In the article “Mad Men Has its Moment,” Alex Witchel tells the stories of George Lois and William Bernbach, both very successful ad writers from the 1950s and 60s, who both indicate working in an ad agency during the time period the show depicts was nothing like how it appears in the show. Witchel contrasts their stories with the stories of Jerry Della Femina and Bob Levinson, also big ad men in the same time period and place (New York), who say the show is dead-on accurate. Assuming both groups are telling the truth (George Lois and William Bernbach had a very different experience than Jerry Della Femina and Bob Levinson), what are the implications of this regarding how we form stereotypes of different groups of people such as advertisement guys of the 1960s? Why are we so willing to accept the image shown in Mad Max and so anxious to reject the image of the family guy claimed by George Lois and William Bernbach? What does this mean when we apply it to other groups of people?
In the Breaking Bad episode titled “One Minute” from Season 3, the idea of family is particularly strong. The episode opens with a family scene between Tuco’s twin cousins as they learn about family before we see Hank charging like a bull toward Jesse at Jesse’s house and proceeding to beat him to a pulp, prompting Syler to ask Walter to intervene in the name of family. How the family bond is acted on differs from one group (Tuco’s cousins) to another (Walter and Jesse). Compare Tuco’s cousins’ response to the family call to Walter’s response in dealing with Jesse. Why do you think Tuco’s cousins react with violence first while Walter reacts with politics first? Is it strictly a difference of culture (keep in mind, Tuco’s cousins are well-dressed and potentially well-educated, we don’t really know anything about them)? Is it possible that the show has some built-in stereotyping regarding Tuco’s group of people or regarding the nature of teachers?

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  • Witchel, Alex. “Mad Men Has Its Moment.” New York Times. (June 22, 2008). Web.