- The Washington Times - Monday, August 23, 2004

Feminist shopping

“For the past decade, nudged along by the media, feminism has morphed into a kind of self-indulgent narcissism. Now women are often told to buy things, not because they need them or even want them, but because they deserve them. Shopping, they are told, is the perfect way of showing their independence, developing their self-esteem, rewarding themselves because they’re worth it, right?

“And all this focus on fashion items and beauty products seems to have very little to do with attracting men. Oddly enough, there are virtually no pictures of women and men together in [the new fashion magazine] Shop Etc. and no men at all, except for a couple of grinning designers. Remember, Carrie and Miranda in ‘Sex and the City,’ who perfectly embodied the ‘I Am Woman, See Me Shop’ mantra, prowled boutiques and came home with their Pradas after they were dumped by a guy — not when they were trying to look good for him.”

Myrna Blyth, writing on “I Am Woman, See Me Shop,” Thursday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Saved by the bell?

“Two cell phone providers are offering to help customers lie their way out of bad dates. With Cingular Wireless’ Escape-A-Date and Virgin Mobile’s Rescue Ring services, customers can arrange to be called during a date and offered a fake excuse for going home early.

“An example: ‘Hey, this is your Escape-A-Date call. If you’re looking for an excuse, I got it. Just repeat after me and you’ll be on your way. “Not again! Why does it always happen to you? All right, I’ll be right there.” Now tell ‘em that your roommate got locked out and you have to go let them in. Good luck!’

“Dan Enthoven of BeVocal, the company that designed the voice-driven software for the services, says customers request about 10,000 such calls per month, with Friday at 8 p.m. being the busiest time of the week.”

From “Quick Takes” Saturday in World

Sci-fi shame

“Based on a comic book that became a hit videogame, [‘Alien Vs. Predator] is actually a joint installment in two franchises, simultaneously a third ‘Predator’ sequel and an ‘Alien’ prequel. But because the ‘Predator’ movies never felt original … the sense of shame falls on the ‘Alien’ series, which spent the past 25 years demonstrating that adult science fiction was not an oxymoron. …

“Ridley Scott’s 1979 original was at once a sci-fi haunted-house picture and a psychoanalyst’s catalog of sexual and reproductive fears. … [The ‘Alien’] series … often equated pregnancy with rape and conquest. …

“An action film featuring an all-extraterrestrial cast in which not a word was spoken might have placed unexpected intellectual demands on the bloodthirsty young men who flock to action pictures on opening night. But the result could have been astounding — or at least unique. …

“While the humans spout cliches and die predictable deaths, the aliens and predators stalk around the ancient temple, drooling and leaping and slicing at each other. … In place of thrills, character development and bloody poetry, ‘Alien Vs. Predator’ gives us buddy-movie bonding.”

Matt Zoller Seitz, writing on “Monsters Without a Cause,” Tuesday in the New York Press

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