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Hollywood Hypocrisy

By popular request, here are my random thoughts on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the first of them taking pains to state without equivocation that he is morally (and perhaps one might be forgiven for adding physically) an ugly pig.

But just as everyone in Hollywood knew (apparently) that there was something ugly about Harvey Weinstein but didn’t want to mention it out loud, so there is something just as ugly about Hollywood, with the same rule of omerta prevailing. 

Weinstein the monster has now been banished from the land in shame and disgrace. Meanwhile, Hollywood, in many ways equally ugly, will remain collectively and subjectively unencumbered by either guilt or contrition.  Hollywood has a hard time expressing either. 

It will stay that way just so long as the cinema-going public – a fast-vanishing breed – can be gulled into shelling out hard-earned cash for the privilege of watching cinematic schlock, which is nowadays the stock-in-trade of film studios struggling to withstand assaults on the Hollywood citadel by the likes of Netflix.  Far too often the studios’ response has been, and is, to peddle dystopian nonsense about the end of the world – usually at the hands of aliens from outer space, or zombies from under the earth – or by reverting to those reliable stand-bys, rape and sadism – all the better if they involve terrified and helpless women.    

This misguided approach to what represents cinematic entertainment hardly excuses Weinstein’s behaviour, of course, but in Hollywood’s outpouring of righteous indignation over his offences there hangs a strong whiff of hypocrisy.  In some individual cases, the whiff graduates to a rancid stench.

I offer a couple of examples of the moral double-standard to underline the point.

What moral high ground is occupied by a studio head who, though he has nobly refrained from luring female employees to his hotel room for nefarious purposes, or paying them off for their silence, peddles smut involving gratuitous and graphic violence against women? 

The stock answer is that there is a clear difference between pandering to prurience and exercising it with menaces.  But is the gap so wide as to be definable as the difference between Right and Wrong?  There are, I submit, few absolutes here.

And how strong a case against exploiting and, as we now say, objectifying women can be made by a few of those female performers, now belatedly flocking to the media to denounce Weinstein’s misconduct, who have taken off their kit, on celluloid and in print, with such regularity as to be more recognisable naked than clothed?  

The objection to that line of thought is that an actress or singer disrobing in a photo-shoot or on stage or in a ‘selfie’ is an entirely voluntary act.  That much is objectively undeniable, though perhaps subjectively arguable.  

The philosophical point arising from the two examples, among others, is this: can offences such as Weinstein’s alleged actions be entirely divorced from the pervading cultural climate of ‘anything goes’, in which the more extreme the ‘anything’ the better?

I’m just asking, folks.   

If all of this tends to sound like an apologia for Weinstein, it is nothing of the kind.  The man behaved badly.  He may have acted criminally.  If guilty, on either count, he deserves whatever fate, professional or legal, that might befall him. 

But Hollywood should take a long hard look in the mirror, too.  It has long nurtured a double-standard, ever since those far-off days of the puritanical and ludicrous Hays Code, back when ‘damn’ was a proscribed word, and ladies doing nothing but sitting demurely on a bed had to be clad in pyjamas and keep one foot on the floor.   

I am no puritan myself.  I would defend Hollywood, even Babylonian Hollywood, against any form of imposed moral censorship.      

Weinstein deserves the opprobrium now being heaped on him from a great height.  

But should Hollywood escape entirely unscathed?  After all, a great many people in the industry now expressing shock at the Weinstein revelations had spent twenty years looking the other way.

 

PS:  Before someone asks how come Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) uttered that forbidden word in the final scene of Gone With The Wind, I should point out that the film’s producer David O. Selznick had to seek special compensation to include it.  Permission was given reluctantly.

Hollywood Hypocrisy

 

By popular request, here are my random thoughts on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the first of them taking pains to state without equivocation that he is morally (and perhaps one might be forgiven for adding physically) an ugly pig.

But just as everyone in Hollywood knew (apparently) that there was something ugly about Harvey Weinstein but didn’t want to mention it out loud, so there is something just as ugly about Hollywood, with the same rule of omerta prevailing. 

Weinstein the monster has now been banished from the land in shame and disgrace. Meanwhile, Hollywood, in many ways equally ugly, will remain collectively and subjectively unencumbered by either guilt or contrition.  Hollywood has a hard time expressing either. 

It will stay that way just so long as the cinema-going public – a fast-vanishing breed – can be gulled into shelling out hard-earned cash for the privilege of watching cinematic schlock, which is nowadays the stock-in-trade of film studios struggling to withstand assaults on the Hollywood citadel by the likes of Netflix.  Far too often the studios’ response has been, and is, to peddle dystopian nonsense about the end of the world – usually at the hands of aliens from outer space, or zombies from under the earth – or by reverting to those reliable stand-bys, rape and sadism – all the better if they involve terrified and helpless women.    

This misguided approach to what represents cinematic entertainment hardly excuses Weinstein’s behaviour, of course, but in Hollywood’s outpouring of righteous indignation over his offences there hangs a strong whiff of hypocrisy.  In some individual cases, the whiff graduates to a rancid stench.

I offer a couple of examples of the moral double-standard to underline the point.

What moral high ground is occupied by a studio head who, though he has nobly refrained from luring female employees to his hotel room for nefarious purposes, or paying them off for their silence, peddles smut involving gratuitous and graphic violence against women? 

The stock answer is that there is a clear difference between pandering to prurience and exercising it with menaces.  But is the gap so wide as to be definable as the difference between Right and Wrong?  There are, I submit, few absolutes here.

And how strong a case against exploiting and, as we now say, objectifying women can be made by a few of those female performers, now belatedly flocking to the media to denounce Weinstein’s misconduct, who have taken off their kit, on celluloid and in print, with such regularity as to be more recognisable naked than clothed?  

The objection to that line of thought is that an actress or singer disrobing in a photo-shoot or on stage or in a ‘selfie’ is an entirely voluntary act.  That much is objectively undeniable, though perhaps subjectively arguable.  

The philosophical point arising from the two examples, among others, is this: can offences such as Weinstein’s alleged actions be entirely divorced from the pervading cultural climate of ‘anything goes’, in which the more extreme the ‘anything’ the better?

I’m just asking, folks.   

If all of this tends to sound like an apologia for Weinstein, it is nothing of the kind.  The man behaved badly.  He may have acted criminally.  If guilty, on either count, he deserves whatever fate, professional or legal, that might befall him. 

But Hollywood should take a long hard look in the mirror, too.  It has long nurtured a double-standard, ever since those far-off days of the puritanical and ludicrous Hays Code, back when ‘damn’ was a proscribed word, and ladies doing nothing but sitting demurely on a bed had to be clad in pyjamas and keep one foot on the floor.   

I am no puritan myself.  I would defend Hollywood, even Babylonian Hollywood, against any form of imposed moral censorship.      

Weinstein deserves the opprobrium now being heaped on him from a great height.  

But should Hollywood escape entirely unscathed?  After all, a great many people in the industry now expressing shock at the Weinstein revelations had spent twenty years looking the other way.

 

PS:  Before someone asks how come Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) uttered that forbidden word in the final scene of Gone With The Wind, I should point out that the film’s producer David O. Selznick had to seek special compensation to include it.  Permission was given reluctantly.

Hollywood Hypocrisy

 

By popular request, here are my random thoughts on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the first of them taking pains to state without equivocation that he is morally (and perhaps one might be forgiven for adding physically) an ugly pig.

But just as everyone in Hollywood knew (apparently) that there was something ugly about Harvey Weinstein but didn’t want to mention it out loud, so there is something just as ugly about Hollywood, with the same rule of omerta prevailing. 

Weinstein the monster has now been banished from the land in shame and disgrace. Meanwhile, Hollywood, in many ways equally ugly, will remain collectively and subjectively unencumbered by either guilt or contrition.  Hollywood has a hard time expressing either. 

It will stay that way just so long as the cinema-going public – a fast-vanishing breed – can be gulled into shelling out hard-earned cash for the privilege of watching cinematic schlock, which is nowadays the stock-in-trade of film studios struggling to withstand assaults on the Hollywood citadel by the likes of Netflix.  Far too often the studios’ response has been, and is, to peddle dystopian nonsense about the end of the world – usually at the hands of aliens from outer space, or zombies from under the earth – or by reverting to those reliable stand-bys, rape and sadism – all the better if they involve terrified and helpless women.    

This misguided approach to what represents cinematic entertainment hardly excuses Weinstein’s behaviour, of course, but in Hollywood’s outpouring of righteous indignation over his offences there hangs a strong whiff of hypocrisy.  In some individual cases, the whiff graduates to a rancid stench.

I offer a couple of examples of the moral double-standard to underline the point.

What moral high ground is occupied by a studio head who, though he has nobly refrained from luring female employees to his hotel room for nefarious purposes, or paying them off for their silence, peddles smut involving gratuitous and graphic violence against women? 

The stock answer is that there is a clear difference between pandering to prurience and exercising it with menaces.  But is the gap so wide as to be definable as the difference between Right and Wrong?  There are, I submit, few absolutes here.

And how strong a case against exploiting and, as we now say, objectifying women can be made by a few of those female performers, now belatedly flocking to the media to denounce Weinstein’s misconduct, who have taken off their kit, on celluloid and in print, with such regularity as to be more recognisable naked than clothed?  

The objection to that line of thought is that an actress or singer disrobing in a photo-shoot or on stage or in a ‘selfie’ is an entirely voluntary act.  That much is objectively undeniable, though perhaps subjectively arguable.  

The philosophical point arising from the two examples, among others, is this: can offences such as Weinstein’s alleged actions be entirely divorced from the pervading cultural climate of ‘anything goes’, in which the more extreme the ‘anything’ the better?

I’m just asking, folks.   

If all of this tends to sound like an apologia for Weinstein, it is nothing of the kind.  The man behaved badly.  He may have acted criminally.  If guilty, on either count, he deserves whatever fate, professional or legal, that might befall him. 

But Hollywood should take a long hard look in the mirror, too.  It has long nurtured a double-standard, ever since those far-off days of the puritanical and ludicrous Hays Code, back when ‘damn’ was a proscribed word, and ladies doing nothing but sitting demurely on a bed had to be clad in pyjamas and keep one foot on the floor.   

I am no puritan myself.  I would defend Hollywood, even Babylonian Hollywood, against any form of imposed moral censorship.      

Weinstein deserves the opprobrium now being heaped on him from a great height.  

But should Hollywood escape entirely unscathed?  After all, a great many people in the industry now expressing shock at the Weinstein revelations had spent twenty years looking the other way.

 

PS:  Before someone asks how come Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) uttered that forbidden word in the final scene of Gone With The Wind, I should point out that the film’s producer David O. Selznick had to seek special compensation to include it.  Permission was given reluctantly.

Hollywood Hypocrisy

 

By popular request, here are my random thoughts on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the first of them taking pains to state without equivocation that he is morally (and perhaps one might be forgiven for adding physically) an ugly pig.

But just as everyone in Hollywood knew (apparently) that there was something ugly about Harvey Weinstein but didn’t want to mention it out loud, so there is something just as ugly about Hollywood, with the same rule of omerta prevailing. 

Weinstein the monster has now been banished from the land in shame and disgrace. Meanwhile, Hollywood, in many ways equally ugly, will remain collectively and subjectively unencumbered by either guilt or contrition.  Hollywood has a hard time expressing either. 

It will stay that way just so long as the cinema-going public – a fast-vanishing breed – can be gulled into shelling out hard-earned cash for the privilege of watching cinematic schlock, which is nowadays the stock-in-trade of film studios struggling to withstand assaults on the Hollywood citadel by the likes of Netflix.  Far too often the studios’ response has been, and is, to peddle dystopian nonsense about the end of the world – usually at the hands of aliens from outer space, or zombies from under the earth – or by reverting to those reliable stand-bys, rape and sadism – all the better if they involve terrified and helpless women.    

This misguided approach to what represents cinematic entertainment hardly excuses Weinstein’s behaviour, of course, but in Hollywood’s outpouring of righteous indignation over his offences there hangs a strong whiff of hypocrisy.  In some individual cases, the whiff graduates to a rancid stench.

I offer a couple of examples of the moral double-standard to underline the point.

What moral high ground is occupied by a studio head who, though he has nobly refrained from luring female employees to his hotel room for nefarious purposes, or paying them off for their silence, peddles smut involving gratuitous and graphic violence against women? 

The stock answer is that there is a clear difference between pandering to prurience and exercising it with menaces.  But is the gap so wide as to be definable as the difference between Right and Wrong?  There are, I submit, few absolutes here.

And how strong a case against exploiting and, as we now say, objectifying women can be made by a few of those female performers, now belatedly flocking to the media to denounce Weinstein’s misconduct, who have taken off their kit, on celluloid and in print, with such regularity as to be more recognisable naked than clothed?  

The objection to that line of thought is that an actress or singer disrobing in a photo-shoot or on stage or in a ‘selfie’ is an entirely voluntary act.  That much is objectively undeniable, though perhaps subjectively arguable.  

The philosophical point arising from the two examples, among others, is this: can offences such as Weinstein’s alleged actions be entirely divorced from the pervading cultural climate of ‘anything goes’, in which the more extreme the ‘anything’ the better?

I’m just asking, folks.   

If all of this tends to sound like an apologia for Weinstein, it is nothing of the kind.  The man behaved badly.  He may have acted criminally.  If guilty, on either count, he deserves whatever fate, professional or legal, that might befall him. 

But Hollywood should take a long hard look in the mirror, too.  It has long nurtured a double-standard, ever since those far-off days of the puritanical and ludicrous Hays Code, back when ‘damn’ was a proscribed word, and ladies doing nothing but sitting demurely on a bed had to be clad in pyjamas and keep one foot on the floor.   

I am no puritan myself.  I would defend Hollywood, even Babylonian Hollywood, against any form of imposed moral censorship.      

Weinstein deserves the opprobrium now being heaped on him from a great height.  

But should Hollywood escape entirely unscathed?  After all, a great many people in the industry now expressing shock at the Weinstein revelations had spent twenty years looking the other way.

 

PS:  Before someone asks how come Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) uttered that forbidden word in the final scene of Gone With The Wind, I should point out that the film’s producer David O. Selznick had to seek special compensation to include it.  Permission was given reluctantly.

Hollywood Hypocrisy

 

By popular request, here are my random thoughts on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the first of them taking pains to state without equivocation that he is morally (and perhaps one might be forgiven for adding physically) an ugly pig.

But just as everyone in Hollywood knew (apparently) that there was something ugly about Harvey Weinstein but didn’t want to mention it out loud, so there is something just as ugly about Hollywood, with the same rule of omerta prevailing. 

Weinstein the monster has now been banished from the land in shame and disgrace. Meanwhile, Hollywood, in many ways equally ugly, will remain collectively and subjectively unencumbered by either guilt or contrition.  Hollywood has a hard time expressing either. 

It will stay that way just so long as the cinema-going public – a fast-vanishing breed – can be gulled into shelling out hard-earned cash for the privilege of watching cinematic schlock, which is nowadays the stock-in-trade of film studios struggling to withstand assaults on the Hollywood citadel by the likes of Netflix.  Far too often the studios’ response has been, and is, to peddle dystopian nonsense about the end of the world – usually at the hands of aliens from outer space, or zombies from under the earth – or by reverting to those reliable stand-bys, rape and sadism – all the better if they involve terrified and helpless women.    

This misguided approach to what represents cinematic entertainment hardly excuses Weinstein’s behaviour, of course, but in Hollywood’s outpouring of righteous indignation over his offences there hangs a strong whiff of hypocrisy.  In some individual cases, the whiff graduates to a rancid stench.

I offer a couple of examples of the moral double-standard to underline the point.

What moral high ground is occupied by a studio head who, though he has nobly refrained from luring female employees to his hotel room for nefarious purposes, or paying them off for their silence, peddles smut involving gratuitous and graphic violence against women? 

The stock answer is that there is a clear difference between pandering to prurience and exercising it with menaces.  But is the gap so wide as to be definable as the difference between Right and Wrong?  There are, I submit, few absolutes here.

And how strong a case against exploiting and, as we now say, objectifying women can be made by a few of those female performers, now belatedly flocking to the media to denounce Weinstein’s misconduct, who have taken off their kit, on celluloid and in print, with such regularity as to be more recognisable naked than clothed?  

The objection to that line of thought is that an actress or singer disrobing in a photo-shoot or on stage or in a ‘selfie’ is an entirely voluntary act.  That much is objectively undeniable, though perhaps subjectively arguable.  

The philosophical point arising from the two examples, among others, is this: can offences such as Weinstein’s alleged actions be entirely divorced from the pervading cultural climate of ‘anything goes’, in which the more extreme the ‘anything’ the better?

I’m just asking, folks.   

If all of this tends to sound like an apologia for Weinstein, it is nothing of the kind.  The man behaved badly.  He may have acted criminally.  If guilty, on either count, he deserves whatever fate, professional or legal, that might befall him. 

But Hollywood should take a long hard look in the mirror, too.  It has long nurtured a double-standard, ever since those far-off days of the puritanical and ludicrous Hays Code, back when ‘damn’ was a proscribed word, and ladies doing nothing but sitting demurely on a bed had to be clad in pyjamas and keep one foot on the floor.   

I am no puritan myself.  I would defend Hollywood, even Babylonian Hollywood, against any form of imposed moral censorship.      

Weinstein deserves the opprobrium now being heaped on him from a great height.  

But should Hollywood escape entirely unscathed?  After all, a great many people in the industry now expressing shock at the Weinstein revelations had spent twenty years looking the other way.

 

PS:  Before someone asks how come Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) uttered that forbidden word in the final scene of Gone With The Wind, I should point out that the film’s producer David O. Selznick had to seek special compensation to include it.  Permission was given reluctantly.

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