Two rich white celebrities in conversation. What could go wrong?
Take a shot every time you read something out of touch or offensive over the course of Lena Dunham‘s exhausting interview with Amy Schumer. Then immediately head to the hospital for alcohol poisoning.
You’d have to be a whole other level of inebriated to sign off on the exclusive conversation sent out to Lenny newsletter subscribers on Friday. At its best, it had the potential to be just as trite as Jonathan Safran Foer and Natalie Portman’s email correspondences. Instead, champions of Lenny’s self-proclaimed friendly feminism were treated to a disaster.
Read it in the word salad intro in which Dunham fawns over Schumer’s commitment to feminism while shitting on one of her own characters. Turns out the star of Inside Amy Schumer once auditioned for the role of Shoshanna in Girls.
“It was clear Amy wasn’t meant to play an innocent Juicy Couture lover obsessed with emoji—even if her Meatpacking District club lingo was the funniest shit I had ever heard,” Dunham admits. It’s a bizarre juxtaposition, telling the world you wrote a one-note character while implicating the jokes of a burgeoning standup in the process.
Dunham acquiesces though, adding that after Schumer left the audition, “the vibe was very, ‘Someone give that lady a show, STAT!'”
And the powers that be did. In fact, right around the time that Schumer came back for a cameo appearance on Girls. Dunham digs into their history as friends, drops a wholly unfunny, tone deaf joke about trading blow jobs with the Duck Dynasty guys for Amy’s protection, then pulls a Sean Penn before diving into the interview:
I would fellate the whole cast of Duck Dynasty if it meant keeping Amy safe, and I know she’d do the same for me (though neither of us want to AT ALL).
As we chatted, I was so happy to be on Skype with Amy that at times this ceased to be an interview. I just gazed happily at her as she enjoyed several varieties of soup in a raccoon printed sweatshirt. Good thing she doesn’t need a journalist in order to drop the knowledge.
Clearly some editorial insight would’ve softened the blow of the shitstorm that’s about to unfold.
If there’s anything the internet has decried from their chat, perhaps the loudest point of contention is Dunham’s portrayal of fashion icon and NFL superstar Odell Beckham, Jr. To Dunham, he’s as stereotypically one-dimensional as Shoshanna. She lends voice to a faux mental narrative OBJ has at the Met Ball, an upper crust event sorely lacking in representation.
Dunham’s attempts at humor by way of self-deprecation backfire and sputter. She somehow assumes that Beckham, the fashion-forward wide receiver, doesn’t take kindly to her outfit of a tuxedo, bowtie, and heels.
“It was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards. He was like, ‘That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.’ It wasn’t mean—he just seemed confused,” Dunham somehow extrapolates:
“The vibe was very much like, ‘Is it wearing a… yep, it’s wearing a tuxedo. I’m going to go back to my cell phone.’ It was like we were forced to be together, and he literally was scrolling Instagram rather than have to look at a woman in a bowtie. I was like, “‘This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes.'”
Of all people, Dunham should know how gauche it is to quote yourself, especially in a situation made hypothetical by assuming what another person thinks and blasting their false internal monologue to the world. Her tweets of defense were contradictory at best, though Dunham claims she’s being “educated” about the issue at hand by writer and director Xavier Burgin.
Because male athletes totally aren’t pegged as womanizing assholes trying to get their dicks wet. And apparently Dunham was surrounded by beautiful people, none of whom she mentions in her anecdote, as their sheer existence is threat enough to her insecurities. Those points are right at home with the imagery of Grandma Lena dancing onto African-American actor Michael B. Jordan.
Miraculously, Dunham says she’s heeding the words of Burgin, who effortlessly summarizes everything that’s wrong about her sizing up of OBJ.
Here’s hoping she really is listening. Beckham, for his part, has yet to say a thing. Perhaps he’s scrolling Instagram.
The infuriation continues as Dunham and Schumer rally against the phrase “tramp stamp” and political correctness as a whole before tackling Schumer’s handling of Kurt Metzger, a former Inside Amy Schumer writer whose lengthy online trail includes admissions of choking out an ex-girlfriend. Metzger was most recently in the news over a Facebook post in which he mocked rape victims.
Schumer claims she’s been calling Metzger out for his comments since the start, though appears to have no issue maintaining a professional relationship with him. She took the opportunity to instead question fans for doubting her judgment:
“I get it, and I wasn’t even resentful of the connection. I was resentful of the lack of trust. Like, ‘Have I earned any good will with you guys? Do you believe that I feel that rape victims should be shamed on the internet? Have I built up any sort of good will?'”
Dunham proceeds to completely back her up, bizarrely decrying the language of political correctness. “The other thing that I get really crazy about is this new world in which women aren’t just supposed to be protected from actions, they’re supposed to be protected from language,” she says, as she explicitly rallies against trigger warnings then proceeds to mock rape cases by crafting a faux drama in which Schumer tries to solve a rape only to be ignored.
The whole thing is an ouroboros of stereotypes and goes in directions compelling enough to make even the most distracted reader take issue with the two. The dark horse of out of touch exchanges that caught my eye as a Louisianian comes from Dunham pressing Schumer on a passage in her memoir, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo.
Schumer writes about the 2015 Lafayette shooting that claimed the lives of two women and injured others. To her credit, she was a vocal presence in favor of gun control, joining forces with cousin and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and also witnessing President Obama sign his executive gun control order with her siblings.
In between listing statistics on gun violence, she writes in The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo that she was amazed that Obama had seen Trainwreck. She also issues this damning lament, “I wish I could muster the energy to put a clever and sarcastic spin on some of the grave statistics about gun violence in America, but I have to tell you, I just fucking can’t.”
And yet Schumer somehow had it in her to make an aside about Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson, briefly praising them while coming down on the underserved. “And it just so happens that they were two of the sweetest angels who have ever lived, you know? It is never some toothless fucking crackhead who gets killed.”
Not only does Schumer rail against addiction, an issue gripping the state of Louisiana so strongly that its drug-induced deaths are considered in the high range by the White House, but her failed joke just makes her promises to Breaux and Johnson look all the more flimsy.
Johnson was a fixture of the community. Breaux’s life was sadly cut short, a LSU honors student with plans to marry her high school sweetheart destroyed in an instant. The fact that Schumer claims in The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo to be dedicated to fighting for both victims apparently only extends to gun control and only so far at that.
Lafayette Parish and St. Landry Parish—where Johnson and Breaux hailed from respectively—have faced issues of flooding, as has Louisiana’s capital city of Baton Rouge, where LSU is located, and countless other communities. It’s estimated that at least 40,000 homes have been damaged by the storm local headlines dub a “once in a thousand year” occurrence. Schumer’s silence on the issue is deafening.
As of this writing, there have been no apologies from Schumer. On Saturday afternoon, Dunham posted her mea culpa to Instagram about her treatment of Beckham.
There are plenty of ways to help Louisiana flood victims. There’s also an easy way for those unhappy with Dunham and Schumer’s exchange to let them know. All you have to do is hit unsubscribe.
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