Y Chicks R Dumb: So more than one or two culture vultures, most of them female, have glommed on to the fact that a lot of the more vehement reactions to Sex and the City 2 are misogynist and represent a cultural double standard. To which one can only respond, "No duh," (or, more rudely, "No shit, Sherlock") and "What took you so long?" The wittiest and most piercing of these pieces was from The New York Times' Manohla Dargis (who gets exempted from reaction time criticism because the week-or-so-later thumbsucker in Arts & Leisure is just how things work, and are supposed to work, in a sane news-cycle world, the one that existed before you crazy internet kids came and mucked it up so you have no one to blame but yourselves) (also, full disclosure: Manohla's a friend) who also did some worthwhile heavy lifting on the film's larger and even more problematic cultural context. Less impressive were the musings of The Guardian's Bidisha (where'd she get that haircut?), who tsk-tsked: "Given the critical bile on offer, you would think that Sex and the City 2 had been made by a convicted rapist such as Roman Polanski, a famous misogynist such as Lars Von Trier (the plot of all his films: brutalised woman suffers), featured a convicted rapist such as Mike Tyson in The Hangover or depicted women being grateful for hate-filled violent sex before being murdered, such as Michael Winterbottom's acclaimed The Killer Inside Me." Wow, it's as if the woman had entered a "how many category errors can you make in one sentence?" contest. Has Roman Polanski ever actually made a film that condoned rape? What's the plot of The Boss of It All? A little further down, Bidisha lists Herzog's supremely ironic rethink of Bad Lieutenant as one of seven films currently topping the British box office which she characterizes as being "standard ignorant, cliched, macho, brutal, brainless, gung-ho, numb-knuckle, totally male-dominated, exhilarating toss." All right then. Let's hear it for Bidisha folks: what happens when identity politics meets brain damage. If I was Bob Hope, I'd add, "no wonder she can't find her last name!" Good thing I'm not Bob Hope.
In New York magazine, or at its blog, Emily Nussbaum posts a rambling, inane defense of SATC 2 in which she addresses specific objections to the film, bullet-point style; my favorite goes like this: "THE MOVIE IS OFFENSIVE TO ARABIC CULTURES" is the subhead, and the immediate "response" from Nussbaum is, "Okay, complicated issue." I love that. It's as if she's saying, "Hey, Arabic Cultures, hold on just a minute, because I, Emily Nussbaum, am going to clear this whole thing up right now." The more I think about it the more I laugh, and laugh, and laugh some more. And it just gets funnier. "You can't easily make a light Hope/Crosby sand-dune adventure movie in the middle of a depressing, intractable war in the region," Nussbaum notes, except, you know, they kinda did—Hope and Crosby's Road to Morocco was made in 1942. Year ring a bell? The trick here was to shoot the thing on the Paramount backlot, not in Morocco itself, which in case you haven't yet put it together was in fact, shall we say, caught up in a war...of course, that war wasn't "depressing" or "intractable," because it was the noble, anti-fascist World War II, which was fought by the Greatest Generation, and...oh my, I'm laughing some more. But yes, while she's making so much sense, Nussbaum also bemoans the film's "crowingly self-satisfied and gonzo misogynist" reviewers. And quite correctly.
This goes to prove that one can be right, and still be kind of stupid. And behind the laughter, it is all kind of sad; not so much the double standard that deems Hot Tub Time Machine and The Hangover raunchy fun and Sex and the City 2 worse than Hitler and Stalin combined, but the unthinking, complacent, pretty much reflexive acceptance of that double standard as normal. And for all that, I have to take issue with The Toronto Star's Peter Howell's defense of SATC's Carrie Bradshaw from her legions of detractors, which is definitely of the "it's an interesting theory, but" variety:"I can actually think of a rough male equivalent for SATC. It's a film franchise about a man with a huge ego and unfettered sense of entitlement, who cavorts with people who have spectacular budgets for clothes, cars and travel. Our hero consumes vast quantities of liquor and caviar and thinks nothing of trashing his high-priced toys.[...]His name is James Bond."
Like that Russian Blue in the first Cats and Dogs movie says, "I think not, baby puppy." Whatever the hell James Bond does, he doesn't cavort. Also, when have you ever seen him drunk? Also, he doesn't have a particular penchant for friggin' caviar. Also, he saved the world and Western Civilization and Fort Knox and so on and so forth from near-certain doom, and done so in the case of the world and/or Western Civilization practically dozens of times, so I'd say the guy is fully entitled to his pleasures. What the hell has Carrie Bradshaw ever done, except write a bunch of stupid columns (they're not even real, full columns, they're just voice-over fodder) that she then collects into a stupid book that she presumptuously files next to a critical classic by Susan Sontag? Huh? Huh?
And now I'm gonna have my name changed to Bidisha 2.