“The glittering young blonde in a low-cut gown is sipping champagne in a swank Manhattan restaurant back in the day when things were still swank. She is on a first date with an advertising man as dashing as his name, Don Draper. So you don’t really expect her to break the ice by talking about bad news.

“‘The world is so dark right now,’ she says. ‘One of the boys killed in Mississippi, Andrew Goodman — he’s from here. A girlfriend of mine knew him from summer camp.’ Her date is too busy studying her decolletage, so she fills in the dead air. ‘Is that what it takes to change things?’ she asks. He ventures no answer.

“This is just one arresting moment in the first episode of the new Mad Men season premiering tonight. Like much in this landmark television series, the scene haunts you in part because of what people don’t say and can’t say. Mad Men is about placid postwar America before it went smash.

“We know from the young woman’s reference to Goodman — one of the three civil rights activists murdered in Philadelphia, Miss., in June 1964 — that the crackup is on its way. But the characters can’t imagine the full brunt of what’s to come, and so a viewer in 2010 is left to contemplate how none of us, then or now, can see around the corner and know what history will bring.” — from Frank Rich‘s 7.24 N.Y Times piece, called “There’s a Battle Outside and It Is Still Ragin'”.

I’m not on AMC’s screening list or I’d have a thought or two of my own to pass along. I probably won’t see the opening Mad Men episode tonight because I’m on a flight back to New York this evening around 10 pm, and so it goes. I don’t know what it is about me and Mad Men, but I never seem to watch it. This may be because I started to intensely dislike Draper during season #2. No offense to Jon Hamm , who plays him well and believably. It’s just that Draper is such a prick.