Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Salvatore should have been

The gay character that Mad Men really needed was someone more like Cedric Hampton from Nancy Mitford's Love in a Ciold Climate. This guy is in the closet to be sure but uses that double life to his advantage. he has fun.

The interesting thing, I think anyway, is that North American reviewers were very hard on the character. Even in 1950s, North American literary types insisted that gay men be miserable. But gay men I know aren't and closeted gay men I know are not depressed. I'm sure some are but most are not.

Sal is such a  depressing character because he stands for a type and he stands for a cause.

Season three blogging begins here. The next post will be here.

Season two, if you are interested, begins here.

Season one begins here.  


  1. Absolutely right Jules, he's an archetype or symbol rather than a person. I think they did it on purpose, to make a statement about the "poor closeted gay man pre-Stonewall." The thing is, the assumption is that "coming out" is a good thing and those who don't are living a lie and miserably unhappy, and I know gay and bi men who would would emphatically disagree. The other thing is that it would not have been unrealistic for them to portray Sal as someone who had at least experimented a little when he was younger, and because he lives in NYC was exposed to things that someone living in the boonies would not have been.

  2. You hit it right on the head when you say he is an archetype or a symbol rather than a character. That is what weakens him as a character.

    I think we should be clear that neither of us mean by this that it was a good thing back in the days when gay men had no choice but to be in the closet. I know that is not what either of us meant but you know how these things can be misunderstood.

  3. No, of course I didn't mean to imply that it was better when gay men had no choice but to remain in the closet, that isn't it at all. And I deplore any kind of gay-bashing--overt or subtle--or discrimination based on what someone does in the privacy of his/her bedroom with other consenting adults. As far as I'm concerned its a private matter.

  4. I was sure you didn't mean to imply. What worried me was that someone might come along and put words in our mouths to make it appear as if we did and then start flaming. I've seen it happen too often on other sites :-)

  5. Yes, I thought that was the reason.