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Mad Men's Legacy: Don Draper and Booze

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Don Draper and his colleagues at Sterling Cooper have taken alcoholism and turned it into an art form. Don Draper is probably the highest functioning alcohol ever committed to film, even if his ability to hold his liquor is legendary. was fascinated by the amount of drinking occurring during season six  of AMC’s hit show Mad Men and worked up a neat little study, analyzing Don Draper’s drinking habits during season six. As the study showed, time of day or place make little difference where booze is concerned for  the character of Don Draper. Of course, Draper’s consumption of Canadian Club whiskey is so  that its exposure on Mad Men caused the company to inject a large sum of capital into advertising.

Does Mad Men glorify drinking? It’s an interesting question. Never is the true impact of his alcohol intake ever really shown. But does that really matter? Are we as a society now smart enough and savvy enough where we can look at Don Draper’s drinking and realize what would happen to us if we conducted ourselves in that manner? It’s an interesting conundrum, isn’t it? Certainly, we as a society are more informed about the adverse effects of alcohol than they were in the 1960s. However, addictions know no logic or reason. Even in this age of instant information, an addiction will still win out every time.

The counter to that is Matthew Weiner and the creative forces at Mad Men are not making public service films. The show captures a time and a place where these vices, smoking and drinking held less of a stigma. As well, Mad Men has concocted a reality and glossed over the dark aspects of certain destructive behaviors. All other shows do it, so it is really tough to just single out Mad Men specifically for criticism. Know that if Don Draper were actually real, Richard  Burton and Peter O’Toole would be jealous.


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Tags: Don Draper Mad Men

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