Gatsby on Madison Avenue

>> Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My wife and I started watching Mad Men on DVD about three weeks ago, and are now thoroughly addicted. We're about midway through the second season, and just viewed the episode that features Mr. and Mrs. Donald Draper on a family picnic, during which Don tosses a beer can into the woods and Betsy cleans off the blanket on which they ate by simply tossing all the wrappers, napkins etc. onto the grass.

This scene reminded me of how when I was a child in the late 60s and early 70s there was what in retrospect seems like an intense anti-littering campaign, featuring among other things this famous PSA, that everyone of a certain age remembers.

I don't know anything about the genesis or ultimate efficacy of that campaign, but if a scene from a period piece TV show counts as compelling evidence, it seems to have worked.

Seriously, did lots of Americans -- including privileged people highly conscious of what was considered socially correct upper class public behavior -- just use the outdoors as a wastebasket 50 years ago? Anyone know of any studies of the issue?


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