Why 'Mad Men's IBM Computer Made Ginsberg Cut Off His Own Nipple
There have been quite a few shockingly disgusting moments on Mad Men, especially considering it's about suave men on Madison Avenue. There was the time an office party ended with a lawnmower making one unlucky employee's foot a pile o' hamburger. There was the time Roger had to run up the stairs drunk, causing him to vomit all over the Sterling Cooper lobby. And aren't we lucky? Now we get to add the time Michael Ginsberg cut off his own nipple on Mad Men and handed it to Peggy in a jewelry box.
But what made Ginsberg nutty enough to take his own useless nubbin? Why, SC&P's newest "employee" the IBM System/360, which is basically the first office computer. The introduction of this new technology eventually drives poor Ginsberg insane, first driving him out of the office and into Peggy's apartment on a Saturday night, where he insists that they need to procreate — that's right, he's the second SC&P underling to try to get into her skirt (and that's before we even count Ted). But don't go 'shipping this couple: Ginsberg's pass at Peggy was purely a circumstance of his mania, induced by the IBM computer, which he says is going to "take" everyone at SC&P one by one.
Eventually, the humming of the IBM computer drives Ginsberg to think the computer has a "plan" to make "us all homo" because he felt something when he looked at Stan's shoulders. Peggy frustratedly tries to tell him that it's just a computer and Ginsberg leaves, only to show up the next day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed... and full of conclusions. He's decided that he has "feelings" for Peggy (take that, IBM Computer!) and that he can finally let it flow because he's cut off the tap: his own nipple.
Normally, this kind of graphic nipple removal only happens on shows like Game of Thrones (no really, this also happened on the HBO fantasy series, see below), but when Peggy opens Ginsberg's jewelry box, there it is: a severed man's nipple. Ginsberg really did it. The computer truly drives him to the edge and he's carted off while the entire office watches.
But what about this computer is so unbelievable? Did it really have the ability to drive a man insane? Well, at the time, most average folks — like Ginsberg, who lives with his poor father in Brooklyn — had never seen anything like the IBM. In the 1970s, IBM began selling tons of the System/360, but before that, the contraption may as well have been an alien to those unfamiliar with the technology. Still, with Ginsberg's surprising reaction, something tells me the computer isn't the only issue in his life.