never married, over forty, a little bitter

no bullsh*t

But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the “service” sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.

These are what I propose to call “bullshit jobs.”

It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery.

stay tuned

And I can’t help but wonder: What would the show look like without that finale? What if it were the story of a woman who lost herself in her thirties, who was changed by a poisonous, powerful love affair, and who emerged, finally, surrounded by her friends? Who would Carrie be then? It’s an interesting question, one that shouldn’t erase the show’s powerful legacy. We’ll just have to wait for another show to answer it.

tarnished reputations

I love this article too, because any time someone starts talking about great TV shows, I think of Sex and the City, but I’m too afraid to speak up. Just yesterday this topic came up in a group, and The Wire and Breaking Bad were mentioned, with one strong vote going for The Sopranos.

I sat there thinking that SATC was as strong as The Sopranos, and I enjoyed it more than The Wire, which I thought of as simply an improved version of the cop shows that went before it. But I’d be crucified or (at least) laughed out of the room for voicing that opinion in public. For some reason young women especially like to disavow SATC, and it used to take a beating on Jezebel, which I never understood.

“The Sopranos” deserves the hype. Yet there’s something screwy about the way that the show and its cable-drama blood brothers have come to dominate the conversation, elbowing other forms of greatness out of the frame. It’s a bias that bubbles up early in Brett Martin’s otherwise excellent new book, “Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘The Wire’ to ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad,’ ” a deeply reported and dishy account of just how your prestige-cable sausage is made. I tore through the book, yet when I reached Martin’s chronicle of the rise of HBO I felt a jolt. “It might as well have been a tourism campaign for a post-Rudolph Giuliani, de-ethnicized Gotham awash in money,” Martin writes of one of my favorite shows. “Its characters were types as familiar as those in ‘The Golden Girls’: the Slut, the Prude, the Career Woman, the Heroine. But they talked more explicitly, certainly about their bodies, but also about their desires and discontents outside the bedroom, than women on TV ever had before.”

Martin gives “Sex and the City” credit for jump-starting HBO, but the condescension is palpable, and the grudging praise is reserved for only one aspect of the series—the rawness of its subject matter. Martin hardly invented this attitude: he is simply reiterating what has become the reflexive consensus on the show, right down to the hackneyed “Golden Girls” gag. Even as “The Sopranos” has ascended to TV’s Mt. Olympus, the reputation of “Sex and the City” has shrunk and faded, like some tragic dry-clean-only dress tossed into a decade-long hot cycle. By the show’s fifteen-year anniversary, this year, we fans had trained ourselves to downgrade the show to a “guilty pleasure,” to mock its puns, to get into self-flagellating conversations about those blinkered and blinged-out movies. Whenever a new chick-centric series débuts, there are invidious comparisons: don’t worry, it’s no “Sex and the City,” they say. As if that were a good thing.

fantasy lives

I sorta love this theory:

Nearly 10 years ago, in February 2004, “Sex and the City” aired its final episode. It was an episode that, in its final moments, didn’t just subvert the six seasons that had come before but seemed to repudiate them. At the end of the journey, all four women who’d found satisfaction in friendships, in work, in casual sex and, yes, in shopping were paired off with a monogamous life partner — even Samantha, whose gleeful pursuit of no-strings sex was among the show’s most popular elements.

The end of “Sex and the City” is almost bizarre in the degree to which it indulges a viewer’s wishes for the characters over the realities of the show, in which love is difficult and finding the right partner is arduous, and over the stated desires of at least one of the show’s four lead characters. In a generally quite positive reappraisal of the series in the New Yorker this year, Emily Nussbaum wrote:

In the final round, “Sex and the City” pulled its punches, and let Big rescue Carrie. It honored the wishes of its heroine, and at least half of the audience, and it gave us a very memorable dress, too. But it also showed a failure of nerve, an inability of the writers to imagine, or to trust themselves to portray, any other kind of ending — happy or not.

But there’s another explanation — a far less likely one, but one that cuts to the very heart of just how difficult life had been for Carrie Bradshaw before her final rescue by Big. I cannot know whether this is what the writers intended — indeed, I highly doubt it, but I am judging the work on its own terms and not by authorial intent. I believe that, even within the world of the show, nothing depicted actually happened. The show’s protagonist, the writer Carrie Bradshaw, wrote herself three best friends and an ultimately heroic lover. She is, finally, alone.


I realized this week that I’m going to be okay, no matter what happens.

I applied for another job here and think a few more opportunities will open up. Ideally something will work out that will allow me to stay put; I’m guessing something will. The timing could actually work in my favor, as I can now spend more time on the farm and get through the end of Spanish II, which is a bit of a bear. I think I could more easily manage Spanish III and IV (less credits, less hours) while employed.

If I get that promotional opportunity in the small, conservative town thirty miles away, I could live there and learn to play guitar. Or buy a piano. Or get a dog. Or restore a house. And although I might not find ballet classes there, I did locate a number of yoga studios.

And if absolutely nothing works out in terms of a job by the end of next spring, I could go back to my former organization in L.A. I could handle it. I could work in East L.A. and practice my Spanish, or work on the coast and spend my weekends on the beach. I could find areas in which to thrive.

It’s too bad that a few of my friends couldn’t have held my hand and waited for me to get to the other side. I always do.