Tour, primp, gripe 170

We don’t usually write about silly books and movies, but we have an excuse for taking notice of Eat, Pray, Love. The thorough slating the film gets in the review we are about to quote endorses our contempt for women – as opposed to adults of both sexes (see our post Of adults and women, September 4, 2010).

The English film critic Lindy West writes:

Eat, Pray, Love opened almost a month ago over here, but I avoided seeing it until yesterday, even though seeing it is literally my job. Denial is powerful. I’m just so bored of ladies and their emotions doing stuff – and, worse, the assumption that those three elements alone (ladies, emotions, stuff) are enough to constitute entertainment for other ladies. But my desire to never, ever watch Julia Roberts slurp erotic spaghetti and chant peacefully in Sanskrit was overruled by my desire to not get fired. FINE. To the cinema I went.

Here is what Eat, Pray, Love is about: Julia Roberts … is a successful travel writer with a house, a million bucks, and a handsome husband. Naturally, she is also paralysed by abject sorrow: “I had actively participated in every moment of the creation of this life. So why didn’t I see myself in any of it?” She dumps the spouse and embarks on a year-long tripartite journey to find her stupid privileged self.

First up is “eat,” which takes place in Rome. …

The second stop is “pray,” in which Julia Roberts travels to très-exotic India to live at an Ashram and complain a bunch. … She ultimately concludes that she needs to “forgive herself”– for what I have no idea. She has literally done nothing but go on vacation and eat spaghetti. I cannot figure out what is so wrong with this woman’s life.

The third and final chapter is “love,” which brings Julia Roberts to the EVEN EXOTICKER shores of Bali. In Bali, she becomes best friends with a wacky toothless medicine man, meditates some more, gets a bladder infection, and meets her dream man – a fitting finale to a movie all about how you don’t need a husband to be happy as long as you have spaghetti. (Pro tip: It turns out you do!!!) At one point, Javier Bardem runs her over with his car. That part was okay. …

The unexamined privilege, the idealisation/exotification of all places east, the canned spirituality, the sensual goddamn spaghetti – it’s all so focus-group-tested and Oprah-approved and self-perpetuating and embarrassing that I just want to go and hide in an Ashram somewhere and suck on figs forever.

We hope she doesn’t do that. She’s an adult, and the world needs all the adults it can get.

Caveat: It seems Lindy West may have an attitude towards “privilege”  – which is to say wealth – which we don’t share. She seems to think it should be “examined” as if it were in itself morally questionable. We are glad people can get rich by means of work, luck, and brains in a free society, so on that point we would differ. But we still like her review.

Posted under Commentary, Humor by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 13, 2010

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