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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 3月70城房价环比上涨增加6个 调控恐持续收紧. 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.

自从1995年游戏第一次面世以来,续集和新版本在之后也接踵而来。但是,对于许多仙剑迷来说,《仙剑1》激动人心又充满悲伤的故事情节是其他任何版本也代替不了的。
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当然,这些新势力也可能引发反弹,使得指挥-控制的老派领导方式卷土重来。令人郁闷的是,主宰世界舞台的政治人物大多是老派的,而他们面临的领导力挑战——从英国退欧到朝鲜问题——尤为复杂。
Du Pont called himself “the Golden Eagle” and had a distinctive, eagle-like profile. The designers aimed to capture that profile while not creating a carbon copy of the real du Pont.
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照片左起分别是苹果董事长史蒂夫乔布斯,总裁兼CEO约翰斯卡利,创始人之一的斯蒂夫沃兹尼亚克,他们正在推出新款苹果II c型机,1984年4月24日,旧金山
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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

"A total of 297 projects will be carried out in Tongzhou, such as building new subway lines and expressways, and improving ecologies," Lu Yan, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
在最新发布的英国《金融时报》管理学硕士(MiM)排行榜中,英国商学院有所进步,而法国商学院有所退步。
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正如这届美国政府中一切与贸易有关的事项一样,韩美贸易协定(Korus)的未来也不可避免地引发了激烈辩论。本届政府内部强烈反对退出该协议的是特朗普安全团队,他们认为在一场地缘政治危机期间切断与重要盟友的贸易纽带很可能不是个好主意。美国企业也不支持退出。这两股力量都可能意味着美国政府至少在短期内不会发出任何威胁。但是话又说回来,首尔方面的政治局势也不稳定。韩国新政府是否可能行使自己退出协定的权利呢?
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On Saturday night they sang Stars from Les Miserables, the song performed the character Javert in the long-running musical.

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:

网队我认为倒是可以轻松舒适地摆着烂,除非是想给那些没有融入球队文化,并且明年不会在队中地球员增加身价。对,我说的就是布鲁克-洛佩兹。他存在的交易价值很诡异,但是我们假设它存在的话,我们就该充分利用他身上的价值。
[ri'flekn]
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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

据中国岛主联盟发起者林东估计,目前中国至少有600名岛主。
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华盛顿(市场观查者)—美国经济2014年迎来了自二战后最曲折的复苏而且年末能源方面又遇到了大的波折,但是2015年美国经济将披荆斩棘变得更好。

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Gabriel: Well, there’s just one problem.

Emily: What’s that.

Gabriel: I like you.

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China’s trade surplus grew to Rmb496.2bn last month from Rmb382.1bn in December. Economists expected it to inch higher to Rmb389bn. In dollar terms, China’s trade surplus rose to $63.29bn from $60.09 in December and versus expectations of $60.6bn.
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