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An American in Paris Watches ‘Emily in Paris’

Courtesy Netflix

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 定制化时代 铝合金门窗企业怎么华丽转身?. 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.

Courtesy Netflix

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.

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马克?高恩洛夫(Mark Gongloff)在《赫芬顿邮报》(Huffington Post)上警告说:“一季度美国经济增长的大幅降级揭示了经济体挥之不去的疲弱,暴露了华盛顿执迷于财政紧缩的愚蠢,并给美联储最新的乐观打了一记响亮的耳光。”而随着政治局势的恶化,增长速度还会进一步放缓。
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But with the US close to full employment and inflation moving up towards the target, “you can see how tighter policy would be warranted,” he says. “It wouldn’t take a whole lot to shift the equation.”
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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.

Courtesy Netflix

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Britney, YOU drive me crazy for appearing on Loose Women smacking gum like it's 1998 as the panel interrogate you.
这句话最流行的变体是“别迷恋姐,姐只是个传说。”
Having reached the current stage of development, China can now advance only through reform and innovation. We have the largest quality workforce as well as the largest pool of scientists, engineers and professionals in the world, and their potential for innovation is truly tremendous.
或许不会是一个超新星,但是会有好球员快速地把他们拉回正轨,比我们之前讨论的其他队伍都要快。打完这个赛季,还完之前的债,然后就可以潇洒甩头,大步向前了。
到了20世纪下半叶,随着歧视逐渐减少(比如在大学入学方面),白人的正式特权地位也在渐渐丧失。但是工资的增长、社会安全网的扩大以及新的受教育机会有助于弥补他们的损失。大多数成年白人都比父母更富裕、更成功,他们相信子女们会过得更好。

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.

Courtesy Netflix

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:

Rios is no stranger to hard work. She moved to the U.S. from El Salvador when she was a child. She graduated at the top of her high school class and raised a family while putting herself through college. She was not intimidated when she started Nation Waste Inc. At just 22, months after graduating from the University of Houston, she took out loans and purchased two trucks, jumping into the male-dominated waste-removal industry. Today, her Houston-based company has 24 full-time employees. "It is pretty amazing when I look back and see, I started as a little girl entering the United States with my parents and now I am truly living the American dream," says Rios.
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西蒙接受本刊采访时说:“聘用老兵是我们做出的最好的决定之一。我们在阵亡将士纪念日推出了‘欢迎回家’计划,至今我们已经聘用了超过2.6万名老兵,让我们倍感骄傲。老兵在面对压力时表现一贯优秀,而且有服务热情,这些因素让我们很容易兑现聘用老兵、学习老兵和支持老兵的承诺。”

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.

Courtesy Netflix

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Gabriel: Well, there’s just one problem.

Emily: What’s that.

Gabriel: I like you.

'She does wear wigs and crowns and fancy dresses but I don't give her spray tans or cake her in makeup - I'll wait until she's about five for that.'
他会在自己的独唱专辑中尝试什么样的歌曲呢:《Sweet Creature》(《可爱的人儿》)和《Ever Since New York》(《自从来到纽约》)是温馨的原声抒情歌曲;而在《Kiwi》(《奇异果》)这首歌中,他大声地炫耀着自己的欢乐;《Two Ghosts》(《两只幽灵》)则是一首为分手而惋惜的歌曲。
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?Bond has it all and that's exactly what the most beautiful women demand in the men they date. Women who really enjoy sex prefer "bad boys" -- and there's no doubt 007 qualifies. Feminine women prefer masculine men. And for one night stands women look for physical attractiveness and dominance -- which Bond has in spades.
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根据独立健康慈善金基金的分析,到2021年,医疗预算将持续缩减大概8亿欧元(超过10亿美金),尤其是在性健康和性传染病方面的缩减。
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