Saturday, 29 May 2010

I couldn't help but wonder...

I've never been a 'Sex And The City' fan. I don't know if you're surprised by this, although I do know that if you're a film critic you're likely to be. The fact that 'Sex And The City 2' is apparently not a great film (and, let's face it, it sounds AWFUL) has given scribblers everywhere the opportunity for a good old bit of gaybashing-by-proxy.

It's something that started back in the days of the TV series. Someone noticed that the man who brought Candace Bushnell's book to the screen, Darren Starr, was gay, as was the exec producer, Michael Patrick King. At that point, someone made the not-unreasonable observation that the female characters in 'Sex And The City' sometimes talked and behaved in a way more usually seen in gay men. So far so tame.

But that tame little theory grew and grew. People- and not just people, columnists too- started to say things like 'Of course, the series is actually about gay men' which developed into 'Those characters aren't really women' and soon it became pretty much accepted that SJP and co were nothing but powerless pawns in a twisted gay game of 'hate the woman'. That opinion reached a very queasy nadir in the reviews of the film this week.

Several friends have posted a review from a Seattle newspaper on facebook; it's one of those things that has gone viral. And yes, it makes the case against the film quite brilliantly. But sitting right in the middle, there it is- the irrelevant mention of the sexual orientation of some of the producers. The film, says Lindy West, is 'a home video of gay men playing with giant Barbie dolls'. It's not an offensive remark, per se- but it is an unnecessary swipe, isn't it? I wonder how far I'd get if I described, say, the film 2012 as 'Jews playing with Action Men'?

Leave it to the good old Evening Standard, however, to go from the allusive to the flat-out offensive. Andrew O'Hagan starts by referring to 'Carrie Bradshaw and her gaggle of gay impersonators', thus reaffirming the idea that these characters, created by Candace Bushnell and exec produced by Sarah Jessica Parker, are nothing but projection on the part of some benders. Am I being oversensitive? Well, how about the description of Kim Cattrall's character, Samantha? As a preface to discussing her venality, vulgarity, and narcissism, O'Hagan chooses to sum her up as 'Stonewall on Ice'. Never mind that this is a meaningless piece of phrasemaking ('on ice', Andrew? Talk me through that) its implications are stinking; she's a deeply unpleasant character, as can be summed up by the word 'Stonewall'. You tell me if that is in any way acceptable. You explain to me how that isn't the rankest prejudice.

I'm sure that 'Sex in the City 2' is an egregious piece of film making (the scene where burqa'd women reveal they're wearing designer clobber underneath sounds particularly jawdropping) and of course many gay men have been involved in its creation. Millions more will go to see it. But I still don't think that justifies the journey our tame little theory has taken from 'it's by gays' to 'they're all gays' to 'oh, she's just vile. You know, pure Stonewall'.

Anyway, you'll have to excuse me. I'm off to dress dolls up in Louboutins for reasons hidden in my woman-hating pysche.