The Cola Cult

A short note on the end of Mad Men, by a guy who has never actually watched Mad Men


I didn't watch the final episode of Mad Men, or any episode of Mad Men for that matter, but I'm sufficiently plugged in to the hivemind to know it ended with the shock revelation that the entire Korean War had been imagined by an autistic Bob Newhart the "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" ad:

Watching that commercial today, it looks like a cult recruitment video. And not a fun cult, like the one in the "Be a Pepper" ads; it's the kind that's about to drink a bunch of poison cola and die on an Italian hilltop. (*)

They made us sing that Coke song in elementary school. Our music teacher prefaced the lesson by explaining that the '60s were a rough time but the song had brought everyone together. That's what it was like to be a little kid in the '70s: Grown-ups kept dropping hints that we'd just missed some sort of cataclysm. Nowadays, all I'm missing is Mad Men, and it's streaming on Netflix anytime I want to go back and catch up. This is probably progress.

(* Credit where it's due: I stole the idea that the Peppers were a cult from a brilliant old Saturday Night Live sketch that does not appear to be online anywhere. Curse you, NBC copyright lawyers!)