Lena Dunham—you know, the celebrity hyper-feminist, sister-molesting, slandering lying creator/writer/actress of HBO’s “Girls”?—-is again at the center of controversy. This is how people like Dunham, who is wan of talent or appeal so she has to manufacture ways to keep herself in the public eye, stretch out their lucky 15 minutes of fame to interminable lengths. They do it by regularly pissing people off, and requiring those who feel they have to defend her because she is on “the team” (Female, feminist, Democrat, “Pro-choice,” pro-gay, pro-gay marriage, progressive) to compromise whatever genuine values they have by insisting that her crummy behavior isn’t crummy after all.
Yes, she is an ethics corrupter.
Dunham’s latest foray into calculated offense is an alleged humor piece inexplicably published by The New Yorker. Well, let me back that up: if you or I wrote it, publishing it would be inexplicable, because it’s just not very clever or funny. The New Yorker published it because Dunham is link bait.
The article is called Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz, and it begins,
“Do the following statements refer to (a) my dog or (b) my Jewish boyfriend?”
It is drawing fire from many sources because it invokes negative Jewish stereotypes for the “following statements” such as these:…
8. I feel that he is judgmental about the food I serve him. When I make something from scratch, he doesn’t want to eat it, but he also rejects most store-bought dinners.
9. This is because he comes from a culture in which mothers focus every ounce of their attention on their offspring and don’t acknowledge their own need for independence as women. They are sucked dry by their children, who ultimately leave them as soon as they find suitable mates.
10. As a result of this dynamic, he expects to be waited on hand and foot by the women in his life, and anything less than that makes him whiny and distant.
13. He doesn’t tip.
14. And he never brings his wallet anywhere.
24. Every week it’s some new health issue: urine crystals, sprained foot, beef allergy.
27. In fact, he has hair all over his body, like most males who share his background.
33. One spring afternoon, we walked to Dumbo to check out a new artisanal-Popsicle stand, when we ran into my friend Jill. Jill is actually more of an acquaintance—I don’t know her well, but I really like her; she curates high-end terrariums and she’s a clog designer on the side. She’s really slim and well dressed, in an all-American, J. Crew-model sort of way. He was immediately all over her, panting and making a fool of himself. It was humiliating. Because here’s the thing: I am not a Jill. I will never be a Jill. And if that’s what he is looking for—some anorexic hipster with a glossy braid and freaking Swedish clog boots she sewed by hand—he should never have set his sights on me in the first place.
34. He once vomited on his seatmate in United business class, then ran up and down the aisle in a panic.
Then there’s that “Dog or Jew” thing, of course. Said the Anti-Defamation League, the “piece is particularly troubling because it evokes memories of the ‘No Jews or Dogs Allowed’ signs from our own early history in this country, and also because, in a much more sinister way, many in the Muslim world today hatefully refer to Jews as ‘dogs.’” Yes. I must say that this was my reference point before I even read the thing.
The double standard—many double standards, in fact—are palpable. Could even Dunham have gotten away with “Dog or Black Boyfriend?” Could an Arab or Muslim humorist have played on Jewish stereotypes like this? The hounds of political correctness have to be consistent, and of course they aren’t: their preferred form of censorship is designed to silence critics of their pet causes or to marginalization them as hateful bigots. If Lena Dunham says Jewish men are weak, mother-obsessed, cheap, hairy dogs, it’s all in good fun.
Thus TIME charges to Dunham’s rescue, excusing her because —well, you tell me: I find TIME’s article incomprehensible and contradictory. The New Yorker’s editor argued that Dunham gets a pass because she’s Jewish (at least her mother was Jewish) and compares her to Philip Roth and Larry David, or Richard Pryor and Chris Rock. This would be more plausible if what Dunham wrote approached the wit of those writers, or was objectively funny beyond a muffled “heh.” Salon, which never met a lefty it wouldn’t defend til the last Jew—I’m sorry, dog–dies, believes this is a complete defense: as long as there’s some Jewishness in Dunham, even though she does not, unlike David, Roth, Jerry Seinfeld or Sarah Silverman, present her self as a Jewish performer, she can fling stereotypes around like cowchips, and there’s no foul.
Okay. Dunham’s a comic performer: she has a right to launch a dud. Okay: the dog-Jew comparison is in excruciatingly bad taste, right up there with lower primate-African American comparisons, and if she wasn’t aware of it, she’s shockingly ignorant. Okay, the fact that she is Jewish, sort of, means that she gets a little leeway in being insulting to “her tribe.”
Nevertheless, at a time when the American left is increasingly hostile to Israel, when the President of the United States is openly disrespectful of Netanyahu, and when anti-Semitism is on the rise here and in Europe, it takes a mega-jerk to pick now for gratuitous Jew-bashing. That’s really what this episode is about. The article itself can be defended as misguided exercise of the jester’s privilege, but it still proves, as if any further proof was needed, what a despicable jerk Lena Dunham is.