American Student Loan Debt Delinquencies has overtaken American Credit Card Debt for the first time on the spectrum of Debts. Students pay more to go to college and graduate school and get less from their buck than ever before. And now you can’t even pay it back! You used to get a job, now you get a ham sandwich, maybe. It's not necessarily the fault of colleges and universities. They have to make big bucks to keep all that marble buffed and ivy trimmed. I'd much rather blame the heads of departments. The myth was once that if you got a Liberal Arts education in some worthless degree field you'd [...]
The Annotated White House Flickr Feed continues with another special Election 2012 edition (you'll find the previous installment here). Here are The Guardian's Ana Marie Cox and Huffington Post political reporter Jason Linkins to compare the campaigns. When did the Romney team learn about Instagram? How long till they also hear about "autofocus"? How many windbreakers does Paul Ryan own? And who does John Sununu hate more: Barack Obama or Lena Dunham?
ANA MARIE: So, they're INSTAGRAMMING or something now.
JASON: This image, is like at Ahmadinejad levels of obvious Photoshop fakeness.
ANA MARIE: Sort of like Romney's tan.
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After two or three decades of exposure, watching TV can feel a little bit like going home to visit your family. At first it's comforting to see so many old familiar faces. But… why don't these people ever change? Why are they so rigid and repetitive and tedious? And what makes them think they're remotely interesting, or even marginally entertaining?
On the internets, we refer to these humans as either "stereotypes" [...]
I hate to be the 8-millionth person to jump on the bandwagon, but we need to talk about that show about young women on TV! In it, a group of young women have awful, degrading sexual relations due to their economic circumstances, and try to convince themselves that it’s anything but degrading. The characters are desperately struggling to make ends meet, but nearly every problem can be solved with a man ejaculating to an incongruous indie music soundtrack. And our heroine, with her back against the wall and not a dollar to her name, does what any woman in her situation would: get a job at a sensual massage parlor [...]
"Who among us is noble enough not to envy Lena Dunham?" Elizabeth Gumport begins her analysis of Tiny Furniture in the n+1 film review supplement. (Disclosure: I'm a contributor.) Dunham's born-on-third-baseness, and the fact that her autobiographical film addressed it directly, was one of the factors that made it nearly impossible for a lot of critics to treat TF fairly when it was first released. In retrospect, this seems like an embarrassing mistake on their part. Worse, they also screwed up, per Gumport, by assuming that by turning the camera on herself, Dunham was making a movie about her appearance: "if a young woman wants to talk about [...]
Michelle Dean: We have gathered here today because, and I think this is not an exaggerated term, we are devoted to "Enlightened," the struggling HBO show from Mike White that stars Laura Dern as Amy Jellicoe, a woman who… is struggling to figure out life. That sounds kind of patronizing, but it's the only way to put it.
Recently I found myself actively worrying about the show's potential cancellation as I went about my day. And I keep tossing around different reasons of articulating why. One is of course that like David Haglund at Slate, I think it's the most interesting show on television right now, as well as [...]
There are no new jokes, but what's funny here is going to be the sudden conservative silence.
"'This Is My Life' is the movie that made me want to make movies. I first saw it in second grade" —Lena Dunham remembers Nora Ephron
1. “New York’s not very friendly to strange girls, is it? I suppose you’ve got so many of your own already—and they’re all so fascinating you don’t care!”
2. “The chief characteristic of her generation is a kind of creative solipsism: nothing is better material than the absurdities and contradictions of her own life. Successfully mining personal experience of underachievement has, of course, its ironies.”
3. "As a girl, you are a delicate glass vase, waiting to be broken. You are a sweet-smelling flower, waiting for life’s hobnailed boots to trample you. That built-in suspense is part of your appeal."
4. "It is less mortifying to [...]
Indicators That the Book Party Scene on HBO’s Forthcoming Lena Dunham Show "Girls" is an Unconvincing Approximation of the Real Thing, as Conveyed to Me by a Former Book Editor Working On-Set as an Extra (“Publishing Executive”)
11. The pervasiveness of eye shadow.
10. A The Situation/Vanilla Ice look-alike in shiny jacket, aviator sunglasses and jauntily tilted hat.
9. General lack of pastiness.
8. None of the following were present: Colson Whitehead, Sloane Crosley, Sylvia Miles.
7. And yet: a racially proportioned crowd.
We are now deep into the season in which our cultural critics, like a gaggle of drunk uncles, kick off their shoes, retire to the den, and proceed to discuss, long past the point at which the rest of us would like to go to sleep, what it's all about.
You see, these shows we've been DVR-ing, these Oscar contenders we've been risking bedbugs for: they don't all just happen to have been released recently. No, they, like the birthmarks in Cloud Atlas, have messages for us; they link up. We're obsessed with the Civil War. We long for superheroes. We are, as ever, deeply confused about race.
"Relationships often change people, but this was a weird one, because I was the same before and after it, but very different during." —The Lena Dunham story in the New Yorker (subscription-only) is totally worth it on a lot of levels (both "laughing at" and "laughing with," though mostly John Cook has the "laughing at" covered quite grumpily), but it's also a good addition to what I think is the best part of her projects about youth: what is it about the certain kind of person who can completely annihilate their personality because of love? I was like this when I was younger and it's completely alien to [...]
"[Lena Dunham] grew up in New York, and you can see it in her clothes and body: no white girl allows herself to look like that if she didn’t admire the rounder shapes, and more complicated stylings, that women of color tend to pursue as their idea of beauty." —There's so much going on in here. [Via]
It may feel like "Girls" has been on the air for months already, but the series actually doesn’t premiere on HBO until April 15th. Its creator, writer and star is Lena Dunham, about whom, if you’re reading this, you probably already have an opinion—although it's difficult to come up with an opinion or observation about Dunham that she has not already anticipated, heard or joked about herself. Her 2010 feature, Tiny Furniture, released when she was 23, was just added to the Criterion Collection. Now there's "Girls," a comedy about four 20-something women puzzling out adulthood in the city, executive produced by Judd Apatow. Dunham and I met recently [...]