November 4, 2014

What's missing from Lena Dunham's new statement about her account of what she did to her baby sister.

See if you notice:
First and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances.

Childhood sexual abuse is a life-shattering event for so many, and I have been vocal about the rights of survivors. If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention. I am also aware that the comic use of the term “sexual predator” was insensitive, and I’m sorry for that as well.

As for my sibling, Grace, she is my best friend, and anything I have written about her has been published with her approval.
Here's my discussion from this morning, "Within the speculum of things she did.," which ends:
And, since Lena too was a child, the contemplation centers on the mother — the "mother who didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina."
Neo-Neocon similarly focuses on the mother:
A seven-year-old child is very much under the influence of his/her parents... The child abusers [here] were the parents, although not in the technical, hard-core sense of rapists, but in the sense of a flagrant and deliberate flaunting of boundaries. In such an atmosphere, children often become both confused and hyper-sexualized. And I believe that’s what happened to Dunham.
Dunham's new statement does not mention her mother (or her father). It's possible that Dunham either intentionally or recklessly wrote her stories to wreak vengeance on her mother. In her memoir's voice, she can pose as the innocent child, recounting her memories such as they are, undefended, and it will be for readers to see and to process and, ultimately, to mete out whatever punishment and condemnation we decide her parents deserve.

95 comments:

Birkel said...

You* think Dunham stopped her behavior at 17?
You* think she avoided her impulses with every child but her sister?

There's this really awesome bridge...

*The royal you. Not Althouse, specifically.

Rob said...

These parents had Lena Dunham as a child. Isn't that punishment enough?

Ann Althouse said...

Birkel, that's not really the point here, and I don't want to see the comments go off on that tangent. Let's stick to the text of the memoir and the new statement and try to understand what might have gone on in the past and what Dunham might have meant to do by telling her stories the way she did.

Ann Althouse said...

And Rob, I don't think that's helpful. I get that a lot of people can't stand Dunham. I wants some deeper thought here, not insults.

RecChief said...

As for my sibling, Grace, she is my best friend, and anything I have written about her has been published with her approval.

Except everything I have read about spousal abuse is that in most cases, the victim defends the abuser. I've read that happens with child abuse victims too.

Yet here we are, with an attempt to airbrush it. There seem to be two choices here, and everything else is secondary.

1. Lena Dunham did these things to her sister. She's a child molester.

2.She didn't do these things to her sister. She's mentally fucked up to think that writing that she did should somehow be lauded.

Either way, she's disgusting.

Anonymous said...

what might have gone on in the past and what Dunham might have meant to do by telling her stories the way she did.

You may be overcomplicating it.

She meant to make some money and what went on? Something gross, that's for sure.

Unknown said...

It is not apparent that she sees anything wrong with what she claims to have done. If she sees no wrong, how could it be such a hand grenade in the filing cabinet?

I think you are proposing that she has more long-term planning ability than the evidence of digital reactions supports.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I wants some deeper thought here, not insults.

You take all the fun out of the internet.

Kristian Holvoet said...

I am confused. Did she ever really apologize for her specific behavior, or state that is was exaggeration/fiction/lies or otherwise not true? If not, then the what is missing is an apology.

Bob Boyd said...

the "mother who didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina."

Now asking, "why did you open this can of worms"

Scott M said...

Saying that she wrote to "wreak vengeance on her mother" gives this vacuous person credit for far too much guile. This is a person playing at being an intellectual and utterly shocked when confronted with how the world really works.

She may end up being the poster child of the Trophy For Participation Generation.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Jimmy Kimmel's excusing this behavior is gross, just because she was 7.

When I was 8, I was abused by my next door neighbor. It was horrific, and I knew what was happening, still do today, but was too scared to tell anyone. Took me about a month of abuse before I couldn't hold back anymore and told my dad. I thought he was going to kill our neighbor.

BTW, those memories I have are suppressed, not repressed.

donald said...

The story here is that this very unattractive pig sexually molested her little sister and is now pissed off because she's been called on it.

You know Damned fucking well that this very unattractive pig would be calling for nothing less than castration if any man had done anything like that.

So fuck that unattractive pig Lena Dunham, she's a fucking incestuous child molester. She needs to be in prison with all the other child molesters like her.

Birkel said...

Your blog. Your rules, Althouse.

Eustace Chilke said...

What I've seen quoted from that memoir strikes me as fantasy, possibly with elements of truth. I'm as skeptical as AA, or more so, about the putative actions of a one year old in Dunham's account. The whole book is likely full of exaggeration and fantasy of a sort intended to poke conventional propriety in the eye and divide the readers into people who get it and people who don't. We're reading Dunham's idea of truthiness here. Even so, the idea that if you deplore this behavior you're just a hopeless dipshit reveals as much as if Dunham's words were the unadorned truth.

donald said...

I didn't make up the rules. Other unattractive pigs like her.

Scott M said...

Lena Dunham and Roman Polanski walk into a Chuck-E-Cheese #unfinishedjokes

Lydia said...

Isn't Dunham's whole shtick about pushing the boundaries? This probably seemed to her as just more of the same. But amazing that her publisher didn't have an editor read the book who could have picked up on the inherent ickiness, if nothing else, of this young-child sexual stuff. But perhaps the editor is an age/culture peer who also just doesn't get it.

donald said...

Did.

MadisonMan said...

It also struck me that the missing condemnation from her sister (Who is Queer and Proud) is completely to be expected. How often do the abused defend the abusers?

So in addition to the missing mention of parents (who were missing when it came to being parents as well, seemingly), there's only L. Dunham assuring us that G. Dunham is her best friend.

I wonder if the sister approved the publication of the stories because she foresaw the condemnation that would rightfully rain down on her sister's head.

It would make a good play.

phantommut said...

I don't think Lena Dunham was "getting back" at her parent either consciously or unconsciously, if that's what you're implying.

What her parents did was raise a charming little narcissist with no moral boundaries. As such I doubt Ms. Dunham has much anger towards her mom.

What I noticed was an apology for using the term "sexual predator" without any disavowal of the accuracy of the term. There's this underlying sense that she's getting the "sure, it might have been creepy if someone else did all that stuff, but it was me so it's all good."

n.n said...

The [social] experiment must go on...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

It strikes me that she tried, and failed spectacularly, at aping David Sedaris-style zany-childhood exaggeration.

RecChief said...

What I noticed was an apology for using the term "sexual predator" without any disavowal of the accuracy of the term. There's this underlying sense that she's getting the "sure, it might have been creepy if someone else did all that stuff, but it was me so it's all good."

well, you'll notice no one from her tribe condemned her, until someone from outside her tribe publicized her writings. Now there a few from her tribe who see the hypocrisy. I don't think Dunham thinks much beyond the next 140 character bite.

Brando said...

I wouldn't blame the parents unless they knew or were in a position where they should have known what was going on.

A few additional points:

1) It matters not at all that her sister is "her best friend". Should everyone have been okay with Ray Rice because his wife defended him and married him after the fact?

2) The "triggers" aren't the issue. If she's describing what actually happened (and not embellishing for shock value, which is something she does) then good for her for honesty, and we can't live in a world where everything has trigger warnings. If it upsets you, avoid it. I'm grossed out by graphic violence and rape, and avoid movies or TV shows involving that stuff, where possible. I don't expect everyone else to give me trigger warnings.

3) Getting back to my point above, the mother should have figured something was up when one daughter noticed pebbles in the other daughter's vagina. I'd think if I was in her position I'd be asking "did you see her put them in? If so, why didn't you stop her?" and "you didn't put them in there yourself, did you?" Besides the possibility that one daughter is (perhaps unintentionally) molesting the other, there's a serious hygiene issue. A rock stuck in your kid may need a trip to the emergency room, and the doctors would likely have to ask about possible abuse.

All told, what a depressing mess. There are no winners here.

Nonapod said...

I haven't read any of this biography other than these excerpts so I can't speculate as to what motivated Ms. Dunham to make these revelations beyond just being salacious. I take it that Ms. Dunham currently doesn't view her parents as being either directly or indirectly abusive in these situations? And she obviously doesn't view herself as an abuser, and even seems to take a sort of creepy pride in it all.

Patrick said...

Does it count if your trigger warning is retroactive?

Mary Beth said...

I wonder if she was aware, when she was a child, of her father's paintings. If Google image search is any indication of what they're like, I can see why she might have thought looking at vaginas was what one did.

John Lynch said...

Same thing she's doing to the man she accused of rape. It's not hard to figure out who the man was, and many reporters already have.

This seems to be a case of dishonesty through details. Ruining the lives of others may be the intent of the memoir. It's totally deniable, and it's not very honest at all.

DanTheMan said...

What's missing is any denial that she actually did what she said in writing she did.

So, let's just call that an admission.

Shanna said...

If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read

*eyeroll*

I think her parents did a number on her and she sounds messed up, whether she did it or thought it would be a fun thing to write in a memoir.

I don't understand why people read these kinds of books anyway.

Larry J said...

I wonder if HBO will cancel her (terrible) show now that she's a confessed sexual predator and child molester. You know good and well they'd do that for any man in the same circumstances.

gerry said...

It's possible that Dunham either intentionally or recklessly wrote her stories to wreak vengeance on her mother.

I'll go for intentionally. Mommie Dearest!

From Inwood said...

Deep down all this is superficial.

Who cares?

Oh, wait, the Nat Rev & Ben Shapiro are laughing their heads off now.

WWECD: What Will Enlightened Class do now?

Who cares about that either?

Anonymous said...

I am from flyover country. I have never paid for cable TV so all I know about Lena Dunham comes from blog reading. I have now looked at the websites of her parents and read about them on Wikipedia. I am amazed that their art has a market. I guess there are two Americas and the Dunham/Simmons family live in the other one.

Ann, you will probably follow this story. I realize the culture war is important but so is my self respect. I won't be choosing any Lena Dunham posts to spend my time on.

gerry said...

Also, the thing that keeps leaping out is the vaginas on these feminist minds. It's part of a reproductive system, not a goddess requiring adoration.

I suppose it may be all they've got.

Bill Peschel said...

I don't think it matters whether she exaggerated or not. Since she goes down that route, her shock that she should be taken seriously, that she should be judged, leads to two conclusions:

a) that she's a celebrity playing a game with her audience, maintaining the focus on her (and therefore her career) by shocking us into paying attention to her. This is also the classic sign of a narcissist.

b) that she truly is naive, or emotionally stunted, and fails to understand that telling stories about how she molested her sister would result in being called a child molester (or more accurately a child child molester).

Where the truth lies I have no way of knowing and has no effect on me apart from reaffirming my desire to stay away from her and anything she does.

What's also disturbing about this story is not that she told it, but that as she's looking back on it as a (presumed) adult) she exhibits no perception or understanding of what she did. There's no reaction from her about what she did. No, "boy, that's weird," or "I regret doing that" or anything.

Even her non-apology apology was creepy for this omission.

Or am I missing something?

madAsHell said...

I wants some deeper thought here, not insults.

Setting aside a visceral disgust...

Is it a cry for help?
Here she is 20 years later, and she still doesn't understand how wrong this is. I'm sure her sister is damaged goods as well.

Is there a statute of limitations on child molesting? Could this be construed as a confession?

Brian said...

The most obvious thing that's missing from that statement is: any assertion that the "interpretation" that has her so "dismayed" is incorrect.

madAsHell said...

You can google Grace Dunham, and find her twitter account. She struggles with her orientation, and uses words like hetero-normative.

David said...

The mother?

Perhaps, but the interest of children in their own body parts, and the parts of others, is pervasive. Kids are naturally curious and what better to be curious about than the parts of the body that are visibly different than others and therefore quite mysterious. The adults around can channel (or mischannel) this curiosity, but the curiosity can also express itself in myriad ways. Quite often this will have little to do with the parent.

As for Lena, I have had little interest in her. This whole thing confirms my personal approach, though based on the latest, and her apparent goddess status in some circles, the current attention is well justified.

It's interesting that neither she nor her editors seem to have foreseen that these accounts might be problematic.

Birkel said...

madAsHell:

There is no statute of limitations on civil child molestation. Ask the Catholic Church. As for criminal charges, it varies from state to state and many states removed a statute of limitations during the Catholic Church scandal / Sandusky-Penn State coverage.

The acts of a 17 year old can be tried as if the alleged perpetrator were an adult. And this is a statement against interest that would be admissible hearsay (although one of the resident practicing attorneys might correct me on that score).

Emil Blatz said...

Who does this woman think she is?

David said...

What's missing is a denial.

Also missing is the sister's own voice. Lena seems to speak for her.

Martha said...

"An association exists between child sexual abuse and vaginal foreign bodies, and the traditional assumption that pre-pubertal girls naturally place foreign bodies in the vagina may not be valid. Pediatricians and emergency clinicians need to be alert to this high risk possibility and should consider all pre-pubertal girls who present with a vaginal foreign body to be potential victims of sexual abuse. These pediatric patients should receive a thorough history for sexual and psychosocial factors, with potential consultation with child sexual abuse experts. In addition, all pre-pubertal patients with a vaginal foreign body should be tested for STIs using the most sensitive and specific methods available, as diagnostic results of an STI may be the only indicator that sexual abuse has occurred."


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3789902/

Alex said...

What has she contributed to civilization? That's what I want to know. That question applies to all celebrities.

Scientists, inventors, engineers, philosophers, composers, generals, politicians, businessmen all leave a real mark on civilization in terms of progressing it.

Lena Dunham does not belong in any of these categories.

Steve Jobs left a dent in the universe, despite being a total asshole.

Dunham is just an asshole.

RecChief said...



Alex said...
What has she contributed to civilization?


Why, she's an artist of course. Just like Roman Polanski

Alex said...

I don't know why Althouse focuses on these idiot celebrities.

Talk more about Elon Musk, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and the other MEN inventing stuff for us every day.

Michael K said...

Parents like that deserve children like her.

Matt said...

Prof. Althouse said, "It's possible that Dunham either intentionally or recklessly wrote her stories to wreak vengeance on her mother.


Prof. Althouse also said, "(Dunham is a genius. Interpret her words accordingly.)"

Perhaps, Professor, you should reconsider your evaluation of Dunham's smarts. For one, in what way has this damaged her mother? Is said damage more than the damage Lena inflicted upon herself via her confessional? How could it possibly have hurt her mother more?

You seem to twisting around trying to find some credible way to make Lena seem brilliant. The more likely explanation is that she is not so bright, is at least a bit twisted, and lacks the ability to see how her words could be interpreted by others.

" I don't want to see the comments go off on that tangent. "

Now? NOW?! After months of Crack's off-topic, thread-derailing, and toxic bullshit, NOW, you want the comments to stay on topic!? What was Crack's hold over you? Baffling.

jimbino said...

Dunham just needs to claim that she acted in the best interests of the baby, just like doctors and parents do.

When a baby's privacy is violated, the intent of the actors is all that matters. HaHa.

Michael K said...

"I wants some deeper thought here, not insults."

There are no deep thoughts about that sick young woman.

She and the girl who bragged about being in porno while a Duke U student, and who never mentioned her self mutilation that is visible in photos of her legs, are similar. I would not be surprised to see self mutilation on Dunham although tattoos can hide that pretty well.

Julie C said...

I have not read the book so I don't know if she's commented on or discussed growing up surrounded by artistically-rendered female genitals. I can't help but think it would be a difficult environment to process at a young age.

Are these anecdotes her way of subconsciously lashing out at her parents? She can't be direct in her anger, since everyone in her immediate orbit supports the *artist* no matter what.

I've been honestly surprised by the left-wing/progressive types who have actively condemned her. I was not expecting that.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Bill Peschel said...
b) that she truly is naive, or emotionally stunted, and fails to understand that telling stories about how she molested her sister would result in being called a child molester (or more accurately a child child molester).


This! Take a look at her fashion choices; clothes, hairstyles, etc. All of it selected to make her appear as child-like as possible. She even mugs for the camera like a kid! I haven't read her book, but I expect there was a lot of parental neglect going on in that home!

Michael K said...

"and the other MEN inventing stuff for us every day."

How about Elizabeth Holmes ?

Why the sick puppies if this society ?

donald said...



Alex said...
What has she contributed to civilization?


Why, she's an artist of course. Just like Roman Polanski

This! Two brave hero's of art.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Anything beyond independently verifiable facts here is by definition only narrative designed to elicit responses from the reader.

How's she doing?

FullMoon said...

The pebble story sounds like BS One year old and seven pebbles is a bit much. She believed wrote that as a funny incident. If she was speaking it out loud with appropriate emphasis and inflection, it might seem amusing to her peers.

For most people, reading it without a smile definitely makes it creepy.

Some are upset because of abuse. Some are upset because she thinks it's appropriate/normal behavior.
Some are upset because it is Lena Dunham.

Reading some comments elsewhere defending her "because when I was a kid, I did such and such" is even more disturbing that what she Claims.

Birkel said...

Michael K:
$4.5 Billion and she's single? So you're sayin' there's a chance?!?

Dunham's statement failed to acknowledge that her actions were inexcusable. One hopes this sort of behavior is not common. The younger sister deserves a public apology after making these things public.

CStanley said...

I had similar thoughts about a possible unconscious desire to expose her mother's negligence. But I am predisposed to seeing it that way because I think most people who are hypersexual are really hoping to find some boundaries, and if their parents didn't provide boundaries and protection they probably sense that something was amiss. I really don't know, from the limited amount I read, whether this applies to L Dunham or not.

Sebastian said...

AA said: ". . . what Dunham might have meant to do by telling her stories the way she did."

Eustace Chilke answered: "The whole book is likely full of exaggeration and fantasy of a sort intended to poke conventional propriety in the eye and divide the readers into people who get it and people who don't. We're reading Dunham's idea of truthiness here."

Assuming Dunham is sane enough to write with a coherent purpose, the answer sounds right. True or truthy, it's all about ├ępater les bourgeois to break down "boundaries" and advance the new Progressive morality.

Carl Pham said...

I don't know very much about Dunham or her parents, but her particular brand of malformed thinking on display here strikes me as more probably the failure of her father.

That's not to say she didn't suffer from poor mothering, too, but my impression is that the process of daughters learning appropriate boundaries (particularly of the sexual nature) and how to take pride in constructive individuality comes from the leadership of, and being close in an appropriate way to, a first-class confident, warm and self-disciplined father, and is learned in adolescence through early adulthood via a constructive resolution of the Oedipal triangle. (A mother who loves the father is helpful here, but probably not necessary.)

Poor mothering I think is more likely to provoke frank psychotic thinking, profound anxiety and depression, self-hate and self-destruction, extreme introversion, or (at the other extreme, and particularly with sons) sociopathic behaviour, uncontrolled rage, violence. This isn't Dunham, from what I can see.

Big Mike said...

It's possible that Dunham either intentionally or recklessly wrote her stories to wreak vengeance on her mother.

I don't know. From what I've read online (both by her and about her) Dunham comes across to me as being so self-centered that she may well have left her mother out because she leaves everyone out who doesn't worship at the shrine of Lena Dunham. I have to admit I wouldn't have read the book even if someone bought it for me before I knew it had scenes of infant molestation. Now ...

Chance said...

Is neo-neocon some sort of therapst? The final logic includes several unsubstantiated claims that I see no reason to believe without some sort of expertise or supporting data.

CStanley said...

I don't get the point of this post though. Why would she have mentioned her mother in the apology?

Birches said...

Janay Rice also came out with a statement, defending her abuser, but I doubt Time took that one as seriously.

James said...

>>s neo-neocon some sort of therapst? The final logic includes several unsubstantiated claims that I see no reason to believe without some sort of expertise or supporting data.<<

Its quite simple to ascertain whether or not she's a therapist.

Michael K said...

Poor mothering I think is more likely to provoke frank psychotic thinking, profound anxiety and depression, self-hate and self-destruction, extreme introversion, or (at the other extreme, and particularly with sons) sociopathic behaviour, uncontrolled rage, violence. This isn't Dunham, from what I can see.

The Schizophrenogenic Mother was a myth of Freud's disciples but that sort of parenting is what produces people who enjoy "Gone Girl." That is a weird novel.

jr565 said...

Her sister says something which is kind of disturbing:

As a queer person: i'm committed to people narrating their own experiences, determining for themselves what has and has not been harmful"

It sounds good on the surface. but that's exactly what NAMBLA says right?

Just Mike said...

Taking into account her father's art and the anecdotes of her mother's behavior, it's undeniable that they are repsonsible for her obsession with sex in general and female genitalia in particular. I don't think this is an attempt at retribution. She probably thought her upbringing was normal. More likely, some publisher waved a large sum of cash in her face for her story and since pushing boundaries is her thing, why not rock the boat and get paid too? Her "edgy" behavior up til now has always been rewarded with accolades and she thought this instance would be no different. IMHO.

Print this comment and present it along with a $5 bill at your neighborhood coffee shop and receive a coffee and possibly a nice pastry.

Joe said...

I hear Lena Dunham is now working for NAMBLA.

Birches said...

This whole thing got me thinking about something inappropriate that happened when I was a child and normal behavior.

I was over at my aunt and uncle's when I was in third or fourth grade. They had a baby boy. He was probably two. My aunt wasn't home, but one of the older teenaged kids was changing him. A girl from across the street came over (she was probably a year or two younger than me) and was so amused to see his penis. It was erect, which happens, and she was pointing and laughing and telling everyone to look. We weren't very interested because we were around babies all the time. In our minds, sometimes that boy's penis was big and sometimes it was not when he was changed. We did not connect it to anything sexual, because we were kids. I think she might have tried to touch it, because the teenager changing the baby got upset and then told her she needed to go home. She did. I always thought she was weird after that.

I guess what I'm wondering is how can two kids have such a different reaction? Lena Dunham's reaction to her sister's vulva is odd to me. But I also find it odd that kids play doctor, because I never thought of that either when I was a kid.

Revenant said...

What's really missing from this story is any reason to read more about it.

BrianE said...

Dunham, feminist for the 21st Century.

Ann Althouse said...

"It strikes me that she tried, and failed spectacularly, at aping David Sedaris-style zany-childhood exaggeration."

I too thought of David Sedaris, who writes about his family and tells awful tales on himself. But Sedaris never writes anything graphic about sex or says much of anything about sexuality. Or so it seems. And I've read all his books, multiple times.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Althouse--I hoped you would see my comment because I know you're a fan, as am I.

Sedaris is wicked smart and has made his name and his millions by telling these outre stories from his childhood, largely embellished, always with his own particular acerbic cast, but never dis-gus-ting (there I'm quoting him from a TAL when, I believe, he is telling the story of his sister Lisa French-kissing her parrot).

Lena Dunham might have thought she was hitting a similar target, but dang: what a swing and a miss.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ooh, that statement is almost clever. She fronts the "triggering" talk, right, and then talks about survivors and their feelings/plight. That's a terrific setup for calling anyone participating in subsequent talks (critical of Dunham, no doubt) as hurting survivors by causing them more trauma and triggering, see, because you keep talking about molestation that Dunham doesn't want to talk about. How dare you trigger!

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Chance--yes, neo neocon is a therapist.

Thorley Winston said...

I wonder if HBO will cancel her (terrible) show now that she's a confessed sexual predator and child molester. You know good and well they'd do that for any man in the same circumstances.

Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe they recently ran a special called Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth which all but glossed over his rape conviction.

Ralph Hyatt said...

Certainly Dunham's parents failed to make her aware that this sort of thing has to be concealed from the hoi polloi.

They tend to get agitated when they become aware of such activities.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Althouse: "What's missing from Lena Dunham's new statement about her account of what she did to her baby sister. [?] [[Or did Althouse intend this as a statement and not a question?]]

Dunham: "I am dismayed over the recent interpretation of events described in my book Not That Kind of Girl."

Answer 1: Nothing is, or can be, "missing." Her Statement is what it is.

Answer 2: Presuming her Statement is truthful, not just a publicity grab, Dunham is missing a commonality of moral values with the major part of humanity. (This however is missing from Dunham herself, not from her Statement.)

Answer 3: The words: "What I did was wrong."

William said...

She's an upscale Kardashian. She's a messed up person, but in a way that interests a portion of the public. And there's a part of her that's not messed up and knows how to cash in on the messed up part. She will make more from the sale of this book than most here have made in their entire working lives. Her series has been picked for another season. If you think this scandal will damage her career, I direct your attention to Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, and Daniel Ortega to show you the lucrative wages of sin.

Ann Althouse said...

"Or did Althouse intend this as a statement and not a question?"

Yes.

Ralph Hyatt said...

The difference between David Sedaris and Lisa Dunham is Sedaris is an incredibly talented and funny raconteur and Dunham is not.

Also, Sedaris grew up in a middle class home and actually understands how people in fly over country think.

Freeman Hunt said...

This makes me think of Penelope Trunk who has written that sexual abuse can make the abused child unaware of normal boundaries. I'm not saying Dunham was abused, but she is certainly unaware of normal boundaries.

William said...

Just spitballing here: She got criticized for not including any black characters on Girls. The charge was that she was being subliminally racist by not having any blacks on the show. She refuted those charges by having a black man play her love interest in the second season. She did some nude scenes with him. Problem solved. No actress who does a nude scene with a black man can credibly be accused of racism. It's better than voting for Obama.....So to refute the charges here, I suggest she hire an older actor--I'm thinking Bob Newhart or Don Rickles--to play her love interest next season. Some explicit love scenes with one of those two will make the child molestation charges disappear.

acm said...

The whole story is just abysmally sad.

The pebble incident was the most dramatic, but the pattern of paying for her sister's attention and physical closeness just kills me. What sad, lonely kids they both seemed to be (since the little sister always asked to sleep in Lena's bed). Did they have appropriate friendships with classmates, neighbors, the children of the parents' friends? Did their parents not foster those relationships by allowing them to have friends over and teaching/modeling appropriate social skills? Did they ever tell the girls to stop sleeping together?

If she was trying to get people to think badly of her parents, Mission Accomplished (for me, anyway).

el polacko said...

i see many comparisons here and elsewhere of dunham to polanski but they were very different situations. polanski was in a booze-and-drug-fueled hottub with a tarted-up, ambitious 13-year-old who was urged into the tub by her own stage mother. whether or not he knew the girl's age at the time, he was eventually arrested and pleaded guilty (then ran before sentencing). dunham knowingly lured her younger sister into sexual situations over a ten-year period (or longer) and now calls her behavior "typical predator" stuff. not only doesn't she express any regret for these acts she revels in the relating of them and is making money off of it. both the dunham and polanski stories share a creepiness factor but that's where the comparison ends.

David said...

Freeman Hunt said...
I'm not saying Dunham was abused, but she is certainly unaware of normal boundaries.


Or she is completely familiar with normal boundaries, and chooses to transgress them for political-cultural-vocational and perhaps psychological advantages.

jr565 said...

let's have Lea have one of her characters do all the things she did with her sister without commentary. And then we can make up our own minds.Pictures are worth a thousand words.

phantommut said...

Looking for depth where there is none can lead to at best broken limbs or a concussion, or at worst death. Or, less metaphorically, President Obama.

Lydia said...

Random House gave her a $3.5 million advance on the book. They must be a tad concerned right now.

Lucien said...

Humans are very weird about sex, and this series of posts is getting into the area where lines blur between benign exploration of body parts and knowing abuse.

Near the end of the movie, "The Aristocrats" Sarah Silverman gives her take on the eponymous filthy joke. It starts of with nostalgic recollections of the family participation in the numerous gross acts that are the hallmark of the joke, and shades over into memories of "rehearsing" for the act with a non-family member, leading to the statement that he raped her.

The point, as I took it was that the same physical acts could be fondly remembered family activities, or a shattering and debasing violation, depending upon the way they are viewed and approached.

gerry said...

I don't know why Althouse focuses on these idiot celebrities.

Talk more about Elon Musk, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and the other MEN inventing stuff for us every day.


Egad. The most prominent women of our culture today are obsessed with vaginas! Even the Professor, although she seems to be interested only in comments made about others' vaginas, does ruminate frequently about them. Is that sophisticated?

Herb said...

she has canceled her book signing tour now. Oh well.