'Thought Policing 101' by Lena Dunham
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She’s faster than a speeding tweet, more woke than a college freshman, able to leap cultural miscues in a single bound.

She’s Lena Dunham, and she’s here to protect us … from our own thoughts. Only sometimes she doesn’t get her facts straight. And even when she does she sends a chill down the spines of anyone who cares about free expression.

The “Girls” alum is in the news, again, for her attempt to shame two airline workers for their allegedly transphobic opinions.

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Last week, Dunham tweeted that she overheard two American Airlines flight attendants utter transphobic hate speech while at New York’s JFK Airport. That sent the media into a predictable feeding frenzy. American Airlines vowed to investigate based on, well, not much as it turned out. A subsequent report showed flaws in Dunham’s story, including the inconvenient fact that American Airlines doesn’t operate out of the terminal she claimed to hear the comments.

This from an author who once had to have her autobiography tweaked after unfairly insinuating a conservative college student sexually attacked her.

Dunham also got into trouble recently for giving up her adopted dog because the animal was too aggressive. The shelter where she originally adopted the animal denied the dog had those tendencies.

TransGate is mostly settled for now. The attendants weren’t singled out, let alone "doxxed." American Airlines confirmed its commitment to diversity and Dunham won’t suffer for sharing a tale that could be part fiction, part truth.

And that’s being kind.

So why will Dunham dodge any fallout from an imbroglio she created? Because she shared the socially approved position on the subject, per the PC mandate in 2017. One can never speak ill of the trans community. So even if she bungled every single fact in her story, something we may never know, she was on the “right” side of the cultural debate.

Just ask Dave Chappelle. He’s arguably the most critically hailed stand-up alive. Yet he recently told jokes involving trans people and caught holy heck as a result.

The Dunham affair still begs some serious questions. Why didn’t Dunham approach the offending attendants directly? That might have yielded a teachable moment for all involved. Instead, she fired off a tweet and started an episode which, to some, cast the airlines in a negative light.

With great power comes great responsibility. That’s what a doomed uncle once told a budding wall crawler. Celebrities like Dunham, fair or not, wield cultural power. She has far more Twitter followers than most of her fans — 5.54 million, to be exact.

When she sends a tweet it packs a punch.

And then there’s the other side of the story. The attendants in question didn’t personally shame a trans person or child. They were having a private chat which Dunham allegedly overhead.

Is it possible the conversation Dunham “heard” was as lazy as it was callous? Should they be penalized for something they didn’t share with customers, or even via a tweet or Reddit chat?

Why drag the airline in question into this in the first place? How could any company corral inappropriate thoughts for their workers?

We all do and say ugly things at times. We can't be our very best selves 24/7 ... it's impossible. We don't want flight attendants being hateful, but should we follow them around to make sure they never say a bad word? Where would that end?

Think of the implications at a time when smartphones are everywhere and information can be sent worldwide within seconds.

And what about the rest of us? Imagine if a star heard you or me sharing an off-color joke and tweeted it out to his or her social media minions? Our lives could be wrecked as a result.

It’s Thought Policing 101. And it’s all the more ironic at a time when the Left and the media keep harping on cautionary tales like “1984” and “The Handmaids Tale” as parables in the Age of Trump.

For all the president’s bluster (and blunders) he’s not engaging in overt thought-police tactics. Dunham is. Will any of those in Hollywood religiously attacking President Trump share some social media characters on what Dunham did?

It is hard to turn on a friend, particularly a show biz chum. But someone should tell Dunham her thought police tactics are wrong. Better to hear it from an ally than a social media mob.

Christian Toto is the editor of the conservative site HollywoodInToto.com and host the weekly Hollywood in Toto Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @HollywoodInToto.


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