WBEZ | controversy http://www.wbez.org/tags/controversy Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Lena Dunham: The voice of a generation? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-01/lena-dunham-voice-generation-105194 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Girls .png" title="From left: Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet and Allison Williams: the stars of HBO's smash-hit 'Girls.' (Hollywood Reporter/HBO)" /></p><p>Lena Dunham and I have a lot in common.</p><p>OK, we&rsquo;re not<em> exactly</em> alike. I don&#39;t share Dunham&#39;s <a href="http://blog.zap2it.com/pop2it/2013/01/lena-dunham-gets-criticized-for-blobby-body-in-nasty-girls-review.html">much-maligned</a> body type, and my mother is not a <a href="http://www.lauriesimmons.net">famous artist</a> with a $2 million loft in TriBeCa. I also don&rsquo;t co-write, direct or star in my own hit series on HBO (except for in my dreams) But in many ways, I consider Dunham to be a kindred spirit, or at least a wacky spirit guide for surviving my mid-twenties.&nbsp;</p><p>Her character on <em>Girls</em>, the awkward yet somehow endearing 24-year-old Hannah Horvath, is an aspiring writer trying to make it in New York after her parents cut her off financially. Replace Brooklyn with Logan Square, and that&rsquo;s my life in a nutshell. Also, since Dunham is essentially playing herself (albeit an exagerrated version with fictional monetary woes), her stories of personal and professional struggle bizarrely reflect my own.&nbsp;</p><p>Dunham isn&rsquo;t a role model per se, but she does represent a faction of society that currently dominates popular culture: postgrad twenty-somethings. Or as the baby boomers like to call us, the &ldquo;entitlement generation.&quot;</p><p>That being said, I can see why so many people hate her. Dunham was born into privilege, attended one of the<a href="http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/20111025/most-expensive-colleges-2011.html#slide14">&nbsp;most expensive art colleges</a>&nbsp;in the country&nbsp;and apparently <a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/05/07/152183865/lena-dunham-addresses-criticism-aimed-at-girls">didn&#39;t grow up around too many black people</a>. Her pet project&nbsp;<em>Tiny Furniture</em>&nbsp;got picked up by several film festivals in 2010, prompting Hollywood hitmaker <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2012/10/16/163012161/judd-apatow-and-lena-dunham-talk-about-comedy-on-iconoclasts">Judd Apatow</a> to take her under his wing and launch <em>Girls</em>&nbsp;with his new protègè front and center. No wonder her critics keep making <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/confidential/howard-stern-big-fat-meanie-girls-star-article-1.1238991">fat jokes</a>! They have to bring her down somehow.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Rk0-irdPGhU" width="620"></iframe></p><p>&quot;Bad Friend,&quot; an episode&nbsp;documenting Hannah&#39;s misadventures with <a href="http://jezebel.com/5979536/girls-finally-tackles-ladyblogs">blogging, clubbing and cocaine</a> that aired on Sunday night, is a prime example of why&nbsp;<em>Girls </em>is one of the best shows currently on television. Hot off the heels of two <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/13/girls-golden-globe-best-comedy_n_2466394.html">Golden Globe awards</a>, one for Best Comedy Series and the other for Dunham as Best Actress, the series continues to top itself week after week and shows no signs of slowing down.</p><p>Dunham and <em>Girls</em> co-writer <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2013/01/grown-up-behind-girls-jenni-konner.html">Jenni Konner</a> have been<a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/10/girls-season-2-of-hbo-s-lena-dunham-comedy-soars.html"> showered with praise</a> since Season 2 began in early January, especially in addressing the <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2012/04/lena-dunham-girls-race.html">&quot;people of color&quot;</a> issue that had been previously overlooked in Season 1. Dunham recently acquired a $3 million-plus <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/07/lena-dunham-book-_n_2259575.html">book deal</a> as a result of the show&#39;s success, and HBO has already announced a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/girls-season-3-hbo_n_2117810.html">greenlight</a> for Season 3.&nbsp;</p><p>But while <em>Girls</em>&nbsp;became a commercial and critical darling almost overnight,&nbsp;Dunham&#39;s public persona is decidedly less beloved. She has been called fat, ugly, racist, talentless, stupid, elitist, sexually grotesque and offensive on every level. This doesn&#39;t seem to bother her though, as she continues to <a href="http://www.thegloss.com/2012/09/23/culture/lena-dunham-naked-cake-toilet-emmys-728/">eat birthday cake naked</a> and makes no apologies for it.&nbsp;</p><p>A lot of people hate Lena Dunham because they believe that her lifestyle--a white, privileged and excessively tattooed hipstergirl cavorting through Bushwick--does not represent them (and how dare you suggest such a thing!) However, coming from a wealthy and well-connected family doesn&#39;t make her any less clever or insightful, and being a &quot;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/05/07/152183865/lena-dunham-addresses-criticism-aimed-at-girls">half-Jew, half-WASP</a>&quot; with lots of white friends doesn&#39;t automatically make her a racist.</p><p>We are all the product of our environments, and Dunham happens to tell some very funny stories about hers. The voice of a generation? I wouldn&#39;t go that far. A symbol of her generation? Absolutely. So say what you will about Dunham as a cultural icon, but she&#39;s going to keep <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/lena-dunham-chubby-teenager-cake_n_2434138.html">eating her cake</a> (and enjoying it too!)</p><p><em>Follow Leah on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/leahkpickett">@leahkpickett</a></em></p></p> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-01/lena-dunham-voice-generation-105194 Chicago Police Department Pull the Plug on City Sticker http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/chicago-police-department-pull-plug-city-sticker-96250 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-09/6843850999_4d54122618_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After a week of discussion, Chicago has pulled the plug on 15-year-old Herbert Pulgar's design for Chicago's new city sticker, citing the possibility that it includes references to Chicago gangs.</p><p>Justin Kaufman, WBEZ's head of talk programming, stopped by to give his take on "Sticker-gate" and defend his decision to give it less attention than did other local media outlets.</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/chicago-police-department-pull-plug-city-sticker-96250 Is it possible to joke about rape? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/it-possible-joke-about-rape-96254 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-09/6171300790_126833e135_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago stand-up comedian Ever Mainard has become a viral sensation by joking about something that many people consider verboten: rape. Vocalo's Brian Babylon and Molly Adams spoke with Tony about breaking taboos in the name of comedy, and how truth can sometimes trump taste. Before going on <em>848</em>, Brian and Molly talked with Ever Mainard in her Lincoln Square neighborhood about her sudden fame. Below is an edited look at her responses to their queries; hit play to hear their whole conversation.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332731123-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/evermainard street tape.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><em><strong>How does it feel to be internet famous?</strong></em></p><p>It feels kind of cool, but also strange, because my mom doesn’t own the internet, so she doesn’t get it. She’s like, “What does that mean?”</p><p><em><strong>Can a rape joke be funny?</strong></em></p><p>Absolutely! Obviously. I think the thing that people are missing is that it’s not necessarily a rape joke. Like I went on stage knowing a little bit like, I want to tell this story about how it felt as a woman to be followed, and having that perception in her mind…because one out of four women are raped. And the statistics climb higher. So there’s that thought in my mind like, this is it. There’s nobody else around, this guy’s following me. And he wasn’t being discreet about it. I’m just walking to the corner store. Like I’m walking towards you.</p><p><em><strong>After you realized you were fine, did you feel bad for overreacting?</strong></em></p><p>Right, everything was fine, I just ducked. I just got out of there. I wasn’t raped, obviously. I think that joke would have happened a lot differently if I had been raped. But it’s just a joke about that whole idea of being a woman, knowing that…it’s like a cloud. It’s like a black cloud, walking alone at night.</p><p><em><strong>Is this a way to get this topic out in the open?</strong></em></p><p>I think that’s a gift that we all share as comedians is to be able to talk about this, and not just rape in general, but taboo subjects. And to bring it to other people’s minds, in front of their faces, without just being like, barky. Does that make sense?</p><p>I think as comedians that’s our gift. Yeah, we can tell fart jokes all we want, but we also have that power, because we’re on a stage with a microphone, and we have so many peoples attention. And they’re listening to us, and they want to hear what we say, and they want to hear what we have to say, and when you have that power, you can say whatever you want.</p><p><em><strong>Some people said that you were racist for pointing out that the man who was following you was Black. What do you think about that claim?</strong></em></p><p>I did say it was a Black man, but I also said that race had nothing to do with it. It didn’t matter, this persons skin color. What mattered was that I was being followed by a man, and no matter what color, a woman will always be scared when they’re walking alone at night, and some dude just jumps out of nowhere and starts aggressively following you....A fur hood and sunglasses at night! You’re covering your face!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/29ArdxWYBGQ" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/it-possible-joke-about-rape-96254 Bad press and research put microfinance under new scrutiny http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-17/bad-press-and-research-put-microfinance-under-new-scrutiny-88001 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-17/83020818.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The appellate division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court last month agreed that the nation’s central bank was justified in firing Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus from his post as managing director of Grameen Bank, the institution he founded more than three decades ago. The controversy once again brought to light the heated debate over the effectiveness of microfinance programs.</p><p><a href="https://www.goldininstitute.org/our-network/profile/7-travis-rejman" target="_blank">Travis Rejman</a> is founding executive director of the Goldin Institute, a global forum dedicated to supporting grassroots partnerships for global change in poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability, gender empowerment and conflict resolution.</p><p>Susan Beaudry is with <a href="http://www.gwob.net" target="_blank">Grantmakers Without Borders</a>, a philanthropic network dedicated to increased funding for international social justice, environmental sustainability and improving international grantmaking. Susan collaborated with the Goldin Institute on a project to help donors sort through the facts and spin called “<a href="http://www.gwob.net/news/GWOB_Microfinance_Guide.pdf" target="_blank">Microfinance: A Guide for Grantmakers</a>.”</p><p>They join us to discuss the truths and myths of microfinancing.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 17 Jun 2011 16:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-17/bad-press-and-research-put-microfinance-under-new-scrutiny-88001