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Samizdata quote of the day

Why is it always sadder when tragedy strikes hot people?

- Ugly Betty, smuggling profundity in with the fluff.

13 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Because it is like the difference between falling off the sofa, and falling from the third floor. At least that is the perception.

  • countingcats

    Why is it always sadder when tragedy strikes hot people?

    It isn’t. Not to me, anyway.

    And I despise that show. It’s premise is repulsive, and this is just an example of it.

  • John K

    I have always assumed “Ugly Betty” is like “Sex & The City”, ie not meant for men to watch. I think “Ally McBeal” was in the same category.

  • Jerome Thomas

    Ally Mcbeal is often compared to Sex In the City, but I think that the underlying ethos of the shows is completely different. With Ally Mcbeal as with David E Kelly’s other shows LA Law and Boston Legal, the message beneath the high gloss rich beautiful people froth is actually a fairly humane one. In an endearingly lowkey nonpreachy way it emphasises the need for tolerance, empathy and acceptance personal weakness ,vulnerability and eccentricity..
    Sex In The City is vacuous consumer porn for women. The men on the show are mere ciphers for the utterly self centered female characters to bounce off, not real characters in any real sense at all. The whole purpose of the show is vicariously thrilling to their serial shopping screwing and relationshipping. There is almost no room for empathy and regard for others involved. Its just Cosmopolitan magazine dramatised
    Sorry for the digression but I really do think these shows are as different as night and day

  • Nathan

    Not being familiar with the show… how is its premise repulsive, countingcats?

  • Bruce Hoult

    Call me unsophisticated, but when I’m watching _Sex In The City_ and one of those women dates another repulsive guy I think “what a looser, always hooking up with repulsive guys” not “gosh … all men are repulsive”.

    Everyone is alone. It’s just easier to take in a relationship. Fishism.

  • Jerome: of course you are right that DE Kelly’s shows are different from SATC, because the latter is dealing with the world in general, and relationships in particular, purely from a woman’s point of view. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    There is almost no room for empathy and regard for others involved.

    Not true. There is a lot of room for empathy and regard, but those are mostly reserved for the main character’s female friends. This is not meant to denigrate men or her relationships with them, but it is due to the fact that she happens to find her relationships with her female friends much more fulfilling in many ways. I am not saying that this is good or bad – this is just the way things are, and have always been.

  • TomG

    The ancient Greeks wrestled with where to put beauty within the concepts of Truth and the Good – and its prime philosophers chose to categorize its essential nature and properties as Aesthetics. And studies have been done of how people almost naturally associate individual appearances with likely intelligence and even moral tendencies (the 19 century eugenics comes to mind). So that we put a high value on ones individual worth based on how they make us feel about them, as well as possibly how they make us feel about our sense of the ideal humans. And it’s why we tend to root for the good-looking hero of a story over anyone else (and therefore why the hero is typically typecast as appealing to our senses in the first place). Does it really mean that the hot people’s tragedy is greater because they’re hot? Not really, but it unfortunately tends to be our first reaction. Thanks for this great topic! Tom

  • countingcats

    Does it really mean that the hot people’s tragedy is greater because they’re hot? Not really, but it unfortunately tends to be our first reaction.

    Seriously?

    I am not being sarcastic, but this is amounting to a personal revelation. I find this view utterly foreign. To me, it is fundamental that all people are of equal worth in this context.

    I understand why this view can be held, now that its reality has been pointed out to me, but it is not a viewpoint I have ever considered in the past.

    To me? All personal tragedies are of equal importance to those affected, and that is all that matters. The personal beauty of those involved has never been a consideration in any feelings of concern, sympathy or compassion.

  • John K

    Ally Mcbeal is often compared to Sex In the City, but I think that the underlying ethos of the shows is completely different.

    You may well be right, I can’t say as I don’t watch them. I’m just saying that these shows seem to be aimed at women rather than men, just as “Top Gear” is a show aimed at men rather than women. Mind you, I know enough to know it’s “Sex And The City”; does this make me metrosexual?

  • TomG

    I believe this to be one of the most important subject matters to defining two of the three fundemental philosophical questions: What is Man (the now-archaic gender-neutral for Humankind (sorry that this word too, still has the word ‘man’ in it ;))? and How ought Man to live? Have you ever heard the song that goes “make an ugly woman your wife” – the gist being that the alternative will lead to nothing but headaches, since every man will be trying to entice her away from you (and never mind the intrinsic power that she’d feel over you, given her proportionately greater allure)? It’s true that most of us have personal preferences as to even whom we’re attracted to sexually, etc. And I’d allow for there to be some who may have so very little preference in this regard as to make their physical or attractive features of others virtually indistinguishable – making a prediction of the type they’d end up choosing as a partner, for instance, most difficult (though I believe such folk to usually be more willing to replace appearances with the non-immediate intangibles, such as personality, generosity, etc., as the song “Getting to know you” sings of). But I think there’s still a judgement made that determines the type of beauty we find appealing enough to put on the cover of magazines – where the average person’s face would prove suboptimal. Man places a high value on physical appeal, whether that’s good or otherwise (it’s likely that an over-emphasis in certain societies creates negative externalities that prove costly to their relative wellbeing). It is okay to admit that we judge people differently, and assign them distinctive attributes based on a molded frame of reference. Wm. F. Buckley spoke of our natural tendency to discriminate the difference between our seeing a group of hooded youth versus aged women coming at you down the sidewalk – of which one makes you want to immediately cross the street. Same with how we may feel about seeing a child versus an adult hurt in an accident – we judge the latter as less innocent (or of less utility perhaps). Same with some beautiful Charlie’s Angel type versus a rugged Mannix – ‘we’ (not universal of course) find it less repulsive to have the latter get his face smacked around. But in the end, should it all be this way? Depends on how one defines Man and his ultimate purpose, I suppose. Thanks, and sorry for being so long-winded this morn (definitely time for some java).

  • Rob

    What the hell is a “hot person”? I thought most people were about 98.4°F.

  • Kim du Toit

    Actually, when it comes to Sex In The City, I feel sorry for the men those foul, self-absorbed whiny harpies manage to ensnare.

    I wouldn’t cross the street even to kiss one of them.

    And Kim Cattrall is MY age, fer goshsakes.