Archive - March 22, 2010

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Mad Men Of The Peace Corps: Padraic Kennedy Goes To Washington
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The Mad Men Of Peace Corps Washington

Mad Men Of The Peace Corps: Padraic Kennedy Goes To Washington

Pat Kennedy wasn’t a relative to the ‘other’ Kennedys, but he was never anxious to tell others that. It was nice in those balmy days of 1961 to ride the smooth carpet of the most famous name in America. Thought, in all honesty, Pat never ‘lived off’ the name. He made his own way to Washington, D.C. and the Peace Corps, he was a good guy who treated everyone fairly, and unlike many others, didn’t use his ‘connections’ to make his way in the agency. Like most of those early staffers he had ‘family money’ and he was young, twenty-eight, married to Ellen Conroy a wonderful (and in my opinion, much smarter wife. Ellen who, by the way, was the sister of Frank Conroy, who wrote the wonderful Stop-Time, and was for years director of the Iowa Writer’s Program, but back to Pat.) Pat was a teaching fellow at the University of Wisconsin in Madison (history) when he heard about . . .

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The Mad Men Of Peace Corps Washington

The Peace Corps On Day One blog series that I recently posted attempted, in pretty much short-hand fashion (suitable for blogging), to tell the history of the first days of the agency, and the initial thinking behind the Peace Corps itself. I mentioned that in those early days of 1960s the agency was full of Mad Men (and a few Mad Women) who were living in a world-of-work atmosphere very much like the provocative AMC drama Mad Men, the program that follows a handful of ruthlessly competitive men and women in New York City who work in advertising on Madison Avenue. They are living (in case you haven’t seen the series) in an ego-driven world where “selling” is all that matters. The series is set around 1962-63 and has everything we grew up with: cigarette smoking, drinking, sexism, adultery, racism, etc. (I might have left out a few ‘isms’.) Well, some (if . . .

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