|I bet she peed on Christmas, too!|
I guess I don’t really know how I’m supposed to react to Lena Dunham. To me, she’s a lot like Justin Bieber for young, artsy, creative urbanites – I pretty much went from not knowing who she was to getting tired of hearing people talk about her within the space of a day, which was more or less the same reaction I had when Justin Bieber came on the scene.
Mind you, I don’t resent Lena Dunham; she seems like a nice lady. I understand that she made a movie that Judd Apatow liked so much that he made HBO give her a sitcom, which admittedly is kind of the dream for me, so good for her! It’s just that I never watched Tiny Furniture and I’ve never seen Girls, so all I really know about her is what I’ve gleaned from the massive hype machine that surrounds her every action and creative decision.
Whenever I’m party to a conversation about Lena Dunham, for example, somebody always brings up how “important” it is that she gets naked all the time on her TV show, because “it’s really brave of her to do that when she isn’t even all that good looking!”
That line of thinking always strikes me as pretty stupid. For one thing, I don’t think we should be treating the act of being naked as some kind of landmark accomplishment, because if you look at it in terms of sheer effort it’s actually considerably easier to be naked than it is to wear clothes. Furthermore, I don’t think being naked and average looking is any more noteworthy than just being garden variety naked. (I also think she looks pretty cute when she puts on a nice dress and covers her tattoos.)
But really I’m in no position to have an opinion on Lena Dunham because of how little I know about her. This update isn’t about what I think of Lena Dunham; this update is about freedom.
This past Monday was Memorial Day, a day on which we pay our respects to our nation’s wartime losses by posting patriotic images on Facebook or by thinking about posting patriotic images on Facebook and then forgetting to actually do it. On Monday, Lena Dunham sent out the following tweet:
To my knowledge, this is kind of Lena Dunham’s thing: Being awkward and talking about bodily functions. I can relate – I’m awkward, and while I have never peed in two Starbucks bathrooms on the same day I have definitely peed in a Starbucks bathroom before, so I get the gist of what she’s describing.
But then, this:
The butthurt is chronicled in full over on Twitchy, which is apparently like BuzzFeed for people who have the word “NObama!” saved into their phone’s autocorrect.
As far as I can tell, the source of the controversy is this: Lena Dunham, like the filthy terrorist whore she is, exercised her First Amendment rights on Memorial Day.
So first, the obvious point: Memorial Day is the day we remember the men and women who died fighting for our country – a country that prides itself on freedom for everybody. Freedom to believe what you want, freedom from unlawful search and seizure, freedom to own guns, freedom from background checks if you buy those guns on the Internet, freedom from being forced to quarter soldiers in your home without pay, and the freedom to write about your bodily functions on the Internet on a national holiday.
So, y’know, there’s that. But then, this isn’t strictly a First Amendment case, because nobody’s saying that Lena Dunham should be arrested or deported for what she wrote.
Actually, scratch that – I’m sure several thousand people who own first edition copies of Bill O’Reilly’s hardboiled crime novel are saying that. But I digress.
The issue here isn’t really whether Lena Dunham should be allowed to say what she said; it’s whether she was being disrespectful to the people who died fighting for our country when she said it on Memorial Day.
I’m a big believer in free speech, but I also wouldn’t fault anybody for being pissed at Lena Dunham if she’d been truly disrespectful to our service members’ sacrifices on Memorial Day. If her tweet had been…
“What’s funnier than a dead soldier at the Battle of Shiloh? A dead soldier at the Battle of Shiloh in a clown costume! #VivaChavez”
…then not only would I sympathize with the butthurt, but I’d be experiencing a little butthurt of my own. But here’s what the tweet actually said:
“Happy Memorial Day! I've already peed in two different Starbucks bathrooms!”
There’s no foul language in this tweet, no sexual content, and nothing seditious. In the first sentence, she wishes her followers a happy Memorial Day; in the second sentence she gives her followers a quick rundown of the places she’s urinated so far.
If Lena Dunham had just tweeted, “I’ve already peed in two different Starbucks bathrooms!” I doubt there would’ve been any backlash because nothing in that sentence is explicitly about Memorial Day. Sure, she’d still be tweeting about going to the bathroom on a national holiday, but studies show that 97% of tweets are sent by people going to the bathroom, so I don’t think hers would’ve stood out much from the crowd.
Likewise, had Lena Dunham simply tweeted, “Happy Memorial Day!” I’m pretty much certain there wouldn’t have been any backlash, because “Happy Memorial Day!” is what you’re supposed to say on Memorial Day.
What seems to be offending people is that Lena Dunham said the words “Memorial Day” and “pee” in the same tweet.
Jesus fucking Christ, guys - your three favorite things are guns, war, and rugged individualism and you're pitching a fit because a woman went to the bathroom on a holiday? Get the fuck over it.
Truman Capps has only peed in one sushi restaurant bathroom today.