Over at Breitbart.com’s Big Hollywood operation, cultural critic Kurt Schlichter has a column up advising conservatives to “ignore Lena Dunham at their own peril.” I’ve been thinking a bit about this show and wanted to write about it for some time now, but haven’t found the correct entry point . . . Schlichter’s column will be sufficient.
Although I agree with Schlichter that this is an interesting, maybe even important, show for those who want to understand the zeitgeist of the younger generation, I don’t share his barely concealed contempt. From within his own conservative prism, Schlichter makes a lot of assumptions without doing any basic research to confirm them. First of all, contrary to Schlichter’s claim, Dunham is not an “Ivy Leaguer.” She’s not even a Seven Sisters grad. She attended and was graduated from Ohio’s Oberlin College. An eastern, liberal arts institution for sure, but not elite – not even near-elite. Her parents are not famous and, though she is now wealthy due to her ability to maximize her talents, she is not the child of privilege.
I do find the show fascinating for similar reasons as Schlichter, thoug. Hers is an alien culture to me – and, indeed, to many of her own generation whose voice she intends to be (or to be at least one voice). I find it interesting that this nation has been at war for Dunhams entire adult life – and most of her adolescence, as well – and yet we see not a single piece of evidence of that in her show. Hundreds of thousands of her fellow generational members have gone off to war, but she appears to know not a single one of them.
I happen to believe that Dunham’s generation is going to transform American politics; but I don’t believe that transformation is going to be accomplished by Dunham or her cohorts. It is going to be transformed by the men and women who spend a decade learning the political lessons of counterinsurgency in Southwest Asia, and will return home with a different perspective and real political skills.