Even if you've never watched the TV show MAD MEN, chances are you've heard a colleague chatting about it at the water cooler. AMC's sleeper hit set in the 1960s world of Madison Avenue advertising executives has taken the world by storm -- and for good reason. The NEW YORK TIMES called the show groundbreaking for "luxuriating in the not-so-distant past."
Why are people so obsessed with this show?
Beyond the sumptuous set design and tracne-inducing actors that have defined the criticall acclaimed series, there is high art at play. embedded in the show's three seasons there are hundreds of cultural nuggets that capture the historical themes of the mid-century - like the diminution of social order to the giant consumerist boom. From lowbrow ephemera like iconic beer, bra, and shaving cream ads, to the avant garde expressions of Mark Rothko, to political assassinations to Drexel end tables, all of these precious morsels capture the zeitgeist of the 1960s.
Journalist and obsessive MAD MEN fan Natasha Vargas Cooper has collected and analyzed these nuggets in one place, so readers can run their fingers over the ads, the sex, the politics, the social mores, of the mid century. The book will take the richest references in the show and regard each as a cultural artifact. Like the famous 1962 Lucky Strike Ad, a reference to ad-dynamo Julian Keonig, or an Edo era painting that adorns a wall in Sterling Cooper headquarters. Each entry will highlight the cultural context and social history around each artifact.
Each page will contain a color photograph with a 200 to 300 word description (with a steady focus on themes that exist on the show). The book would serve as a reader's companion to the show, a discursive look at American history during the mid century, and tasty eye candy.