Justice Louis Brandeis once said that, “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” I know this because it is an over-quoted phrase that I use when writing about public figures with professional victim complexes. Anyone who works feverishly to be an “On the Edge” humorist really should have their radical pedigrees sorted out before making grand soapbox speeches about how one is oppressed and discriminated against. The natural tendency upon listening to a ludicrous opinion is to get all hot and bothered under the collar, but I’m also reminded of another quote, “Contempt is the emotion we feel for an opponent whose arguments are too formidable to refute.”
Enter “on the edge” radical feminist humorist Lena Dunham. Dunham’s latest foray in the arena of ideas was on a panel at the Sundance Film Festival. Lena Dunham said, “’In some ways America is at its most puritanical,’ in response to a question regarding some of the reactions Girls has received. ’The fact is people are forgetting that humor is a tool for debate. That boycott, censorship, shut ’em down approach to humor shows a very basic lack of understanding of what humor can do for us culturally and what it has always done.’”
The only people who are being shut up and censored are speakers on college campuses. Ayaan Hirsi Ali caused quite a stir amongst her fellow atheists at Yale University. If you are not familiar with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, she is an activist and a writer who has been very critical of Radical Islam, Sharia Law and is fierce promoter of woman’s rights. To my knowledge, Hirsi Ali has not been compelled to perform nude scenes in order for people to take her seriously. I would do a Google Search to substantiate my claim, but that would not be a work-safe search. I would venture a guess to say Hirsi Ali’s nude toilet scenes are fewer than Dunham’s.
In this panel, Dunham called filmmaker Woody Allen a “perv” and said ‘Woody Allen is proof that people don’t think that everything he does in his films is stuff that he does,’ she stated, ‘because all he was doing was making out with 17-year-old girls for years and we didn’t say a word about it. And then he did it. A bunch. No one went, ‘Oh, Woody Allen is making out with a 17-year-old in the film Manhattan and then lo and behold …’
Dunham is pushing against an open door when discussing Woody Allen’s indiscretions but, based on her own accounts in her book, the last thing I expected was for Dunham to pull out the pervert card. The irony is that in the flyover states, many American citizens were disgusted with Allen’s sexual proclivities. Her ire should be aimed at Hollywood for not voicing their concerns, not the “puritanical” Americans she rails against because they do not like her show. It is as if Hollywood was not puritanical enough in their treatment of Woody Allen. For the sake of consistency, I really hope that she holds the same opinion of Roman Polanski as she does of Woody Allen. If not, then you can officially not take anything Dunham says seriously.
Dunham went on to discuss campus assault by saying, “’One of the reasons it is important to talk about campus assaults is that that these women in positions of incredible privilege are still being forced every day to fight for their truth and that is indicative of the fact that sexual assault is an epidemic and so many people are voiceless.”
Call me close-minded, but victims of sexual assault should not be taking advice from Dunham whose own story is not as credible as she would like you to believe. Hey, if Chris Kyle’s biography is up for scrutiny, then so are Dunham’s allegations.
It is not to say that if I had cancer I would only search for an oncologist that has personally had cancer, but I would not think it wise to take an online class on financial ethics from Bernie Madoff.
If you want more women to be open and honest about their sexual assaults, it might not be too prudent to exaggerate one’s own account of assault. That’s like O.J. Simpson saying that he abused his wife in order to start a conversation about domestic violence.
“I hoped beyond hope that the sensitive nature of the event would be honored, and that no one would attempt to reopen these wounds or deepen my trauma,” Dunham wrote in her BuzzFeed essay. “But this did not prove to be the case. I have had my character and credibility questioned at every turn. I have been attacked online with violent and misogynistic language. Reporters have attempted to uncover the identity of my attacker despite my sincerest attempts to protect this information.”
Dunham is shocked and outraged that so many people don’t take what she says at face value. Public figures have the right to speak and the public at large reserves the right to fact check. Dunham claims that attempts to discredit her story could “reopen” the “wounds or deepen” her trauma. Well, that is convenient. Imagine that same logic used during “Jackie’s” alleged sexual assault on the University of Virginia’s campus.
I am sure that Jackie would like to echo Dunham and say, “I hoped beyond hope that the sensitive nature of the event would be honored, and that no one would attempt to reopen these wounds or deepen my trauma… But this did not prove to be the case. I have had my character and credibility questioned at every turn. I have been attacked online with violent and misogynistic language. Reporters have attempted to uncover the identity of my attacker despite my sincerest attempts to protect this information.”
Lena Dunham says she’s fighting the label of “the voice of a generation” but she certainly is inflating her self-importance by her speeches and her TV show. She is welcome to do so but if she is going to inject herself into the arena of ideas, then she is going to have to develop a tougher hide than the one she is currently displaying. If her ideas are sound, then they will fair well against criticism and scrutiny. She needs to be prepared to have her story and facts examined and called into question. If “rape culture” is as rampant as she claims it is, then ego and embellishment will only hurt those she wants to genuinely help.