Lena Dunham Is Not Your Problem

More

The Girls creator and her $3.7 million book advance have come under intense scrutiny they don't quite deserve.

lena.jpg
Lena Dunham

Andrew Sullivan rounds up two differing opinions on the $3.7 million book advance given to Lena Dunham. I think there's a point to be made about the insane economics of a publishing industry that can give out multi-million dollar advances, but can't afford freelance fact-checking. But what I don't understand is why Dunham repeatedly is asked to assume the weight of broad systemic problems that existed long before she had a career.

It's really bizarre. Dunham doesn't seem to be doing anything different from what other successful creative people in Hollywood do, and yet there's this great expectation that she should, somehow, be doing more. It's a variation on the "twice as good" theme. Gender is certainly a large of chunk of this. But another large chunk might be our obsession with realness and selling out.

The publishing industry routinely doles out large advances. A debate about whether Dunham "deserves" that advance proceeds from an opportunistic view of fairness. And drawing the line on publishing industry insanity at Dunham evinces a really selective skepticism. Lena Dunham isn't getting anything that Leonard Dunham doesn't already have. And Leonard still has more.

Move on.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In