ONTD Political

'Girls' Writer Responds to Critique of 'Girls' with Horrible Joke

10:14 am - 04/19/2012
'Girls' Writer Responds to Critique of 'Girls' with Horrible Joke

All writers know how tough it can be when your work is criticized and sometimes it's hard not to respond with a mean joke at the critic's expense. But even when succumbing to the temptation of a one-liner, most of us manage sounding like a racist. Not Girls writer Lesley Arfin, who responded to complaints that there were no black characters, save for a single homeless guy, in the first episode of the HBO show, by tweeting, "What really bothered me most about Precious was that there was no representation of ME."

Do you get it? See, Girls, set in New York City, is about four rich thin white girls. Precious, also set in New York City, is about one poor fat black girl who is sexually abused by her father and lives in the projects. It's a "funny" "joke" because Arfin thinks she would never actually interact with a person like Precious. The idea of an Arfin character in Precious -- hilarious! It appears Arfin was responding to criticism like that of New York Times technology reporter Jenna Wortham who wrote a critique of the show for The Hairpin on Monday morning, concluding, "I just wish I saw a little more of myself on screen, right alongside them." (Arfin's tweet went out on Monday evening.) Worth explains her problem with the show:

My chief beef is not simply that the girls in Girls are white... But the problem with Girls is that while the show reaches — and succeeds, in many ways — to show female characters that are not caricatures, it feels alienating, a party of four engineered to appeal to a very specific subset of the television viewing audience, when the show has the potential to be so much bigger than that. And that is a huge fucking disappointment.

The argument has been made that smart women on screen are already enough of a minority to make up for the lack of women of color. Nope. Not good enough.

Before Arfin was hired by Lena Dunham to write for the show, she was a fixture on New York's cool kid blogging scene, collaborating with various elements of the Vice empire. Her 2007 book Dear Diary was published by Vice Books and MTV Press. (with the an intro by Chloe Sevigny) and she edited the Williamsburg-based Missbeehave magazine.

At exiled Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes's Street Carnage (where Arfin once wrote the Ask Barf advice column) Benjamin Leo thinks her analysis is dead-on. Responding to Toure's (complimentary!) tweet asking where the black folks were on the show, Leo writes, "Suck my dick too, you fuckin one-track-minded McCarthyist hijackers." McCarthyist! You know, after Joe McCarthy, famed red-baiter. Noting Arfin's Precious tweet, he says:


UGGGGG, but now watch as the writers are forced to acquiesce and add some phony token Black Rhodes Scholar to appease these morons. Guys, you’ve kept it SO real—please don’t suck their balls. It’s 2012 and Obama’s in the White House: the McCarthyism 2.0 witch-hunting mob has been disarmed! They have no power over you! TELLYOUR STORY."

McInnes has his own ideas about race that crafted get people to notice him, as in his August 2011 essay for Taki's Magazine titled something I'd rather not retype. That's the same magazine that published John Derbyshire's racist essay that got him fired from the National Review last week. Derbyshire wrote about the necessity of getting a smart black friend just in case someone calls you racist. Leo dresses it up in a different style, but his advice is the same.


*crosses 'Girls' off list of shows to look into*

Edit: Arfin deleted the Precious tweet, and later tweeted this:

Without thinking, I put gender politics above race and class. That was careless. The last thing I want is girls vs girls.
yeats 19th-Apr-2012 04:04 am (UTC)
at first i thought they were joking..."i don't want my child to marry outside our race because then my grandkid won't look like me!" like, you fucking asshole, you will have contributed a quarter of that child's dna...it's not supposed to be your fucking clone.

somewhere along the line, though, i realized they were serious and just went into bone-drenched weariness with the state of the world.
homasse 19th-Apr-2012 04:06 am (UTC)
I can't even wrap my brain around how they think a grandkid being biracial means it WON'T look like them - have you seen pics of Obama and his grandpa? Obama is his spitting image.
yeats 19th-Apr-2012 04:09 am (UTC)
not to mention the fact that the genetic diversity within the arbitrary distinctions that we call "race" is almost as widespread as the genetic diversity between two members of a different "race." like, who the fuck says that you will ever get a grandchild that looks like you? this isn't fucking gattaca.
homasse 19th-Apr-2012 04:13 am (UTC)
Right. It's not about having a grandkid that looks like you - this is code for "white," and not even subtle code. This isn't dogwhistle racism, it's vuvuzela racism.
angelofdeath275 19th-Apr-2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
omg "vuvuzela racism"
kitanabychoice 19th-Apr-2012 04:10 am (UTC)
yeah. I got to the comment someone left where they ended with saying that slavery was the best thing that happened to black people. I kind of felt like my chest dropped out, I was so shocked.
kitschaster 19th-Apr-2012 06:23 am (UTC)
trigger warning for the next three comments if you couldn't handle them at the source.

Be lucky you didn't get to the comment that said "Go ahead and marry a black girl, nobody is stopping you. Maybe all that biodiversity will help when your grandchildren live in the ghetto."


"to be against a black man dateing your daughter without first getting to know him that is racist". That is PC Bullshit. And seriously Anti-White."

or the worst in my opinion,

"hey, five is like twenty in black-years. plus, toddler-rape cures AIDS in some African cultures."

I've become pretty hardened to these things, having read /b/ for such a long time a few years ago, but that's just trolling racism. This is straight up, honest to god, hate. And to think, my white fiance's parents probably feel this way about me. Both of his parents have spoken out against me where not having a job is concerned, but his mother took it one step further to say she doesn't like me being with her son, because I'm not "energetic" enough. Oh bullshit, lady. Same mother who never calls him, or helps him when he's in need, and kicked him out of her house before I even showed up. Yeah, now you care? Ugh.

Edited at 2012-04-19 06:24 am (UTC)
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