The Netflix show tells us exactly what TV producers think of young women: all mermaid curls, no brains
For what felt like ages I held out against watching Emily in Paris (2020). As an American in Paris I loathe the stereotype of the American in Paris, and only relented when BBC Scotland 业主电梯“惊魂” 诉物业获赔6000多元. Ah, I thought. A chance to tell the world – or, well, Scotland – how much I loathe this stereotype.
I’m only mildly embarrassed to admit I watched the whole show in two nights. I may even have giggled at a few of the jokes, and sighed at some views of Paris, even though Paris is right outside my door. ‘Paris of the mind is preferable to the real thing,’ as Moyra Davey once wrote. But once I’d left the bubble of pleasure the show created, I was left with a hangover of ambivalence.
The writing is objectively terrible; it feels like it was written by a scattershot team consisting of The One With the Jokes, The Hack, and The One Who Went to Paris Once. The Hack is responsible for all the flat-footed dialogue (“you’re not stepping on my toes, you’re stepping into my shoes!”), coming up with lines like Carrie Bradshaw at her punniest (“I’m petit mort-ified!”). The Funny One is, occasionally, very funny (see the vagin jeune storyline). And The One Who Went to Paris Once must be responsible for the white-washing of the city, the xenophobia towards the French, the unflinching commitment to being as ringarde as possible, and no that does not mean basic.
But what rankled about the show, I realized, isn’t all it gets wrong about France and the French – this is fantasy, not Italian neorealismo. It’s the show’s limited and, yes, misogynist conception of who Emily is, and who it allows her to be.
There is an element of Everywomanness to her. She is hard-working, plucky, and resourceful when faced with challenges and trials, and doesn’t have any inconvenient special talents like, I don’t know, speaking French to get in the way of the target audience identifying with her. Like Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, she’s your average questing hero(ine). But where John Bunyan’s seventeenth-century religious allegory wonders if salvation exists, and if so, how can we attain it, in the world of Emily in Paris, redemption comes in the form of Instagram followers and bank. “Beyoncé’s worth far more than the Mona Lisa,” quips her best friend, approvingly. Paris is the City of Destruction and the Celestial City all at once.
The film pulls heavily from the life of Arthur Bremer, who shot presidential candidate and segregationist George Wallace in 1972. Similarly to his film counterpart, Bremer shot Wallace shortly after being rebuffed by a young girl. Overall, though, his life was much less exciting than that of De Niro's character, with the biggest commonality between the two being that neither actually succeeds in killing a politician.
2. “闪光的密切：纳撒尼尔·多斯基与杰罗姆·希勒的电影”(Luminous Intimacy: The Cinema of Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler)。赞美纽约电影节，感谢纽约电影节，举办了这样一次令人赞叹的双人回顾影展。
The Female Warlord Who Had C.I.A. Connections and Opium Routes
As US ETF assets under management passed the $3tn mark this summer, AUM in the Asia-Pacific industry just managed to creep over $350bn.
The potential for conflict will force China and the US to redefine their roles in a shifting environment that neither is comfortable with. Tensions will be aggravated by anti-China sentiment during the American elections. Asian countries are in a position to delineate the boundaries of influence for these two powers but, given their varied interests, alliances will shift depending on individual concerns.
Yet like a good comic hero, Emily is also somehow worse than us: witness the many people online complaining that she is, in fact, not relatable; she is ‘arrogant,’ ‘annoying,’ ‘entitled.’ She is these things, it’s true, but all these people on the internet, schooling Emily in how not to be a terrible obnoxious unlikable person reminds me of what the literary scholar Patricia Meyer Spacks wrote about gossip: that it’s society’s way of regulating itself and determining what is acceptable. So is, apparently, amateur TV criticism.
'The book is true to the character and keeps him as fans would want him, which is as the original hard-bitten guy,' he said.
If a sitcom that lasts for 10 years is considered popular, then surely one that still stirs up emotions after 20 must be considered a classic. Friends first aired in the US in 1994, featuring a cast of six young men and women in New York. In the time since, it’s become one of the most famous titles in the sitcom genre, aired in over 100 countries and regions in the world.
How could we not include the ancient Chinese theory of interior aesthetics? Where your desk is situated is the most important aspect to freeing the energy in your space. Place your desk so that you face the door— the ultimate power position. Avoid placing your desk against a wall with your back facing the door, as it will interfere with the balance of your chi.
In their blatant careening towards the monaaaaaaay that such a show might be expected to generate, Emily in Paris’s producers have demonstrated that they don’t give a fine fuck about writing, characterisation, interior life. (Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t some Forsterian diatribe about round or flat characters. That’s the domain of amateur TV critics.) What they do seem to care about is building the perfect woman, and then tearing her down.
As I watched the show, I kept thinking of Hilary Mantel’s 2013 lecture for the London Review of Books about Kate Middleton and the ‘royal body’. The Duchess of Cambridge, Mantel said, ‘appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished.’ With her perfect abs and immobile mermaid waves, Emily, more so even than Middleton, who is, let’s not forget, a real person, actually has been designed by committee, not to continue the royal line but to sustain the franchise.
On the radio they asked me if I identified with Emily at all and I said uhhhh for what felt like forever in radio time, before saying no, no, not at all. Because when I moved here I wasn’t anything like Emily; not only had I learned French at school, I had a few more notions of Normandy beyond Saving Private Ryan (1998). When I moved here, there were no smart phones, no Instagram, and the American in Paris narrative was about coming here and doing something creative – writing, painting, dancing, whatever – not making sales pitches like Don Draper in stilettos. But I can’t deny our commonalities.
I have a lot of sympathy for the American girl abroad. I’ve been her, I’ve taught her, I occasionally hear from her, reaching out for help finding her feet. But on Emily in Paris, she’s another version of the jeune fille, the young girl, whom everyone feels authorised to hate. Think of every teenage girl on television, with few exceptions – they’re all whiny and intransigent and bothered, and we never really know why. The radical French philosophy collective Tiqqun published a polemic in 1999 called Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young Girl, which reads her as the ultimate consumer: when she thinks she’s expressing herself she’s only expressing commodity culture; she has no depth, no intimate reserves, she is all Spectacle.
The young girl is not a gendered concept, but ‘the model citizen as redefined by consumer society since the First World War, in explicit response to the revolutionary menace.’ Although the terms in which Tiqqun make their argument are deeply sexist, their essential point holds: we are all young girls under the capitalist patriarchy. But the young girl herself, the actual gendered young female human animal, is always rife for exploitation, not least by Tiqqun.
In her recent book Females (2019), Andrea Long Chu echoes this argument (though in markedly un-misogynist terms), choosing to put it this way:
After years of filming its iconic fashion show in New York City, Victoria's Secret has travelled to London, Paris, Cannes and Los Angeles, and for 2017 the global lingerie giant is heading to Shanghai.
The jeune fille is all of us, but when she becomes the star of the show she’s none of us – just a skinny body on which to project our fucked-up ideas about beauty and female behaviour. Emily in Paris is a missed opportunity to say something real, for instance, about being a foreigner – an experience it would behove Americans to experience from time to time. (To wit: that early scene where Emily’s normcore boyfriend holds up his brand-new passport saying ‘Look what I got!’) It is difficult to move to a foreign country, especially to a city as notoriously closed-off as Paris, and really, genuinely lonely, in a way the show doesn’t make room for. It is soul-crushing to find yourself rejected for the very compliance that, back home, you believed made you valued and loved.
I’m angry that when the producers decided to tell the story of a young woman, they declined to give her a more textured existence. That they ask her to speak not French, but a dead, prefabricated English: fake it ’til you make it. At one point someone accuses her of being arrogant. ‘More ignorant than arrogant,’ she says, sadly. Why does she have to be ignorant? I groaned at my computer. Because that’s what the producers think of young women: all mermaid curls, no brains.
Few years in recent decades dawned with as much of a sense of pessimism as 2014. One consistent theme in the predictions for the year was that 2014 looked eerily similar to 1914. Most pundits predicted doom and gloom, especially in east Asia. Yet, while there were many horrific events — from thedowning of flight MH17 over Ukraine, to the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — we have avoided outright world war. Now that the year is closed, with no repetition of 1914, it may be wise to investigate why the pundits were wrong, particularly on their ideas around the potential for conflict in Asia.
Wishing you a sparkling New Year and bright happy New Year! May the season bring much pleasure to you.
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The central government has allocated a special fund of 100 billion yuan to provide assistance to workers laid off from overcapacity cuts, and also has asked local governments to set up matching funds.
But he told Washington's Observer-Reporter paper that he was keen to read it as it was "a testament of the sincerity, interest and innocence of that time".
Gabriel: Well, there’s just one problem.
Emily: What’s that.
Gabriel: I like you.
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