Since I was on a tear a couple weeks ago over someone calling Andrew W.K. a “complete fake,” I might as well add that I just read a review of Lena Dunham’s new memoir from a high-profile magazine wherein the reviewer calls Lena Dunham, the person, “not real.”
I’m not going to link to the review, because it is truly a garbage attempt at criticism. How emotionally, psychologically, or creatively stunted must a writer be to make such an assessment of someone who grew up in artistic circles and performs and creates for a living? How smug must one be to draw that line and declaim from their own relative obscurity that he or she is one of the “real people”? Why do these authenticity police keep getting paid to do this? Is it just so people who are equally stunted will keep buying magazines?
Say what you will about Lena Dunham, I really don’t care (I mean, don’t be a sexist piece of shit about it), but if you go around deciding that certain people walking around our streets and breathing air are “not real” people, you may be an actual sociopath.
Making friends on Tumblr is great because you can just put all your worst qualities right up front.
So here’s the thing—Jenny Everywhere was created in 2002 by members of Barbelith, a forum dedicated to esoteric magic and Grant Morrison. They meant her to be an “open source character” who anyone could use—a dimensional traveller who existed in all universes and had memories of all her alternate selves. She was East Asian or American Indian, wore flight goggles that may have come from her mother, and had a love of adventure and toast. They made her up for a series of comics put together by the community. That’s what the Barbelith people say, anyway, and I think they’re telling the truth as far as it goes.
I got into Jenny Everywhere ten years ago, around the time that first wave of Barbelith creativity was dying down. There was this brief burst of activity for Jenny on the wider internet—she even got a mention in the New York Times. She made an appearance in a whole lot of webcomics and other projects, mostly as a cameo in-joke kind of thing, but few people really knew what to do with her. I tried to write a bunch of short-short stories for her, even setting up a Jenny Everywhere blog on tumblr, but that didn’t quite work out. In the end, the whole thing more or less died out, and we all found new projects and new things to obsess over.
Then I found out about the incident in Pennsylvania.