Saturday, November 6, 2010

Old Timey Pict-O-Cube

In an effort to stop spending frivolously, Ed and I have merged our Netflix accounts; I put my account on hold (I just couldn't make myself cancel it outright), and added my few remaining movies and television series to his queue. Most of Ed's queue consists of past seasons of various TV series - Heroes, Dexter, House, Fringe, and Burn Notice, with a handful of movies interspersed throughout. 

Justin and I weren't encouraged (read: allowed) to watch much TV when we were growing up, and I didn't really miss it. It wasn't until I was an undergrad that I started watching much TV; it filled the long hours of quiet of my apartment, which is helpful when you're living alone, during semester breaks when you're not taking classes (or when you're taking fewer classes). Hulu is an absolute boon; Ed and I have super basic cable (the rabbit ears version) and no TiVo-like device, so if a show is missed, I can watch the episode when it's released on least if it gets released to Hulu, otherwise it's a matter of waiting for the DVD release.

In any case, what with all these series piling up, I finally got around to putting Mad Men on the list. We've only watched a few episodes of season one so far, but it's really interesting. While I recognize that of course it's fictional show and it's been dramatized, what's been interesting to both of us is the prevailing attitudes. Neither of us is in a position of confirming how accurate the the televised attitudes are, but I have a difficult time not becoming twitchy and telling off the male characters (or deriding the female characters to have some gumption, dammit). Smoking (even during pregnancy) seemed prevalent; folks got married all sorts of young; women aspired to marriage; unmarried women were relegated to secretary-hood or retail work; the divorced neighbor was viewed with suspicion (A divorced woman! With children! Working! What a shame, on so many levels. Keep her away from the husbands!).

I did have something of an epiphany while watching Mad Men, though: Perhaps this was one of the reason's why my maternal grandparents were insistent on my mother and her younger sister and brother - but especially the girls - getting an education: They wouldn't be relegated to secretarial work, or similar, being spoken to as subservient, unintelligent beings. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with being a secretary, and I can understand how someone might wind up being a career secretary/administrative/executive assistant, but I don't know anyone whose career ambition is just that.

On a marginally related note: Because clicking around the Internet can lead you to some cool things, thanks to the Mad Men listing on iTunes, I was eventually led to a link to the Digital Archive of Vintage Television Commercials, which is all sorts of interesting. In particular, a Pan Am ad of the '60s has a young woman describing her trip to travels across the U.S., beginning in New York City, which included a $450 roundtrip fare, staying at a first rate, $10/night hotel, a trip where she saw all sorts of exciting things like Radio City and the "unbelievable skyscrapers." (I do like hearing people's impressions of a city in which I spent so much time.)

I love old airline ads.

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