Monday, October 27, 2008

Barack Obama: 'Mad Man' With a Tan

By L.N. Smithee

An October 24, 2008 Associated Press story detailed how the cultural influence of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning TV drama Mad Men has been far more extensive than its surprisingly low ratings might indicate. Within the article, there was this observation about its “elite” and “intellectual” fan base:

Fashion designer Michael Kors cited "Mad Men" as an inspiration. The show's beautifully retro-styled stars are on magazine covers. A "Mad Men" DVD was spotted at the elbow of Barack Obama aboard his campaign plane.

Being a regular viewer of the program myself (despite the fact I am still on the street side of the velvet ropes of the “elite”), the suggestion that Senator Obama is a fan of Mad Men doesn’t surprise me that much. When you take a close look beneath Barack Obama’s surface, he has a lot in common with Mad Men’s protagonist, advertising wizard Don Draper. To wit:

  • Don Draper makes his living selling dreams to the general public. So does Barack Obama.
  • Draper is tall, handsome, and impeccably attired. So is Obama.
  • Draper is cool under pressure and analytical. So is Obama.
  • Draper smokes. So does Obama.
  • Draper is married with two children. So is Obama.
  • Draper had a complicated relationship with his late father. So did Obama.
  • Draper commands respect and reaps praise for himself through his skillful use of words. So does Obama.
  • Women are drawn to Don Draper like a magnet, just like they are drawn to Obama.
  • Draper’s wife, while lovely, is (behind closed doors) independent and often hot-tempered and negative. So is Obama’s wife.
  • Draper’s personal history is shrouded in mystery to most people in his life by his own design. The same is true of Obama.
  • Draper is shady about what’s really on his birth certificate. So is Obama.
  • Draper lives in fear of his past coming back to haunt him. So does Obama.
  • Draper has helped other people keep their dirty secrets, and they, in turn, have covered for him. The same is true of Obama.
  • Draper’s life is tied up in hiding his true identity. The same is true of Obama.
  • Draper’s lifestyle is so dependent on a constant string of lies and deception, he places himself in danger of ruin whenever he tells the truth. The same is true of Obama.

  • However, while Obama and Draper share many traits and life experiences, some things about them are markedly different. For example, Draper restrains himself about half the time when women throw themselves at him; there is no reason to believe Obama has that Clintonesque weakness (although if evidence someday emerges of B.O. infidelity, the likely response from his defenders will be, “Look at him! Can you blame him?”). On the other hand, there is this difference: Before hitting Madison Avenue, Draper worked with both his head and his hands; any instance in which Obama has needed to scrub beneath his fingernails at the end of his work day is unknown to me.

    Still, there are enough commonalities that we could call Barack Obama a Mad Man With a Tan. Obama is fond of telling his audiences stories about various individuals in his family tree (almost exclusively white, for some reason); perhaps if one dug down deep enough, we would discover that Barack is distantly related to Don Draper.

    I know what you’re thinking: “L.N., Don Draper is NOT a real person!” That’s true. But neither is the Barack Obama that’s running for President.

    1 comment:

    JuniorVoter said...

    wow that was a very insightful commentary, it is interesting that OB speaks mostly of the white side of the family one would think that in what is becoming a race war he would talk more about the other side of the family. I'm not sure how that benefits his campaign