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No actual horses were harmed in the making of this post

November 27, 2009

I can’t find actual flesh and blood humans in my environment who follow Mad Men.

I admit the fishbowl I swim in is comparatively smaller than the aquariums most of the show’s demographic apparently inhabit. Plus the fishbowl is tucked away in a musty but quaint corner of America’s Bread Box. (could you dust off a more dated metaphor?-ed.) But we get waterproof cable and broadband in here and the show is cool, smart, stylishly retro, steeped in literary reference, layered with societal reflection and cultural commentary, sly and funny. Why do so few of my colleagues and friends tune in?  I dunno.  Perhaps I should ask myself why I’ve chosen such backward, unsophisticated, humorless, Idiocrats as friends in the first place. I apologize my dear dullards —mea culpa; It’s not you. It’s less of me.

I accompanied two of my non-Mad Men watching “friends” to the local racetrack last Saturday.  It was a gorgeous, great-day-to-be-alive kind of November day.  Seasonably warm with a light bite in the breeze that bore the strangely intoxicating aroma of horse manure from the stables. I love the smell of manure in the morning. It smells like victory,– but usually heralds a financial Apocalypse. I filled my lungs with the pungent scent and I felt my debit card twitch in anticipation of the quick hook up with the nearest ATM.

After a few drags off a Lucky Strike (L.S.M.F.T. – It’s so toasted!), I placed a wager or seven and my pals and I grabbed seats in the grandstand.

Five minutes later, the race over, I needed to give that ATM a go-round like it never had before, because my bets were now losers.  I think I felt my debit card roll over and grin.  As the horses came back in front of the grandstand to be unjockeyed and unsaddled, I remarked that the #5 horse that just ate my money, was looking all dappled and handsome and happy. (This was to be expected since he did not expend much blood, sweat or tears in the just concluded “race”.)  I grimly chuckled and proclaimed he was the prettiest case of dog food I had ever seen.  Alice looked quite puzzled at me; Martin looked around to see if others were listening.  I explained to the two of them how if they had just watched the same excellent television program I did (!), they would know how the post WWII glut of obsolete work horses made horsemeat cheap thereby making it a major ingredient in canned pet food.

Alice was incredulous. I enthusiastically went on about Annabelle Mathis and the public backlash against her company when it was exposed as a slaughterer and canner of ponies and unicorns.  Then I described the comical irrationality of the SC focus group when the company’s brand name was revealed. And then I followed with Don’s advice that the dogs loved the product, the product was good, it was just the name on the label, Caldecott Farms, which was dead and unsalvageable.

The fictional brand name was my undoing; this detailed flourish brought me down.

A dullard (see definition above) in the next aisle vocally told me I was full of . . . manure, Calumet Farm never was in the dog food business.  He continued on that Calumet was a fine thoroughbred stud farm and had produced many famous champion racehorses and that I should stop defaming an honorable company in the racing industry whose very “product” I had just recently grudgingly partially funded. (Well, he went on something like that, I cleaned up the details of his admonishment a bit.)

Being the curious and attentive degenerate gambler I am, I knew all of this already.  I told him I was talking about a make-believe dog food company baroness portrayed in an excellent television program that I was now completely convinced no living , breathing, unpixelated human living within five hundred miles of me had ever seen before.

I was poised to retort further about how he, the dull one, had neglected to mention that Calumet Farm, his upstanding pillar of the racing community, had a real life scandal in the early ‘90s as they were investigated for insurance fraud when the honestly fine champ and Great Stud Alydar, the horse that came painfully close to beating Affirmed in each of the three Triple Crown races, was found suspiciously dead in his stall.

And I was set to let loose with “Mr. Dull One, let us toss aside what actually is factual and just debate which is more defaming:  unwanted equines are used for dog food or the Estate Scion hires horsey hit men to collect insurance money and stave off bankruptcy.”  And while he would have been stammering in stunned response, I was going to hit him with the Charley Partanna paraphrase, “ If Calumet Farm is so fuckin’ honorable then why is Alydar so fuckin’ dead?”  Winner,winner! Chicken dinner!

But before I could unleash that righteous diatribe, Martin reminded me the second half of the double was approaching and my debit card was turning blue so I just let it all drop and we wandered off to place some wagers, never to return to those obviously unlucky, cursed seats again.

I’ll conclude with a question; It’s been said you can’t choose your family, you can only choose your friends.  Do your family or friends groove to the Mad Men beat?  Can we force either group of them to enjoy the program?  If we changed the label to Survivor: Madison Avenue would the dullards watch?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2009 8:54 pm

    Hey where’s my avatar? I worked pretty hard on that thing. What’s the dealio?

  2. esme permalink
    December 6, 2009 4:23 pm

    I’d like to reply but the bouncer at the door of the Pierre, I mean the doorman, would kick me to the curb because of my opinion of the date nut bread in this joint.

    • December 6, 2009 6:42 pm

      esme, how are the sweetbreads though?

      You prefer the grape now and then so I will need to raid the cellar for your visits. In vino veritas. This is where the Truth lies . . . on the plush sofa and stares at the sparkly chandelier. oooo pretty. The Truth needs to chill out once in awhile just like the rest of us.

      Just watched S1E2 and S1E3, I cried it is so good. I remember the major threads and events but the details sell the show every fucking time. First one I conjured just now, MofFig the visual of Don in the car under the bridge, the cloud of Luckysmoke backlit then the crossing signal flashes red and we cut to the image of the train reflecting across the windshield and his face. And we know now the train doubles as the traditional metaphor and the personal detail because we’ve seen Don coming almost all the way back from Korea on that train in the future.
      It really is something tasty the second or third time around. It ages like a ’61 Cheval Blanc.* I’ll call the sommelier.

      *movie funtime again.

      • December 6, 2009 11:52 pm

        esme- reveals more of less of me. I must consider my next response carefully.

        Here’s a trivial question while I ponder calling Bill the Butcher*, how do you pronounce the capital of Kentucky?
        Is it A) Loo-aah-vil
        B) Loo-vill
        or C) Looey-vuhl

        Inquiring Mind wants to know.

        Oh yeah, I have knocked all the rust off the hatchet finally and I’m brandishing it at our pal Anne B at 7:30est. in this venue.
        Admission is $15 pay the doorman.

  3. Zouli Pious permalink
    December 6, 2009 9:52 pm

    “If we changed the label to Survivor: Madison Avenue would the dullards watch?”

    It’s called “The Apprentice” and it will eat your brains if you leave it on too long.

    I became a fan of MM late. My sister had been nagging me for a year or more to! I would hit up an episode now and then but could not work up an appetite for it. Then I channel surfed into My Old Kentucky Home when Joan was just being forced into playing her accordion and singing a song.

    I was mesmerized by the colors (her dress my god!) of the show, the props and sounds and people in that small bit of the show hooked me. I had to know how it all got here.

    Thats how I ended up with both seasons on dvd and an addiction that is hard to explain in a few short words. I found BoK and became an avid lurker and once in a blue moon poster and now here I am on LOM’s doorstep 🙂 Best wishes for you on this neat site. I am sort of neutral on Suzanne, not sure if I like her or not really. I figure the rest of MM is so compelling there has to be a good reason for her. The discussions here and on BoK help me to see her better.

    Anyway the post you made was about our circle of family and friends that are MM fans. In my case it’s just me and my sister. When I went to buy the S2 dvd collection the young girl at the check out asked me about it. She was about 19ish and seemed nice but for the life of me I was stumped on how to tell this young person how good this show was. All I could say to her was it was the most compelling show I have ever watched and I recommend it to anyone.

    There really is no short way to explain this show and what it really is. Or maybe I’m one of those rabid fan types I read about in the news, my vision narrowed by obsession..

    I really love reading your commentary. Thanks.

    • December 6, 2009 11:37 pm

      Zouli Pious nice to meet you! It’s just me in this place with a modified Commodore 64 and a pot of coffee, so though I like to respond, there will be some lag time. These familiar BoK handles are capable conversationalists and the traffic is modest so feel free in engage about any topic really if you can logically tie it back to Mad Men within three references. It will be a game, we will call it Giving Don Draper the Third Degree. We can play it like six degrees of Kevin Bacon.
      I whole-heartedly agree that it is very difficult to explain in a few casual sentences just how involving Mad Men can be and it is a continued puzzlement to me how some people do not like it at all.
      I don’t recall your moniker at BoK but, please don’t get jumpy or weirded out, I just like to flex my brain, Do you comment at Pandagon? I’ve seen your handle somewhere. Just completely curious, another part of LOM’s nature.
      And is The Donald (bad hair real version) still dumbing down the country with the Apprentice? Wow, more reason to stay at my keyboard until S4.

  4. Zouli Pious permalink
    December 7, 2009 12:15 am

    LOM, I’ve posted a few times at BoK. Anne B rescued me with her timely instructions on how to make paragraphs. I see we both may be in lub with her.. 🙂

    I tend to lurk mostly since there are a few absolutely amazing people who render such wonderful observations on MM. I could not have said it better is my motto when it comes to the likes of you and the Lipps and Anne and Matt and Coop, others I’ve no time now to note as my roast beast is beeping me from the kitchen as I type.

    I don’t recall posting on a Pandragon but if you’ll supply a link I’ll go look 🙂


  5. esme permalink
    December 7, 2009 1:45 am

    trivia question answer: none of the above.

    it’s luuhvuhl

    • December 7, 2009 3:23 am

      Oh, so sorry dear contestant. Your pronunciation sounds LUUUUUV-leee but the capital of Kentucky is Frankfort.
      We have some luuuuvlee parting gives for you and the LOM Trivial Pursuit home edition, you can take it anywhere.
      Thanks for playing.

      • December 7, 2009 2:48 pm

        I have never been enough for you, have I?

        Who ARE you? What DOES a woman want?

        • December 7, 2009 3:46 pm

          I amuse myself beating dead horses (I refuse on principle to qualify or explain that I’m being figurative, sorry PETA!)
          I’m back to being gobsmacked, but now virtually by others.

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