Posted by Jay Livingston
The “Mad Men” exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image shows how scrupulously Matt Weiner and company sought historical authenticity. They are proud of their period-perfect props, objects that we will glimpse for a split second or not at all – the lunches in the office fridge, the driver’s license in Don Draper’s wallet.
Here’s the transcript:
Bert: You thought there was going to be a big creative crisis and we'd pull you off the bench, but in fact, we've been doing just fine.
Don: So, why am I even here?
To my ears, that “even” sounded odd, a bit too recent. Mark Liberman at the Langauge Log agrees. In a 2011 post (here) on the history of “even,” he says that this use of “even” for emphasis is very recent.
|The specific phrase "what does that even mean?" has become fairly common in the news media and in books, but most of the hits are from the past decade. . . . I don't remember this expression from my youth, and I can't find any convincing examples before 1993.|
Google nGrams too shows that the sharp rise does not begin until after 1980.
For the final episodes, Weiner has brought legendary screen writer and screen doctor Robert Towne on board. Towne was born in 1934, and he has an ear for dialogue. Maybe he will be able to keep the language suited to the historical period.