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Rebuttal to @heatherwilhelm Zombie “Girls”

January 23, 2013

Heather Wilhelm is a writer based in Chicago. She has published “The Zombie Girls of Brooklyn” a critique of the “conspiracy” by the “national media” to promote the “artistry” of HBO’s Judd Apatow produced Lena Dunham sitcom “Girls“:

according to New York magazine, “a bold defense (and a searing critique) of the so-called Millennial Generation.”

and

witness “Girls.” With its self-referential feedback loop, casual nihilism, and refusal to take anything of value seriously, the show perfectly packages and delivers the secular, “no rules” worldview that many in the media want to sell.

Compare this to “Zombie Generation” from the voice of a 21 year old girl. Wilhelm’s objections prove exactly why the show has captured so much praise. Wilhelm may not like it but it’s spot on.

Let’s face it, Wilhelm is just not in the demographic to appreciate Girls. She has three kids – and as we already know from “How I Met Your Mother“, repeated in TheStarPress: Child’s sleeping pattern makes parents zombies by John Rosemond.

Wilhelm is raising her family. The characters of Girls are enjoy the vapidity of their situation, after college on their own, no real responsibilities except to live to the next day. But like Zombie Downton Abbey, there is an extended family as core focus throughout the fragmented relationships. There the illusion of the “Sex and the City” group of four but there is actually no regular breakfast table, instead an endless series of parties and overlapping social circles; a diverse variety of fading relationships and a sort of Gatsby‘esque post-college party circuit. There is nothing particularly holding these characters together. Recall Hemingway’s “A Movable Feast“.

Wilhelm sees this as vulgar zombies. She sees this show and the praise it gets as media conspiracy “nihilism from a bubble that doesn’t represent most of the real world”. But Wilhelm just doesn’t get it. She thinks it’s just

“Sex and the City,” only dusted off, tossed into Brooklyn, and dipped into a grungy, plastic kiddie pool filled with floating bugs, self-referential “meta” humor, and ennui.

And that along might be interesting but

Dunham built her career on her own navel gazing, it’s a classic, delicious irony

And that’s why it’s brilliant. Navel-gazing as high artistry – – absolutely delicious. There is no doctors or mechanics or farmers in Lena Dunham’s Brooklyn, just a lot of self-obsessed want to be artists. Like another classic nihilist sitcom, “Seinfeld“, the world of “Girls” is a sad world but mostly because we live there.

Self-referential meta-humor ennui (like this blog?) -I mean, is there any more one could say than that about what is consciousness?

Consider also that “Girls”, “Sex in the City” and “Golden Girls” are like a “Benjamin Button” time travel developmental progression. It’s about the families we create a different stages of our lives.

It’s 100 years later but flappers be flappin. Which is not to say Wilhelm is wrong about a media conspiracy. Of course there is a media conspiracy – but “Girls” is a cute show and deserves more credit than Wilhelm gives it.

Wilhelm is (in another article) also embarassed to call herself a feminist. She still considers herself a feminist but she thinks abortion and sex are “self-indulgent behavior”, and that philosophies of “If it feels good, do it” are a “retread of a failed 1960s mantra”. And in another piece, Wilhelm wrote “women are insane”. Maybe she should reconsider whether she’s really a feminist and try to watch “Girls” with a little more empathy for what she herself wrote in 2008 about “The Great American Identity Crisis

the quarter-life crisis often besets high-achieving, Type-A young people who expect a dream job, a dream salary,

and

there’s a deeper, more daunting identity crisis bouncing around, touching on themes like the true meaning of equality, the value of freedom, and the role of the individual in America.

From → free expression

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