Watching the television show "Mad Men" on AMC has been informative because the producers and writers and directors are giving us the early 60's with a certain spin but leaving in many cultural beliefs, habits, and norms. Last night, for example, the character Don Draper and his wife went on a picnic, wherein Don throws his beer can into the bucolic park setting, and his wife Betty leaves all the garbage from their lunch on the sloping green lawn. The scene ends with a long last look at the happy, messy scene.
In another episode, a neighbor freely slaps the face of one of the children (not his) at a party, chastising him for his behavior. In yet another, another child asks a man if the photo of the African American woman on the desk is "His maid?"
In the show, pregnant women smoke and drink. People are still drinking milk for ulcers. The verisimilitude of the show is wonderful and scary.
So what it brings up for me besides the fact that we have grown are the mistakes we are making now that will only be apparent in forty plus years when someone makes a TV show called "Writer People."
There will all be, blogging away in our separate abodes, drinking our organic coffee and filtered water and eating our organic artisan- made yogurt. We will have bought our bread from a local store, made fresh that day, and we will be eating fruit grown within a 150 mile radius of our homes. We will have a dozen technological devices around us, and then we will go out to workout in an air conditioned gym on machines and with weights.
Meanwhile, we will all be trying to make a go at our lives, writing and otherwise, and the scenes will focus on our attempts to find connection.
Some things will never change, and they haven't changed since the 60's. Men and women and men and men and women and women will fall in and out of relationships. The clothes will change, but the interpersonal stuff will be the same when the folks watch "Writer People." They will just laugh at our outfits.
But they will think about our waste and our fossil fuel use and the plastic containers. They will marvel at our barbaric medical techniques and practices. They will see how outdated so many of our social customs are, the way we haven't quite accepted homosexuals, the racism implicit in our behavior. They will marvel at the way we raise our children, the polar opposite of the punitive restrictions of the 60's. They will be appalled at the garbage we leave behind.
I'm glad I can't see that future show now, though I do try to imagine it when I act in the world. We forget that we have grown from the mistakes of our forebears, and yet, we can't just sit here and think we are doing the best that has ever been done. In a week, a year, a decade, better yet.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org