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.
homasse 19th-Apr-2012 07:16 am (UTC)
ARGH, fuck everything, I had a nice response typed out and LJ ATE IT.
homasse 19th-Apr-2012 07:16 am (UTC)
...only there it is. WTF, LJ.
recorded 19th-Apr-2012 08:31 am (UTC)
ty, I replied with your responses & immediately unfriended to spare myself the agony of their repsones. It won't do anything as they had gone batshit crazy being defensive & denying privilege for days and days back and forth to themselves after my last post.

Jim said; "Yes of course. You are right. I'm so terribly sorry. I'll go back to reading Gender Trouble, The Beauty Myth, The Body Project, Indecent, and the 15 other books that are backlogged on my bookshelf next in line instead of being turned off by blind presumption. If you have any further reading suggestions I'm all ears, otherwise try not to shoot feminism in the foot by turning away people who genuinely seek enlightenment."

LOL. IDEK how he started rambling about feminism. Grasping to seem socially aware much?

And the other guy went on and on and on.... and on...
homasse 19th-Apr-2012 08:42 am (UTC)
Oh, hey, he hit Derailing for Dummies with the damaging the cause argument! Awesome.

heh, too bad you defriended before you could give them the link to DFD, because I can just imagine the spluttering they'd produce over THAT.
recorded 19th-Apr-2012 09:25 am (UTC)
Truth be told, I didn't understand the derailing for dummies site until after I started to understand social issues, so I don't think it would do them much good. Though I sent him the link in a PM in case he gets it at a time when I didn't.

There was a couple of others they hit. The other guy wrote such a long thing talking about how OMG IM DISCRIMINATED AGAINST TOO! I GOT FIRED FOR NOT BEING MASCULINE ENOUGH, etc etc.
roseofjuly 19th-Apr-2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
If you genuinely sought enlightenment, a woman "being mean" to you shouldn't turn that genuine desire off.
recorded 19th-Apr-2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
lol yup, it's a fake "look, i care" chest puff because I yelled at him for stuff like that before. Once he was complaining that the dr.who companion was another attractive woman and I pointed out that dr.who is always an awkward looking white male. He didn't know what to say to that.

I've always really side-eyed him though, because he said he was dating a woman he didn't find attractive for the time being until he gets fit so he could drop her for a more attractive woman. He is just an asshole through and through and I wish I knew that before I gave him dating advice.
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