anachronism alert!

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Mar 28 01:32:50 UTC 2012

Good catch, Larry. The scene takes place on June 1, 1966 (the 40th
birthday of Don Draper -- or rather "Don Draper," alter ego of Dick
Whitman, whose actual 40th birthday was some months before that).


On Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 8:32 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> On Sunday's season premiere of "Mad Men", set at some point in I believe
> the late 1968s (there was a reference to the escalating Vietnam War
> following an earlier civil rights picket line, and another to riots, so
> I'm thinking maybe '67 or '68 at this point in the DVR), ad man Harry
> Crane looks over to a three-person group by the sofa during a surprise
> birthday party for Don Draper to check out the source of laughter and
> comments sardonically to the other ad guys he's talking to: "Oooh, a
> Negro homosexual, Canadian sexpot, and unattached redhead--this may be
> my key demographic".  "Negro" and "homosexual" are of course right for
> the era, but "demographic" in this sense struck me as off by a decade or
> two, and checking the OED entry I find:
> demographic
> Draft additions December 2005
> As a count noun: a particular section of a population, typically defined
> in terms of factors such as age, income, ethnic origin, etc., esp.
> regarded as a target audience for marketing or broadcasting.
> 1984   Frederick (Maryland) Post 8 Mar. b2/3   The CBS Radio Network
> gained in its target demographic, 25=9654 year-olds.
> --which strikes me as about right, although someone might could push it
> back a year or two.  But not into the Vietnam War era, much less when
> "the conflict" was still escalating.

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