One of the reasons I love the movie Emma is because it’s about a rich, arrogant brat who thinks she’s better than other people and knows what’s better for their own lives than they know for themselves. But the thing is, Emma thinks that she’s doing a great favor to everyone else. Even in her manipulation, she sees no fault. And yes, the white woman, Karen-complex doesn’t escape me– it’s glaring, actually– but I think in some ways I’ve been prey to this as well. And it’s this “kindness” motivated by selfishness that ends up being more destructive than good old-fashioned cruelty could ever be. But I think there is such a thing as real kindness– if only we can peel back layers of ego and confront our own performativity.
Music for this episode is from the beautiful Emma (2020) soundtrack by Isobel Waller-Bridge.