Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Un livre pour vous!


Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960's America
by - Natasha Vargas-Cooper

One of the most fascinating things about Mad Men is how mired in reality it is. No matter how lush the photography and costumes may be, the show is simply about the day-to-day lives of regular people. No one on the show is a glamorous movie star or controversial political figure. Most of these characters are fairly average middle class working folks.
It was just a different time. The way people spoke to each other and even the smallest chore seems fascinating. Mad Men Unbuttoned peeks behind the curtain and gets into the little things.

The book is broken up into 9 sections, with various essays about each subject.

1. The ads and then men who made them.
This section was really interesting because it not only showed you who Don Draper and company were based on but gives you an idea of how advertising worked back in the day.

2. Style
As a fan of mid-century and Mod fashion, this section is one of my personal favorites. And it goes into both male and female fashion.

3. Working girls
Not hookers, thank you. But women and the careers they had. Stewardesses, secretaries, and housewives - oh my! The best essay has to be the one dedicated to Carla, the Draper's housekeeper/nanny.

4. Sex
There's a little more to it than just sex. Being a single and sexually active young woman. The history of condoms. Being gay and lesbian in a time when homosexuality was thought of as a mental disorder. And so, so much more.

5. Smoking, drinking, drugging
"Puffing While Pregnant" is not only an essay but the name of my new band.

6. Decor
This is a great section because it's so diverse. Essays on Jackie Kennedy, Regency, and Japonisme.

7. Literature
Some very important and culturally relevant books came out during the time Mad Men takes place. These essays cover Lady Chatterley's Lover, Ayn Rand and Frank O'Hara.

8. Movies
Hollywood has always influenced the way we dress and speak, among other things. But there was no greater time than in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The 50's were a glamorous time that gave us many leading me and the "Snow-covered Volcano" Grace Kelly. The 60's birthed the counter-culture movement and a plethora of deep, weepy foreign films.

9.In Progress
Here is the section you'll want to turn to if you have any questions about the social and political changes of the time.

The essays are fairly short but are well-written and concise. Plus, there are a lot of yummy pictures. It's a quick read but an enjoyable read.

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