February 1, 2004

Camille Paglia has something else to say about Madonna. This is from an article by Dinitia Smith about why "Sex and the City" is "a sociological event," representing "the spirit of the decade."
Ms. Paglia says, the success of "Sex and the City" marks a defeat for the "1980's anti-porn, anti-sex wing of feminists" and a victory for "the huge wing of us pro-sex feminists who came back with a vengeance in 1990, thanks to Madonna."

But even though "Sex and the City" is all about the spirit of the decade, it's full of what Paglia calls "archaic themes," themes found in trashy novels from the 1950s and 1960s, specifically "The Best of Everything," by Rona Jaffe (1958) and "Valley of the Dolls," by Jacqueline Susann (1966).

Too bad the Times article doesn't give us more verbatim Pagliaspeak. But other scholars must be drawn in to support the theory that the TV show is a "sociological event," worthy of scholarly commentary: Prada handbags and Jimmy Choo shoes are "apotropaic," "female sexuality is still punished," and the show is about "the semiotics of masculinity." That last, which the Times translates as "women trying to understand men," comes from a film studies prof who has written "a study of erotic fantasies about ... 'Star Trek.'"

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