Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Red Men

I was talking to a friend the other day about Mad Men (which I watch on DVD because I don't have cable) and I started thinking how cool a parallel series set in the Soviet Union would be. Some of the themes would be the same: the burgeoning of a consumer society (more imagined than real in the USSR), oppressive if thawing gender relations, Cold War threats of annihilation. Instead of advertisers you'd have apparatchiks, instead of the civil rights movement you'd have poet-dissidents, instead of flashbacks to Korea and the Depression you'd have even darker memories of relatives who disappeared in the night.

I wonder how interested Russians are in the 1950s and 60s and if they engage in Cold War nostalgia the way we do. Do they detect subtle changes in greatcoat and fur hat fashions the way we do in suits and ties? And do they link those minor details of dress and furniture to big reified cultural traits, then press them into artificial ten-year chunks that appear to explain everything about everyone of a certain age?

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