Well, well, well... I already like Judge Sonia Sotomayor! Apparently she’s a bigot/ racist just like yours truly! Yaaaay! In today’s political climate any mention of racism or privilege, or even having the fortitude to point out that the post-racial Emperor has no clothes, makes one a racist. Well, if that’s the case, then I am a flaming racist and proud of it!
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-=[ The Girlfriend Experience ]=-
The Commodification of Intimacy in the Post-Capitalist Era
As reported by the Village Voice, for $60 an hour, a NYC agency arranges for a smart young woman to accompany you, laugh at your jokes, and make you feel interesting and special. It may sound like just another escort service -- complete with a negotiable “happy ending” sex service -- but it’s not. In fact, the young women who set up the agency spell it out on their website: “If there are any attempts at sexual activity, the girl has the right to end the date immediately.”
A colleague of mine has employed the same nanny for the past seven years. When he speaks of her, it’s almost as if he’s speaking a dear aunt or close family friend. His two sons adore her and have known her all their lives. They too see her as more than a nanny.
A few years ago, I joined a gym and, realizing that I needed more than a little motivation and guidance, I opted for a few sessions with a personal trainer. The trainer was very attractive in an athletic sense -- streamlined slinkiness expressed with cat-like grace in a body hinting at barely contained sex. At first, our relationship was purely business, but eventually I was able to convince her to go out on a date with me -- against her hard and fast rule about “dating customers.” Sometimes I can be persuasive. LOL
What all the above scenarios share is that they are paid situations that can easily lead to the blurring of professional relationships in ways that leach out into relationships that simulate or give the illusion of intimacy. We see this all the time in all areas of our hectic lives. For example, with an increased workload accompanied by decreasing wages, many people are using their places of employment as dating pools. It seems that one consequence of neoliberal uber-capitalism is that everything has become a commodity -- including intimacy or its simulation.
In the new Steven Soderbergh film, The Girlfriend Experience, the main character (more psychological study than lead actress)
The first scenes are of
Working out of a stylish
Up to now, Ms. Grey’s screen performances have been almost entirely in hard-core pornography (she calls it performance art) and along with her character’s profession, this adds another dimension to the movie. Is Soderbergh also commodifying Ms. Grey?
However, the film’s main interest is in money rather than sex, which is shown to be a far more powerful and dangerous cause of obsession and confusion. The movie takes place during the first glimpses of our current economic collapse, October 2008, lending the piece an anxiety riding just underneath the surface of a film that is all about surfaces. Occasionally, this palpable anxiety bubbles to the top.
The movie follows
Grey is the only professional actor in the movie, playing a character who is always acting. Some of the most interesting insights come during the scenes where
The Girlfriend Experience is a mosaic of short, largely a-chronological scenes. Flashbacks are impossible to differentiate from flash-forwards; the emphasis is on
Soderbergh also explores the two-way street/ nature of selling intimacy when he locks into
I fear many people will not enjoy The Girlfriend Experience. Its subject hits too close to home and it’s not a movie in the traditional sense. It’s more character study and it poses more questions than it answers. In fact, I don’t know if the film answers any questions at all. However, it is exactly the questions that intrigued me the most.