The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Truth to Power

Harvey Weinstein is a scumbag, but a very powerful scumbag in Hollywood and Democratic circles. I suspect he is not unlike some other Hollywood moguls who parley their control over the fortunes of many of the glitterati into sexual predation. There is little shock in the fact that Weinstein did what he did, but it is rather shocking that many within the Hollywood (and Democratic party) community remained silent when his predation was widely known. After all, big movie stars and many other lessor entertainers, comedians, and artists now view themselves as social justice warriors. They're the first to call out what they perceive as misogyny or any of the other "isms" they identify.

So let's go back exactly one year and recall the universal outrage from Hollywood after Donald Trump's private conversation with Billy Bush was leaked. Trump was crude and inappropriate, but his words were just that—words. Sure, anger was justified, but mass marches with pussy hats, over-the-top tweets that expressed fire-hot rage were possibly a bit much, but maybe not.

Fast forward to today and the Weinstein case. Weinstein didn't say nasty things, he did nasty things. Even in our postmodern world, actions matter, and Weinstein's actions make him a sexual predator worthy of righteous indignation and heavy condemnation.

Julie Kelly provides a scathing commentary. She begins by recalling the Trump-Billy Bush scandal:
So, let’s take a little trip down Social Media Lane and see how our virtuous, high-minded celebs who wanted Trump charged with rape a year ago have reacted to the Weinstein story.

Do you hear the crickets? I sure do.

Come along then, and let us look at the Twitter timelines of some of Trump’s most indignant celebrity agitators such as Debra Messing, Chelsea Handler, Bette Midler and Lena Dunham to see if any are despairing over Weinstein’s vile behavior and the victims left in his wake. Messing? No. Handler? No. Midler? No, but she did [rightly in my view] tweet about “the deceit!! The hypocrisy! The nerve!!” of Republican Congressman Tim Murphy for asking his girlfriend to have an abortion. Lena Dunham? Oh yes, here’s something! Dunham applauds the Times reporter for breaking the story then says this about Weinstein’s victims: "The woman who chose to speak about their experience of harassment by Harvey Weinstein deserve our awe. It's not fun or easy. It's brave."
So it's crickets from most and then praise for the victims, but no direct mention of the deeds committed or condemnation of them. Kelly continues:
But surely our nation’s conscience, celebrity interviewer Jimmy Kimmel, has something to say about this. Hmmm, I don’t see anything on his Twitter page. Perhaps he mentioned it in his monologue last night? Nope, but he did rant on and on about Trump’s tweets on fake news. No tears, though.

And what to make of Ashley Judd? The actress was completely unhinged during her speech at the Women’s March in D.C. the day after the inauguration. She referred to herself as a nasty woman, despicably claiming Ivanka Trump was her father’s “favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.” While she found time to vent about female celebrities getting paid less than their male counterparts, and questioned why tampons and maxi pads are still taxed, she failed to muster up the courage to tell the frenzied crowd about her encounters with Weinstein.

It's also worth noting that on Saturday, SNL's satirical "Weekend Update" made no mention of Weinstein, even though the jokes write themselves and his persona allows for comical caricature.

The point, I suppose, is that even Hollywood glitterati can be hypocrites. They're perfectly willing to "speak truth to power" when the power can't and won't hurt them, but when a different more localized power just might screw them and their careers ... well ... seems like moral preening is just too high a price to pay.

The New York Times deserves credit for breaking this story, particularly because Weinstein is a major donor for the newspaper's preferred political party. But The New York Post reports:
A former New York Times reporter claims the paper ordered up a story in 2004 about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct — but then “stripped” it of any reference to the accusations after being pressured by him to do so.

“After intense pressure from Weinstein … the story was gutted,” Sharon Waxman wrote Sunday in an article for The Wrap, a site that she founded in 2009.

“I was told at the time that Weinstein had visited the newsroom in person to make his displeasure known,” Waxman added. “I knew he was a major advertiser in the Times, and that he was a powerful person overall.”

The Times did not return a request for comment Sunday night.
I have to wonder whether the Times would have spiked the story in 2004 if Weinstein was a major GOP donor.


In a fascinating piece in the conservative Weekly Standard, Lee Smith explores the reasons why the NYT published this story. He writes:
Which brings us, finally, to the other reason the Weinstein story came out now: Because the court over which Bill Clinton once presided, a court in which Weinstein was one part jester, one part exchequer, and one part executioner, no longer exists.

A thought experiment: Would the Weinstein story have been published if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency? No, and not because he is a big Democratic fundraiser. It’s because if the story was published during the course of a Hillary Clinton presidency, it wouldn’t have really been about Harvey Weinstein. Harvey would have been seen as a proxy for the president’s husband and it would have embarrassed the president, the first [Democrat] female president.

Bill Clinton offered get-out-of-jail-free cards to a whole army of sleazeballs, from Jeffrey Epstein to Harvey Weinstein to the foreign donors to the Clinton Global Initiative. The deal was simple: Pay up, genuflect, and get on with your existence. It was like a papacy selling indulgences, at the same time that everyone knew that the cardinals were up to no good. The 2016 election demolished Clinton world once and for all, to be replaced by the cult of Obama, an austere sect designated by their tailored hair shirts with Nehru collars. “That is not who we are as Americans,” they chant, as Harvey Weinstein’s ashes are scattered in the wind.