robertisenberg

Sex And The City: 3

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2010 at 12:37 am

Photograph of construction site in Cairo, directly across from the Hilton World Trade Center hotel.

Abu Dhabi is full of such immigrant workers, who can’t just “be themselves.” They have no self; they are only the props of wealthy Arabs and Western tourists, who must obey their masters’ every whim. Joining this servant class is considered a great success for many Indians, who might otherwise go hungry on the street. His situation is no joke, and Carrie recognizes this. No matter how stressful children or menopause can be, most Americans cannot imagine the sacrifices made by migrant workers in the developing world. Gaurav shows gratefulness and dignity, characteristics that Carrie has rarely known, despite a wholly privileged life. The sentiment is echoed in the souk, when a turbaned, bearded shoe-seller discovers Carrie’s lost passport and returns it to her without a fuss. He refuses payment, but is honored when Carrie buys a bundle of shoes to show her gratitude. These are very realistic interactions between working-class Middle Easterners and American tourists. For a series that rarely names its doormen or waiters, assistants or drivers, the humanity of these “small” characters is unprecedented.

Yes, S&TC2 romanticizes its subjects — the narrative always has — but the ladies show remarkable empathy, considering how selfish their intentions are. Just as French tourists, accustomed to topless beaches, can’t just prance around Miami oceanfront bare-breasted, Americans can’t flash their condoms in a Muslim market and expect a few chuckles. Meanwhile, Arab women wear Louis Vuitton beneath their robes and read Western books about beauty; a cultural revolution is afoot, and the S&TC womyn can only stand by and watch. The fantasia is a funny and cute, but the larger story is happening around our main characters. For once, S&TC has humbled its protagonists, and New York, awesome as it may be, is not the center of the universe.

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  1. I think you have made some valuable observations. This film has been savagely criticized when other male buddy films like The Hangover, Hot Tub Time Machine, and the Harold & Kumar franchise have been treated more kindly and gently. I think that is grossly unfair, since those other films aren’t high art either, nor do they pretend to be.

    http://andyx27.wordpress.com

  2. well said, Rob. I saw this movie, liked it despite myself, and you have given me the words to understand why. thanks.

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