I write about the things that matter to me. All opinions are my own.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

It Is Better To Be Interesting Than Likable

Peggy Olson is interesting. Are you ready for Mad Men, Season 6?

We were put on this planet to evolve. Not just from physical infancy to maturity. But also in our heads and hearts. We are supposed to nurture our talents. Grow out of ignorance, hatred, selfishness. Become who we are really supposed to be.

None of this can happen if we are living for a Facebook "like."

You see this in kids all the time, especially girls. They are so busy with the hair and makeup. Where are they? 

You see this in leaders too. They have something really good to say. But they are consumed with what people say about them. If they aren't popular, they get scared and become all mealymouthed.

I often think this about President Obama. I remember the 2008 campaign. And there are flashes of that candidate now on TV. But most of the time he seems "handled." And when a leader tries to be likable rather than do things that command respect, they wind up with low approval ratings - signifying neither.

This is the contrast between Don Draper and Peggy Olson on Mad Men. Don is a hypocrite whose entire life focuses on making other people like him, like his ideas, and like the products he sells. He's a phony whose wife tells him flat-out, "I don't love you." And in his most personal moments, he shows us the deep despair that can only come from someone who has fully sold out to the "like" machine.

Peggy is different. She doesn't care what people think. She doesn't care if they like her or not. She only cares about one thing - and that is doing great advertising. There's a scene where she faces off with Roger, another partner in the firm, who tries to give her a measly fee for a huge and impossible weekend assignment.

Rather than being "grateful" and seeking approval, Peggy stares him straight down. Demands to be paid every dollar she is worth. And jokes that he's lucky she did not take his watch as well.

Peggy is the most interesting character on the show. Next to her, Don Draper does not stand a chance.

* All opinions my own.