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Blue Collar Is Blues-Collar:

“You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl.”  That’s Joan to Peggy in season 1, one woman to another.
“You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl.” That’s Joan to Peggy in season 1, one woman to another.
The Helper Homosexual: Zosia Mamet playing Joyce Ramsey in Season 4, Episode 4 of Mad Men.
The Helper Homosexual: Zosia Mamet playing Joyce Ramsey in Season 4, Episode 4 of Mad Men.

For all that Mad Men operates in a super-rarefied white world, there are a few moments when the characters step outside of their glassed-in Madison Avenue lives. As Clarence Lang writes in “Representing the Mad Margins of the Early 1960s,” Don Draper is foremost among them. Don embodies the suave corporate man, but he has an easier time slipping out of that identity than almost anyone — because it isn’t his. He’s the closest to the hip blues/beat subculture of the early 1960s and its African-American roots. Lang suggests that Don has access to these subcultures because he’s a pretender, too — a poor farm boy masquerading in high society under someone else’s name. This linkage between race and class is important to consider in light of the 1960s, when American identity politics first commandeered the conversation, and it’s no less important now, when the financial gaps between Americans are getting ever wider. White collar might as well say white face.

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