Lena Dunham’s latest piece in the New Yorker, a quiz titled “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend?”offers a list of 35 statements comparing her real-life boyfriend, Bleachers lead singer Jack Antonoff, and her adopted dog, Lamby.
While many seem harmless, such as “He’s crazy for cream cheese,” others a bit more harsh:
8. I feel that he is judgmental about the food I serve him. When I make something from scratch, he doesn’t want to eat it, but he also rejects most store-bought dinners.
9. This is because he comes from a culture in which mothers focus every ounce of their attention on their offspring and don’t acknowledge their own need for independence as women. They are sucked dry by their children, who ultimately leave them as soon as they find suitable mates.
10. As a result of this dynamic, he expects to be waited on hand and foot by the women in his life, and anything less than that makes him whiny and distant.
Many people were outraged by the quiz, calling it anti-semitic.
Jordana Horn wrote in Kveller: “… apparently Jews are a group you can make fun of and it is deemed kinda intellectual and funny to do so. Basically, the boyfriend of whom she paints a picture is a weak, cheap, complaining, ungrateful, whiny jerk. To say that these qualities are obviously Jewish — and doglike? — offends me deeply.”
Many on social media agreed:
Others have come to Dunham’s defence:
Dunham, whose father is protestant and mother is Jewish, told the Jewish Journal in 2012 that she is “very culturally Jewish, although that’s the biggest cliché for a Jewish woman to say.”
Dunham has yet to comment on the backlash, but earlier this week she assured the quiz was a “love letter”:
“My first ever Shouts & Murmurs! A love letter to @jackantonoff & Lamby in the form of… Dog or Jewish Boyfriend: A Quiz. Look at this perfect illustration by @benkalt. And I ❤️ @newyorkermag since birth and til death”
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