Posts Tagged ‘Tokenism’

The appeal of smoking escapes me but I know that lots of people, even smart people, have found comfort in the feeling of hot smoke clouding their lungs.  Since I’m not a smoker I rejoice every time a restaurant, campus, or city goes smoke free, making my visits both cleaner and clearer.  The movement toward smoke-free locations, though, highlights the fact that most places were once smoke-full, including the ad agencies and airlines of the 1960s.  Following the success of AMC’s Mad Men, which is set in the smoky ’60s, ABC is attempting to get a piece of the period pie this fall with its new show Pan Am.  One difference between the two, as related by this Entertainment Weekly article, is the fact that ABC’s Disney overlords won’t let smoking appear on Pan Am.

More interesting to me (though maybe not the woman sitting near me on my flight to Las Vegas last month who decried the lost days of smoking in metal tubes flying through the sky) is the fact that the lack of smoking is not the only anachronistic element of the show.  As EW states:

Ironically, the jet set drama from Nancy Hult Ganis, who was a former Pan Am stewardess, has already made plans to introduce an African American flight attendant sometime later this season even though the mile-high jobs were exclusively awarded to white women in the early days. The first black stewardess didn’t appear on a flight until the mid-60s, Schlamme admitted.

Of course, there is no intention of having multiple African American flight attendants.  It will be interesting to see if she is involved in any of the struggles that the early African American flight attendants surely experienced or if she will just be there to provide some contrast for the white cast members.

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