"I Drink" - Mary Gauthier
Strange piece in the New Times today by Katie Roiphe, "The Allure of Messy Lives" extolling the liberating quality of middle of the day drinking and adultery (not necessarily limited to the middle of the day) as depicted in "Mad Men." Roiphe seems to think that excessive drinking and adultery have somehow been removed from the cultural landscape in America and replaced by an unhealthy fetish with organic milk.
Roiphe chalks up the hard drinking on Mad Men to the quest for fun. Now as one who has mastered the fine art of drinking for "fun" -- I've had a mere five ryes this evening -- this strikes me as painfully superficial:
It is true that these days, people of Don Draper’s age and situation pour energy into beautiful vacations, or they cook intricate meals for a dinner party from organic or free-range ingredients. But are they hanging out with the same boozy fluidity, are there wild bursts of bad behavior, are they expecting each day to live up to the ineffable standard of “fun”? Perhaps part of what is so appealing, so fascinating about “Mad Men” is the refusal of bourgeois ordinariness, the struggle against it, in all of its poetic and mundane and tragic forms.
This is one of those instances where one wishes that Ms. Roiphe had gotten out a bit more in her life -- that perhaps a life limited to Harvard, Princeton, and New York City has not given her a very full view of the world. Her take on women in the work force of the early 1960s -- aided by the noted feminist Gay Talese --responding to sexual overtures from their superiors -- again, just the quest for fun -- left me shaking my head:
He also recalls copy girls slipping out in the middle of the day with more than one man to the surrounding hotels. “You didn’t have the word ‘exploitation’ then,” Mr. Talese said. “And mostly it wasn’t exploitation.”
Ms. Roiphe has been taken to school, as it were, in the past, for her half-baked thinking. It would be good for her to realize that there are large swaths of America in which substances are being ingested promiscuously, even at mid-day, adultery remains a common form of entertainment, and no one gives a shit about either pilates or organic milk.
I promise I will return to more serious matters when I sober up. Time to walk Stanley and get to sleep. A good evening to you all.