First Click: Mad Men vs. cynical man

May 18th, 2015

19

I’m going to take a risk and tell the internet that I like something. Ready?

I thought the season finale to Mad Men was brilliant and consider the complete series to be the pinnacle of television achievement to date.

I woke up at 4AM to watch it via a convoluted setup that required a DNS remapping service (I live in Europe) and a 7-day free Sling TV trial (which I now have to cancel). I spent the last few weeks rewatching all the old episodes in preparation. Clearly, I’m a fan, and I’m not ashamed to say that I had to dab my eyes as the credits rolled one last time.

Convinced the finale was a home run, I decided to celebrate the achievement on Twitter. Boy, was that a mistake.

Twitter hated it because everything is awful — the world is either evil or banal with shiny gold ⭐️ stars awarded to those best expressing disgust with wit and speed. On Twitter everyone’s a cynic, a gloomy mob whose smugness rages against topics in direct proportion to their popularity. An angry horde that arrives with pitchforks and torches to burn pretty things to the ground. Belief in the cause isn’t a prerequisite as long as everyone has fun during the pile-on. Song of the year? Entitled douchebags. Best actress award? Slut.

I get it. Railing against the mainstream is cool. It implies that you’re somehow smarter, that you hold the secret to how things could be better if only you were in charge. If only you had been trusted to write, produce, direct, and perform those 92 episodes — then Mad Men could have been good.

Mad Men wasn’t perfect, but it was great. It dissected a turbulent period of American mythology with vicious dexterity and exploded the quaint notion that “life was simpler back then.” Life was hard, especially if you were gay, black, handicapped, or a woman. Even the great white male privilege didn’t guarantee happiness.

Best of all it was entertaining. But where’s the fun in celebrating that?

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