Alison Brie as Trudy Campbell and Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell - Mad Men _ Season 7B, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Justin Mintz/AMC

“Mad Men” trolls HBD Chick: Clan War in Connecticut: Campbells vs MacDonalds

Clan War in Connecticut: L to R: Mr. MacDonald, Mrs. Campbell, Mr. Campbell

HBD Chick points out a bizarre stand-alone scene in one of the last episodes of Mad Men (April 26, 2015, scripted by Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy) that sounds like Weiner is trolling HBD Chick’s intellectual obsession with clannishness…

…Ad man Pete Campbell punches the headmaster of the Greenwich Country Day School (current maximum tuition $37,600) for refusing admission to his little daughter.

Initially, Headmaster MacDonald claimed it was because Campbell’s four-year-old daughter scored poorly on the Goodenough-Harris Draw-a-Man IQ admission test…

…But then we find out that this school discrimination incident is actually just an extension of a Highlander clan war going back at least to the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692 in which Campbell clan soldiers under orders of the new King William of England took advantage of the hospitality of the MacDonald clan to breach the truce…

It took much longer for clans and tribe to die out in the ‘Celtic fringe.’  They were gone in southern England by the 13th century.

The Highlands and Ireland continued with clans for considerably longer (the word ‘clan’ is rare borrowing from Gaelic to English).

But clans have still completely fallen from popular memory, and thus we are baffled by the behaviour of Middle Easterners, who remain in tribes and clans to this day.

  • andycanuck

    At my R.C. grade school my year’s MacDonald friend hated the next year’s up Campbell kid for historical reasons. (They were both Canadian and not Scots immigrants.) In fact, the MacDonald taught me the first verse and chorus of “Bonnets of Bonnie Dundee”.

    • Frau Katze

      Interesting. I didn’t know about it until recently.

  • tom_billesley

    The clans are still there in England, except now they are supporters of rival soccer clubs, each with their clan colours and songs.

    • Frau Katze

      But are they clans in the sense that they choose their children’s spouses, usually a close relative and back it up with the threat of honour killing if the child disobeys?

      I don’t think that part still survives.

  • dance…dancetotheradio

    Was the prosperity of the Industrial Revolution which increased the size of the middle class one of the reasons for the diminished role of the clans?

    • Frau Katze

      It likely helped. It got started centuries earlier when Catholic Church started forbidding cousin marriage. The Church realized that by stopping people from marrying first, second, third and even fourth cousins, they could break up the clans and created a more “Christian” society.

      In a lot of Europe they were wildly successful. Who today, in the UK or the New World still live in clans?

      Industrialization and accompanying urbanization no doubt had an effect: there would be a much larger pool of unrelated people to choose for spouses.

  • mauser 98