Mad Men Season 3 Preview Roundup

Mad Men Season 3 starts on Sunday and I am…excited. Here’s a round up of some of what’s been said about the show in the last couple weeks.

-Like cocktails? Here’s a Mad Men Cocktail Guide.

-Lots here from Vanity Fair, including a word on their obsession with set design:

A scene-setting anecdote everyone in the Mad Men orbit tells is how Weiner came onto the set one day and focused on some pieces of fruit he said were too large and shiny and perfectly formed; produce in the early 60s—period produce—wasn’t pumped up. Get smaller, dumpier fruit, he ordered. (Depending on who was telling me the story, from cast members to network executives, the offending produce morphed from apples to oranges to bananas, but Amy Wells, the set decorator, said definitively: it was apples.)

HuffPo’s take.

-The New Yorker on advertising Mad Men:

The theme of season three is change. “We wanted our key art to be more high-concept,” Schupack explained, unveiling the new poster, which hits this week: Draper is sitting in his office, looking nonchalant, as water rises up to his knees.


-From Esquire, Christina Hendricks and some other female players.

-Story about the real life person Don Draper is based on.

In the 1960s, Draper Daniels was something of a legendary character in American advertising. As the creative head of Leo Burnett in Chicago in the 1950s, he had fathered the Marlboro Man campaign, among others, and become known as one of the top idea men in the business. He was also a bit of a maverick.

Playboy is getting Madmenized for the next couple weeks.

Interview and podcast with Jon Hamm.

-Talking with the Mad Men costume designer:

Bryant mixes original creations with vintage pieces for the principal cast’s wardrobe, which is designed from scratch, starting with sketches. Her use of kaleidoscope colors, sparkling jewelry, brilliant prints and florals can be deliciously distracting.

-New York Magazine got into the act with a profile of Christina Hendricks

Which is kind of the point of Mad Men. Bad is sexy. And then just very, very bad. The show lures you in with a glittering surface, but just below is a hothouse of homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and a more general and crushing sense of isolation.

and Pete Campbell whom everyone hates except Matt Weiner apparently:

“I went to an all-boys school, and Pete’s like the kids I went to school with. He could have been Holden Caulfield’s roommate, who borrowed his coat and didn’t bring it back.”

and a handy Guide to the First Two Seasons.

-Finally here’s the Wall St Journal on the story, which seems to be getting a lot of play this year, of the writing staff that is mostly female:

The story centers on Don Draper and his shadowy past, but a key part of the series, the writers say, is its complicated female characters. “It’s less skewed than it appears,” says consulting producer Maria Jacquemetton.

Mad Men Season 3 Preview Roundup

Inspiration for Wanna Be Startin Something

You know how it sounds like Michael Jackson is making up works in Wanna Be Startin Something when he’s all, “Ma ma se, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa”? Turns out the song is inspired by Manu Dibango’s Soul Makossa. MJ didn’t credit Dibango originally, but worked it out with him financially a bit later.
Check it out:

Inspiration for Wanna Be Startin Something

Everyone Talking About Malcolm Gladwell Talking About Chris Anderson’s ‘Free’

Malcolm Gladwell’s recent review of Chris Anderson’s latest book, ‘Free: The Future of a Radical Price‘ caused a round of reactions from big thinkers. Here’s a round up:
Gladwell started things off by disputing the thesis of the book:

The only iron law here is the one too obvious to write a book about, which is that the digital age has so transformed the ways in which things are made and sold that there are no iron laws

Seth Godin stepped into it, saying Malcolm was wrong.
Mark Cuban says:

The videos on Youtube, magazine articles, newspapers reports, anything that used to be analog that now is digital have a perceived value that is based on their legacy delivery.


The music is often free, but it is NEVER freely distributed.

Anil Dash takes a step back, says the dust-up is likely conceived to sell books and magazines, argues that Gladwell’s main point is that Anderson didn’t provide evidence only anecdotes and then goes on to mention all the people who say Gladwell is heavy on the story and light on the science.
Henry Blodget agrees with Gladwell.
Mike Masnick at TechDirt is firmly in the Anderson camp.
The Opinionator Blog (at gleefully discusses some of the bloodsport.
Fred Wilson says some things will be free and some won’t.
Finally, Chris Anderson somewhat bitchily responds (sniffingly referring to Gladwell as a ‘journalist’ (the horror!) using GeekDad to prove the idea of paying people to get people to wirte instead of paying writers.

Everyone Talking About Malcolm Gladwell Talking About Chris Anderson’s ‘Free’

“The Big Problem of Small Change”

“The big problem of small change” is Italian economic historian Carlo Cipolla’s way of describing the hoarding of coins when because of inflation the face value of a coin is less than than the value of the metal used to make the coin. This hoarding of coins is one of 3 explanations for the current coin shortage in Buenos Aires.
The other two:
1. Coin-only bus companies were saving coins to sell to businesses at a mark up.
2. The left wing government of Argentina is conspiring to embarrass the right wing government of Buenos Aires in advance of a electronic bus card system that is way behind schedule.

“The Big Problem of Small Change”

How Pitino Beats Lawrence of Arabia

Malcolm Gladwell’s article on underdogs from last week’s New Yorker was interesting and full of anecdotes, though the fawning over Rick Pitino gave me great pause because Rick Pitino did a little destruction of the Celtics that lasted until the middle of this decade. Along with Pitino, you’ll read about David and Goliath, Lawrence of Arabia, a girls basketball team from CA, and wargames. The single paragraph that attempts to explain antisemitism was weird and unnecessary in the scheme of the article, but there’s a couple nuggets like the one below that belong on a motivation poster.

We tell ourselves that skill is the precious resource and effort is the commodity. It’s the other way around. Effort can trump ability—legs, in Saxe’s formulation, can overpower arms—because relentless effort is in fact something rarer than the ability to engage in some finely tuned act of motor coordination.

Update: Gladwell has posted a response to some criticisms of his description of the press and calling Rick Pitino’s 1996 Kentucky team an underdog.

How Pitino Beats Lawrence of Arabia

Van Jones is in a Hurry

I read Elizabeth Kolbert’s profile of Van Jones in the New Yorker a couple months ago and was struck by what he’s doing tying the environment to the war on poverty. A couple weeks ago, the Obama administration tapped him to be the ‘green’ jobs adviser.

The profile of Jones is interesting on a couple points, Jones changed his name from Anthony to Van to create a new persona, his ability to speak to different audiences (“That was my street rap, you get to hear my élite rap later on”), and his single-minded approach to recognizing his goal.

I’m not looking for the points of difference. I’m looking for the points of commonality. I’ve trained my mind so that people can say twenty-seven things that might be objectionable, but as soon as they say one, that twenty-eighth thing, that’s in the right direction, that’s where I’m going to go in the conversation. I think that’s really important in a country as diverse as ours, to listen. So this guy, he says, I don’t want this, I don’t want that. But he says, I want everybody to be included. Well, that’s all I need. Dayenu.

The aspect I found most fascinating about Jones is how everything he says sounds like a sound bite (in a good way). I imagine this comes from his appreciation of Ronald Regan’s speaking ability.

Ronald Reagan I admire greatly. You look at what he gets away with in a speech—unbelievable. He’s able to take fairly complex prose and convey it in such a natural and conversational way that the beauty of the language and the power of the language are there, but you stay comfortable. That’s very hard to do.

I’m not the first to say this, but I know I won’t be the last. Van Jones is going to be a very big deal very soon. Mark it.

Van Jones is in a Hurry

Bill Hicks’ Censored David Letterman Performance

A couple weeks ago, David Letterman had on Bill Hicks’ mom and finally played the censored performance from 1993.

He wrote a 39 page letter about the incident to John Lahr for a profile in the New Yorker that was published 3 months before he died. Lahr says:

I called Robert Morton two weeks ago, and, when pressed, he finally grasped the nettle. He had begun by saying that the decision not to show Hicks’ routine was made jointly by the Letterman show and CBS and ended up telling me that the producers of the show were solely responsible. “Ultimately, it was our decision,” he said. “We’re the packagers and owners of the program. It’s our job to deliver a finished product to the network.”

And while we’re at it, Letterman’s 9 Most Awkward Moments from Cracked. (Thanks to Mike for post inspiration.)

Bill Hicks’ Censored David Letterman Performance