How Lena Dunham’s Twitter Feed Won Me Over

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 2 2011 11:15 AM

Follow Friday: Lena Dunham’s Twitter Feed Makes Me Like Her More 

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Writer, director and actress Lena Dunham at the premiere of 'Tiny Furniture' in 2010.

Photo by John W. Ferguson/Getty Images

Following someone you respect on Twitter can lead to disillusionment. No matter how impressive or profound the person’s work, a bum tweet can undercut it. No, Mr. Powerhouse Reporter, I don’t want to hear about the bar where you’re “hanging with homies.” And you, Mr. Jettisoned Late-Night Host? Your one-liners are sadly ho-hum.

Julia Turner Julia Turner

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

It’s accordingly rare to find a Twitter feed that makes you more, not less, interested in the work of the person who writes it. But following Lena Dunham, the much-hyped young writer, director and actress behind the movie Tiny Furniture and the forthcoming TV show Girls, has me increasingly convinced that she deserves all the hype.

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Dunham is a polarizing figure. Her work thus far has been semi-autobiographical (in Tiny Furniture, she plays a character whose mom and sister are played by her real-life mom and sister), and she’s been accused of narcissism. But what’s impressive—both in her first film and in her tweets—is her control of the confessional form. She laces her self-absorption with just the right kind of self-awareness. And she’s very funny. Consider:

Pretty sure my boyfriend won’t get me an xmas gift. Guess whether a] he’s a misanthrope or b] he doesn’t exist. Either is plausible, right?

It’s a mordant, abstract notion of Lena-Dunhamdom that doesn’t reveal too much about Lena Dunham herself. Or:

I am a good times Sally so I took my vacation in Germany & read Susanna Kaysen’s memoir about debilitating chronic vaginal pain
Me recalling a party the day after looks a lot like an old blind man hearing a sonata he knew in his youth—and I didn’t even drink!
My horoscope today didn’t say anything about capri pants covered in mystery hair.
George Clooney is always super quick to let his girlfriends go to parties with him. What a nice man!

Some of these tweets should be maddening. Dunham consistently asserts that she is lame, lovelorn, depressive, and fogeyish, while the evidence suggests that she is smart, witty, successful, and cool. But somehow the result charms me, perhaps because her protestations of personal schlubbiness (which would be galling from any other celebrity) are borne out with photographic evidence of a scuzzy, clothing-strewn room. Or perhaps it’s that Dunham is a keen observer of girl neurosis—horoscopes, pant lengths, rogue hair—in a world where most of our public neurotics are men. Whatever it is, following @lenadunham has me very keen to watch Girls, which will premiere on HBO early next year.

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