In the U.S.A.Trilogy, John Dos Passos writes about American life from just prior to World War I, through the War and the 1920’s up until the beginning of the Great Depression. It is a literary masterpiece in which the characters are secondary to the epoch it evokes so brilliantly. Last night’s episode brought this work to mind because it depicted 1968 so vividly. It was new, exciting, and scary, in short, a world spinning out of control. And, the year is just beginning.
Don seems to be losing his touch. But, is he really? Both the Royal Hawaiian work from last episode and the Heinz work are similar. They require an imaginative and somewhat sophisticated clientele and audience. He is taking ads to a new level, but the clients are not ready to go there. Very few clients will embrace the “Think Different” campaign that Apple embraced. But, Steve Jobs was a visionary; most clients are mere hucksters. Don is getting too artsy. Now that he has now called both of this wives whores, he has to come to terms with the fact that he is a whore; he is prostituting his imagination, man’s most sacred gift,which makes him the greater whore.
And while we are the topic of whoring, I am sure that this is always in the back of Joan’s mind. She is one of SCDP’s essential players, as we saw in the birth of the firm, yet she could only get what she earned the old-fashion way.
This episode’s title, To Have and To Hold, is clearly ironic, as it has four betrayals, which is a lot, even by Mad Men standards; Don and Sylvia count as two, Peggy betrays Stan, and SCDP betrays Heinz beans. There is swift punishment for the latter two betrayals, caused by the coveted ketchup account. Does this foreshadow an atomic explosion at Park and 73rd?