First things first – calling criticism sexist or racist does not make you worse than Hitler unless in doing so you also start a World War, attempt a genocide, and paint competent but uninspired landscapes. But more on that later!
In the modern age of Internet writing (which I think might just cover all of it, since ya know, the internet isn’t really that old) the only thing that sells better than pornography (and cats [and porno cats]) is hatred. There is a lot of it. Hell, this column was born in hatred, though I like to think sometimes it’s about love. Bad, bad, angry love.
At the current center of the hatred circle is Lena Dunham and her cable television debut Girls, which airs Sundays on HBO and follows a bunch of girls who do stuff and things and say words. And boy do some people hate it. In fact, the only thing people hate worse than Girls right now is people who hate Girls. We’ve got a Girls backlash backlash. Well this is my backlash to that. And prepare for a new backlash. A Girls backlash backlash backlash backlash. Can’t we just skip to the slash-fiction? Google it.
To keep me focused on the topic (poor results already) I have not yet watched the second episode of Girls. I will, but because this article is about hate, I have to marginalize the risk of not hating the show until the article is over.
You see, I hated the first episode of Girls. I hated Lena Dunham’s movie Tiny Furniture. I also hated Lena Dunham’s two minutes in The Innkeepers. I don’t like Lena Dunham. There are plenty of things I don’t like. I don’t like Monty Python. I don’t really like Ken Marino. I’m not a fan of Woody Allen. Hate the works of Diablo Cody. I could go on and on about things I don’t like.
Why don’t I like Girls?
The Characters, specifically Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath. I feel like if I met Hannah in the real world, I would hate her. The opening scene of the show reveals her to be selfish, lazy, needy, unreasonable, irresponsible, and annoying. She does nothing throughout the pilot to redeem herself – so why would I like her character? If I don’t like her character, why would I want to invest time in the show?
I make it a point not to be friends with people like Hannah. That’s my call. I’m sure there are people out there that find her funny and relatable. Cool, we’re different people and probably aren’t friends in real life. You probably wouldn’t come with me to see Jason X at midnight and I won’t ironically have a mustache and wear a bow tie while riding bikes through the Warehouse District with you. It is completely normal not to watch shows about people you don’t care about. Fiction or reality.
One popular complaint about the show on the internet right now is on the topic of nepotism. If you don’t have a dictionary or Google handy, nepotism refers to the practice of people in power showing preference to friends and family. Specifically, Dunham is the daughter of artist and photographer Laurie Simmons. And every other major female appearing on the poster is also the child of someone who is either rich and/or famous.
Does this mean you can hate them for it? Maybe, maybe not. I mean, if my parents were in the position to help me achieve something like having my own TV show, you’re sure as fuck I’m taking it and never looking back. Sometimes kids of famous people can do great things. Michael Douglas is the son of Kirk Douglas. Kate Hudson is the daughter of Goldie Hawn, her dad Bill Hudson was an actor, and she was raised by Kurt Russell. I don’t think anyone throws their lineage in their faces.
But. I can see why some people might take issue with this, considering these are spoiled rich girls playing spoiled rich girls. A comparison of “rich douchebag” shows brings up Entourage, but star Adrian Grenier doesn’t have famous real parents and his character and the rest of the entourage weren’t spoiled rich assholes being spoiled rich assholes – they were poor kids from the Bronx who made it big and subsequently acted like assholes sometimes.
If Dunham were playing a character that was not a spoiled rich kid, the nepotism backlash would be somewhat less severe. So is this a valid reason to hate the show? Personal preference. If you ever hated George W. Bush and said that he only got elected because of his Dad, then certainly a charge of nepotism against Dunham is fine. Because George HW couldn’t convince 51% of the population to vote one way, but just a few rich people sharing drinks can greenlight a TV a show.
So there’s the thing about Girls for me. The main reason I didn’t like the pilot was because I found the characters to be annoying bitches. Does that make me sexist? Because that’s the second half of this rant.
It seems that anything negative about the show is dismissed as sexism. This comes up a lot when talking about anyone or anything that can be considered a minority. Now, women aren’t minorities, but women in powerful positions in Hollywood, namely writing/directing/producing, are. Various races, in America and Hollywood, are obviously minorities. Sometimes, I hate the movies black directors make. Sometimes I hate the movies women write. That does not make me racist or sexist, despite that being the most convenient argument for someone to jump on.
It is not sexist to hate Girls. In fact, I might argue that it is more sexist to unnaturally defend Girls than it is to attack it. Why are so many people jumping to the defense of this show? I say it’s fine to hate Dunham’s work based on Tiny Furniture and the pilot of Girls. Are some pilots bad? Sure. Will Girls get better? Maybe. But I can hate it now. I might hate it less later, but I can totally hate it now.
Where is this wall of defense to protect men? When The River, from Oren Peli, hit the airwaves, everyone derided it as shit. Shouldn’t we give him a bigger shot? Doesn’t he deserve a few more chances? I mean, if it’s too early to judge Dunham, isn’t it too early to judge anyone who has only “made it” by getting a pilot on the biggest cable station in the world and having a movie get a Criterion Collection release?
SARCASM ALERT. It is not too early to hate Dunham, and it is not sexist to do so. What does a sexist comment look like? I suppose it would be more like “Man, Lena Dunham is a stupid bitch! She should be in the kitchen where all women belong!” That’s definitely sexist.
But saying “Dunham is an annoying bitch! Why does she have a show?” is the exact same thing as saying “Michael Bay is a fucking dick! Why does he make movies?”
You would never accuse the person who said the latter of hating men, would you? Quick, what is the word that means someone hates men? Misandry is the hatred of men, while a misandrist hates men. Misanthropy, for reference, is the hatred of mankind. And in a truly revealing bit of sexism, my browser is telling me “misandry” isn’t even a word. PIG.
I feel like this is part of a far larger issue that I can’t cover here, which would broach why men in TV commercials are shown to be idiots while men in sit-coms are often simpletons. As writer Warren Farrell said: “In the past quarter century, we exposed biases against other races and called it racism, and we exposed biases against women and called it sexism. Biases against men we call humor.”
Perhaps the greatest equality of all would be the equality of hatred. I view Lena Dunham as an artist. A screenwriter. An actress. A director. A producer. As all of those things, I think her work sucks. I’m not interested. It’s not for me. No matter the sex, I don’t give a fuck. If the guy who created and starred in a show called Boys was Len Dunham, and his parents were famous, and the show was about pretentious entitled assholes, I’d hate that too.
I am becoming overwhelmed with things I want to say on this topic and how it branches outward towards a hundred other larger issues, which means I must stop myself and end the article.
BUT FIRST. I mentioned racism. I must make a comment on it. I hate Samuel L. Jackson as Ultimate Nick Fury in the Marvel film universe. This is not racist. I hate Ultimate Nick Fury, who was drawn as a caricature of Sam Jackson. I think the rich history behind regular continuity Nick Fury makes a better character. Hell, he could have been played by anyone, but by casting Sam Jackson all you get is a pale imitation of Sam Jackson. If you cast Denzel Washington as regular continuity Nick Fury, we’d be talking. I mean, Marvel 616 Nick Fury is a bad-ass cross between Rambo, James Bond, and the entire Force 10 from Navarrone. He was a bad ass super spy who kicked shit tons of ass.
So it’s not racist to hate Sam Jackson as Nick Fury when a great character was thrown away in exchange for a shitty one. Why are people just getting mad about this now? I don’t really think it’s racism. I think we just weren’t paying attention when Sam Jackson was a very small part in other films. Now that he’s a virtual leader of The Avengers with a possible spin-off, it’s in our face that we’re stuck with Sam Jackson, who seems to have quit acting about a 15 years ago and now just shows up for money.
Are their sexists and racists out there? Sure. But they’re not as prevalent or vocal as you think. Sometimes we just hate things because we don’t like them. Ignoring that puts me past my boiling point.