A few years ago, a friend of ours married the interpreter who acted as a sometime intermediary when my future wife and I first met in Kiev. It so happened that, for whatever utterly inscrutable reasons, they enjoyed watching
Sluts Sex and the City, a program I have loathed, from its inception, on account of its superficiality, nihilism, moral corruption, and tendency to promote the most insipid banalities as the very apogee of wisdom. On my personal Scale of Detestation, the program probably ranks up there with all things Quentin Tarantino, which is to say that it is a celebration of the Nothing, and that its popularity is a certain harbinger of The End.
That said, I have found that the smartest take on the new film adaptation of the series is that of Helen Rittelmeyer, who, in a brief comment on the film, manages to encapsulate virtually everything that has inspired my loathing:
Having decided that marriage is not the right lifestyle choice for her, Carrie ends the movie with a question: “Why is it that we’re willing to write our own vows but not our own rules?” That’s right, girlfriend! Marriage is just a bunch of rules that other people made up, and buying into it will only obscure the Inner You. Never mind whether those other people might have been wiser than you are, or whether the transformation might be an improvement.
Or take Samantha, whose life philosophy is summed up in the line “I love you, but I love me more.” She abandons a man who loves her and whom she loves because she can’t stand not to be the center of her own universe. Even the ladies’ four-way friendship, supposedly the show’s moral center, involves so much confessional self-reflection that one is tempted to conclude that relationships with other people are only interesting insofar as they enable self-discovery. Strange—I always thought it was the other way around.
How hackneyed is the sentiment Carrie expresses! Making up your own rules! Why, such moral daring the world has never seen before. One might be tempted to think that modern America was as fully prudish as the most severe stereotype of Victorian Britain; but this would be an hallucination so profound that not even a reactionary could experience it while overdosing on mescaline or LSD. I don't want to dwell on this theme, I really don't. Anyone who imagines that the problem with our world is that people have been following tired old traditions instead of conjuring their own rules, their own conceptions of the meaning of the universe, clearly has been hitting the controlled substances.
As for the matter of friendship, well, yes - those who instrumentalize sexually intimate relationships as voyages of self-expression, self-discovery, and so forth are bound so to instrumentalize friendship as well; if one first acts as though one is not a body situated in social and relational contexts, but a gnostic Self striving to realize its own True Being in a world of indifferent or malign stuff that must be forged into instruments of the Self, then there is no reason for this to halt at the boundaries of friendship. Why would it? The idea that it might is merely an expression of the idea that sex is somehow special, unique; but the reduction of sexuality to gnostic animality strips it of its uniqueness; and if something considered so critical to personal identity is nothing more than desire objectifying the other, why should friendship be immune? It will be little more than a sounding board for the Self: a chorus of approbation for those who have 'dared' to 'write their own rules' and
negate the world actualize the Self to the uttermost. The gnostic Self is a universal corrosive.