Thursday, April 12, 2012

More About "Girls"

The presidential campaign is now in full swing.

The Obama team has been praised for its expert manipulation of the hearts and minds of women. Now the Romney campaign is trying out its own counteroffensive. 

Obama charmed women with the promise of free contraception. As a non-woman myself I am surprised that women fell for such a transparent ploy.

I guess that “free” means different things to different people. In today’s political lexicon “free” seems to mean getting stuff for nothing. Unfortunately, it has also come to mean giving stuff away for nothing.

In the long run—by that I mean, within the next couple of weeks—Sandra Fluke will be forgotten—is that wishful thinking?—and the campaigns will move on to other ginned-up issues.

When a Democratic strategist denounces Ann Romney, mother of five children, for never having worked a day in her life, you know that the issue has become mindless blather.

Whatever it is that drives people to vote, one important factor must: do they feel that they are better off than they were four years ago.

It’s very difficult to know how well or how poorly people are doing. Sometimes they do not even know themselves.

Statistics can tell part of the story, but so do cultural trends. The latter are more difficult to read than the former.

It’s too soon to say whether it will be a cultural trend and whether it will crystallize the malaise of a generation, but we should pay close attention to the new television show, Girls. It is primed for its Sunday debut on HBO.

Yesterday I posted about how the show, even before the first episode, has elicited cries of anguish from feminists. Professional zealots that they are, they are outraged at the way the show portrays the sexual experience of modern, liberated women as crass, gross, and even vulgar.

I imagine that feminists are also deeply offended by the show’s title: Girls. After all those years of insisting that everyone use the word “women” or even the more politically correct “womyn,” the hottest show of the season has young women calling themselves GIRLS.

It must be a feminist nightmare.
Clearly, the truth hurts. When juxtaposed against the gauzy fairy tales that feminists have been peddling, reality bites. And not where you think.

This morning critic Jace Lacob—and, yes, I am spelling his name as he spells it, which may or may not be correct—gives Girls a rave review, suggesting that it tells a great story, one that is well worth heeding.

If it works as a story and if its characters are sufficiently compelling, it will likely become a success.

Beyond that it may well be offering an uncommonly honest portrayal of the life of young blue state women in the Age of Obama. (It it does the reason would be that the women who made the film are so young and so naive that they have not yet learned to give their art over to propaganda.)

I doubt that director Lena Dunham would have thought it in these terms, but she is portraying young women who would have voted for Obama, and who live in the bluest city of a very, very blue state.

Perhaps not all of them, but certainly the great majority of them were a key demographic in Obama's election victory.

Critic Lacob explains that Dunham explored the same theme in an earlier movie, Tiny Furniture. I haven’t seen this movie either, so I will rely on Lacob’s description:

With her 2010 Sundance-darling film Tiny Furniture, Lena Dunham captured the malaise and uncertainty of a generation of postcollege 20-somethings with grit, humor, and painful realism, transforming Manhattan into a depressing playground for overeducated, underqualified youths in an economy that had seemingly forgotten about their existence.

Pretty clearly, this is not the life that Obama promised. But it is the life that he delivered.

Stranger things have happened, but I doubt that our current Pied Piper of a president will continue to lure that generation’s passionate allegiance by standing on the street corner handing out free condoms.


Tilda Tally-ho said...

I saw Gov. Romney on Tuesday night here in Chester County, PA. How refreshing it was to hear some affirmation that the GOP "War on Women" is nothing but spin!

CatherineM said...

Who is charmed by the "free" contraception that costs $10 a month?