I stumbled across an article this morning which vaguely referenced Sex and The City as a misleading beacon of hope for bright-eyed young journalists (presumably females, unless guys my age have garnered a sudden interest in attaining for themselves the sex lives and shoe collections of middle aged American women). And I couldn’t help but wonder: What is suddenly so bad about spicing up a dull story, coming from people who make a living from doing much the same?
Journalism needed glamourising. It’s long hours, low pay and hard work, often full of dead ends and effort which goes unappreciated. So sue me for daydreaming about writing’s potential to pay for a comfortable life, or the possibility of it being one of those rare occupations where you earn money for doing exactly what you love. Every now and then, among the news about low job prospects and tales of nightmare internships, I need that little boost.
So Carrie has a sex column, and can’t inspire future political correspondents and undercover investigators. So what? Those careers didn’t exactly lend themselves to a sit-com set against the backdrop of New York City’s night life. What else? Oh yeah, she’s FICTIONAL. Give us some credit. Future dentists don’t look to the success stories of tooth fairies to convince themselves that their jobs will pay off. The real Carrie Bradshaw actually wrote Sex and The City. She is Candace Bushnell, former journalist and author turned sit-com writer who no doubt made millions selling the story – part-based on her own experiences – for it to be made into a TV franchise and two feature length films adored by fans the world over. Is that a real-life happy ending I sense? Best not tell the young ones, they might get their hopes up.
I don’t need a reality check, I know the difference between my life and one that’s been scripted for entertainment purposes. Acting like a hero because you’re pointing out the ‘harsh reality’ is like telling kids the truth about Christmas with the defense that you’re preparing them for the real world. Let us learn in our own time and we’ll accept the truth, then go along with the story as if we’re blissfully unaware. Why? Because we know that Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a little bit of magic. Neither would our aspirations without that small, significant presence of a big dream.
No hard feelings to the writer who had all this to say about one of my favourite shows. Slightly patronising as I may have found it, she wasn’t the one offering a reality check. She was only observing and looking to unearth some reasoning, meaning that her piece is derived from the most essential of all journalistic qualities – having a critical eye. Touché. Mine is as a result of a quality I think is equally as archetypical – always wanting to put your two cents in.
We’ll agree to disagree about the dangers of glamourising our chosen career. In the mean time, please leave me to my optimism, and my distraction from the not-half-as-terrible-as-you-would-have-me-believe reality that awaits. I’m smart enough to know it might not run as smoothly as a Sex and The City storyline – and they’re rocky at the best of times.