For a number of evenings I have been tumbled into a strange and troubling land.
Cooper and I have been watching “Mad Men”, the television series that details the birth of the advertising machine in the 1960’s. Through all the cigarette smoking all-day-long drinking woman squashing I find myself drawn and heartsick, both.
I am watching on television the generation that raised me.
The assumptions that speak through the dialogue are those that have bedeviled me through much of my life: The assumptions about the role of women, the “boys will be boys” catering to male privilege, and the insistence upon not seeing what is going on. All of those assumptions were in the smoke-filled air that I breathed growing up.
I watch the trim-waisted women desperately seeking meaning and the loneliness of the men. It seems both genders are engaged in a desperate attempt to avoid the realities of life. Their children are cossetted and kept safe from the world but they know the great world of the unspoken and they are uneasy in their cloister.
I find myself amazed at how much has changed in fifty or so years.
And I find myself amazed at the wounds that remain, subterranean flinches that make themselves known throughout the day as I encounter what is in the year 2013.
We still make assumptions that harm both genders (including the assumption that there are only two genders with no gradation between).
We still don’t want to have to see what is going on.
We still exalt those who can manipulate us best.
I don’t know if I can continue to watch the series. It hurts too much.
Oh my mother, oh my father, oh those of us raised in those days.
Is there balm in Gilead?
Yes, there is balm . . . dispensed by our own hands and hearts in each context where we find ourselves. Peace and thanks to you, Elizabeth, for always being willing to speak and write what the Holy One demands be heard and read.