Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

Props to my favorite Jersey boy, Greg, who always seems to know before I do exactly which NYT articles are going to rock my world. In this case, it's the "sociologist's dream come true" that is "‘Mad Men’ Dolls in a Barbie World." Take a few minutes to check out yesterday's Business section, where you'll find news of Mattel's newest pop cultural marketing ploy, a Barbie tie-in line featuring four central "Mad Men" characters.

Now you, too, can re-enact Don and Betty's simmering WASPy gin-fueled fights, and then move right along to reconstructing Roger and Joan's illicit lunch-hour hotel room trysts, all in the privacy of your own home, and preferably with small children in tow so you can dive into an amazingly instructional rant on the gender politics of the 1960s and the consumeristic engine of the American advertising machine and the obsolescence of the old suburban nuclear family model. Good times!

The article quotes Robert Thompson, an expert from Syracuse whose name seems to so-often pop up in these pieces on television, pop culture and consumption. I'd really love to study with this dude some day, provided he moves somewhere a little more temperate than upstate New York. He's always got fascinating shit to say:

The pairing of Barbie and “Mad Men” is more interesting than the typical licensing agreement because of their shared history. Barbie was introduced in March 1959, and the first episode of “Mad Men” is set in March 1960.

“'Mad Men’ represents so beautifully the universe that created Barbie,” said Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, because the series is about the selling of the American consumer society.

The personification of Betty Draper as Barbie is particularly resonant, Mr. Thompson said, because she represents “the wife who lives in her dream house whose soul is eaten away.”

“I have this fantasy of an 8-year-old getting a set” of the dolls, he added, “and saying: ‘Mom, can Chelsea come over? We want to play “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.” I’m going to be the organization man, and she’s going to be the soulless drone.’ ”

Hee. Remind me to teach my goddaughters how to say "soulless drone" this weekend. (Can't start too early with the culture jamming, eh, Adbusters?). And before you run out to buy your own plastic Don, check out the final paragraph, where show creator Matthew Weiner alludes to the old-school Midge doll as a possible inspiration for Don Draper's original artistic and bohemian mistress, Midge Daniels, who I kind of not-so-secretly very much want to be.*

*(The beautifully tousled Rosemarie DeWitt! Throwing the TV out the window! Her anti-establishment beatnik friends! Dark nights spent in secret underground jazz clubs! "I don't do breakfast." Yes, please; all of the above.)

'Mad Men' Dolls in a Barbie World, but the Cocktails Must Stay Behind (NYT)


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