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Mad Men Revisits Violence At 1968 Democratic Convention

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 3, 2013 4:20PM

It's been all about 1968 recently on Mad Men and the time frame for last night's episode was the 1968 Democratic Convention, which saw the characters in New York (and Los Angeles) reacting to the violent scenes being broadcast from Grant Park.


On the eve of last year's NATO summit, Art Shay wrote eloquently about his experiences covering the convention for Time magazine and shared photos he took from the riots on the streets on August 28, 1968.

I don't have to pull down the well researched committee indictment against the rioting police. I'm in the report, but all I have to do is look down at the three center fingers on my right hand, clubbed into insensitive, bent digits by the baton of a cop whose number I was copying down in the battle zone park across from the Hilton. He was wielding his baton mercilessly at a young, elusive college woman, aiming to draw blood from her suburban head protected only by an already red-dyed high school babushka. I was merely a target of opportunity for daring to point my Leica at this uniformed asshole as he swung, grunted and danced with the unbalanced effort of malfeasance.

The Chicago Police Department's actions nearly 45 years ago have left a stain on the department that still lingers to this day; some officers still wear it like a badge of pride. It also solidified a perception of Chicago politics to outsiders as frontier and lawless, a viewpoint hard to argue against some days.

Then there were the "Chicago Eight" who were charged with conspiracy and inciting a riot.

As we saw from last year's NATO protests, the more things change, the more they stay the same.