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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 受调控影响东莞楼市低迷 1月成交量急挫近八成. 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.

As a measure of that fall, 10 works have sold at auction for more than $100 million since 2004, and all of them were made by modern or contemporary artists in the past 120 years. Older paintings have seen their value, in relative terms, level off or decline. The trend was plain to see in recent weeks, as London’s auction houses tried to find buyers for their latest tranche of old masters. As has been the case in recent years, there were few works by major names.
There were also shows that didn’t live up to early expectations but still had traction, most notably “The Affair,” on Showtime, which began as a Hamptons film noir and instead turned into a French art film. The crime may not be commensurate with the series’s punishingly slow pace and “Rashomon"-like storytelling, but the series picked up momentum — and suspense — in the final episodes.
作为过去二十五年来的常胜将军、福特的F系列皮卡一直成功地抵挡住了雪佛兰重新设计的西尔维拉多(Silverado)的挑战,盘踞着美国最畅销皮卡的宝座。而全是日本品牌角逐的最畅销汽车决赛,丰田(Toyota)凯美瑞(Camry)再次成功击败本田(Honda)雅阁(Accord),摘得冠军头衔。
Topped with golden leaves and flavored with champagne, the confection was sold for $100 a pop.
但“平均”讲的是以前的情况,不是未来的事实。乐观言论不会让牛市重启,新的警告声音也不会刺破旧的泡沫。周期有自己的生命,该上行的时候上行,该下行的时候下行。这是很自然的事情。
The magazine put his net worth at $3.5 billion, down $1 billion from the rankings it issued a year ago.
她说,在人民币升值的同时,与中国在旅游业方面构成竞争关系的国家(如日本)的货币贬值,这意味着到其他一些亚洲国家旅游的费用更加便宜,而来中国旅游更贵了。
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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

优雅女人要知道的4个养花小诀窍
问:对于你的作品在西方广受欢迎一事,你是怎么看的?
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If the answer is "yes", then maybe you are a Type D personality.

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:

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在不久的将来,罗根(休?杰克曼饰)已迈入暮年。他在墨西哥边境附近的一个藏身所里照顾着重病的X教授(帕特里克?斯图尔特饰)。他计划隐世度日,但他遇见了一个非常像他的年轻变异人劳拉(达芙妮?基恩饰)后,这个计划搁置了。罗根必须保护这个女孩,与要捕杀她的黑暗势力斗争。
Americans are celebrating Columbus Day Monday.Columbus Day is a federal holiday observed on the second Monday in October, marking the anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas. Columbus, an Italian explorer sailing under the Spanish flag, led four expeditions to the New World, but never accomplished his original goal -- to find a western ocean route to Asia. Instead, Columbus ushered in a new era in world history by opening up the Americas to exploration.

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

我不了解你是什么样的情况,但是如果我根据工作,生活和生活各自准备一个日历,我会手忙脚乱的。如果你生活中所有的事都记在一个日历上,在一个计划中,你就不能重复安排任何事了,就像一个重要的测试或者和老板的晚餐一样。
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Gabriel: Well, there’s just one problem.

Emily: What’s that.

Gabriel: I like you.

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For as long as the show has been running — ever since its debut in 2007 — we have been, it seems, suffering from what Hadley Freeman in The Guardian newspaper dubbed “madmenalaria.”
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Judge Business School at Cambridge University in the UK was the biggest riser, climbing 19 places to 29th thanks to a strong performance in the executive MBA ranking in its first participation in that list. Warwick Business School made a comeback to the top 20 (19) after missing out on the MiM ranking in 2013.
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狄更斯在《双城记》中描写法国大革命时,距离事件发生已有近一个世纪。而我则是在今年12月就回顾盘点这一年。因此,我在此描述的某些趋势,可能将在可预见的未来继续存在,而另一些趋势则可能已经开始减弱。作为当今时代“最哗众取宠的权威人士”之一,我只要求各位在阅读这篇评论文章时记住一点:过去的业绩并不能保证将来的表现。

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