Lena Executes Masterful Takedown Of Jezebel Using Hannah Horvath’s Naivety

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While this season of Girls is becoming more unwatchable by the moment, there was a pretty hilarious exchange in last night’s episode that burned Gawker Media and Jezebel in a fairly satisfying way, if you’re into schadenfreude or cutting remarks that get to the core of things.

The basic premise of “Dead Inside” was that Hannah’s editor, David, died suddenly, leaving Hannah more concerned with the future of her e-book than with grieving. It looks like the show is trying to move Hannah further and further into the depths of cartoon sociopathy, while Adam remains the voice of reason, above it all. Confused as to why she’s not grieving and instead spending time trying to find the grotesque details of David’s death on Gawker, Adam and Hannah get into a fight about Gawker, Jezebel, and a sense of propriety.

As much as I can’t stand to watch (even my hate watching is beginning to feel tired and lifeless), their depiction of Hannah as completely clueless is pretty spot on. Their exchange was one of my favorite moments of the season so far:

Hannah: They report on media news and I am a media-ist…so…it’s where I’ve gotta get my news.

Adam: Okay. When you die, how would you feel if a bunch of judgmental creeps, celibate against their will, snarkily reported on every fucking detail of your body decomposing?

Hannah: Well that’s not what’s happening here. This is a very nice eulogy. Listen. Goings, Goings, Gone: Publishing’s most flamboyant power player makes a waterlogged exit worthy of a Bret Easton Ellis character.

Adam: That’s fucked, Hannah. Those are a bunch of jealous people who make a living appealing to our base-ist desire to see each other kicked while we’re down.

Hannah: I don’t agree, okay? It’s a web portal that celebrates the written word. And its sister site, Jezebel, is a place feminists can go to support one another which we need in this modern world full of slut-shaming and–

Adam: Well I think that shit gets into your head and makes you one of the bad guys.

Hannah: I think that you need a place to go and gather up the information that’s important to your industry, and then discuss it with other like-minded individuals. That’s why the comments board is so important to me and why I’ve made so many e-friends.

Given that Hannah’s credibility is completely shattered, it’s a pretty solid way to take down these sites. While it can be hard to separate Hannah Horvath from Lena Dunham, this season seems to especially have that in mind. Hannah’s a tool used by Dunham and Co, and I think this skewering of Jezebel by having the big idiot love them is pretty effective. The brilliantly phrased “place where feminists can go to support one another” reminds me of the Jezebel-parody on 30 Rock, called “Joan of Snark.” Jezebel hasn’t been a place for feminists in a long time.

Adam, who is clearly the only reasonable one around here, does have a point, and it obviously extends past Gawker Media. Blogging can be a cutthroat, gross industry that can appeal to the lowest common denominator. We like to think we’re better than that, but obviously, we’re humans who sometimes sink below the standard. But the takedown that’s happening here is pretty hilarious, and much more effective than just saying “Jezebel sucks.”

It’s pretty good timing given Jezebel’s recent bullshit feminist shit storm, which centered around Lena Dunham herself. Reaching dizzying heights of mean girl nonsense, Jezebel went to great lengths to gawk at Lena Dunham’s unretouched body in a Vogue shoot, ostensibly so we could criticize Vogue. But we all know that all that really happened was that we criticized Dunham’s body (Jez tripped over themselves to be like “no, we think she’s beautiful, everyone else has the problem”). Dunham was rightfully perturbed by the whole thing, which serendipitously proved the exact point she made on her show.

I know we harp on Jezebel a lot over here, and I can’t speak for anyone else but my personal experience has to do with feeling let down. Jezebel was really key in my development as a feminist, and in my desire to want to write about feminist issues professionally. It was an influential site for a lot of us feminist-centric blogs, and at the risk of sounding like a 15-year-old emo fuck who’s mad that her favorite band started playing at bigger venues, Jezebel sold out and became the lowest common denominator, masquerading as feminism. Girls nailed it this week. Jezebel’s brand of feminism is for Hannah Horvath and her ilk–people who don’t care about anyone but themselves, and will step on other people to get ahead.

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    • CMJ

      I don’t watch Girls anymore but I happened to be watching True Detective last night (SO GOOD) and I just didn’t feel like moving or changing the channel and I saw this part…it was great.

    • Kaitlin Reilly

      Obviously this had to be written after the whole Jezebel-wants-Lena-Dunham’s-unretouched-pics thing, right? Lena must have been like, “Just wait for episode four, Jezebel…”

    • OhOk

      I agree with you about Jez’s problems with feminism. How do you guys at The Gloss try to avoid the antifeminist pitfalls of covering celebrity culture?

      • Julia Sonenshein

        I can’t speak for anyone else, but I just try to keep my criticism constructive. I don’t get it right every time but I do what I can!

    • anna

      “While it can be hard to separate Hannah Horvath from Lena Dunham” so true.

      Lena Dunham actually babysat me a few times growing up, so I feel I have a rough idea of her personality. She’s only about 5 years older. But I have a pretty hard time separating them, despite this. It’s almost detrimental how many similarities the character and Lena have

    • Katie

      I’m glad I have the Gloss network and the great writers here. I appreciate the feminist viewpoints without the scathing criticism of anyone who could be different. Jezebel has become a clique of women who trample anyone with any kind of differing opinion. The open-mindedness on this blog is refreshing and, I feel, more accepting of all kinds of women.

      • Julia Sonenshein

        We appreciate you very, very much.