The PJ Tatler

Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? Humor or Offensive Stereotyping? Ask Lena Dunham!

The tiresome Lena Dunham is back again, this time with a “quiz” in the new issue of the New Yorker: “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend?”

Do the following statements refer to (a) my dog or (b) my Jewish boyfriend?

  1. The first thing I noticed about him was his eyes.
  2. We love to spend hours in bed together on Sunday mornings.
  3. He’s crazy for cream cheese.
  4. It hasn’t always been easy, but we currently live together and it’s going O.K.

And so on in an utterly witless piece that seems about on par with Ms. Dunham’s other talents. Yes, the woman who has a naked body like poorly mashed potatoes and doesn’t care who knows it is writing for the once-august New Yorker. And not just writing, but serving up a heaping helping of Upper West Side Jewish stereotypes that have to make anti-Semites everywhere smile with satisfaction:

15. He came with me to therapy once and was restless and unexpressive.

16. When I go out of town on a business trip, he sleeps with a pair of my underwear.

17. When I get home from the business trip, he ignores me for hours, sometimes days, forcing me to wonder whether he would be better off with a woman who has a less demanding career. “Why don’t you find some catalogue model who just sits around all day and rubs your back? I bet you’d like that,” I hiss. “I apologize for my many accomplishments. I’m sorry they mean nothing to you.”

18. He respects my father but is intimidated by his Waspy, buttoned-up demeanor, flat cadence, and inability to express physical affection toward other men. The tension between them takes the form of passive-aggressive pissing matches and hostile silences.

Others, btw, have noticed as well:

Anti-Semitism has raised its ugly face again Friday – this time, in a quiz published in the New Yorker. The quiz, entitled “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz” was written by controversial Girls actress Lena Dunham. In the article, Dunham – who is herself Jewish – makes a number of comparisons between Jewish men and her dog that are apparently meant to be humorous.

The questions play up a number of stereotypes about American Jewish men, including having asthma, being “cheap” (he leaves his wallet at home and never tips, she claims), and being “intimidated” by her father’s “Waspy” (i.e. White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) demeanor. Several of the “questions” are downright attacks on what she claims are Jewish culture…

Its publication immediately sparked backlash. Kveller author Jordana Horn penned a response Thursday, in an article titled “Lena Dunham Equated Jews to Dogs & That’s Not OK,” noting that statements like hers are a slippery slope into blatant anti-Semitism given a free pass in respectable press.

“To dehumanize people, one of the first steps is to call them non-people or animals,” she noted, adding that anti-Semites have been comparing Jews to dogs for hundreds of years. She also challenged readers to imagine what the response would be if the title was “Dog or Black Boyfriend?: A Quiz.”

Oy, and may I add, vey. Plus, who knew Lena Dunham was Jewish?

Here’s the link to the Kveller article, if you care. And, yes, I know what a Kveller is.