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The Woman Who Gave Us Trump

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Lena-Dunham-Funny-Scenes-Girls

Some “anti-identitarians” (that is, people who take the position, normally taken by people like Mark Penn, that centering politics around the interests of white people isn’t “identity politics”) of the “left” have found a yoooge factor in the rise of Donald Trump. The media? Hell no — indeed, this faction devoted much of the campaign that elected a white nationalist authoritarian to trying to pretend that inane trivia from John Podesta’s inbox presented a major scandal. Jim Comey? Nah, what power does the director of the FBI working with the media have? No, the person responsible for Donald Trump is…Lena Dunham.

If I might be permitted to state the obvious, Lena Dunham did not materially affect the election in any way. She does not symbolize decisions that materially affected the campaign in any way. The fact that some celebrities who campaigned for Obama also campaigned for Clinton did not materially affect the election in any way. Hillary Clinton’s campaign one was not a campaign of CELEBRITY FEMINISM in which she relied on Katy Perry to conceal the fact that she had no policy solutions to offer to American women. Clinton offered, inter alia, such longtime Goldman Sachs priorities as a family leave plan, an increased minimum wage and better overtime rules, the Employee Free Choice Act, child care funding, Social Security increases, a public option for health care, and support for repealing the Hyde Amendment. You might think that her speeches consisted of analyses of Broad City and Lemonade, but in fact they were mostly arguments in favor of these policies. Should the Clinton campaign have tried to be more creative about finding ways of getting word of this attractive platform out, over the heads of a media that has abandoned policy coverage? Yes. But there was nothing remotely superficial about her policy appeals. Citing her as an explanation would be like blaming a Trump defeat, had the FBI not intervened or if the United States had a democratic system for picking the president, on reading an endorsement from Bill Belichick.

I mean, look, many of us have trivial hobbyhorses we run into the ground. But projecting them onto other people to provide causal explanations that are specious even for campaign strategy just-so stories is silly. I’m not inclined to spend a lot of time tweeting about Lena Dunham or the neoliberalism of Hamilton or whatever, but I make the readers endure any number of idiosyncratic interests and arguments. But at least I don’t write about how Clinton lost Ohio because she didn’t denounce Mike Holmgren for trading up to draft Trent Richardson.

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  • brad

    All that really needs be said about the quality of this argument is that of the 4 examples cited in the piece, 2 are by Michael Tracey and Freddie.

    • XTPD

      Given that the other one Robby Soare is the third example, you think Scott or Paul could do a piece on the UNCUCKING of Reason?

      (I assume this post seems to be a counter to TNR co-contributor Sarah Jones.)

    • UkuleleIke

      When I saw a post about Lena Dunham, I knew Tracey had to be involved.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Nothing says “the only true man of the left” than “Bernie Sanders needs to back off so Jim Webb can win the nomination.”

        • Dr. Waffle

          Michael Tracey is dumber than a bag of rocks.

          • cpinva

            “Michael Tracey is dumber than a bag of rocks.”

            fortunately for him, more than one person at a time can be dumber than a bag of rocks, because he’d be facing some darn stiff competition.

    • Last week Michael Tracey posted Lena Dunham’s home address on Twitter. A lot of people reported it for targeted abuse, and I’m not sure Twitter did a damn thing about it.

      • Manny Kant

        He did get fired from VICE, though, so that’s nice.

        • D.N. Nation

          Next up: Either RT, the Intercept, or Stormfront.

  • John Selmer Dix

    Hmmm…. Maybe she lost because she trusted a computer and Mook, and thought she had key states locked down despite what democrats on the ground were telling her campaign…

    Just a thought!

    • Scott Lemieux

      About some things, she was apparently right. Aides say Pennsylvania was pegged as an extremely important state early on, which explains why Clinton was such a frequent visitor and chose to hold her penultimate rally in Philadelphia on Monday night.

      Unless you can explain how Clinton wins without PA, this is not a very persuasive theory.

      • John Selmer Dix
        • Scott Lemieux

          That’s from June. The idea this flipped the election is absurd.

          • John Selmer Dix

            Yeah, you’re right. It was probably the Russians.

            • Dr. Waffle

              Nah, it was probably all the scandalmongering over EMAILZ and the racist/xenophobic rhetoric of the Trump campaign. I know those explanations don’t really register with your crowd, but they seem to have had more impact than Hillary not running the right amount of ads in Pennsylvania or whatever.

        • corporatecake

          I live in Pennsylvania. We were deluged by Clinton advertisements. If there was a problem with Clinton advertising, it was content, not quantity.

          • Breadbaker

            I don’t know which ads played in Pennsylvania, but my sense of a lot of the ones that featured only Trump’s words is they eventually served as Trump ads to those who were Trump curious and lost their effectiveness with those they were meant to frighten.

            • Sly

              Yeah. You can only reach people where they are, not where you’d like them to be.

              Where most of white America is is not where the left wants them to be. This isn’t the fault of the left – this kind of thing doesn’t happen in isolation – nor is the ideological space most of white America occupies something that the left should run giddily into, heedless of what they’re running away from. That way lies disaster, both in moral and electoral terms.

              • Harkov311

                nor is the ideological space most of white America occupies something that the left should run giddily into, heedless of what they’re running away from.

                Indeed. I find it odd that in all the think pieces after the election, nobody seems to be making the obvious point that political coalitions generally do better when they try to attract as many people put off by the other side as possible, rather than try to be just like the other side, but slightly different.

                • Jackov

                  Not odd at all. The ideas that political coalitons can expand and are about winning were both disproven earlier this year.

                • cpinva

                  “I find it odd that in all the think pieces after the election, nobody seems to be making the obvious point that political coalitions generally do better when they try to attract as many people put off by the other side as possible, rather than try to be just like the other side, but slightly different.”

                  ok, you lost me here. are you suggesting that the HRC campaign was trying to appeal to Trump supporters by being just slightly less detestable than Trump, and that’s why it failed? I ask, because that’s what it seems to be what you’re saying. if so, you just wildly missed the mark on HRC, by like, light years.

                • Jackov

                  Outcome: Campaign focused on targeting suburban Republicans, primarily by highlighting why opponent was unfit for office, lost.

                  Conclusion: WTF Hillary is not detestable

                  Four Stars

                • Donna Gratehouse

                  Yesterday I argued with a guy who is a fairly big deal in local Dem politics over Keith Ellison being DNC Chair. He thinks it’s a bad idea because “Americans hate Muslims”.

                  There’s not a lot that would make me renounce my party membership but going White Supremacy Lite will do it.

        • (((Hogan)))

          Yeah, imagine thinking that a state that hadn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988–and that elected a Democratic governor in 2014 FFS–wouldn’t require a major infusion of resources five months before the election. What a rookie mistake.

          • Scott Lemieux

            You have to admit that some ad buys in June totally would have won over the voters who overwhelmingly broke for Trump after the Comey letter.

  • Nobdy

    I am not a Lena Dunham fan but ‘blaming’ her for this is just raw uncut misogyny, which many ‘leftists’ have a taste for.

    She is a young woman who is viewed as annoying and shrill because she has opinions and an agenda (at times) and is focused on women’s issues.

    She is then shamed for turning off “mainstream Americans” with her shrillness and blamed for the loss.

    Donald Trump campaigned with Ted Nugent.

    If people are comfortable with Ted Nugent but will vote against a candidate endorsed by Dunham then, even after last week, we don’t need their fucking votes.

    They are terrible people and the compromises necessary to get the votes would be far greater than the value of the votes.

    Fortunately nobody voted against Clinton because of Dunham. It’s just a misogynist myth.

    Mythsogyny.

    Edited to add:

    If we’re counting noxious pop culture figures Donald Trump also campaigned with Donald Trump, who is far more vacuous and shrill than Lena Dunham.

    • brad

      Eh, she’s also, as the piece notes, not inaccurately seen as symbolic of “nepotism and privileged ignorance” by many on the left. She’s not an effective national advocate, probably not even among the market she’s supposed to be targeting. Making her a surrogate isn’t above reproach.

      But shaming and blaming her for making a good faith effort for good causes is, indeed, misogynistic.

      • Nobdy

        How was she made a major surrogate? She was just a celebrity endorser. Her effect on the election was nil.

        Wasn’t the guy who threatened taco trucks on every corner (back in the before time when this was funny) connected to the Trump campaign?

        In a battle of minor surrogates Lena Dunham is at worst somewhere in the middle.

        • brad

          I didn’t mean to suggest she was in any way meaningful in her role. It’s all, as SL notes, an attempt to use the election as an excuse for pet, petty and misguided, concerns. Just not a good choice to speak for the campaign at all, even aside from triggering brocalists (which I absolutely agree should not be given any fucks about).

        • Scott Lemieux

          SHE SPOKE ON A PANEL AT DUKE CLEARLY THIS FLIPPED MICHIGAN

          BTW, whatever you think of her show the nepotism argument is pretty much sexist bullshit. There are a lot of successful artists in NYC and very few of their children end up with HBO deals before they turn 30.

          • Nobdy

            I disagree with that. Nepotism alone doesn’t explain it (unlike, say Max Landis or, the ultimate, Breck Eisner) but having connections definitely helps. Not everyone can leverage them, but if she hadn’t had the family connections I think her success would have been much less likely.

            Nepotism alone doesn’t explain it, but that doesn’t mean nepotism wasn’t a factor.

            But that’s irrelevant. Lots of successful people benefit from nepotism. You never hear that Ben Stiller only got his own show in his 20s because of nepotism, for example. I like the Ben Stiller Show more than Dunham’s work but that’s personal taste, and demographics.

            Regardless, while I think she benefited from family connections, her getting specifically called out on it is because of misogyny.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Nepotism alone doesn’t explain it, but that doesn’t mean nepotism wasn’t a factor.

              I’m sorry, this is silly. How many people working as writers and directors and producers in (metaphorical) Hollywood come from poor backgrounds? She had some not very powerful connections, and got a show that’s stayed on the air for years. There is zero chance that a man with her background and accomplishment would be derided as a product of neoptism. Absolutely none.

              • kped

                And…it’s a very well reviewed show! Let’s not pretend it’s a garbage show. Some may not like it, but overall, it’s always enjoyed critical success.

                I’m convinved 90% of the hate is because she’s an outspoken woman, and an outspoken not conventionally “beautiful” woman who dares show her naked body on TV instead of being ashamed for not being size 0.

                There is nothing really that can explain the visceral hatred she engenders other than sexism. I mean, at the same time she got her show, HBO also gave a show to Jason Scwartzman, son of Talia Shire, nephew of Francis Ford Coppolla. And his show was allowed to exist for it’s 2 or so seasons without backlash for nepotism. Frankly, it’s a bullshit charge for Lena Dunham. Of 62 episodes, she’s written 35. She created the show. She has…talent!

                • Scott Lemieux

                  And he got Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis to star! But, oddly, there have been very few thinkpieces written about whether he really deserved the show.

                • Why did there have to be? The questions (of which I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought of them) could be addressed to someone who didn’t automatically deserve deference because they had testicles (and didn’t care enough to be born looking like Gisele Bundchen).

                • cpinva

                  I think I watched “Girls” once or twice. not that it was a bad show, just that I clearly was not its target audience. however, I did find it amusing, and didn’t find its success all that surprising. Ms. Dunham is obviously a talented young woman, and connections never hurt, at least to getting your foot in the door. after that, it’s on you.

                  I doubt very seriously that her involvement in the campaign had a huge effect either way, but it was a good idea to have a younger demographic represented on said campaign. but blaming her for its failure is just a gigantic crock of shit.

                • Halloween Jack

                  HBO also gave a show to Jason Scwartzman, son of Talia Shire, nephew of Francis Ford Coppolla.

                  Let’s not forget Sofia Coppola, daughter of FFC, or Nicolas Coppola, nee Cage, nephew of FFC. Not that these people don’t have talent (although Cage has largely squandered his), but come on.

              • Nobdy

                There is zero chance that a man with her background and accomplishment would be derided as a product of neoptism. Absolutely none.

                I didn’t disagree with this and in fact cited Ben Stiller and two other dudes as examples of guys who are not criticized for benefiting from nepotism even though they did more.

                But that doesn’t mean there’s not a grain of truth to the fact that she benefited from connections, and that it doesn’t generally suck how much of our society and culture works this way.

                It’s definitely not specific to Dunham in any meaningful way though. It’s throughout basically every media industry, among others.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  But that’s the ballgame! Selectively applying the charge to Dunham (who, again, did not have particularly powerful connections in the TV industry; you’d think she was David Chase’s daughter or something) and only Dunham is pretty clear evidence that the attcks aren’t about nepotism.

                • veleda_k

                  fact that she benefited from connections

                  Since this is true of absolutely any industry, and indeed the world in general, (If you know influential people, that helps you. Ultimate shocker!) the fact that only Dunham is being called on it, is very much sexism.

                  This is the same way much of the bullshit HRC misogyny worked. HRC would do something that a dozen politicians had done before, but somehow when she did it, everyone would have a damn gibbering meltdown.

                • Nobdy

                  I don’t know what we’re arguing about.

                  I never denied that singling out Dunham was sexist and in fact have said it multiple times.

                  I just think it’s kind of bullshit that people with connections have such a boost and think it’s worth noting in general how many successful people come from wealthy and successful families. It’s not Dunham specific (as I’ve said) it’s just like…a general bummer.

                • Breadbaker

                  Speaking of ballgames, we all know that only people named Buck and Caray are capable of announcing baseball at all.

              • Dilan Esper

                Lena Dunham is a huge talent, full stop.

                But Bill Maher used to make fun of stars’ kids when they would say “it just got me in the door”. Getting in the door in the industry, he would note, is 95 percent of success.

                Tons of talented people never get in that door. Yes, nepotism matters. And it matters more in this industry because jobs are so scarce and Hollywood ruins the lives of so many dreamers.

                • delazeur

                  Yeah, the real issue isn’t exploiting connections – just about every successful person does that. It’s when successful people deny that their connections helped them at all.

                  At the same time, singling out Dunham for criticism is pretty obviously sexist. I have no idea how accurate that criticism even is in her case.

          • rea

            I really find it hard to see how there could be nepotism–who in the world of TV gives a shit about her dad however semi-famous he is as a painter of cartoon women with large posteriors?

            • Scott Lemieux

              Every child of a middle-tier New York artist gets a long-running HBO show. It’s the law.

            • Manny Kant

              I mean, she certainly benefited from having high cultural capital. But that’s just the world we live in.

      • heckblazer

        The nepotism thing always bugs me the hell out me. I mean, I never see people laying that charge against, say, Joss Wheedon even though he’s a *third* generation TV writer who somehow managed to direct a feature film when about the same age as Dunham.

        • brad

          He’s also an immense, all but undeniable talent. I’m not a fan of Dunham but her existence doesn’t bother me and I can see where she’s good at what she does for the audience she’s after. But things like who is on the cast of Girls with her is part of, I suspect, why it sticks to her.
          Also, probably, a bit of a sexist double standard, which I don’t place myself above perhaps some unconscious influence from.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I prefer Girls to any Wheedon show I’ve seen, myself.

            • brad

              All I can say is living on its set leaves me with less than charitable inclinations towards the characters depicted.

              • kped

                You live on the sets of Girls?

                That’s a bizarre place to live. Hope the rent is cheap.

                • brad

                  I live on the border of Williamsburg and Bushwick. Close enough.

              • nixnutz

                That’s reasonable, I lived in Greenpoint during the period when hipsters starting moving in in large numbers. The saving grace of Girls though is that there’s no more incisive exploration of why Lena Dunham is annoying as hell than her own show. All the characters are awful.

                Not to say there aren’t legit blind spots on top of that, and I don’t really have the stomach for it myself anymore, but people seem to really misread the show. It’s not a celebration of how awesome rich white hipsters are.

                • Sly

                  The only reason I don’t watch Girls is that, growing up on Long Island, I knew these characters before they started moving to Brooklyn and I didn’t need a dramatic telling of of why they’re so narcissistic. I know their parents. It’s not a fucking mystery to me.

                  But the fact that she’s doing it in pretty raw way is refreshing, if that rawness is often hamfisted.

              • Moondog von Superman

                Oh, I don’t think charitable inclinations towards the characters is exactly what they’re going after on Girls.

                I think one of Dunham’s problems is that people are not comfortable with how honest she is about her characters or herself. And lines are certainly blurry between the two.

                • Snuff curry

                  Except when it requires punching down at them, most men have a terrible sense of humor when it comes to women. A dry or ironic tone is usually treated as guilelessness in need of guidance, and self-effacement, when it involves something other than beauty compliance, simply doesn’t register at all.

                • brad

                  I understand the intent to self-criticize, but the comparable yet even more extreme take by Tim and Eric in their film The Comedy was similarly unwatchable for me.
                  But there’s also a refusal to hear any criticism of her sometimes, and to categorically assert that her ironic take is lost is condescending and kind of shitty.
                  She’s tone deaf to herself in real ways, which not everyone enjoys. I’m fine with her being a successful and celebrated artist, but her work annoys me and I don’t enjoy it.

                • Snuff curry

                  It would condescending to insist someone enjoy something for their own good and/or in spite of their own tastes (which is not what is happening here), but it is decidedly not condescending to acknowledge that men undervalue the abilities and achievements of women such that even a mediocre and derivative talent, like Dunham, is disproportionately underestimated, her work excised from an established comedic tradition, and (as this post demonstrates) uniquely maligned, across the political spectrum, in her public life for doing what countless and more visible men have done this election (Jeffrey Wright, Justin Timberlake, the performative feminism of Matt McGorry, et al) without incident.

                  Not to mention the fact that when women assert political opinions that might favor or highlight other women, they are dismissed as self-centered uterus voters, whereas men are granted homemade cookies because their hearts, wherever they lead one, are pure and earnest. Cf white and black people with performative, safety-pin anti-racism.

          • cpinva

            “But things like who is on the cast of Girls with her is part of, I suspect, why it sticks to her.”

            as I understand it, most of the cast are friends of hers/people she grew up with. um, that’s how a lot of casts are filled out, by people the director knows/worked with before/are friends with/etc. they aren’t all filled by huge cattle call auditions.

            that’s how lots of jobs get filled, in every other industry too. it’s not just the entertainment industry. they are correct, to some degree, in that it gets their foot in the door. of course, if they don’t produce, that foot, along with the rest of their body, gets tossed right back out of the door.

            • Manny Kant

              Surely the issue is that one of her costars is Brian Williams’s daughter, and another is David Mamet’s daughter (and Jemima Kirke also has a more famous father than Dunham does). That they’re all her personal friends kind of emphasizes that she comes from a very privileged background, even if her parents are not, themselves, actually famous in any significant way.

        • Nobdy

          Also, Trump is the KING of nepotism. It’s the one thing he really is quite good at. Not only did he become wealthy off his father’s money and connections but he gave his kids major power in his campaign and is trying to get his son in law top secret clearance for security briefings, which is just insane.

          That’s the beautiful thing about Donald Trump I guess. Whatever minor infraction his opponents have committed he has done twenty times worse.

          Remember when Donald Trump was endorsed by David Duke and took quite a while to repudiate the endorsement? Remember when he appointed Steve Bannon as CEO of his campaign and then senior adviser in the White House? Yet we’re supposed to think Dunham was the deciding factor AND feel bad about it?

          • los

            Remember when Donald Trump was endorsed by David Duke …

            Other sketchy associates:
            Boris Epshteyn.
            Paul Manafort.
            Roger Stone.
            Uday and Qusay Trump.

            [Trump] appointed Steve Bannon as CEO of his campaign and then senior adviser in the White House?

            And Ex-KGB Vladimir Putin, himself.

            (Already I don’t remember much about Death Threats butler.)

        • (((42)))

          I am persuaded by the argument that the nepotism critique is driven by misogyny. BUT…that defense is not helped by the three other daughters of famous fathers on the show. (OK, two famous fathers and one guy from that band that was always on classic rock radio when I was in middle school.) One time, it’s misogyny. Four times, the claim is still misogyny, but the show also starts to look clubby.

          For what it’s worth, I think Girls has a bad case of cake having and eating. Is it a critique of the profoundly self-involved or is it just profoundly self-involved? Is it all a dare to see if I can stick around long enough to figure it out? I didn’t.

    • Origami Isopod

      Lena Dunham has a number of issues, particularly her blind spot on race. That said, the harping on her as the reason Clinton lost is indeed rank misogyny. It’s pure wingnut hateboner stroking, as with Pajama Boy or arugula or Dijon mustard.

      She is a young woman who is viewed as annoying and shrill because she has opinions and an agenda (at times) and is focused on women’s issues.

      She also doesn’t fit the very narrow definition of “fuckable” that misogynist men on both the left and right go by.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Has the “Pajama Boy threw the election to Trump” article been written yet?

      • los

        harping on her [Lena Dunham] as the reason Clinton lost is indeed rank misogyny

        Considering that Lena Dunham is rather obscure… I barely recognized her name. I thought she was an actress in the Game Of Thrones Is The Old Walking Orange series.

        he also doesn’t fit the very narrow definition of “fuckable”

        … though Steve Bannon and imaginary frogs do…
        /s

      • cpinva

        “She also doesn’t fit the very narrow definition of “fuckable” that misogynist men on both the left and right go by.”

        ok, now you’re starting to make me feel weird. I think she’s kind of cute. a little chubby maybe, but cute chubby. and smart, always a plus in women for me. if I was several decades younger, I could see me wanting to date her. I would not be surprised to find out that she has a lot of young male fans too.

        • JL

          That indicates that you are less fatphobic than various misogynistic men across the political spectrum, which is a good thing. You would be amazed at how much hate she gets for her body. Hating Lena Dunham for body fat has been a thing since she’s had a show.

          Also, I cosign all of OI’s comment. There is criticism of her from women on the left, especially women of color, that gets largely ignored except by people who are in those circles. But the idea that she somehow caused Hillary to lose the election is nonsense (and her anti-racist feminist left critics are not the ones claiming that she did – that one seems to be coming from white guys who make a religion out of claiming that “identity politics” have gone too far).

  • frylock

    The idea that a dozen Buzzfeed writers talking about Hamilton in a slack channel is symptomatic of the decadence of “liberals” is one of the stranger shibboleths of the leftist twitterati.

    In fact, the entire “liberals drive a car like this, but leftists drive a car like THIS” mode of thinking is pretty bizarre.

    • LeeEsq

      There isn’t much of a functional difference between liberals and leftists these days. Most self-identified liberals have beliefs and policy positions that in the not to distant past would be identified as leftist like skepticism regarding market economics while self-identified leftists absorbed some liberal beliefs like identity politics skepticism and insistence on individualism. Thee is somebody I know from high school who somehow managed to combine the most annoying features of Jil Stein both parties are the same leftism and Social Justice/Identity Politics into his political cosmology. If anything his beliefs seem to be Stalinist.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Many liberals are social democrats, even in the U.S., and the radical left has often been one of the most reliable defenders of civil liberties. The idea that “liberalism” and “leftism” represent entirely alien traditions is a really stupid one that needs to be thrown in a bag and drowned in the East River. The fact that on Twitter Erik Loomis is a “liberal” while people like Tracey and Kilpatrick are “leftists” just underscores the inanity.

        • The “leftists” of the type these dweebs are pretending to be basically didn’t give a shit about liberals — everyone from social democrats to fascists were just seen as part of an undifferentiated mass of enemies.

          For some reason that trend dropped off in the West in the ’30s. Wonder why.

        • kped

          Especially since Loomis, who I’ll admit to having issues with recently due to his WWC stuff, has done undeniable amazing work on unions, workers rights and supply chain stuff that is more than any of those hacks who think they are more “left” then him will ever do. I can’t fathom why a leftist would have issue with Erik, his work is impeccable. (still disagree about the WWC stuff though ;)

          • Scott Lemieux

            He was not sufficiently fast to address the most compelling left-wing cause of 2016, standing up for a blogger at a think tank’s inalienable right to gratuitously insult people the think tank has relationships with without losing his side gig after multiple warnings. (I wish I was kidding.)

            • kped

              I remember this well…just embarrassing.

              Seriously, if these guys put half the effort into real work like Erik is doing, the left would be far better organized. But they prefer to snark on Twitter about other liberals instead, and then wonder why they aren’t given the head spot at the table when people make actual decisions.

        • los

          which are the alt-left and which are the alt-alt-alt-left?

          • Manny Kant

            Michael Tracey is definitely in the alt-left, in the sense that he is indistinguishable from the alt-right.

        • cpinva

          um, I always thought “leftist” and “liberal” were pretty much the same thing, have I been wrong all these years?

          • solidcitizen

            “Liberals” believe in a market economy and accommodation with the capitalists. And, apparently, identity politics.

            “Leftists” understand that the system must be smashed and replaced with communism/anarchy/syndicalism. Also, that the only identify is class identity, all others are tools of the bosses.

            For “liberals” the greatest enemy of the people is oppression in any form. For “leftists” the greatest enemy of the people are liberals, who prevent the revolution which will free the people.

            “Liberals” are naive people who must be pitied while fought, for they know not what they do. Pity, as always, eventually turns to hate.

            “Leftists” are realists who have all the answers.

            “The people” agree with the “leftists,” but are blinded by the “liberals,” what with their Lena Dunham feminism and Jay-Z blackness.

            God, I hate this election.

          • LeeEsq

            Its a long and complicated history. The original liberals believed in something close to what we now see as libertarianism. They believed in free market economics, a representative government with limited powers, and a legal regime based around the individual and civil liberties rather than the group and responsibilities towards the state. The original leftists were people who believed in socialism, anarchism, communism, and other far left ideologies.

            Towards the end of the 19th century, there were a group of liberals in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands that began absorbing some of the socialist criticism of free market capitalism. They were still free traders and thought that public ownership of the means of production was dumb but believed that government should ameliorate at least some of the market excesses. These liberals began calling themselves Modern or Social Liberals and began writing about Positive Liberty, freedom to achieve certain goals in addition to Negative Liberty, freedom from restraint on action. The liberals who kept to the old definition called themselves Classical Liberals and much latter Libertarians.

            At the same time, the socialists were having a split between those that believed socialism could be achieved through peaceful democratic means and others who thought only that revolutionary violence would do. The former became Social Democrats and the latter Communists.

            When we got to the mid-20th century, liberals and social democrats were moving towards a convergence. In the wake of the Great Depression, liberals began believing in more government regulation while Social Democrats adopted the liberal concern for individual rights, civil liberties, due process, and rule of law because of the excesses of the Communists and Fascists. They also began abandoning calls for public ownership of the means of production at settling for regulation. Its just that in some countries you had to say you were a liberal rather than a leftist or social democrat because of politics.

          • Richard Gadsden

            No, you’ve just been American.

            Actual proper leftists are rare enough over there, and quite a chunk of them called themselves liberals for a long time, so it’s very easy to get confused.

          • JL

            Sort of, but the usages of “leftist” and “liberal” among various factions of liberals and/or leftists differ so much that there’s not much point in trying to sort through it. I could probably write a 10,000 word essay on which factions (there are more than two, it’s not just a Tracey-et-al vs everyone else thing) think which term means what. Don’t want to, though.

            Incidentally, that phenomenon did not come out of this election, even though a lot of people became aware of it through this election.

            I’ve taken to just saying “progressive,” which seems to generate the least hostility among the most people and to be a term that large numbers of people from mainstream liberals to socialists and anarchists are willing to identify with.

          • JMP

            They are, except for a small strand of the obnoxious liberaler-than-thou purity troll types, who try and affix different meanings to the two synonyms and sneer at the “liberals”. But the distinction is bullshit; the vast majority of people treat the two labels (along with “progressive”) as having the same meaning.

    • Scott Lemieux

      The need to affix “leftist” and “liberal” contrasting labels to everything is particularity acute when you’re very conscious about establishing your cred but don’t actually know much of anything about politics, with some aesthetic Stalinsim mixed in. It’s the left equivalent of those “50 most conservative kitchen appliances” articles they publish at the National Review.

      • kped

        The fact that someone like Erik is a centrist DNC hack, while someone like Glenn Greenwald is leftist in good standing shows how stupid the labels are. Glenn, as far as I can tell, holds mostly libertarian views on economics, and is most certainly to the right of Erik on everything but the surveillance state, where I’d guess they hold the same position.

        It’s really all about who you hate. If you hate who they hate on the left, the “leftists” will take you as one of them.

        • I hear Loomis wears dad jeans. What a fool. True leftists only wear banana hammocks emblazoned with Lenin’s face.

          • Pleated khakis, unlike True Leftist Freddie what with his hipster skinny jeans and the like looking down on a completely made up version of me

            • Jackov

              That pasttime appears to extend beyond true leftists.

              One can not take on big tomato and vodka simultaneously
              and not get a little Bloodied Mary.

          • cpinva

            I wear 8 pocket hiker shorts, in all weather (no pleats either). Dockers (pants for middle-aged guys with big butts) when I must, and a suit when absolutely necessary. I wear Levi’s when the occasion calls for it, but not the stretchable kind, ick!

        • But according to various commenters the last few days, I am an apologist for white supremacy or maybe even a racist myself because I think taking working class (white, brown, or black) concerns about the economy seriously is important. True leftists take a shit on working class voters who don’t vote for Democrats. Or even better, they just don’t care about working class people at all. That’s why Greenwald is the true leftist and I am a useless HillaryHack.

          • jeer9

            because I think taking working class (white, brown, or black) concerns about the economy seriously is important.

            I support that view as well (not that you need any validation from me).

          • kped

            Despit my annoyance with the over focus on “WWC” voters, I don’t agree with those characterizations of you, I still think you focus more on those workers and not enough on the other working class workers (ie, you would be better served talking about working class voters in general and not specifically those who voted for Trump. It would include those voters, but wouldn’t be seen as catering to them).

            I just totally agree with Bouie’s take on this issue, that these voters choice of Trump will have very very real consequences for people of color, and not enough time on the left is being spent grappling with that.

          • cpinva

            “because I think taking working class (white, brown, or black) concerns about the economy seriously is important.”

            the difference between you and Trump. Trump’s “working-class” audience wasn’t/isn’t, for the most part. none of his proposed agenda will do any good for actual working-class people. oh, his deportations will, maybe, open up a lot of low paying jobs, but the actual working-class already has that niche covered. it’s why they’re working-class to begin with.

      • Do you have a link to this National Review piece? I’ve been suspicious that my kitchen is a warren of right-deviationists and it might be time for a purge.

      • veleda_k

        “50 most conservative kitchen appliances”

        I actually want to read this now.

        • los

          Either realtruenews or nypost posts 50 links a day, moistly titled, “the hottest MAGA pink guns today”

        • H. Rumbold, Master Barber

          Lest we forget the $1800 Thermomix.

        • PohranicniStraze

          Much to my chagrin, I suspect my single-cup coffeemaker is a Trumpist.

          • q-tip

            My Aeropress definitely thinks your Keurig should check its privilege.

      • jeer9

        It would help if American leftists stopped asking whether or not Walter Reuther’s attempts to bourgeoisify the auto workers was objectively reactionary. It would also help if they emphasized the similarities rather than the differences between Malcolm X and Bayard Rustin, between Susan B. Anthony and Emma Goldman, between Catherine MacKinnon and Judith Butler. The sectarian divisions that plagued Marxism are manifestations of an urge for purity which the Left would be better off without. – Richard Rorty in the chapter on “The Eclipse of the Reformist Left.”

        As many commenters have already suggested, Achieving Our Country is definitely worth reading (or re-reading), though pretty much anything by him is thought-provoking and rewards study.

        • Phil Perspective

          It would also help if they emphasized the similarities rather than the differences between Malcolm X and Bayard Rustin, between Susan B. Anthony and Emma Goldman, between Catherine MacKinnon and Judith Butler.

          Susan B. Anthony was racist, in case you forgot.

          • jeer9

            So was FDR.

            Don’t you have some shopping to do at Purity Supreme?

            • Phil Perspective

              You’re okay with someone who explicitly said she wasn’t there to help black women get the right to vote?

              • Scott Lemieux

                OK, Phil, you’re a better person than Susan B. Anthony and Abraham Lincoln. You totally would have transcended the typical racial attitudes of your time had you lived the 19th century. Congratulations!

    • Sly

      No one could have predicted that people who view leftist activism within the confines of a Wi-Fi cafe in Greenpoint could be parochial as fuck.

  • LeeEsq

    I’m some what skeptical of identity politics or at least it has some rather severe limitations in what it can accomplish but this is just dumb. The number of people who voted Trump because of Lena Dunham is zero. Clinton’s celebrity endorsements probably didn’t help her that much because of our fragmented media landscape but they didn’t hurt her either.

  • wjts

    I blame Kate McKinnon, myself.

    • N__B

      Who doesn’t?

    • brad

      I blame her for making me finally cry.

      • Moondog von Superman

        I was glad I watched that at home. It was not an “I think I’ll have a little cry at the movies” thing. It was somewhat more unstoppable.

    • Bas-O-Matic

      Her depiction of Clinton as a grasping striver without principles probably didn’t help?

  • pianomover
    • lige

      The Onion has been on fire lately. Too bad they probably lost us the election too.

      • LeeEsq

        Hope they have their fire insurance fee paid up because Ryan is going to get rid of public fire fighters and return us to the model where insurance companies ran the fire departments.

        • lige

          It’s for our own good.

        • nixnutz

          Maybe we could return to the model where volunteer fire companies provided the muscle for political machines.

          • los

            Hephaestus “won” another election

            Make America Hot…

            Again

  • Rusty SpikeFist

    people who take the position, normally taken by people like Mark Penn, that centering politics around the interests of white people isn’t “identity politics

    I thought it would be impossible for Scott’s dumb strawmen to get any dumber. I was wrong.

    • What exactly else is “Diversity rhetoric has obscured that 63% of USA is white” supposed to mean? How is it not “identity politics” to attempt to appeal to white voters?

    • Manny Kant

      Mark Penn and the Jacobin set are literally saying exactly the same thing about this election. That’s a fact. Maybe they’re right! But don’t pretend that that’s not what’s happening.

  • LeeEsq

    Its Joss Wheldon’s fault. Everybody knows that. Can I admit my sin of never really liking his work. Can’t stand Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, or Firefly.

    • Nobdy

      Found the Dollhouse fan. You sicko!

      • pianomover

        Memberberries

      • LeeEsq

        We all have our dirty little secrets.

    • I’ve never watched any of those shows, but I do like Agents of SHIELD.

    • Halloween Jack

      It’s not that I don’t like his work–some of it I like quite a lot–it’s that he is relentlessly and ridiculously overpromoted by the Whedonistas. Try to convince any of them that Nathan Fillion is known best for playing the lead on Castle, or that Morena Baccarin for Deadpool, Homeland, or Gotham.

  • PeakVT

    From the title, I thought this post would be about Kellyanne Conway.

    Who the fuck is Lena Dunham?

    /googles for a bit

    Okay, well, I can now say for sure she’s not a relative of Oliva Dunham. I still see no reason to care what she has to say.

    Still wishing I had taken the blue pill last Tuesday…

    • Nobdy

      Clinton would never have Olivia Dunham as a surrogate. She’s quite a fringe character!

      • Gareth

        She did deal with a serious illegal immigration problem.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Who the fuck is Lena Dunham?

      –Every marginal voter in the Rust Belt

      • Breadbaker

        –Every marginal voter in the Rust Belt

      • Bas-O-Matic

        Every marginal voter in the Rust Belt. Most people.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    If Joe Piscopo and Scott Baio be for them, who can be against?

    I think I read on some cranky blog that it was Susan Sarandon’s fault.

    • See, now given that Susan Sarandon went around trying to get liberals and leftists not to vote for Hillary Clinton, that makes some sense. All the theory needs is some evidence that there’s 110,000 people in PA, WI, and MI that give a shit about what Susan Sarandon thinks.

      • Manny Kant

        Jill Stein got 30,000 more votes in Michigan this year than she did in 2012. Clinton lost by 13,000 votes in Michigan. Sarandon is not primarily responsible for that, but certainly didn’t help.

  • osceola

    Ya know, Erik, if she really did offer a “pubic option” for health care, it would have been hella successful.

    • osceola

      Ooops, delete Erik, replace with Scott.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Uh, she did.

      On Facebook, I had a conversation with a guy who said he was voting Stein because Clinton didn’t support expanding Social Security. I pointed out that Clinton was in favor of expanding Social Security. He than explained that she wasn’t supporting in the right way.

      • Origami Isopod

        Osceola is pointing out a very funny typo in your post.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Well, don’t I feel like a dumbshit now!

      • I had this exchange so, so many times:

        THEM: Hillary hasn’t earned my vote! If she wanted me to vote for her, she’d support [the public option|expanding Social Security|rejecting TPP|increasing the minimum wage|subsidized tuition|a national sick leave law|overturning Citizens United]!

        ME: Well, she has actually proposed [that policy], it’s on her website, it’s part of the Democratic Platform, here’s a speech where she goes into it in more detail…

        THEM: She doesn’t mean it! Also, she’d NEVER get it past a Republican Congress! It’s too little too late!

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yup. Freddie is also a master of the arbitrary preemptive dealbreaker.

        • Uneekness

          Late to this post, but also had the head -slapper conversation with a True Leftist on Facebook that Feingold lost in WI because he didn’t endorse Bernie, so he’s in cahoost with Hillary to screw over the working man on behalf of the globalists, and that the salt-of-the-earth WWCs punished him for the ACA because they know it’s a corporate giveaway to Big Insurance and would’ve flocked to Bernie because they all really want single payer.

          Not even making any of that up.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            Those folks made up a third of my Facebook timeline.

            I finally had to stop hosting Cafe Wellstone and delete Facebook because of them.

            • XTPD

              This is why I never use Facebook.

  • Dr. Waffle

    “Leftists” like Carl Bejier, BONERS, Michael Tracey, etc. target Lena Dunham for the same reason they target Sady Doyle, Jill Filipovic, Imani Gandy, Amanda Marcotte, Neera Tanden, etc.: they think progressive women are stupid bitches who should know their place and let the salt-of-the-earth types at Jacobin and the Intercept dominate the conversation.

    It’s pure misogyny, in other words.

    • XTPD

      Note that one of the four examples, the only UNCUCKED one concerns Sarah Jones, who ran a piece last week in the New Republic blaming Clinton’s defeat on “celebritah feminism” – basically run-of-the-mill purity pony bullshit. The fact that Scott’s critique of the “blame Dunham” argument isn’t especially angry or sarcastic makes me think this post is responding to Jones’ piece specifically – though I find it he’s criticizing a co-contributor through another TNR contributer’s piece (which itself runs on another website, and also I like pie).

      • Origami Isopod

        I learned of Jones’s existence via Kathleen Geier’s Twitter. I can’t remember why I went to Geier’s Twitter, but after reading an article by her in which she blamed EMAILZ!!! and the “fangurl-like” motto “I’m with Her” for Clinton’s loss, I decided not to waste my time reading anything by her anymore.

        I did peek at Jones’s Twitter and, IIRC, she was getting huffy with a feminist who asked her not to use loaded language like “simpering.” Jones, being a woman, obviously couldn’t be misogynist against herself. /backbutton

        • XTPD

          Cosign about the internalized misogyny problem; I was just saying the TNR piece was a strict purity pony argument.

          • Scott Lemieux

            FTR, I haven’t read Jones’s article.

          • Origami Isopod

            I know, I was taking the opportunity to vent about Jones because I hadn’t seen her name before.

    • I know you included the scare quotes, but the idea that Tracey, a man who has previously backed Jim Webb and Ron Paul and praised Nigel Farage, is a leftist of any kind is the funniest fucking joke I’ve ever heard.

      • Origami Isopod

        The boundaries seem to be fluid. See also David Horowitz.

        Was it Orwell who remarked on how the communists and fascists used to switch sides all the time on a whim?

    • Scott Lemieux

      Let us not forget “Jamelle Bouie, America’s neoliberalist neoliberal who didn’t really support Bernie Sanders.” It ain’t just women who don’t know their place who are a problem.

      • Dr. Waffle

        Is there a black or female writer that crowd hasn’t dogpiled? I realize they want the Democratic Party to adopt Tom Watson-style populism, but they really should try to make it less obvious.

        • Phil Perspective

          You do know the Communism/Socialism space is way more than just white frat boys, right?

          • mds

            Well, if that’s an admission that at least you weren’t in a fraternity … congratulations, white boy.

      • kped

        Freddie labeled him the biggest disappointment in journalism for this election on Twitter. Other lefty twitter guys said it was him or Jelani Cobb. Which is to say, them blacks be disappointing us, same as it ever was.

        And who could forget when TNC was wrong for criticizing Bernie, even though he was voting for him. Always the colords stirring up trouble.

        • Snuff curry

          Was that before or after Coates was gently dismissed as being not sufficiently prepped for the Majors?

          • kped

            sorry, to clarify, Freddie wasn’t the one ripping Coates, it was the “leftist” twitter in general. Freddie absolutely loathed Bouie for reasons I don’t understand. Oh, he also hates Jeet Heer. A different shade, but brown all the same. Calls him a dweeb and used to try to get him to argue against him (Heer, being Canadian, has far too much class to engage hacks like Freddie. Then again, me and Lemieux are Canadian, and we rip that little shit DeBoer apart with pleasure…so maybe it’s nothing to do with being Canadian)

            • Snuff curry

              Freddie absolutely loathed Bouie for reasons I don’t understand.

              Scott explains below. ETA and you.

            • Just_Dropping_By

              Oh, he also hates Jeet Heer. A different shade, but brown all the same. Calls him a dweeb and used to try to get him to argue against him (Heer, being Canadian,

              I’d been thinking Jeet Heer was Dutch all this time.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Freddie wasn’t the one ripping Coates

              Freddie has written some profoundly embarrassing stuff about Coates.

              • kped

                Oh, I know that very well, was just talking specifically in this instance (felt my paragraph up there was unclear). But Freddie had a specific problem with the Atlantic hiring Coates, saying he wasn’t ready for the big leagues (while never making that criticism about…anyone else ever).

                Coates had spent nearly a decade as an actual reporter. But that didn’t matter, he could write, he had experience, but…there was just something Freddie found “off” about him…can’t put my finger on it…

        • Dr. Waffle

          Which is hilarious, because Bouie, Cobb, and TNC are infinitely better writers and thinkers than their “leftist” critics could ever hope to be. Has Freddie ever written anything worth reading? How about Connor Kilpatrick? Virtually everything they’ve written is a variation on the “HAHA liberals are big dummies” theme.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Shorter Freddie: “Why should Jamelle Bouie and not me have a Slate gig just because he’s a much better writer who’s far more knowledgeable about history and politics than I am? It’s an affirmative action hire! Plus the grapes were probably sour anyway.”

          • kped

            I think it’s because Bouie focuses too much on his pet issues, “black stuff”, and not enough on the real important things to Freddie, ie, Liberals not doing it right (it, usually being vaguely related to messaging or some other trivial thing Freddie has a hard on about).

            • Don’t forget gay people not being sufficiently gay. And feminists not giving a nice guy like him a chance.

              • kped

                They weren’t flaming enough for him. And real gays just want ass sex in public all the time, not stupid things like marriage equality or the ability to visit their dying loved ones in the hospital. Fucking squares.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  “I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals flaming! And Jamelle Bouie is a neoliberal.” — Freddie deBoer

                • Come on, Scott, that’s unfair to Homer.

          • Dr. Waffle

            For someone who claims to be a socialist, Freddie sure does care a lot about his class status. His resentment of more successful writers is palpable.

            • kped

              More successful black writers specifically though. I mean…it’s a trend that can’t be ignored.

            • Also his tendency to accuse his critics of being jealous of his astounding success. When it suits him he’s just a poor humble man making ends meet in academia with nothing but a blog, a silver tongue, and a honkin’ dong he needs to lift with both hands to piss. And then it’s “you’re just jealous I got published in Time and the National Review and Der Sturmer” etc.

              • MAJeff

                Also his tendency to accuse his critics of being jealous of his astounding success.

                He’s the assessment asshole. Success?

        • Incidentally, I am very excited that Jelani Cobb is the last speaker in the amazing series I co-organized at URI this fall. If he makes Connor Kilpatrick sad, even better.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Huh — I figured Connor would be the last speaker, giving a lecture on Merle Haggard’s neoliberalism.

      • Dilan Esper

        Bouie’s pre-election punditry does not stand up at all.

        That doesn’t make him history’s greatest monster, but he does have the tendency towards definitive pronouncements of things that are far from definitive.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Bouie’s writing throughout the campaign was superb. (That this criticism is coming from someone who thinks Maureen Dowd is a good political analyst is particularly hilarious.)

      • Richard Gadsden

        Jamelle Bouie is a guy. TIL.

    • D.N. Nation

      They’re swell with Elizabeth Bruenig, though, and I’m sure her being a coquettish, deferential, pro-life uber-Catholic has nothing to do with it. Boners aint “Boners” for nothing.

      • Origami Isopod

        IDK about “coquettish,” but deferential and fetus-hugging, yeah.

  • wfrolik

    Agreed. I’m not saying “identity politics” have *never* veered into silliness from time to time, but their effect in national elections is negligible. It’s just an excuse used by people desperate to distract from the obvious widespread racism and misogyny that actually dominated the election.

    Always better to dump on the Hipsters than suggest some of those salt of the earth “real Americans” might be bigoted you know.

    • Origami Isopod

      I’m not saying “identity politics” have *never* veered into silliness from time to time, but their effect in national elections is negligible.

      This is precisely it. There are things I strongly disagree with, to say the least, coming from that demographic. But overall they are a tiny fraction of the body politic, and even the most obnoxious of them are far less dangerous than Trump and his team.

      It’s also important to remember that the /pol/ board at 4chan often creates troll accounts on Tumblr and other websites that advocate for the silliest “identity politics” ideas. So do other people, such as that “trans-ethnic” dickhead a few years ago (pre-Dolezal).

      • At this point “identity politics” is just shorthand for “minorities saying things I don’t like.”

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          It was never anything else.

      • brad

        That…. would possibly explain an example a friend showed me a few years back of a truly special and hyper-hyphenated snowflake who had a tumblr post about questioning her ethnic identity. I’d link but time has washed away any chance I could find it. But it was made clear this was a white young woman who wanted to identify as something else, and decided she could.
        A “heightening the contradictions” troll would be among the more comprehensible explanations.

        • Alternatively, it was a ridiculous child with dumb fantasies, of a type that has existed in certain numbers forever but which previously did not have an effectively free, worldwide, public, and persistent communication medium with which to document said dumb fantasies.

      • Have you noticed that the Nazi frogs have all but disappeared since the election? It’s almost like they recieved orders to stand down. I blame Roger Stone.

      • JerBL

        But overall they are a tiny fraction of the body politic, and even the most obnoxious of them are far less dangerous than Trump and his team.

        My personal favourite example of this is the people who hate the danger identity politics presents to free speech, who now get Attorney General Rudy Giuliani.

        Who could have foreseen that a Trump administration would be more hostile to the first amendment than a sometimes-over-the-top group of college protesters?!

      • Richard Gadsden

        Godfrey Elfwick? He’s such an obvious troll now, but he used to be more subtle.

        • Origami Isopod

          Had to look the name up, but yeah, that guy.

    • Little Chak

      “The SJW made me do it” is about as convincing to me as “I wasn’t a racist until Obama”.

  • AMK

    There was nothing remotely superficial about her policy proposals

    Bill: I feel your pain! Place called Hope!
    Dubya: Don’t Mess with Texas! Stay The Course!
    Obama: Hope and Change!
    Trump: Make America Great Again!
    Hillary: Well, if you go on Hillaryclinton.com, you will see that my policy would in fact reform the riembursement provisions of…..

    She was not and has never been a good communicator. Like lots of smart people she has a hard time dialing it down to the sixth-grade level that wins elections, and she can’t really make up for it by just yelling or emoting because that would make her a hysterical woman. So she relies far more heavily on celebrities like dunham who can speak in vapid-stupid to Dem constituencies, and that’s what people see.

    • Glad to get the insider scoop from someone really familiar with bigotry!

    • Scott Lemieux

      o she relies far more heavily on celebrities like dunham

      What horseshit. Yes, Clinton clearly relied on someone who spoke at a college panel once to get her message out. And celebrities certainly went nowhere near the Obama campaign.

      • AMK

        Clinton literally spent the final days of her campaign staging swing-state concerts so a three-minute version of her stump speech could just so happen to be the opening act for Beyonce or Katy Perry or Springsteen or Bon Jovi.

        Obama was always the main event–that’s what happens when you have charisma and natural communicative talent.

    • Halloween Jack

      Yeah, HRC didn’t have a single slogan in her campaign. Right.

      • (((Hogan)))

        Wait, who am I with?

  • NewishLawyer

    I never understood why Lena Dunham causes so many white guys (usually middle-aged and middle-class) to get their underwear in the bunch. Does she remind a lot of guys of the cool, artsy chick who would not give them the time of day in high school and college?

    There are valid critiques of Girls and Lena Dunaham but they come from the left and not the right.

    That being said, I do think that the Democratic Party would serve themselves well to get rid of celebrity endorsements as a form of rhetoric. I don’t think they help convince anyone and they come across as self-congratulatory in my view.

    I can’t tell you how many times I saw people do something like this during the election “OMG! OMG! Josh Whedon got his favorite actors together to make this killer anti-Trump video”, “OMG! OMG! The Will & Grace cast reunited to make some anti-Trump videos!!”, etc.

    All these videos do is let someone congratulate themselves on having the same opinions as their favorite celebrities. Most of the people I know who posted these videos are comfortable middle-class suburban parents.

    Keep in mind that I am a cranky Jewish guy who also hates that AF (as fuck) and badass have become acceptable terms to use in journalism.

    I do think a lot of liberals live in bubbles (so do a lot of conservatives) and can use some lessons in “what convinces you might not convince others.” Today’s lesson was seeing a lot of my friends repost the video of Trump mocking the physically disabled reporter from the Times. The video came with an author named Damian Owens tweeting “as long as I live, I will never understand how this alone wasn’t the end of it.”

    BTW I needed to google Damien Owens before writing this post. I hadn’t heard of the man before but he tweets and his tweets have social currency in some circles to go viral.

    Are my fellow liberals this pollyannaish? Do they not know most of human history? Do they think everyone reads the same news sources and interprets events the same way?

    We’ve mocked outsiders for thousands of years. Human psychology and survival is built on in group and out group in many ways as social creatures. Now this has gotten much better in many ways but it is also deep in our head and is not going away.

    • djw

      I never understood why Lena Dunham causes so many white guys (usually middle-aged and middle-class) to get their underwear in the bunch.

      I’m not a big fan of her work, but her ability to get dudes who are usually a bit better at masking it to waive their misogyny flag is singularly impressive.

    • postmodulator

      Does she remind a lot of guys of the cool, artsy chick who would not give them the time of day in high school and college?

      Funnily enough, from certain angles Dunham is a dead ringer for a woman I dated in college and remained friends with for years after. It tends to make me pleasantly disposed towards her.

    • Dilan Esper

      1. I love Girls. I don’t find the left wing critiques of it any more persuasive than the right wing critiques.

      2. I hate celebrity endorsements, with only narrow exceptions where someone has developed a specific expertise on an important issue. And yes, the fact campaigns go ga-ga over them probably has more to do with operatives enjoying hanging out with celebrities than it does with winning.

      OTOH a celebrity candidate won, so maybe I am out to lunch.

    • Richard Gadsden

      Lena Dunham:

      * is a woman
      * is young (by middle-aged man standards)
      * is famous and successful
      * did not achieve that by being conventionally sexually attractive
      * is not talented in a way that is objectively inarguable (cf Adele)

      Young famous women can usually be dismissed as only being famous because of their looks. Most of the exceptions have objectively-inarguable talent.

      I think that summarises why she gets middle-aged white guys to get their underwear in a bunch – she doesn’t give them a boner, and they can make a contrarian case for her being untalented without being completely laughed at.

    • I don’t love the idea of Girls or Dunham-the-writer. I’ve heard her talk and read about the show and I find the concept annoying for interesting and complicated reasons. I haven’t had HBO for a whisk though and the one episode I saw I liked okay.

      She is, very intensely, from what I can make out, a lot of things that scream “woman” and not only that but “all the things a certain kind of man thinks women are too much of the time and should usually try harder not to be.” One of those things is “doesn’t work as hard at changing her appearance as shed need to be attractive to me”, but the traits others here have called “narcissistic” is part of it too (of course writers are narcissistic, is the obvious answer).

  • Crusty

    I can’t follow the first three sentences at all.

  • Drexciya
    • Origami Isopod

      ….

      • Freddie at this point is about two drinks away from “u sound triggered bro”. I guess we can add “makes light of abuse” to the list of reasons he’s one of the internet’s most wretched beings.

        • Scott Lemieux

          “guy from fourth generation of steel workers was going to vote Hillary until he heard someone describe microaggressions to him”

          Say this for Freddie, nobody’s blundering leads to more pure comic gold in response.

          • Nobody understands the need of the red-blooded blue-collar Middle American like a guy with a Rhetoric PhD whose blog is filled with reminiscences about all the excitingly transgressive queers and commies his parents used to be friends with as a kid.

    • NewishLawyer

      For some reason (reasons that defy all logical explanation), Ann Coulter does not anger conservatives especially exurban types. People literally can’t see that Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, etc. are from the elite and don’t live exurban lives. Ann Coulter is an upper-class Manhattanite.

      But the kind of privilege that Lena Dunham grew up in, drives people mad. They hate the downtown cool of her life. The successful artist parents with connections (especially cause her parents are on the edgier side of art), the downtown loft upbringing, the fact that she knew who Jill Sander was at 13 (Jill Sander is a very expensive fashion designer for those who don’t know. Lena Dunham’s first public appearance was in a fashion mag article about cool downtown kids. Dunham said something like she loved Jill Sander shirts but they were so expensive.)

      I think one thing that the Harvard Business Review article got right is that the upper-middle class liberal set is what really drives conservatives mad. They hate that we have a very different culture, different foods, different mores. They hate that we like modern art and minimalist design. And we are probably seen as race traitors as well.

      There is something about the restrained but still expensive, design within reach/room and board stuff that gets people angry. Donald Trump at least shows he is trying to be a wealthy oligarch.

      • Snuff curry

        I think one thing that the Harvard Business Review article got right is that the upper-middle class liberal set is what really drives conservatives mad [WASP-y humble bragging about not being gauche and nouveau riche for the next few paragraphs]

        Given the amount of racist, Islamophobic vitriol and violence of the past week, most of us could well do without hearing about how envious conservatives are of you and Dunham’s cosmopolitan lifestyles. For fuck’s fucking sake.

        • Snuff curry

          Back in the real world, what drives conservatives to the point of harassment, intimidation, stalking, and vandalism (rather than re-tweets by a professional troll) is not your Kinfolk fucking loftspace and MoMA membership.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            Well, I’d say they’re educable on the subject. If you could take time to explain it to them and point out a victim….

        • Origami Isopod

          [WASP-y humble bragging about not being gauche and nouveau riche for the next few paragraphs]

          Did you mean: NewishLawyer’s entire shtik

      • I think one thing that the Harvard Business Review article got right is that the upper-middle class liberal set is what really drives conservatives mad.

        I was thinking the other day that this election is a return to what Rick Perlstein was talking about in Nixonland.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        I think one thing that the Harvard Business Review article got right is that the upper-middle class liberal set is what really drives conservatives mad. They hate that we have a very different culture, different foods, different mores. They hate that we like modern art and minimalist design.

        While it’s true, I’m not sure what can be done about it. If we started doing things more like they do, they’d be angry about that and calling us phonies.

        Speaking of Hillary Clinton…

        And we are probably seen as race traitors as well.

        1) Probably?!

        2) In the beginning, the earth was a molten mass. Gradually, it cooled. A young governor in Arkansas in the early 1980’s and his wife spent decades always being seen with black people and being comfortable around them and asking them for their votes and getting them…

        • mds

          In the beginning, the earth was a molten mass.

          [Grabs rock back]

      • Dilan Esper

        There’s truth to this, but that set (NOT Dunham, who mocks her cohort) contributes to it when they call themselves “cool”, set their tastes as superior (Jill Sander is not inherently superior to NASCAR), etc.

    • Dr. Waffle

      I can’t wait until he starts writing for Commentary.

      • NewishLawyer

        Feddie doesn’t like enough high-culture to write for Commentary. Also to be fair, Commentary was always strongly anti-Trump and are remaining so.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I’d say the Daily Tucker is more his speed. He could call his blog “The Prolix Kausfiles.”

          • BigHank53

            He can use a Pepe graphic in the title bar, and then complain that nobody understand irony any more.

          • (((Hogan)))

            Or just “TL;DR.”

        • Pseudonym

          Bunch of renegade Jews.

          My money would be on The Federalist.

    • brad

      The really fucked up part is he’ll benefit from this, rather than seek a court order barring him from the internet for life simply for there being any degree of link with… that person.

    • ASV

      Somebody should tell Freddie that nobody ever mentioned gaslighting.

  • I think the main reason we know that Lena Dunham’s support didn’t cost Hillary Clinton the election is that the only way anyone would even know that she supported Clinton is if she had emailed her endorsement to John Podesta. Otherwise, how could it possibly even be worth reporting on?

  • lawtalkingguy

    People like Fredie and Tracey are the bitter resentment masquerading as ‘economic anxiety’ that explains so much of the elections vitriol aimed at Clinton/Democrats. All these guys live in Brooklyn or aspire to live there. All these guys see much more successful people who they think are ‘corrupt’ and achieved their success via ‘nepotism’. And all these people hate them.
    There is a reason why Chris Arnande spent half of all his posts attacking Yglasias, why Tracey has declared war on Blouie and why the Intersept kids joined him. These people hate that their nominal ‘inferiors’ are more famous and more successful, and the bitterness leads them to cases like this. Of course some obscure starlet with a tv show maybe 10 people watched makes them angry. Its not because she did anything, its because shes occupying a cultural and financial role that they decided belongs to them. And before Greenwald became Oscar winner Greenwald he was an obscure writer for the Guardian burned out by 10 years of doing actual civil rights litigation. Like its not rocket science, its the petite bourgeois that powered Hitler, repeating themselves this time as a farce.

    • Scott Lemieux

      In fairness, in 20 years everyone will remember that the Intercept boldly stood up to Donald Trump by writing 10,000 word stories about John Podesta’s risotto recipes.

      • lawtalkingguy

        Well hey man, if a French billionaire with ties to Hindu nationalism cant help keep America honest by paying Oscar Winner and noblest human known to man to write a million stories about Clinton, Trump, both sides do it then how else is America going to get any freedoms?

      • JL

        The Intercept did write a bunch of genuinely anti-Trump stuff. They write some bullshit too, that deserves strong pushback, but many people here act like “the Intercept” consists entirely of the most annoying 50% of articles written by the most annoying three or four Intercept writers.

        • lawtalkingguy

          because those are the ones that have any impact. Fox News has a pet liberal on it too. So what?

        • JMV Pyro

          I think the reason people are pissed at them is because “the Intercept” is always going to be associated first and foremost with the views and writings of Glenn Greenwald. It’s his project, he’s the face of the site, and he sets the tone for the place.

          The Intercept did publish quite a lot of anti-Trump stuff and are still doing good work on that now(particularly on cybersercurity stuff), but Greenwald was useless to actively hostile to the Democrats the entire time and because Glenn is the face of the site, that’s going to color how a lot of us perceive them.

    • ASV

      Imagine Holden Caulfield with a blog, a few clips, and a smartphone.

    • Phil Perspective

      There is a reason why Chris Arnande spent half of all his posts attacking Yglasias, …

      Who is Chris Arnande?

      • D.N. Nation

        Some former day-trader (?) who’s put forth as an expert on Trumpism and who spends most of his time bashing the Vox crew because, y’know, that helps.

    • Harkov311

      It’s especially revealing that Greenwald, Snowden, et al seemed conspicuously unmoved at the possibility of Trump being in charge of all those I intelligence agencies they profess to be so very concerned about.

      There’s literally no way any sane person would actually believe Trump would be more restrained in his use of such things than Obama or Clinton.

      • Richard Gadsden

        Given that Snowden’s physical safety depends on his retaining the goodwill of Vladimir Putin, I tend to give him more of a pass than most people.

      • JMV Pyro

        If you want to take the cynical view, they probably do realize it and are expecting to get quite a burst in popularity as opponents of the regime.

    • JMV Pyro

      This reminds me of that argument Arthur Chu made about people like Justine Tunney. These guys don’t really have a problem with their being an elite that’s on top and setting the tone for things, their issue is that they aren’t that elite.

  • kped

    Bouie taking on all leftists on twitter now as they are outraged that he says people who voted for the explicitly racist candidate own the explicitly racist consequences. How dare he! Some of them didn’t even like Trump, probably.

    The twitter far left is really lowering the mask this election and revealing some really ugly racial stuff.

    • lawtalkingguy

      its not just racism, its the bitter resentment of people who think they should have his status. Or the status of Chait or the status of Yglasias. Its the “I cant believe these former bloggers are now listened by so many people and I am just here yelling at the air and having frog avatar eggs celebrate how smart I am for opposing Clinton and the other cucks”

      • Phil Perspective

        its not just racism, its the bitter resentment of people who think they should have his status. Or the status of Chait or the status of Yglesias.

        Chait and Yglesias deserve their status?

    • I hate that these creeps are co-opting the term “leftist”. I have identified as one for as long as I understood the meaning of the term, and it’s never been a popular term to call oneself by, but I don’t want it to start signifying “guy who thinks blacks, women, and gays are standing in the way of the Revolution.”

      (ETA: There have always been “class before race” people on the left, to be clear; my objection is to people who are making tacit acceptance of bigotry the dividing line between “leftist” and “liberal”.)

      • Richard Gadsden

        There have always been failings on race and gender from both leftists and liberals. Leftists that fail tend to fail by seeing class before race and gender; liberals by imagining that including a few women and black people in the power elite means you’ve solved things. How many “Year of the Woman” elections will it take to note that even a 50-50 US Senate won’t end sexism?

        • Origami Isopod

          And failings on race by feminists, and failings on gender by male anti-racism activists. People have blind spots; that’s how we are. The important thing is to try to become cognizant of them.

    • brad

      Not that I’m near perfect about it myself, but the inability of my fellow white men to shut the fuck up and listen sometimes really is just special.

      • Phil Perspective

        You know what’s funny? All the people concerned, now, about Obama leaving Trump the presently constituted national security state. Extra-judicial assassination by drone. Deportations, after Obama has deported more people than Bush. The whole thing.

        • rea

          As Brad says, “the inability of my fellow white men to shut the fuck up and listen sometimes really is just special.”

        • JMV Pyro

          We would like to thank Phil for stepping up and providing an example in support of brad’s argument.

    • Harkov311

      In a similar vein, have you read John Scalzi’s take on owning Trump’s racism?. It seems very similar in basic argument as what Bouie was saying, so it’s pretty clear that Bouie isn’t alone in this line of thinking, whatever his critics might think.

      • kped

        Thanks for that, really like his analogy. And agree 100%.

    • JL

      “The Twitter far left” is more than these dipshits. And the women, nonbinary and trans people, people of color, disabled people, in the Twitter left have been getting hassled by these people for years. 2016 seems to have been the year that the wider world became aware of them (probably because they started going after people in the wider world and not just the feminists, anti-racists, etc, in their own camp).

  • Just_Dropping_By

    I don’t think Dunham got Trump elected, but is it OK to make fun of her for writing things like this seemingly unironically:

    http://www.lennyletter.com/politics/a613/hillary-clinton-is-more-than-a-president/

    Hillary Clinton did everything right in this campaign, and she won more votes than her opponent did. She won. She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second. Instead, she will be decorated as an epochal heroine far too extraordinary to be contained by the mere White House. Let that revolting president-elect be Millard Fillmore or Herbert Hoover or whatever. Hillary is Athena.

    • Phil Perspective

      Dunham didn’t write that, Virginia Heffernan did. It was just posted at Dunham’s website.

      • postmodulator

        In that case I’d have to think, no, we can’t mock her for writing that.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Virginia Heffernan cost Clinton the election retroactively!

      • Just_Dropping_By

        OK, I’m sorry if I was incorrect about Dunham writing it, but under the “Paul Rule” people are morally responsible for everything that appears in newsletters that they lend their names to, so it appears that Dunham should still be subject to being made fun of for it.

  • Ronan

    “I mean, look, many of us have trivial hobbyhorses we run into the ground.”

    Ya don’t say…..

    • Ronan

      Dunhams pretty funny anyway. I don’t get all the hate (na I’m not buying “because sexism!!” Tbh, but it is disproportionate. )

    • N__B

      My pet concerns are a trivial hobbypegasus that I run across the sky.

      • Ronan

        The voice of sanity is getting horse.

  • Cease worrying that you are forcing your hobbies down the throats of longsuffering readers. I have no interest in American football. Guess what? I identify posts about American football from the headlines and don’t read them. I imagine there are readers likewise with no interest in graves. Some people read obituaries, others the funnies. This is a worthwhile blog as it is, just keep going.

  • Snuff curry

    the neoliberalism of Hamilton

    I’m glad I mostly missed this — I had my fill with people whinging about Beyonce “co-opting” / “appropriating” feminism which apparently belongs to white women — because lord almighty these people are joyless, reactionary, sourpuss goobers. They’d be happier and more productive just screaming “cuck” and “white knight” at anyone who fails to abide by their cultural guardianship.

    I’m waiting with rancid breath for them to bitch about Tubman on the $10 bill or whatever being a craven endorsement of capitalism and, therefore, not worthy of notice or celebration except for a lot of yelling at clouds.

    • rea

      I doubt we’ll get Tubman on the $10 bill now.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        I thought that was already approved by the Treasury Dept.? I’m not sure how quickly that can be undone (e.g., is there a notice and comment period).

    • Origami Isopod

      The Hamilton thing was by and large about the musical further enshrining the Founding Fathers as objects of worship and LMM being heavily influenced by Ron Chernow. The argument is not entirely worthless, but most of those who made it chose to ignore the issue of racial representation.

      • Snuff curry

        Well, sure, but casting actors of color into the US founding story and general flag-waving to a groovy tune does not neoliberalism make. It’s an uncritical, unthinkingly patriotic musical, it white- and slave-washes the history it purports to reveal, and its narrative is of the clunky, bootstraps, Great Man variety, while its hero was a well-known protectionist and assumptionist; where the “neoliberalism” manifests in that reality or in his more flowery depiction by Miranda and Chernow is a mystery to me. The musical is conservative and feel-good, what the US market is thought to typically crave in abundance, and its success is not shocking.

  • cs

    Should the Clinton campaign have tried to be more creative about finding ways of getting word of this attractive platform out, over the heads of a media that has abandoned policy coverage?

    This is a side issue, but if the Clinton campaign wanted to get word of her progressive platform out, it wouldn’t have taken “creativity”. It only would have taken focusing on those issues in the debates and in advertising, instead of being so focused on attacks on Trump / getting under Trump’s skin. The only policy issue that I remember her stressing is the tax increase/jobs plan.

  • pseudalicious

    Not only is Lena Dunham saying words aloud while being female AND while being Lena Dunham, but, horror of horrors, she’s pointing out racism! TO THE TRACEYMOBILE.

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  • Donna Gratehouse

    Not sure it’s been brought up yet but I’ll just say much of the hatred for Dunham from guys probably stems from her having the nerve to have a very public presence while not being conventionally pretty. Yes, guys on the Left too.

  • BiloSagdiyev
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