Lena Dunham may not be a Barbie Doll but Howard Stern is a pig.
Let me start with that.
Howard Stern has, in fact, been a pig many times throughout his career; I don’t want to waste my word count detailing the egregious obnoxiousness of a man who ridiculed and pilloried Magic Johnson when it was announced he had HIV, a man who’s practically anointed big, bare, silicone breasts as the mascot of his show, and a man who, let’s face it, ain’t no Robert Redford in the looks department himself. Undoubtedly, this man and his mouth have made the “men are pigs” meme a living, breathing actuality. That’s Howard Stern.
Then there’s Lena Dunham. Twenty-six-year old Lena Dunham, a protégé of Judd Apatow, is the creator of the HBO uber-successful series Girls, a rowdy, unvarnished and slightly caricaturish look at a group of 20-something girls in modern-day New York. It’s not a show for everyone; in fact, it took me a few viewings to get past my eye-rolling at the “look at us, we’re so gross/cool” sensibility, but ultimately it won me over, particularly Dunham’s unselfconscious performance as the frumpy, slightly dorky and, yes, a little on the heavy side Hannah Horvath.
You heard me right: a woman on TV, a successful woman on TV, who isn’t stick-thin and drop-dead gorgeous. No, Dunham is a “real woman” type, you know: normal sized body, average good looks.
I know, shocking. We don’t get many of those in today’s media world.
Well, Horrible Howard isn’t thrilled with this. He doesn’t like the show. He doesn’t like “Hannah,” or her creator, Lena Dunham. And he decided he needed to say something about it on his radio show, which he did this past Monday. Perez Hilton was one of many who reported on his wince-worthy put-down:
“It’s a little fat girl who kind of looks like Jonah Hill and she keeps taking her clothes off and it kind of feels like a rape. She seems—it’s like—I don’t want to see that.
“I learned that this little fat chick writes the show and directs the show and that makes sense to me because she’s such a camera hog that the other characters barely are on. My opinion, if I was a producer on that, I’d say: ‘Honey, you’re a little too close to the project. You need to allow the other characters to breathe a little and let us get invested in them.
“Good for her. It’s hard for little fat chicks to get anything going.”
Wow. There’s so much wrong with those three paragraphs I hardly know where to start. In fact, I won’t. If you’re reading this, you’re likely someone who already knows everything that’s wrong with that vomitous blather. I’ll leave you to your personal head-shaking.
I don’t care if Howard likes Girls. Lena Dunham doesn’t care if Howard Stern likes Girls (she laughs it off…see video below). An old, creepy, radio has-been is not exactly her target audience. And since the show was nominated for two Emmys its first season out (one for Best Comedy, the other for Dunham for Best Actress in a Comedy), and has recently been nominated for 17 Golden Globe Awards, it’s clear the “little fat chick” has got plenty “going” on and geezers like Stern are out of the zeitgeist, with no impact whatsoever on the viewing habits of TV’s current viewers.
Beyond the skeezy, contemptible “humor” Stern yawningly applies to regularly provoke his sniggering, predominantly male audience, he’s both out of step with women and in-step with some of the more regressive attitudes we’ve seen so much of this past year, exemplified by the infamous and all-inclusive GOP War on Women (thoroughly denied but undeniable), the “slut shaming” of women as played out in the repugnant Rush Limbaugh attack on Sandra Fluke; the outright dismissal of healthcare for lower-income women as exemplified by the Susan G. Komen anti-Planned Parenthood debacle (there’s your women-against-women catfight…Stern LOVES those!); even the contrived “defense” of women by GOP Mike Huckabee in his assertion that Obama hasn’t hired enough of them.
It’s been a veritable “girls fest” (and I don’t mean the show!) out there in the Land of Culture and we of the gentler sex stand and watch as the parade goes by in all its degrees of incredulousness. It seems the word “women” has become a sort of catch-phrase, a show of political correctness, a so-called “red badge of courage” worn to indicate you’re either evolved and women-approved, or you’re an anachronistic schmuck convinced women can’t lead troops, can’t run a country, and damn well better look like the Barbie Dolls on Fox News if anyone’s going to be forced to look at them.
That second group is where Howard Stern falls; he of the Neanderthal sensibilities and big, fat, idiotic mouth.
Lena Dunham may find his noxious take on her “funny,” and good for her for not taking it personally, brushing it off as so much “freedom of speech” blather.
I’m sick of guys like Stern lowering the cultural bar. In a world where women – still, in 2013 – are judged by their looks, their weight, their age; their beauty, it’s repugnant that men in high-profile positions too often feel immune to good manners, decorum; a little respect for a fellow human being, particularly a woman who’s worked hard to achieve her astonishing success at such a young age.
I don’t care that Howard Stern is a homely, aging putz; his success, regardless of my disdain for the brand, is due to his hard work in a difficult field.
Ms. Dunham? She deserves the same respect; looks, weight, beauty, age notwithstanding.
But believe me, in a challenge between who’s better looking? Lena would take Howard’s skinny ass in a New York minute:
[Watch Lena's interview with David Letterman, which concludes with her comments on Stern, in the video below:]