Friday, June 07, 2013

Quote of the Day

"I get so tired of having to cry out 'misogyny,' but that’s what’s going on in this situation. People questioning the idea that a woman could sleep with a man who defied her lot in the looks bracket hews so closely to these really outdated ideas about what makes a woman worth spending time with. Really? Can you not imagine a world in which a girl who’s sexually down for anything and oddly gregarious pulls a guy out of his shell for two days?"

-- Lena Dunham on those who say that a man who looks like Patrick Wilson would never stoop to having sex with a woman who looks like Lena Dunham's Hannah Horvath character on Girls, as he does for an entire episode last season

Trust me, Lena, there are plenty of us who are just as tired of hearing you cry out "misogyny" over every little goddamned thing, too.

I did actually see the episode she's talking about, the one in which her character comes on to a doctor played by Patrick Wilson -- an intelligent, established, seemingly normal guy, as opposed to the insufferable shitheads who populate the Dunham-centric view of Brooklyn where most of Girls takes place -- and the two wind up screwing and basically playing house for a couple of days. I didn't find the premise at all hard to believe because, what the hell, she made it clear she was completely willing and he obviously didn't have anything important to do that weekend.

Notice, though, that the two of them never left the house. In other words, he didn't go anywhere he could be seen with her -- certainly not someplace he might run into friends who'd ask, "Who's the dumpy little hipster troll and can you get her to stop talking?"

I think I hear Lena Dunham crying out again.

Adding: I got an e-mail response to this post that I just have to share. It's pretty much spot-on:

"What a baby Lena Dunham is. A big, whiny, stupid, baby. She wants all of the plaudits and credit for being 'daring' but she wants ZERO criticism. For her to cravenly cry 'misogyny' -- just because the idea of her obnoxious doughball character hooking up with a hot doctor is considered laughable to all sensible humans -- shows just how much of a coward she truly is.

I laugh at the idea that she's any kind of a hero. She's not brave in any way. Yeah, she takes her clothes off on film, but we're not allowed to have an honest reaction to her body. And I think we both know that she couldn't handle 1/100th of the criticism an actual non-famous ugly girl has to deal with on a daily basis. Normal ugly girls are just stuck being ugly and having to deal with it. They don't get to have makeout sessions with handsome actors.

I also don't think she's unfairly maligned due to her gender. If anything I think she gets a substantial amount of kid-glove treatment because she's a woman. Imagine if a male writer/actor did what she was doing. Imagine if, say, Jonah Hill wrote a series about himself as 'the voice of his generation' and had scenes of him banging Jessica Alba. He'd be laughed out of Hollywood. Jezebel would devote a week's worth of articles to him, roundly mocking him for the adolescent jerkoff fantasies he'd written.

But Lena Dunham is a visionary.

Here's the most revealing quote: 'Can you not imagine a world in which a girl who’s sexually down for anything and oddly gregarious pulls a guy out of his shell for two days?'

But see, a guy like that wouldn't be in his shell. He's a handsome doctor in New York, you really think Hannah Horvath is the best he can do on a random weekend? See that's the kind of shit that reveals how delusional Lena really is. She sees nothing fraudulent or self-indulgent in this little fantasy she's concocted. 'What man wouldn't want to spend an uninhibited weekend (probably with anal) with little old me? I'm so witty and free. Down for anything!'

I just don't think she gets that she's writing a character who's NOT on TV. She's not writing about her ideal self. She's writing about a normal, dumpy schlub of a girl who lives in a city where dumpy girls don't talk hunky doctors into bed for two days. That ain't how it works.

Here's the sobering truth that Dunham doesn't understand, the truth that none of her friends or handlers will tell her, the truth I'd like to tell her personally: this is life in the big city. You don't have the options you think you do. Maybe in Mobile, Alabama you're an 8 1/2, but here in NYC you're a 3-4 at best. I don't care what you're 'down' for. Because here in the big city a guy can find smart, funny, sexy, ballsy, hard-drinking, down-for-anything girls who are also drop-dead gorgeous or at least not trollish and irritating. Because it's the fucking city. Sorry to blow your mind, honey.

Lena Dunham the famous actor/writer probably can land a hot guy. Hannah Horvath the obnoxious shitty writer who lives in a crappy NYC apartment and ISN'T FAMOUS, cannot.

-- Julia"

That's actually a terrific point: While I actually do think there are guys in New York City -- and everywhere else -- who'll sleep with just about anybody who offers, the arrogance in creating a character played by yourself whom a gorgeous guy way above the character's station falls for completely is just breathtaking. And I've heard the theory that the entire episode is a fantasy in Hannah's head, but Dunham's snotty defense would seem to cast doubt on that possibility. Also, yes, remove the sexual component from the mix -- in other words, make Hannah a schlubby, talkative, badly dressed doof who isn't immediately making it clear that she's willing to put out -- and watch how quickly that scenario would go from laughable to impossible. M. Night Shyamalan was pilloried for being so egomaniacal as to cast himself as a writer whose work was going to change the world in Lady in the Water, but Lena Dunham casts herself as a chubby manic hipster dreamgirl who beds a really hot doctor -- helping him learn to live again in the process -- and she's a genius.


Claude Weaver said...

I would get into the comparison with the numerous movies and shows that had schlubby guys get hot women (Kevin James is the patron saint of that), but I don't think Dunham is that self aware.

I would have more respect for her if she did intend to be a gender-flipped Kevin James; just a regular gal banging hot guys for no discernible reason. Or hell, if she just said "Hey, I just want to mount Patrick Wilson like a thoroughbred". At least then, she would acknowledge that she is only human, and that it is indulging in fantasy.

But this is just...wait.

Wait, I see it now.

The complete lack of self-awareness.

The stifling hypocrisy.

The staged disgust at people expressing their own opinions f something she put out for public comsuption.

The ridiculous claims of violation and degradation due to, again, something she willingly put out for people to see and comment on.

The barely tenuous connections to anything considered "reality" and "honest human interaction".

The frankly kinda nausea inducing (possibly of) anal sex.

Oh my God. Lena Dunham is that Teen Mom chick, and "Girls" is her "leaked" sex tape.

Oh God, I need brain bleach.

Stephen said...

Yeah she's a genius...probably with anal.

Temmere said...

You and "Julia" have fair points, but I still kind of agree with Dunham on this one. She's not beautiful, but she's hardly ugly or overweight enough that I can't believe she (or her alter-ego) could occasionally score a really hot guy. And the fact that this generated so much controversy when there are movies with Rainn Wilson married to Liv Freaking Tyler that no one bats an eye at shows there's still some pretty heavy misogyny at work in Hollywood (in addition to, you know, all the other misogyny in Hollywood).

Donal said...

I tend to cut Dunham a bit of slack on this one. I can't help but think about all the sitcoms with frumpy husbands and hot wives. And most of the Woody Allen films. There are so many vehicles where the dorky little fellow gets the cute girl, so why not let the dorky little girl get a cute guy? Sure she's a Mage Sue, but a lot of the male characters are no better.

pasta65 said...

I felt the same way when I used to watch Woody Allen movies and he was he was always married to a hot woman.

As if.

kushiro said...

Here's the thing: when I was Hannah Horvath's age, I was a grad student in Biology. I was doing well at a mid-sized university, and with a good future. Not super handsome, but decent looking, and in good physical shape thanks to cycling and soccer.

If I had even thought to approach someone like Allison Williams' character Marnie (a pretty girl with no discernible talents or potential), the amount of sneering contempt I would have received would've been so powerful it could have launched me into orbit so far, Richard Branson would be hiring me to ferry celebrities into space.

So, please, Ms Dunham, get off your misogynist high horse when it comes to ideas of who is considered worthy of whose attention.

Anonymous said...

She is not an 8.5 in Mobile, Alabama. Trust me.

JohnF said...

"She's not beautiful, but she's hardly ugly or overweight enough that I can't believe she (or her alter-ego) could occasionally score a really hot guy."

What about the fact that she has a horrible personality?

JohnF said...

You misspelled cissexist.

Anonymous said...

I find her writing terrible. I honestly don't get what people like about the show. My girlfriend thinks its hilarious...all I can think is "My god these people are horrible".

All that said, TV and Movies have a long history of amazingly attractive, smart, female characters getting into relationships with clearly lower status males. From the Honeymooners to the King of Queens...its pretty much the standard TV fare.

denesteak said...

Yea, she's whiny, but it is also misogynistic. I think those two points don't have to be mutually exclusive. The fact that this is still being brought up shows that it struck a nerve. Besides, I don't see as many people complain about Woody Allen being able to land the hot women he does in his films, but somehow that seems to work.

Also, I think Dunham pretty much nailed down the fact that it was Hannah Horvath's horrible personality away that drove Patrick Wilson's character to stop wanting to sleep with her. She was pretty much silent during that weekend, and once she started talking, it was clear that her personality sucks and Wilson was so turned off by her. So you can't really remove the sexual component, bc that was essentially the only thing that was attractive about her to him.

I would also argue that your M. Night Shyamalan example is not equivalent, because he's essentially boosting up his intelligence (which, given the past few films he had, DID NOT change the world, so of course he was criticized for doing that in Lady in the Water -- which was a stupid premise and stupid writing) and not his looks.

denesteak said...

Oh shit, i wrote my comment before reading the other comments, and I guess Woody Allen comes up a lot.

Anonymous said...

I dislike your dislike and contempt for Lena Dunham. I've been reading your blog for years now and this bugs me. I have my gripes with Ms. Dunham, but my 23 year old daughter both likes and respects her, er, persona and her work, so I watch her show; watched her movie (which I quite liked) and believe that she speaks to a certain element of educated, rather hopeless (have you SEEN this economy?) youngster.

Young people are better looking and more appealing than old people. Ten, twenty pound overweight gals with a twinkle in their eyes are, yes, appealing to handsome thirty-something males of almost any ilk. Not to mention, starting to sag, hair past-just-thinning, weary forty-something's, it's true.

Anyway, your auto-criticism of Lena Dunham comes across like you're an old fart who can't deal with a fatuous--though intelligent and educated--highly successful kid. Who might very well NOT care to be speaking to you, sir! Is that the case? 'cause it knocks you down a peg or two in my book, anyway.

"Hey, you kids! Get off my damn lawn!!"

Chez said...

First of all, thanks for reading. I really do mean that.

That said, your comment is -- just kind of weird. So your daughter likes Lena Dunham therefore you decided that you should as well? Also, you're 100% sure she's attractive to every man above the age of, say, 30 just because she's young? (Regardless of the fact that her character on the show truly is unattractive and seems to be played that way to the hilt.) And because I think Dunham is unfunny, pretentious, and vastly overrated, I have a problem with all kids (which of course isn't true)? Oh, and she speaks to "hopeless" kids, I suppose by telling them that if they have wealthy, famous parents and a group of Hollywood friends and benefactors willing to laud their every bowel movement since birth, they can soldier through anything?

Is that what you're trying to get across?

Chez said...

I'll say this about Woody, Denesteak: Yes, it was always obnoxious that we were expected to believe that he could land attractive women, especially as he got up there in age (which is why he's now made other, more youthful and attractive men his proxies in his films). What made that at least somewhat forgivable was two things: One, he often mined those relationships -- the ridiculousness of them -- for comedy. Two, that comedy was BRILLIANT. Yeah, Woody was unbelievably pretentious and self-indulgent at times, but when he was funny he was one of the funniest people on the planet. Woody had at least built up goodwill from audiences before going off the deep end into self-indulgence by releasing movie after movie -- and writing book after book, etc. -- showing just how funny he was. Dunham skipped all that and just went right to obnoxious, unearned self-indulgence.

Lindsay said...

I find it amazing that Patrick Wilson's character was able to find her personality so damned amazing so quickly. He must be a psychic in addition to a doctor or else that was one hell of a glass of lemonade. You don't want to make it about physical appearance, Lena, don't put the sex scene in about 45 seconds after you work through the door. No, there was no way an accomplished doctor was banging some dumpy hipster 2 minutes after she knocked on his door to tell him she's been throwing trash in his yard for weeks. She wants to make it about her personality over her looks? Show us that. But she never does and that's not brave, that's lazy. And, besides being a horribly-written scene, it plays to all the stereotypes about women being gold-digging sluts. "You're a doctor and you live HERE? I'll drop my panties for that." He could have been Doctor Moreau for all Hannah cared.

Chez said...

Lindsay, FTW.