hope.”  She quashes his vision – of both the apartment, and of himself – by saying she isn’t a magician.  People are looking with eyes wide open at a place, and a man, who “got divorced, spilled wine on the carpet and didn’t care enough to replace it.  Even for himself.”  This view of Don, so different than the version of the story he tells himself, is reiterated at work in his conversation with Mathis, who has insulted a client and gotten kicked off the account.  After taking Don’s advice to brazen it out with humor and charm, rather than apologizing, he is fired.  Don tells him he should take responsibility for his failure and that he has no character, but Mathis stuns him into speechless reflection when he accuses Don of being the one with no character.  “You’re just handsome.  Stop kidding yourself.”  Whether from his real estate agent, his employee, or his daughter who accuses him of oozing all over everyone whenever someone pays him the slightest attention, even if it’s one of her underage friends, Don keeps getting shown a picture of himself that isn’t flattering.  The prognostication is grim.

The episode puts Joan in some parallel comparison with Don, as she heads off to California and mistakes a stranger for a potential employee while interviewing candidates for the L.A. office. But the man, Richard Burghoff, is intrigued by Joan and charms her into going to dinner and then to bed with him.  Joan treats the encounter like a one-night stand—again, in parallel to Don—but Richard shows up in New York and wants to see her again.  It’s lovely to see Joan falling for someone who seems to truly appreciate her.  However, Richard is a newly divorced and recently retired real estate developer who is relishing being “free as a bird” to do things he put off earlier in life.  When Joan tells him she has a four-year-old son, he reacts angrily:  “This is not how I saw things.  I have a plan, which is no plans!”  His forecast for his future is one without those kinds of responsibilities.  Joan, too, is struggling with the weight of balancing her career, her romance, and her mothering.  When her babysitter arrives late the next morning, Joan yells, “You’re ruining my life!”  Though she seems to be screaming at the babysitter, she’s looking right at Kevin in the nanny’s arms.  Given that Richard has broken it off with her because of her son, her resentment and confusion seem to be actually directed at her little boy.  But Joan and Richard’s story seems to end on a hopeful note:

Richard shows up at her office with flowers to apologize and ask to try again, in an interesting reflection of both Bob Benson’s proposal to her and her opening up of Kevin’s life to Roger Sterling when Roger comes to Thanksgiving dinner.  Richard admits he wants to be part of both her life and her son’s, despite how it might be different than the relationship he anticipated:  “I don’t want to be rigid.  It makes you old.”  Open to flexibility, change, and unexpected opportunities, Richard breaks free of his previous demands and assumptions.  The shot of the two of them agreeing to continue their relationship (without Joan being forced to choose between her son and her lover) shows them both in the same frame, neither in the foreground or background but from the side, smiling straight into one another’s eyes: symbolically equal partners.

Unlike last week, when Don was adrift in the midst of his empty apartment, this week’s episode closes with him outside his penthouse apartment, looking again towards the future, and searching again for a new home. Dick Whitman was taken from his home on the night of his birth, and Don has never seemed to feel grounded, to be at home, yet he has often been looking for that place. He should listen to Peggy’s selling of Burger Chef, and see just whom his family is, even if it is unconventional and not stationed within a structure known as a home.  This shot of Don framed by his closed apartment doorway can been seen in contrast to the open door final frame from season 4, episode 7, The Suitcase, when Don/Dick also had to start anew without what he had before, without Anna Draper, since she had died in the course of the episode. He was then burdened with his excessive drinking, and his unmarried life, and his struggle to create his own future. He spends the entire episode here trying to create the idea for the future of the agency but also thinking about his own future. He has no love interest at the moment, he will need to find a new abode and since he has no furniture, he will again have to recreate his home. Each of the three “end of an era” episodes this spring have ended with shots of Don alone – in the diner, in his empty living room, and now moved out into the hallway of his former home, with the door firmly closed in his face as new owners sign the paperwork.

In yet another call back to episodes early in the series,

this episode has Don lying on his office couch, speaking into Dictaphone.  The scene is filmed from the ceiling, directly above him, so he looks almost like he is floating as he intones the opening of the Gettysburg Address. “Four score and seven years ago. We know where we’ve been, we know where we are.  Let’s assume that it’s good.  (Sighs) But it’s got to get better.  It’s supposed to get better.”  His musing echoes his earlier conversation with Ted when he asks, “What’s the future going to bring?  It’s good as it is, but is there a scenario in which it’s better?”  These queries pull us back to American political history.  The Gettysburg address is acknowledged to be a rhetorical refounding of the country by Lincoln, at a time of great division.  Certainly the narrative about Glen Bishop moving from opposition to the Vietnam War to participating in it echoes the divisions of the Civil War – a country divided against itself in so many ways, in the 1860s and 1960s.  The Gettysburg Address also makes redemptive meaning out of the past and its violence, and sets the country on a path toward hopeful progress and reconciliation, though the promises of Gettysburg may be seen as unfulfilled by the following century of continued racial violence, injustice and exclusion and regional factionalism.  Don “assumes” that where the agency (and the country) have been is good—and his own “rags to riches” embodiment of that assumption is pointedly articulated at dinner with Sally and her friends.  After all, Mad Men has been about the rise of America as a superpower, the peace and consumer prosperity of the post-WWII world as it moves into the 1960s.  Yet the show has also shown us the cracks, fissures and unfulfilled people and promises of that era, with Sally’s and Mathis’ critiques of Don highlighting his failings, the attractive surface that covers over many faults.  So perhaps we cannot rely on knowledge that the past and present are “good,” even if we assume it, just as we may think about the political dilemmas of our own time with ambivalence.  Insisting “it’s got to get better.  It’s supposed to get better,” Don echoes our own classically liberal insistence on progress and faith in the future.  But if this show has communicated anything, it is that our own nostalgia or even perception of the past may be flawed, and that the future is not disconnected from our past identities and actions.  The future may be better, as it perhaps will be for Joan and Richard, or for Sally, or even (we may hope) for Vietnam-bound Glen to come back safely.  But the future is fragile, and precarious, and can often reflect back to us our past, or be hindered by our inability to imagine anything greater than bigger accounts or a new slogan.

–Linda Beail and Lilly Goren are co-editors of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America, Bloomsbury Publishers, March 2015.