[Marxism] Re: Sex and the City, Mel Gibson, etc.

Carlos Eduardo Rebello crebello at antares.com.br
Fri Feb 27 09:33:00 MST 2004

> Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 10:52:56 -0500
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Subject: [Marxism] Sex and the City
> I would also have to confess that I became a big fan of this show over
> the past few months.

I too, Louis, I too...But in my case that had perhaps more to do with the
fact that I begen watching the show justly after I had watched my last Xena
episode, therefore I had some kind of a craving for a women-centered show.
Well, I believe S& TC fares badly in comparision.

Since I wrote I whole book on Mass Culture centered on Xena, I think I
should be able to explain the reasons for my particular preferences. What
made for me the charm of Xena was its unbalenced character, the fact that
the abduction of the heroine as a lesbian icon  by the show's fandom left
its writers and producers threading on very thin ice in their attitude
towards postmodern petit-bourgeois radicalism, eventually failing to justify
their (conventional)closing of the show by making Xena dye for the Greater
Good - and heterosexual morals.

Nothing of this kind is to be found in Sex and the City, which is the usual
portraying of the _via crucis_ of four dysfunctional females struggling
towards their final - and  willingly - acceptance of monogamy and family
values, admittedly with some good jokes in-between (most of them, by the
way, vernacular and leaving me somwhat at a loss as far as prompt
understanding is concerned). As far as I'm concerned, my interst in S & TC
began to flag somewhere during the third season, when character Carrie
Bradshaw decided to quit smoking in order to get back her romantic interest
Aidan ( a good decision prompted by the most obnoxious, priggish reasons, to
say the least).

Those who, like Adorno & Horkheimer,  resume Mass Culture under the notion
of "mindless entertainment", seem to me to be unaware of the element of the
pedagogics of suffering that's to be found in it, or better, what Gramsci
called the ethics of Fordism, that's to say the huge amount of _internalized
repression_ the lead-characters must self-inflict in order to arrive at the
happy ending - the same pedagogy of suffering that seems at work in Mel
Gibson's late cinematic rendering of Ultramontane Catholicism. As carrie
Bradshaw must renounce tabagism for romantic love's sake, and Xena renounce
Gabrielle for the Greater Good's, so Gibson's Christ must willingly embrace
the most senseless torture in order to redeem Mankind (remember, by the way,
that there were some very popular early heresies who, opposedly, made the
Passion a sham by proposing that what had been crucified was Christ's ghost,
and not the real Christ, as God cannot possibly suffer physical pain). It's
in this pedagogy of suffering, perhaps, that reside the most obnoxiously
reactionary traits of Mass Culture; as there is something akin in it to the
acceptance of Taylorism and Henry Ford's social experiments by the working

Carlos Rebello

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