The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

October 10, 2012

Slate: Why Lena Dunham's book is worth $3.5 million

WASHINGTON — When word came down this week that "Girls" creator and "Tiny Furniture" director Lena Dunham had sold a book of essays for more than $3.5 million, I braced myself for a resurgence of the Dunham haters. These are the people who, among other things, argue that Dunham is the beneficiary of nepotism. And what could be a bigger benefit than $3.5 million?

It is a lot of money, and "Girls" is only a modestly rated show: About a million people watched the finale on its air date and in its time slot, though about 4.1 million people watched it after that. By contrast, "2 Broke Girls" pulled in, on average, 11 million viewers per episode in its first season. But instead of judging what cash value the Dunham name realistically ought to have in the marketplace, I'd rather think about her valuable ideas.

Dunham's book is only at the (accepted) proposal stage, but first Slate and then The New York Times obtained copies of that proposal. Among the ideas in it are a chapter devoted to "an account of some radically and hilariously inappropriate ways I have been treated at work/by professionals because of my age and gender." And another promises to advise readers on how to wear "Red lipstick with a sunburn: How to dress for a business meeting and other hard-earned fashion lessons from the size 10 who went to the Met Ball."

These are the kinds of subjects for which there's enormous demand but not much supply. It doesn't help to be told that you should be more aggressive in asking for a raise, in generic lady mag fashion, if the problem is as much that your boss is a sexist as that you're not asking for what you want. I'd rather hear Dunham's embarrassing work stories and what she learned from them than hear the same talking points women have been handed over and over again. And it's not as if most of us can easily relate to Christina Hendricks' experiences getting stylists to send her dresses that work with her cleavage — some of the most-discussed examples of fashion's inhumanity to curvy women of late. Sure, Dunham's been to the Met Ball, but she also looks like she knows her way around a retail outlet and a thrift shop, and she might have real ideas for those of us size 10s who aren't headed to the red carpet.

Text Only
Top News
  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg What will happen in NFL draft? No one really knows

    Despite the hours spent interviewing coaches, watching film and developing well-reasoned mock draft lists, the truth about the 2014 NFL draft remains a mystery, well-guarded by teams that have nothing to gain by publicly sharing their innermost thoughts.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Iowa man accused of torturing, killing bald eagle

    An Iowa man has been charged with torturing and killing a bald eagle.

    A federal grand jury in Des Moines returned an indictment Wednesday against Jason John Thomas.

    April 24, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 24, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-23-14 Northey Burkens committed to ag education CLINTON -- As the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey said his department doesn't hand out the Good Farm Neighbor Award arbitrarily. Only 10 acknowledgements are bestowed each year. On Wednesday, the honor went to a worthy family in Clinton C

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • World Book Night 1 Clinton Public Library hosts largest World Book Night event in the country

    CLINTON -- With more than 21 titles and 800 copies to give away, what reader wouldn't adore an event like World Book Night? Organizers at the Clinton Public Library wondered the same Wednesday, and were pleased with turnout for the third annual event

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amid Russian warning, Ukraine's in a security bind

    Ukraine's highly publicized goal to recapture police stations and government buildings seized by pro-Russia forces in the east produced little action on the ground Wednesday but ignited foreboding words from Moscow.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Russia would mount a firm response if its citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine. Although he did not specifically say Russia would launch a military attack, his comments bolstered wide concern that Russia could use any violence in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for sending in troops.

    April 23, 2014

AP Video