Jasel commented on The very white poetry of 'Mad Men'Very interesting article. And this is coming from someone who has watched all 5 Seasons of Mad Men but still doesn't care much for the show pretty much for all the reasons you listed (and I usually don't just stop watching a show because once I get started, for the most part, I like to see where it goes. The only exception being Hawthorne which even I couldn't continue to put up with). *sigh* One thing I do hate regarding articles like this that examine entertainment and media from a racial perspective is what i call the "Shiny Object Effect". Whereas the entire article is basically questioned, criticized, or written off because of one aspect of something that was written. Half the comments I've seen have brought up "The Wire". Which I've also watched too but I'm sitting here seeing the comments and rolling my eyes at how that show seems to be getting almost more mention than any discussion with the racial issues in Mad Men, because of an example you made almost in afterthought. Can't say I was surprised though since I've seen SOE more times than I can count. The second you made that comment about "The Wire" I knew the comments would largely reflect on it for many people, to the expense of pretty much everything else you had to say. And I do see where you're coming from. When I first saw Mad Men in that opening scene where Don Draper is talking to that Black waiter as if his opinion actually means something, after the first couple of episodes I watched after I figured "I bet we see no more Blacks with even a casual role in this series despite being the 60s in New York" and I was right. Because I've seen tokenism before. And that first scene I saw really made me question the direction the show was going to go in in terms of race/casting/diversity. And suffice to say I wasn't surprised and since I kept my expectations low wasn't disappointed. I almost gave up on it then but decided to keep watching because the show was so popular. I also wanted to address a comment made earlier: "I don't think you "get" Mad Men. I would say it's not about it's "white" or "blackness" -- this is a pretty racially 'blank' show -- you just seem to ignore that the whole show is based upon the cynicism inherent to people who have it all." This is the problem with the entertainment industry today. Mad Men is very much a "White show". There's nothing "blank" about an all White cast. Anymore than Friends, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, That 70's Show, Step by Step, Roseanne, Boy Meets World, Full House, Sex & the City, and countless other all White casted shows are "Blank". Those are "White Shows". The only difference is you can have a show full of Whites and nothing but Whites and it isn't considered anything except a movie or a show about people. As far as mainstream society is concerned there's nothing "White" about it despite everything about it being White and catering TO Whites. The minute you have a movie/show with all Blacks, all Asians, or all non-whites either the movie/show doesn't get the green light, or the casting is changed to make all the major characters/love interests White with a token minority here and there. Movies/Shows with predominantly Black casts are labeled "Black movies" and tend to have much harder times being produced (ie: See George Lucas talking about Red Tails). It was why so many Whites couldn't understand what all the complaining was about when the casts of 21, Dragonball Z, Avatar the Last Airbender, Prince of Persia, etc all had casts that were made predominantly White or the head role was given to a White individual despite the fact the original plot/script/book/storyline is based on an ethnic character or ethnic group. Minorities saw what the problem was pretty much immediately. Many Whites who are used to seeing Whites as "Blank" in movies, television shows, commercials, magazines, etc despite dominating these industries already, didn't see a problem at all. And it's due to this "Blank" view of our entertainment industry that problems like this continue in our media. For many Whites you can have a show with 10 White characters and 1 Black character, if that, and it's perfectly fine. For them it's simply 10 Blank people + 1 Black person = Diversity. For minorities it's 10 Whites + 1 Black person = tokenism.
Posted on June 11th, 2012 3:13pm