The language of Mad Men

Mad Men returns for its fifth season this weekend; whilst we all wait to see what Don will do next, take a look at this article from The Atlantic on the historical accuracy of the language used.

The show is lauded for its attention to period detail, particularly the costumes, but Benjamin Schmidt argues that the language used is just a tad too modern:

The clearest signs that the Mad Men writers can’t really escape the present is not the complete, howling mistake, but the steady slip; a drumbeat of language that’s just slightly too modern. There are another dozen phrases in Mad Men that are at least 100 times more common today than in the early ’60s, and the bulk of the show lies in language characteristic of today, not of the past.

What are these mistakes? Many seem relatively harmless, but betray the modern writers. When Lane Pryce tells Draper that no one asked him to “euthanize” Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in season four, for example, his lines are clearly penned by a writer from the post-Kevorkian era. Had Pryce wanted to take the rare step of making “euthanasia” a verb, he would have been far more likely to say “euthanatize;” but most likely of all, he wouldn’t have said anything of the sort. (Source: The Atlantic)

The rest of the article (and comments) are fascinating – take a look.