By KRISTEN GOLEMBIEWSKI, Opinions Editor
Last week, Elizabeth Bastian discussed why internet trolls need to shave their neckbeards, get out of their mom’s basement, and stop messing with people. In particular, she mentioned that engaging in behavior like trying to get people to cut themselves so Justin Bieber will stop smoking weed isn’t funny. It’s sad, and it’s sick. It got me thinking about how many times I’ve heard something shocking from a radio personality, or television host, and while it bothered me, most other people just laughed it off.
And then Howard Stern insulted Lena Dunham.
If you haven’t yet heard of her now-infamous “I’m thin, for, like, Detroit,” quip as she defended herself against Stern’s mocking her weight, don’t worry – it’s probably coming to a t-shirt or coffee mug near you. In fact, backlash has been so great that we might just adopt it as our ironic, unofficial slogan.
But why is it Dunham’s line we’re remembering, and not Stern’s insult that she is a “little fat girl who kinda looks like Jonah Hill”? Why are we more upset that Dunham called attention to our obesity problem here in the city where most people forego biking or walking to drive?
Of course, Stern’s comment was not a stand-alone, casual note. No. He went on to bash HBO’s “Girls” which Dunham writes, directs, and acts in.
“She keeps taking her clothes off and it kind of feels like rape. She seems — it’s like — I don’t want to see that,” he said.
Granted, fans of the show have seen Dunham’s goodies on almost every episode. But that’s no reason for a rape joke, and that’s no reason to insult her body. But the reason why we don’t find heftier women attractive is another subject for another time.
What I want to know is why, when people who make a living off being offensive – Stern, Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh, Charlie Sheen, etc. – we excuse it, as if that’s just the way they are and we should all have a good laugh and move on. But if someone like Dunham, or Kanye West, or anyone who’s not a white male, makes an offensive joke, we’re less likely to accept it. Don Imus called the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team a group of “nappy-headed hoes” and he’s back on the air. And yet, people are still upset over Kanye’s interrupting of Taylor Swift.
So why do we continually hand out second, and third, and tenth chances to the kind of people who get on a major broadcasting channel and spew hate?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I believe that there is no better way to express yourself than with humor. I believe that a joke can be made about almost any topic – and although I’ve never heard a funny one from Howard Stern, I’m sure he’s got a couple good ones somewhere. But there’s a fine line between a joke and unnecessary insults.
Just because Stern doesn’t find the show funny or thinks there’s too much Hannah Horvath (Dunham’s character) on-screen doesn’t mean that he should be taking cheap shots at her (she beat both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, so let’s show the girl a little respect here).
And even though he apologized, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he runs his mouth again, and we give him yet another chance he doesn’t deserve.