Does the Devil wear Prada?

Religion in TV, Movies, Books, etc.

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Does the Devil wear Prada?

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Post by lamar1234 »

Fine, fine, admit it, I'm a COMPLETE dork!

I am sitting on my couch watching 'The Devil Wears Prada.'

Anne Hathaway "is NOT your baby!"

Could we talk about the theological implications of the movie?

First off, I offer my credulous brothers and sisters gathered here a 'pagan sacrifice,' you will?

An admission: I am one of those "Oh, if you liked the movie, you HAVE to read the BOOK!" kind of people and NOT one of those who engages in that AFTER the movie.

I am the guy in the theater you'd really LIKE to shoot paintballs, at least, at.

I'm trying to be as quiet as I can, but I can't HELP telling someone I'm at the movies with where the movie isn't accurate to history or the book, I'm one of those who is going to TELL you.

So, I give you that rhetorical gift. Forevermore, we can be engaged in civil discourse and, for whatever reason you can choose to retort "Oh yeah, well YOU talk at the MOVIES!!"

That's GOT to be worth something!

I speak here to my believing brothers and sisters:

Do you know what it's about? I don't ask to belittle or trick you, in any way.

Pledge of good faith, I'll answer first. Criticize solely my response, if you choose, and don't answer, if you'd rather not.

I'll tell you what I think it's about. It most definitely is a 'girl' movie, but I mean that in the generic sense. It is about things most usually associated with things of interest more usually to women than men with considerable overlap.

It's a movie about extraordinarily sophisticated piffle. Fashion, culture, the glitterati. That which a strict reading of the Bible would seem to speak against.

I refer here, specifically, to needles and camels.

It's extraordinarily easy for a conservative member of ANY religion to speak strongly against fashion and a lifestyle full of conspicuous consumption. From an ethical standpoint, I may not disagree with you. Maybe this is a point that many believers think of their more secular co-members of society, that a non-belief in God actually MEANS anything goes, steal, rob, kill, I don't know.

I mean no offense to state the rather obvious, there are atheists who save money for the future and those that don't, the same as there are frugal and profligate believers. I'm not even talking what they MAKE, but what they SAVE.

Go watch the movie, though. It presents the secular world JUST as it is presented in the Bible. Make it an object lesson.

Play 'pin the sin on the movie,' if you'd like. There's a LOT to work with sin-wise, in a movie about the highest of high fashion.

Can conservative believers see past that, though?

It's a movie about a young person starting a post-college job and the challenges of negotiating the 'sandwich' years.

It's just that this young woman's sandwiches became caviar. She was assistant to the Editor of Vanity Fair magazine. In the movie 'Miranda Priestly,' but in real life Anna Wintour. Seek and ye shall find.

It is so unbelievably clever. I'll give you this one, for free, as well; it's something Mephistopheles WOULD have written, if he didn't actually.

It plays on a number of those themes. It has the seductiveness of power; it's NICE to have people work for you who can, through the careful and judicious use of little more than your NAME and your (what is the highest level MasterCard today?) MasterCard.

Our protagonist acquires the next installment of a popular children's/teen's book series, BEFORE it ever hit the stand. THAT's POWER, though. She couldn't order an ACTUAL nuclear missile strike or didn't own an NFL franchise, but her facial expressions alone moved MILLIONS of dollars. Monetize her FACIAL muscles, why don't you?

I want to explore the theme of this character being what we have been told about this Devil person. Was she the 'Devil'? I think a good debater might posit that "it would be difficult to argue that she was NOT in fact, the Devil or Devilish.

The basic plot: A young woman's first job out of college is an interview almost as a goof at the top fashion magazine in the industry and, against all odds, lands a job that is CONTINUALLY driven into her head 'a MILLION girls would DIE for.' She works for THE woman in fashion and SHE is HORRIBLE. She is shown as a boss who tortures and torments everyone around them in the pursuit of 'perfection' which is the most ridiculous notion ever sold, since it changes every SINGLE month. I speak here of fashion, NOT perfection. What's perfectly fashionable THIS month is, well, NOT, is it, next month? I'm speaking of haute, please allow me to specify.

I'm as fashionable as Old Navy can make me.

However, Meryl Streep delivered a soliloquy about how no one actually makes NO fashion decisions save nudists. Go and buy an outfit from Goodwill, pull from a bargain bin, you're simply wearing the product of the color or cut or some such designer on some haute garment three or four or five years prior.

The color, not necessarily the ACTUAL garment. That garment is THAT color because Yves St. Laurent USED that color in this or that year's collection of haute couture.

It's also about something the Greeks called 'arete.' Excellence for its own self. Did you know that there are friezes in the Parthenon which, when it was completed could NOT be seen? You'd've had to get a ladder and climb up there to see them. What for? What a waste?

The artists took pride in their work, that was to honor the patron goddess of Athens, that they took no shortcuts.

Is it wrong that, once you do decide to wear clothes, you then decide that they will be the 'most excellent?

What about if you're a woman in the workplace? Still somewhat controversial when the book was published.

One point in the movie was when Andy, a young, female version of Job, I suppose, notices that had her abusive, perfectionist, boss been male, the only thing anyone would say about 'him' was how good he was at his work.

I hope I do not do the lovely ladies here a disservice when I offer to explain some of their world to the other gentlemen here. I am just a man doing this, so I'll probably get it wrong.

There is an element of a woman dressing for another woman as an expression of competitiveness. It's not that the woman wants the other woman to look BAD, really, it's just that the woman really putting forth an effort to look nice wants EVERYONE to look nice but for her to look just a little (maybe a lot) nicer than the other very nice looking women.

Not exactly accurate to call it 'friendly' competition, but there it is.

I want to talk about Miranda Priestly (the CHARACTER)/Anna Wintour (Upon whom the character is BASED) and her power. What is her power. She's just a magazine editor of 'Vogue' magazine. She doesn't WRITE very much in the magazine. She takes NO photos of the clothes. She does not model the clothes in those pages.......DIRECTLY.

Through rather savvy marketing, 'Vogue' positioned itself as an 'industry leader.' So, what does 'Vogue' sell? What do they make? What do they do to make their money? They spend ridiculous amounts of money to hire photographers and models, makeup artists, hairstylists and all the assorted coterie of workers and hangers-on to fly to or rent locations, shoot photos of impossibly skinny models wearing custom-made clothing to convince over 50% of the population of the planet that this is what they should look like.

Okay, not the nicest description but what is this industry WORTH. Many BILLIONS of dollars annually around the world and rising ever rising.

Designers, like Renaissance painters, used to rarely sign their work. They worked at the behest of the design houses and no one outside the industry knew their names.

Those names are now a part of our lexicon: Givenchy, Ralph Lauren, Lagerfeld, Dolce & Gabbanna, the list goes on.

That must mean that 'Vogue' spends MILLIONS on those clothes, bags, shoes, makeup, etc, right? Have you SEEN the prices on that stuff?

Not only does Vogue NOT pay for ANY of that stuff, those design houses fall all over themselves to GIVE away racks and racks of their blouses and skirts and.... you get the idea. Hence, working there, being on THAT side of the business means oodles and oodles of SWAG. One of MANY reasons 'Millions of girls would KILL...."

Besides that, though, is the ACCESS, the people you meet and that are in your phone. Doors, like the Red Sea tend to PART when some of those people are on your side.

If Miranda controls all this, is she the devil? What can she offer? She can't offer 'Heaven,' thought It's not clear what, in this analogy Heaven would be.

The deal, for Andy, resembles what we've been taught to expect from the Devil or Darth Vader, it just seems to get progressively worse. Maybe it starts out okay, but it always seems that the Blues Singer wants to go back to the Crossroads to undo the deal.

Not only does she transition IN the job from New Girl mistakes to seasoned, polished pro, she transitioned outwardly, as well. Af first her friends love getting all these free presents from her which are just Miranda's trickle downs but WAY ahead of what us peons can acquire. Then they and her boyfriend see less and less and less of her. When she's around, she looks fantastic (free clothes, nice ones) but she's never around.

Her boss keeps her hopping from before 5:00am to long after midnight consistently.

So, from whence Miranda's power: Miranda is a trend-SETTER. If you, as a young, hip designer, can get your purse, dress, sunglasses IN her magazine ANYWHERE, you will see a measurable UPTICK in sales on those items. You're even justified RAISING the prices accordingly.

Does a person like this have a 'right' to be a jerk, then? Are people like these jerks? Is this a chicken/egg problem?

What are they selling, though? The 'fashion' industry? They are selling 'feminine beauty'! That's heady stuff, right there. They are selling access to a rather old portion of a female's brain, the one that understands at a genetic level 'the prettier I am perceived to be, the more opportunities, the better chance at a higher quality of life I may have. I don't know that, but it's worth exploring.'

You're also accessing the part of a woman's brain (I think we can ALL agree, some of the greatest brains around are women's brains!) that likes to receive compliments and to be well-regarded. Does anyone want to argue that this is one important component in both men and women of self-esteem?

If you have your finger on that, who NEEDS to launch a nuclear weapon? If you can reasonably say, month in and month out for DECADES "Ladies (You're speaking to over half the world's population, you know?), we have a few ideas for how you might want to present yourself this month that, society will mostly agree, will be both beautiful and at least a little provocative. We'll even tell you, usually, how you could ratchet up or down the 'provocativeness' if you purchase these accessories. If you look like the women in our pages, no one will be able to reasonably deny your attractiveness. You will be pretty, GUARANTEED!"

Women are about as serious about that proposition as males apparently are about....... oh man........'performance issues' judging by the frequency of commercials about the same.

To be in that world is a big responsibility. Women aren't dumb. You can't lie so overtly that they catch you. Lies, in the women's world, are a big deal.

Does Miranda have the right to abuse the people under here if all of it is in the name of 'bettering yourself'?

Does the Devil LIKE being the Devil?

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