Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

It's being called Sex and the City for the aptly named Generation Y -- which means you probably already know what I'll think of it.

Still, does Lena Dunham's Girls really deserve all the criticism being heaped on it? No, not all. It doesn't deserve to be called racist -- insipid and irritating, that's a different story.

My latest piece for the Daily Banter takes the show apart.

Here's the opening shot:

"Let’s start with the obvious: HBO’s new series 'Girls' isn’t for me. What I mean by that is that I’m not its target audience. I’m not a millennial; I’m not female; I’m not a Brooklyn hipster who’s perpetually drowning in his or her own insufferable ennui; I don’t recognize even a hint of myself or my life in any of the dingbat characters or torturous scenarios the show traffics in. I’m sure Lena Dunham is a nice enough person, but there’s nothing about her that makes me think she’s someone I really need to take seriously as a creative talent, let alone the supposed voice of her generation (God help them all)."

Read the Rest Here

Remember, kids: To "Like" and RT is to care.


liquidlen said...

I love that both the photo here and the photo on the full article have Dunham in the same cold, calculated pose. How winsome!

J. Dack said...

I've made the same argument before, but it doesn't help. The PoC activists are insistent that it's the responsibility of every white entertainer with an audience to include PoC and break down the hollywood walls keeping entertainment supposedly white washed.

For fuck's sake, I read a thing the other day blaming Felicia Day for not having enough non-whites on her new Geek and Sundry channel, as if it's her job to end racial inequality.

JohnF said...

Why weren't there more white people in School Daze? So WHAT if it took place at an all-black college? That's no excuse.

Claude Weaver said...

@JohnF - You joke, but that was pretty much the defense made by one of the writers. Of course, she used the movie Precious. Which was really stupid.

But it leads me to my thoughts on the matter, which is:

What non-white person WANTS to be on that show?

Seriously, what is the big victory here? Yes, the show is whiter than to pearls coated with coconut cream and rice on a Dixie plate in a snowstorm. And yes, minorities have been greatly misrepresented in television shows since pretty much TV started. But sometimes you really got to pick your battles.

A lot of people compared the crapstorm over this show to the flack about Friends and its lack of color. But the difference is it was a top-rated primetime show on a major network, not some premium channel indy hodgepodge. Friends was meant for a wide audience, and a good chunk of that audience would be people not being represented. Girls is a niche product. It isn't meant for mass consumption. It will not drive people to get HBO subscriptions like Sopranos or change the game like The Wire did. So why are we pissed at a show that only a select few people will watch or enjoy?

Shit, Firefly managed to have a future with everyone speaking Chinese, yet not one damn Asian in it, and it was a network show too. Not to mention the unfortunate implications of basing your macro-conflict on the Civil War and making the Rebel surrogates the good guys. But hey, I still manage to enjoy it, and nobody bitched then.

So again, what is the big fucking deal? Why do we ever WANT PoC on this show? Why is it so damn important?

JohnF said...

I think if Firefly had ever been given time to grow we'd have seen plenty of actual Asians in it. I guess we'll never know.
Girls sounds like a crap show to me, anyway. But it just seems weird to expect these wretched characters to have a commitment to diversity. There are plenty of people like this in the real world, and non-whites don't really figure into their world view.
The bigger question is why you'd want to make a show about these people at all.