Although I have given up Twitter for Lent, I see from checking up on it for maintenance purposes that my handle has been being invoked there with some frequency of late. Certain individuals seem to be of the opinion that were I currently active in the social media format, I would have some amusing/coruscating/righteous material to contribute w/r/t some news that has been spreading across the cinematic cyberverse, about how the Criterion Collection is going to issue a DVD edition of Lena Dunham's second film Tiny Furniture, but IS NOT going to issue a DVD edition of Abbas Kiarostami's splendid latest film Certified Copy, allegedly because (and this, I should point out most emphatically, is not a confirmed fact but merely a rumor and not in the least anything resembling an official pronouncement) Criterion head Peter Becker supposedly considers the latter "lesser Kiarostami." Well. As much as I hate to disappoint my public, I am not only not going to break my Lenten vow and go on Twitter and deride the decision (this has in fact been the only Lenten resolution I have been able to keep...damn you, damn you to hell, M&Ms!), but I do not in fact have anything derisive to say about the decision, which has not been definitively announced in any case. The deal between IFC and Criterion meant that a Criterion Tiny Furniture was always a possibility; by the same token, it did not mean that a Criterion Certified Copy was a given. If one comes out and not the other, it represents neither the death of Criterion and cinephilia as object and ideal, nor does it represent the triumph of youth and fucking inside metal piping over cinecrophilia, or whatever; it represents nothing more than two discrete business decisions, neither of which is going to bring about anything like a cataclysm.
And quite frankly, I'm getting a little sick of all this dog-piling on Lena Dunham. Yeah, I've given her some shit in the past, and I may well do same at some point in the future, but I feel reasonably confident in every case that it's something that she's said or done that's prompted my irritation, not the very fact that she exists. Yeah, she's the daughter of affluent artist parents, WE KNOW THAT. What the fuck are we gonna do, ban everybody with a privileged background from participating in the arts, or in criticism for that matter? In that case, so long, James Merrill, WIlliam S. Burroughs, Harry Mathews, Greil Marcus even, not to mention the Beastie Boys, etcetera, etcetera, just to mention people who come to the top of my head immediately. And to extend to the coeval, are we just gonna honor poor aspiring artists on account of their no-doubt-superior integrity? Get used to reading a lot of Karl "King" Wenclas, then. I've given it a shot, and you know what? His shit is BORING, not to mention badly "crafted." Yes, I know that I myself coined the term "cinema of unexamined privilege," but that's exactly what I meant—the cinema. I meant that I thought one of Tiny Furniture's larger flaws was its disingenuousness about the actual reality of its lead character Aura's situation; the fact that she really did not NEED to even take the job that she eventually walks away from. It seemed evasive in a way that, say, even something people might consider similar, like Woody Allen's Manhattan, did/does not. In that latter film the circumstances were better laid-out, if not completely explicitly addressed; the characters all had cherry media/academic jobs that allowed them to isolate and create their own neurotic fairy tales; their was nothing in the scenario that obliged the characters to even feel the slightest compulsion to examine their privilege. I'm over-explaining myself into a corner here, but you get the idea.
And in any event, and I kind of feel like a total dink pointing this out, whatever you might think of Tiny Furniture, the fact is it didn't fucking make itself; Dunham went out and wrote it and directed it and acted in it; she didn't lie back and have her minions and eunuchs put the thing together. Yeah, she got a lot of help from family and friends but so does EVERYBODY who makes a low-budget independent film these days. Even Academy-Award-Winning-DIrector Steven Soderbergh asked people for favors with regards to locations for The Girlfriend Experience (none of the Vegas stuff would have happened had he not made those Oceans movies). As far as I know, well-off as she may be, Dunham didn't finance the film herself (only idiots do that, oops, sorry Tom Ford), and the fact that the film has helped her find likely better-than-gainful employment via deals with Scott Rudin and Judd Apatow and so on, actually represents a return on her investment of labor. She's a rich kid, yeah, but she did the work. I would advise others who seek to emulate her success to do likewise.
By the way, My Lovely Wife, when I was discussing all this with her, said, "You understand that it takes a lot of nerve for you to go all Zen about this and start telling people to 'grow up' at this reasonably early stage of your maturity." To which I responded, "Well, yeah, that's why I wanna use those panels from the Drew Friedman cartoon. Because of the stupid grandiosity of the gesture, and the fact that people never listen to you when you say that anyway, so what's the fucking point?" Exactly!