Harvey Weinstein looks like a case study in the comeuppance of the smug.
A conceit allowed Democrats, Hollywood, and the media to overlook the behavior of one of their own. Now they wear egg where they once wore superior expressions.
And think of the puzzledpetrifiedWTF looks Harvey Weinstein engendered in the fairer gender.
Mia Sorvino says Weinstein began massaging her shoulders and chasing her around a hotel room. Asia Argento alleges rape. Katherine Kendall charges that a fully-naked Weinstein blocked the door and aggressively petitioned her for massages. The list, which includes everything from the creepy to the criminal, goes on and on and on.
Hollywood would never countenance such behavior. We are too cultivated. The Democratic Party would never rely on such a predatory beast as its cash cow. We are too progressive. The media would never lionize a troglodyte. We are too enlightened.
The most blinding general self-righteousness involves neither geography, nor party, nor profession. It involves age. Casting couches exist the way soft focus lenses, the Hays code, and stop-motion special effects do, right? Right? The Golden Age of Hollywood represented the Bad Old Days for desperate actresses—really they did. But today, when movie moguls bankroll women’s organizations and causes, actresses need not worry about Cecille B. DeGroper (a designation fitting for Samuel Goldwyn and not Cecil B. DeMille). This ranks as a most common delusion, which leaves us, to borrow from celluloid lingo, shocked, shocked when we encounter public corruption, ugly racism, and other sins we imagine as the products of the antediluvian past rather than parts of the human condition that we must forever look out for.
Self-righteousness in individuals works the same way as it does in communities. So many humanitarians mistreat the humans. Imagining ourselves beyond reproach, we leave our guard down for sin. It’s humbling, but narcissists refuse to be humbled (and refuse the gift of learning from mistakes). They also see other people not as people but as actors in their movie. One guesses that a movie mogul falls into this trap more easily than most.
Harvey Weinstein possessed a talent for siphoning large sums of money from talented people. Men with this rare gift often display a flair for prevailing upon younger, more beautiful, and nicer smelling women to partake in sex acts with them. In both instances, the talented and the beautiful feel compelled to rush to the shower to wash the stink away. But it never leaves. For Weinstein, the arrangement works well—until it doesn’t. Once caught, the violator starts to feel like the violated—hence, the recent threat of lawsuits and the past threats, implied or explicit, of ruining careers.
Somebody in Hollywood with a little imagination might make a movie about this if they weren’t preoccupied with making movies that we have already watched (endless remakes, reboots, and sequels and other commercialized products devoid of art).
They don’t make ‘em like Orson Welles anymore. Unfortunately, they do still make ‘em like Charles Foster Kane.