[Marxism] A Brazilian Marxist's take on Sex and the City

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Feb 27 09:06:26 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 classes...

Carlos Rebello


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