I usually roll my eyes when people bemoan the sheer idiocy of pop culture. Get a life, I usually think: It's fun! Or I want to paraphrase those bumper stickers about abortion: Don't like it? Don't watch it.
(And actually, usually I don't partake.)
But now I must join the ranks of the bemoaners, having just watched Sex and the City for the first time. See, I was writing up Finnish designer Maija Isola for my Famous Finns section--she designed those iconic poppies for Marimekko--still their most recognizable pattern. In reading about Isola, I stumbled across the info that Sex and the City featured one of her designs--Tantsu (1960), here-- as Carrie Bradshaw's curtains. Who's Carrie Bradshaw? I thought.
Turns out she's the main character, played by... um, um, um ...I'm drawing a blank. Doesn't matter. You know who I mean, right?
Anyway, I went to the library and there in the DVD bin was the movie version of S&TC. I remembered a woman telling me that even though critics panned it, she loved it because it really reflected a wide range of women's experiences. So I watched it---or, rather, I fast-forwarded through it, watching a few seconds of every chapter, looking for signs of intelligent life.
I was shocked. Really. Its suck factor went beyond "vacuous" into "black hole." My brain ended up in a cold, empty place where being a woman is all about having the right shoes.
I even found it politically frightening. It presents Americans as mindless consumers entirely self-obsessed and consumed with our real estate, clothes, and sex lives. Other people appear to serve the characters mostly as accessories, like handbags or neckties.
If you're an American looking for an answer to the piteous plea, "Why do people hate us?" you could do worse than to watch this movie.
Oh dear. The most depressing thing is, the movie's not entirely inaccurate.
End of the world? Let's see.... What textile design goes with that?