First Click: Mad Men vs. cynical man

May 18th, 2015


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?

Five stories to start your day

  1. Tomorrowland review

    Brad Bird’s new movie Tomorrowland came out this weekend, and it’s a strange, awkward, contrarian mess at times. I’m also in love with it.

  2. Fujifilm's X-T10 is a smaller, cheaper version of its flagship X-T1 camera

    The X-T10 doesn't have the weather sealing features of the X-T1, and it doesn't have as many accessories available, such as the vertical grip. It's clearly meant for the less serious photographer, but with its image quality and performance potential, it could appeal to those wanting a smaller, lighter body that doesn't cost nearly as much as the X-T1.

  3. First Steve Jobs trailer shows Michael Fassbender as the Apple founder

    The first teaser trailer for Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs biopic, the appropriately titled Steve Jobs, has arrived. The minute-long clip doesn't reveal much about the upcoming movie, but does give us the first glimpse of Michael Fassbender in character as the Apple boss, shot from behind as he prepares to stride out onto stage to deliver one of his trademark keynotes

  4. Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video stars Lena Dunham and Jessica Alba as sci-fi assassins

    After a week of teasers, hints, and custom emoji, Taylor Swift has finally shown off the video for her latest single, "Bad Blood" at the Billboard Music Awards. The result — a blue-and-chrome colored sci-fi extravaganza featuring supermodels, huge explosions, Oscar-nominated actresses, Tarantino influences, and Kendrick Lamar — was probably worth the wait.

  5. Sea turtle given a 3D-printed jaw implant after boat accident

    Human activity almost killed this loggerhead sea turtle in Turkey, but a group of doctors and researchers are looking to right that wrong with a 3D-printed prosthetic. The turtle, which is marked as an endangered species, was struck by a boat propeller while swimming in its natural habitat. The accident shattered the animal's upper and lower jaw, leaving the turtle unable to eat on its own. That's when a group at Pamukkale University in Turkey decided to explore its options for healing the animal and bringing it back into the wild.

Don of the day