Some themed events based on the popular show Mad Men have been held in Washington, D.C., recently. The show seems to appeal to the GOP.
Creator Matthew Weiner isnt going to talk about it. Democrats havent quite noticed it. But there seems to be an undeniable connection between AMCs marquee television program Mad Men and the fiscally conservative and libertarian factions of the Grand Old Party.
Recently, there have been a couple of events the Competitive Enterprise Institutes annual gala in June and last weeks DC Republican Committee 35 most influential Republicans under 35 reception that have used the hit show about the world of 1960s New York City advertising as the theme.
The CEI event even created a parody of the television show called Maddening Ad Men Visit CEI.
Well, basically what were offering is an opportunity for a mea culpa, two schlubby advertising guys tell the boardroom. An Im sorry, if you will. Look, folks, our research shows this free-market stuff, it just doesnt go over well these days. I mean, its not popular with the young generation.
The camera cuts to two young guys with skinny ties.
Its not popular with women, the maddening ad men continue. Who even knows what women want anyway? Am I right?
The camera cuts to a woman rolling her eyes. The maddening ad men go on to suggest that perhaps the guys at CEI, a libertarian think tank, have just gotten carried away with this liberty stuff.
Stop fighting subsidized milk, they say. Just apologize!
Of course, the suggestion is that back in Don Drapers day, no businessman would ever bow to government subsidies or apologize for using the system to make money.
CEI Founder Fred Smith said during the gala that the 21st-century business community is far too apologetic, and he suggested that attitude is something to be ashamed of.
After the 2008 economic downturn, the wars in the Middle East, rampant un- and under-employment and the rise of the Occupy movement, the free marketers seem to be longing for the time when business was king.
I think there is this element of nostalgia, said Marin Cogan, GQs Washington correspondent who wrote about and attended the CEI event.
Mad Men is a show where men sell products and goods. They dont apologize for their capitalism, she said. [Todays generation of business leaders] came out of this sort of heady time of the 1990s through the aughts, then there were a couple of major market crashes.
Since President Barack Obama took office, however, there has been the re-emergence of faith at least by Washington Democrats in Keynesian economics and another segment of society that questions the premises of capitalism.
The creative director of MassiveMusic New York, Elijah Torn, agreed.
The show, he said, is a return what they think their values were. Drinking was OK, smoking was OK. It was a more hands-off time period where people toughened up and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.
The 1960s, of course, werent that simple. It was a time of high taxation and fundamental social change, especially for minorities and women.
The Good Old Days
In the 1950s and 1960s, things were different, says Noel Cottrell, chief creative officer with Fitzgerald + Co. advertising agency.
The ad men of Madison Avenue had a lot of swagger then, but the advertising world isnt quite what it was gone are the days of three martini lunches and sex in the office.
Cottrell says that culture seems like a more accurate portrayal of Wall Street bankers.
Brandon Andrew, head of the NAACP political action committee, was named one of the top 35 Republicans to watch and was feted at the Mad Men-themed reception.
Andrew said he hadnt considered the strange image of a black man being honored at a party with a theme about those last days of a segregated industry.
When I think about the party theme, its not the first thing that would come to mind for me, Andrew said. Most people look at the Mad Men theme about the style of dress and ... of course the other things that are unsavory and are blemishes on that period.
I would honestly think that women would have more of an issue and a legitimate gripe, as opposed to minorities, he said.