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‘New Yorker’ Dodges Questions, Dismisses Lena Dunham’s ‘Jew or Dog’ Controversy

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Despite blowback from the Anti-Defamation League and others, The New Yorker is dismissing claims that a satiric piece written by Lena Dunham is meant to be offensive to Jews or anyone else. In the piece, Dunham, whose mother is Jewish, asks readers if “the following statements refer to (a) my dog or (b) my Jewish boyfriend?” Of the 35 statements, some unquestionably promote well-worn Jewish stereotypes.

In Dunham’s and the publication’s defense, New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick released the following statement:

The Jewish-comic tradition is rich with the mockery of, and playing with, stereotypes. Anyone who has ever heard Lenny Bruce or Larry David or Sarah Silverman or who has read ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ knows that. Lena Dunham, who is Jewish and hugely talented, is a comic voice working in that vein. Richard Pryor and Chris Rock do the same about black stereotypes; Amy Schumer does it with women and gender. I don’t mind if one reader or another didn’t find the piece funny. People can differ on that. But considering all the real hatred and tragedy in the world, the people getting exercised about the so-called anti-Semitism of this comic piece, like those who railed at Philip Roth a generation or two ago, are, with respect, howling in the wrong direction.

Remnick, of course, is correct about this long-held comic tradition. While her jokes are a little stale, a little Catskills circa 1958, Dunham, who identifies herself as culturally Jewish, is coloring well within the lines of that tradition.

The question, though, is whether or not the New Yorker is singling Jews out for this kind of mockery.

A major publication singling out Jews for ethnic humor is part of a troubling, not a comic, tradition.

Despite a good-faith effort, Breitbart News cannot find any examples of the New Yorker publishing similar satiric stereotypes against gays, blacks, Hispanics, etc.

Yesterday afternoon, Breitbart News asked a New Yorker spokesperson if the magazine would publish stereotypical satire aimed at blacks, gays or Hispanics. We also asked for any examples of the New Yorker doing so in the past.

Our questions were ignored. All Breitbart News received in response was Remnick’s blanket statement.

We have resubmitted our questions and will update this story if we receive a response.

This is the second time this week the New Yorker has found itself embroiled in a racial controversy. Wednesday, the elite, left-wing outlet described Republican Senator Ted Cruz, a Hispanic, as “uppity.”

Eventually, the New Yorker scrubbed the offending word and issued a non-apology apology.

 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC               


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