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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Girls 

Just watched a few episodes of the TV show Girls. This is a show for those who wonder why the US needs mass immigration. Forget walls and bans. Find a way to address the problem the show depicts, and you won’t need as many immigrants.

Just imagine the same show depicting 25-30-year-olds from, say, Nigeria, China, India and Ukraine who waste years on unpaid internships while sitting around vapidly and staring at walls and expecting their parents to finance this lifestyle. Yeah, it sounds nuts. Which is precisely why 25-30-year-olds from, say, Nigeria, China, India and Ukraine aren’t coming up with trigger warnings, victim-blamings, fat-shaming, and all the rest of it.

It would be one thing if the show depicted wounded kids from places like East St Louis who have a hard time getting their bearings after a traumatic, indigent and chaotic childhood. But the professionally, psychologically and intellectually neutered characters of this show aren’t an anomaly or trauma victims. They don’t know how to want anything because they never had to. And this turns them into blooming, healthy, well-fed invalids. 

I don’t think I’ll keep watching because it’s too heart-breaking. I’m an educator, and it hurts me to see young people so drained of life and castrated. 

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18 thoughts on “Girls 

  1. Shakti on said:

    Just watched a few episodes of the TV show Girls. This is a show for those who wonder why the US needs mass immigration. Forget walls and bans. Find a way to address the problem the show depicts, and you won’t need as many immigrants… But the professionally, psychologically and intellectually neutered characters of this show aren’t an anomaly or trauma victims

    Um what? I watched one episode and those characters seemed a pitch perfect consolation for never getting into Oberlin because they annoyed the shit out of me. I simply would’ve never been allowed to be in a situation like that with my parents. They would never in a million years subsidize a separate apartment — anywhere. I had a childhood friend whose parents subsidized her rent on a simply enormous apartment for a single person and it wasn’t in service of some media career. It’s simply something that never occurred to me to ask and I would’ve never dared. All of these characters come from wealthy backgrounds, not merely upper middle class.

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    • I don’t teach at Oberlin and have no wealthy students. But the problem of young people who simply don’t want anything is still there. When I had to teach a Freshman seminar, God, that was bleak. I got so desperate to find something they would respond to that I talked about gaming, music, parties, sports, looking for anything to wake them up. But all I saw was vacant stares and low affect, like in this show. The show brought back that horrible memory.

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  2. Fie upon this quiet life on said:

    I watched one or two episodes of Girls a couple of years ago. It was so disgusting that I couldn’t bear another episode. How anyone thinks Lena Dunham is talented is beyond me. But also, the rent thing? If I had ever asked my parents for rent money, they would have laughed in my face and said get a job, or a second job. The only thing this show accomplished was to make me hate rich people even more.

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  3. Shakti on said:

    I reject the idea that this show is even slightly representative of anybody but the most bored, rich white children.

    I recognize it’s not for me or about me. Maybe it’s a generational thing or maybe it’s a child of immigrant thing but those characters were a precise combination of baffling, enraging and boring. I mentioned Oberlin because it seemed like Dunham was writing herself as a self insert and she went there and it is a very pretentious thought leader of all those lefty things you find obnoxious. I went to high school with an On The Road fan whose parents funded a summer in Prague so he could write and he was every bit as ridiculous as you can imagine. [“Waah, I wish I could hitchhike across the country.”] This struck me as another version of that.

    [I still feel strange because whenever someone talks about GenX milestones, I’m too young for the ones everyone mentions. Get off my lawn?]

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    • The phenomenon is definitely real. It’s interesting to observe how it arises in immigrant families. I see it in Hispanic families because those are the ones I meet more often for obvious reasons. The immigrants themselves tend to be super hard-working, driven, they bust their asses like there is no tomorrow. The children are a bit more blah. And the third generation are all half-dead and incapable of getting themselves together for love or money.

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      • I definitely see that in my kids and I think we have spoiled them. We are not rich, but I can’t say that my kids burn with passion after anything. My eldest drives me nuts with how even-keeled he is about everything. The middle boy is a bit more passionate and has big dreams, not sure if he has the drive and perseverance to match them. (The little one is somewhat little.) All of them seem to want to give up easily when faced with some obstacles — maybe it’s something you get with age, maybe it’s an inborn trait, maybe it’s a factor of upbringing.

        But I am not sure how you instill ambition. People from less comfortable societies are definitely more hungry for everything. Or maybe when you are hungry (metaphorically) yourself, you cannot realize that the vast majority of people really are blah unless they fight for very survival. Perhaps, once these existential threats are removed, most people show their inner mushiness.

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  4. Stringer Bell on said:

    I’ve watched a few episodes, and the characters are infuriating and mean. Which is fine, it’s just a show. What I can’t stand is Lena Dunham calling herself the voice of her generation, and critics validating that characterization. I mean, if that’s the case, let’s just get it on with North Korea. There’s nothing to preserve in this planet anymore.

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    • The show wouldn’t be so massively popular if it didn’t speak to something people recognize as true.

      This is the same reason why opulent societies don’t tend to produce any art worthy of the name. Or why the richest countries have the highest depression and suicide rates.

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      • AcademicLurker on said:

        The show wouldn’t be so massively popular if it didn’t speak to something people recognize as true.

        I know it’s massively popular among people who write think pieces for Slate, Salon, and The Atlantic, but is it really that popular in general? My impression was that the ratings dropped pretty sharply after the first season.

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        • If it was returned for 5 seasons, it had to be very popular.

          The only reason I’m aware of it is that it’s discussed constantly by crowds of people in my news feed.

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    • Shakti on said:

      What I can’t stand is Lena Dunham calling herself the voice of her generation, and critics validating that characterization.
      Yes. It makes me itchy. Nobody’s illegally torrenting HBO to watch this; it’s all for Game of Thrones. I’ve checked. Beyonce’s Lemonade was a bigger deal in terms of HBO subscriptions than Girls.

      The show wouldn’t be so massively popular if it didn’t speak to something people recognize as true.
      Yes, it speaks to the idea of “Millennials” as massively spoiled idiotic dumpster trucks which is a great excuse for exploiting young adults as undeserving dumbasses. I would automate the shit out of everything if I had to employ people from a field of Girls doppelgangers. I’d rather go with robots than have any of these idiots work with me for any wage including zero dollars. IME, certain people LOVE complaining about idiotic young people while hiring the same subsection of idiots and making excuses for their irresponsible behavior. It’s reassuring to “Millennials” because they can say, “I’m not like that therefore I’m so deserving” and reassuring to their parents because they can say, “I’m a good parent! My Emma is not like that at all!”

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  5. \ This is the same reason why opulent societies don’t tend to produce any art worthy of the name.

    What is the solution for those “Girls” then, if you imagine that one of them read this post? 🙂

    Also, are unpaid internships truly necessary to enter some fields?

    In other news:

    Turkey votes in favor of Erdoğan referendum

    Fireworks explode in the sky above Istanbul after a referendum pushed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wins by a narrow lead on Sunday, granting him sweeping powers; The referendum will usher in the most radical government changes in Turkey’s modern history.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4949819,00.html

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  6. Stringer Bell on said:

    I like how this is being celebrated as an accomplishment, and not as an indictment of the nepotism in the industry.

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    • Shakti on said:

      ¯_(ツ)_/¯
      Being concerned with nepotism feels…quaint. That pitch is like an inception of a think piece about a show that doesn’t exist but inspires stupid thinkpieces.

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    • If the show weren’t massively popular, it wouldn’t go on for so many seasons. She’s clearly enormously talented to do something so many people are so obsessed with.

      And from the couple of episodes I’ve seen, it’s clear that she’s a talented actress.

      Like

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