Casey Moriarty’s longstanding fictional(?) story, the Jon Hammster saga, of a megalomaniacal hamster turned terrorist is far more telling about the current state of our country (the U.S.) than a reader – at first glance – would likely understand, let alone allow.
A hamster, named after legendary Mad Men actor (Jon Hamm), goes beyond a pun and – in actuality – represents more of our ‘Murican way than (likely) any of us care to believe.
We Are Mad Men
While Jon Hamm may have numerous credits (especially now), it’s fair to say the actor rose to stardom with the award-winning dramatic (semi-biographical) television series, Mad Men. This television series introduces us to the world of Ad Men – who coined the term, Mad Men – as they were marketers and advertisers in the modern world.
The fact that Mad Men has won so many awards and garnered so much attention however speaks less of its smart humor, witty dialogue, and compelling story and more to the zeitgeist: we are living in advertisement-driven times. Jon Hamm’s character, Donald Draper sells the free world what emotions to feel and what desires to seek, all the while being numb to them himself. The show begs the question, “Are those butterflies from a pretty girl or indigestion?” A Mad Man would say, “it depends on what product you’re selling” (and a mad man would say, “it’s an alien probe”).
The undertones behind Mad Men are the same of literary critic and theorist Harold Bloom and his rational for Shakespeare. Bloom believes that Shakespeare taught us more than our nation’s academic curriculum lets on, Bloom believes Shakespeare taught us how to think.
Whether or not Bloom’s theory holds water is up to debate, but that’s what makes Mad Men the spirit of our times; Mad Men shows us that how we think was preprogrammed by marketing. How and who we are is dictated by popular products. Facebook is not only worth $30 billion, but it allows people to sell themselves as they see fit. The user chooses what they “like” and the advertisements cater to their needs. The Ad Men of the “modern” world don’t need to work to know what you like, you’re telling them.
Notice how rare it is to come across a televised advertisement that’s not self-referential. If a commercial doesn’t admit it’s a commercial, it feels outdated. Look at Old Spice or Dollar a Day Shaving commercials; auto insurance mascots speak directly to you. In many ways, televised marketing is dead, it’s online that ensures consumers because you’re more likely to grab a hold of the target audience.
In many ways, the period piece that is Mad Men, re-revolutionized marketing because it provided an insider’s scoop on how products are sold – you don’t need to be in the industry to know that marketers are selling more than products, they’re selling societal expectations, ideals, and emotions.
Beyond the Hamm
Jon Hammster might as well be the Mad Man(Hamster) of our world. On the internet, who rules by cute, cuddly creatures? Jon Hammster embodies the essence of cute, but his name reveals the dark truth, he’s selling more than fluff, but soul-crushing defeat.
Looking at cute photos of animals may spark joy and humor, but those animals are controlled by marketers; link bait or click bait for users.
Beyond Jon Hamm, Jon Hammster is also remniscient of our current affairs, namely the NSA leaks. When word got out that government officials have their eyes and ears on everyone, privacy vanished. Suddenly, being in the same vicinity as a cell phone made you feel unsafe. Because Jon Hammster enlists rodents and vermin to be his underlings – critters that live in your homes, boats, backyards, and sewers – he’s effectively representative of the moles within our nation. That feeling that you’re unsafe to speak your mind within your own home, in a text or phone call is the NSA personified in Jon Hammster.
Then there’s the fact that this hamster has seized dozens (if not hundreds) of nuclear warheads and is holding us all by the balls.
You can finally see how the hamster is a terrorist, Big Brother, and a bait-and-switch mad hamster bent on controlling the masses.