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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 楼市库存下滑 一线城市楼市延续供小于求. 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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Hartz started Eventbrite, an online ticketing platform, with her now-husband Kevin in 2006. Since its founding, the company has raised $140 million from firms like Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management and reached $2 billion in gross ticket sales this September. Entrepreneurship forced Hartz to appreciate candid and collaborative conversations. "I had to learn how to ask for help," she says. "Everyone always thinks it's brave to go out alone, but I think it's even braver to put yourself out there in front of others, and to figure out how to work together."
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我的饮食健康吗?我们所吃的食物种类很大程度上会影响我们在身体和情绪上的感觉。食用过多垃圾食品会导致偏执,使人精力降低。反之,饮食健康则会使人有更好的情绪和更高涨的劲头。
The price of gold has risen 15 per cent since the beginning of 2017 to trade at $1,334.78 a troy ounce.
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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

This includes McKinsey, the consultancy that kick-started its secretive leadership election process in October with a gathering of more than 500 senior partners at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The next stage involves the firm’s 550 senior partners voting on a shortlist of candidates to replace Dominic Barton — the incumbent since 2009 — in January, followed by a run-off between the two most popular candidates in February.
Isn’t that what we all want? Don Draper would have understood.
The lending conditions were not limited to nude pictures. Also leaked were a number of screenshots of supposed dialogues between the borrowers and lenders, with one lender demanding that the female students deliver a video of herself masturbating.
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乔纳森·格雷泽导演的《皮囊之下》讲述的是一位美丽又可怕的外星人的故事,她本身美丽,恐怖而且是个外星人:这是一部完全与众不同的,残暴的色情电影。乔纳森·格雷泽以前导演的优秀作品仅仅只是为这部电影做的局部模糊的铺垫。他的《性感野兽》(2000)是一部令人视觉上满足的,兴奋的,充满智慧的犯罪惊悚片,它超越了那个年代操着方言的悲剧老头的模式。《重生》(2004)有着库布里克式的精致与阴冷,电影中的一些画面,十分出色;它是一部值得奉为经典的电影,但尚未实现。接着十年过去了,对那些电影事业一直无法实现的人,格雷泽似乎成为他们的设计师。(天知道,这种事情总发生在那些有天赋的人身上)。
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On our increasingly human-dominated planet we can still learn much from the lives of other species. The discovery this year that the Greenland shark lives for 400 years, making it the longest-living vertebrate, puts our hectic lives into perspective.

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:

007系列电影主题曲第九名:露露--《金枪人》
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Sounds like Taylor Swift—but, in fact, it’s her frequent competitor, Katy Perry. Largely because of her Prismatic World Tour, which is now winding down, Perry pulled in $135 million this year. She grossed more than $2 million per city over the course of 126 shows in our scoring period, and added to her total through deals with Coty, Claire’s and Covergirl.

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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They come mostly from 50 different industries including food and beverage, automobiles and auto components, media, retail, energy and the Internet.

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Gabriel: Well, there’s just one problem.

Emily: What’s that.

Gabriel: I like you.

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8 April
There are no such circuit breakers in Hong Kong where the H-share index of mainland equities fell less than 4 per cent on unremarkable volumes. One might have expected more of a bloodletting. Mainland retail investors participate in both markets — a function both of Stock Connect and a leaky system — and if you can’t sell what you would like, you sell what you can. Foreign H-share investors too might be presumed sellers, having been the most bearish on China’s economy. Yet yesterday, even as Shanghai opened down a further 3 per cent (before rebounding), Hong Kong’s H shares remained resilient.
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