Sunday, September 19, 2010

HBO's Boardwalk Empire / AMC's Mad Men

Loved the pilot episode of HBO's Boardwalk Empire. Fabulous Atlantic City gangster milieu, directed by Martin Scorsese. Much more on this as the season unfolds, no doubt. Great opening.

This season of AMC's Mad Men (set in 1965) is exactly halfway between now and the opening of Boardwalk Empire (set in 1920). That is, forty-five year intervals set apart the three time settings if you include now, 2010. 

I love both series for the same reasons: their meticulous attention to detail, their capacity as not-too-distant reflecting mirrors on today's weirdnesses. For things are not how they have to be -- they never are. There are alternate possibilities to how we choose to live (as in 1920 and 1965), both as a society and as individuals.

Who should be allowed to vote? Women? Men? Youth? In 1920, women could finally vote throughout the USA. By 1965, how many women had been elected to political office? By 2010? How many discriminatory practices have been changed? Who can get married? Who can get divorced? In 1920, pot was legal in many states. The Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act (1925) cracked down on pot and other substances; added to national Prohibition which began on January 16, 1920, the effect was to bolster organized crime, just as today's "Drug War" bolsters drug cartels and smalltime crooks alike.

How could things be different now? Strip out the Puritanical moralizing and take a more pragmatic approach.

Legalize all drugs: treat as controlled substances like alcohol and tobacco products, with standards, taxation, and public health policies, in all states.

Legalize adult prostitution with standards, taxation and public health policies, in all states.

Legalize adult gambling with standards and taxation, in all states.

Legalize gay marriage in all states. Eliminate "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the armed forces.

What am I missing?

Today's Rune: Journey.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

I liked it too although I have the feeling that boardwalk set is going to get tiring fast.