Friday, May 30, 2008

Sarah Jessica Parker gives me nightmares

This was on Charlie Rose last night, and it somehow managed to make me absolutely livid.  I've never been a fan of "Sex and the City" or even Charlie Rose's interviewing style, but something about this particular interview seemed to epitomize so many of the weakest parts of American culture.  Only a short segment is available on YouTube, and they've of course selected one of the least infuriating portions, but it still gives a glimpse of what gave me nightmares last night:



Can anyone explain to me what I'm missing with this whole phenomenon? "Sex and the City," from the admittedly little I've seen of it or heard about it, seems to represent so many of the societal ills we've been trying to progress beyond for the last several decades.  While it claims to advocate female empowerment, everything I've seen seems to work against that, emphasizing superficiality, vanity, materialism, and reductionist gender stereotypes over anything actually enlightening or progressive.

They showed a bunch of clips on Charlie Rose, and it seriously looked like the most appalling movie ever made.  And yet people go crazy for it!  When they were shooting in the city last year, enormous crowds would gather and go apes%@t as if the cast were Michael Jackson or the pope (both of whom have their own issues, but are inarguably more important than any of the (atrocious?) actors involved with "Sex and the City").

This article in The New Yorker sums it up nicely:
"When the wedding hits a bump (look out for Kristin Davis screaming “No! No!” at Chris Noth like a ninth grader auditioning for “The Crucible”), and the bridegroom veers away, our heroine’s reaction to the split is typical: “How am I going to get my clothes?” What, honey, even the puffball skirt that you wear to the catwalk show—the one that makes you look like a giant inverted mushroom? That plea gets second prize for the most revealing line in the film, the winner being Miranda’s outburst as she hunts for an apartment in a mainly Chinese district: “White guy with a baby! Let’s follow him.” So that’s what drives these people: Aryan real estate."

To cleanse the palate of the putrid taste left in your mouth after all that, here's someone who I think truly does present a hugely respectable and inspirational model for a modern woman. Author (and my former neighbor) Jhumpa Lahiri:

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