This Article Has Nothing to Do With 'Mad Men'

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Mad Men! It's the hottest show on AMC, if not all of television. Everyone wants to talk about it. And everyone wants to read about it--at least, that's what journalists and editors seem to think. (In reality, not everyone wants to read about it--at least not before they've seen the latest episode, John Hudson.) Mad Men fever is so widespread, in fact, that references to Don and Joan and Peggy and Pete are popping up in articles that really have nothing to do with the show at all.

  • Sort of Related to Mad Men  Nate Jones's piece at Time, "Five Shows You Never Hear About That Are More Popular Than Mad Men," is at least about television. Still, the focus is mainly on shows that aren't Mad Men--shows like Pawn Stars, Criminal Minds, and Wizards of Waverly Place, a program about "a family of wizards who live in Greenwich Village." Leaving aside the New York setting, this is probably as far from AMC's simmering period drama as you can get.

  • Marginally Related to Mad Men  At Pajamas Media, Kyle-Anne Shiver writes about the Obama administration's failure to manage expectations: "Not only has President Obama failed to over-perform his predecessors in the job, he has under-performed so badly that the only way he can even put forth the pretense that there's anyone there is to bring on a staff of dozens of unaccountable czars and shift his real responsibilities to them." Shiver frames this as a branding problem, and the dek of the piece notes that "forty years ago, the real life Mad Men knew how badly a brand could be destroyed if they made impossible claims about a product, a lesson that the creators of Barack Obama's image are relearning the hard way."

  • Just Barely Related to Mad Men  For an appreciation of the "retro, déclassé smack" of the animated GIF file, Slate's Jonah Weiner goes with the grabby headline "Christina Hendricks on an Endless Loop." In fairness, GIF-embedding technology means that Weiner can deliver exactly what he promises.

  • Really Not Even Slightly Related to Mad Men  Last month in The Wall Street Journal, Patrick Cooke reviewed a nonfiction history of an ambitious Chrysler model with a jet engine built in. The headline for this was "What Would Don Draper Drive?," even though Cooke's article made no mention whatsoever of Don Draper, Mad Men, AMC or the advertising industry.

  • Not Really Related to Harry Potter  Proving that tenuous pop-culture references aren't just limited to the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce gang, Patricia Cohen begins a New York Times story about the politically explosive concept of the "culture of poverty" with an inexplicable Harry Potter shout-out. "For more than 40 years," Cohen writes, "social scientists investigating the causes of poverty have tended to treat cultural explanations like Lord Voldemort: That Which Must Not Be Named."

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