Peggy Olson Stabs Her Self-Righteous Lover

This week on Mad Men, Peggy accidentally stabs her boyfriend Abe. On the way to the hospital, Abe thinks he might not make it and he wants to clear his conscience, so he tells Peggy she’s no good.

Your activities are offensive to my every waking moment. I’m sorry, but you’ll always be the enemy.

Do you have an “Abe” in your life? Someone who questions what you do for a living? Someone who looks down on you because you make a living as a commercial artist in service to brands?


Maybe Abe is just an inner voice, reminding you to do more and be more. On the other hand there’s a distinct possibility that Abe is merely a strident liberal, intent on fighting the man. It is 1968 and Abe is itching to join the Revolution in the streets. Peggy, on the other hand, wants to live in a safe neighborhood. Can’t say that I blame her.

But back to this Abe character and the real reason for this post. People with strong political beliefs tend to make the biggest mistake in the book, over and over again. They fail to connect and they don’t bother to persuade. Deeply political people don’t bother to persuade because they are so certain of the rightness of their cause that they skip right past the “why anyone should care” part.

Abe is certain that Peggy is contributing to “the problem” by serving her corporate masters. Peggy hasn’t indicated any passion for political ideas, and therein lies the non-mendable rift. Abe wants a partner in arms against the ominous state. Peggy wants someone to appreciate her for who she is — a smart successful woman — which, in reality, is a political ideal come to life.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.