The Harvey Weinstein story continues to reverberate, as new accusations, denunciations, or other consequences of his decades of sexual harassment seem to come to light every day.  Weinstein has dutifully been abandoned by company, industry, friends, politicians, and family.

The movie and television industry now appears to be focused on reassuring the public that the era of “sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.”  That appears to be a tall order.  Before such a declaration can be made, we must first understand what is “over.”  The scandal is about more than mere sexual misconduct or even rape.

Of all of the articles and accounts of this scandal, the most telling so far appeared in the Weekly Standard on October 9.  Lee Smith, instead of merely repeating fresh condemnations, focused on how Weinstein had gotten the industry to protect him for so long.  Weinstein’s power in both the movie and publishing industries insured that he could purchase an army of enablers.  But simply stating that fact does not go far enough.  One must imagine the relevant scenarios and take them to their logical conclusions, as does Smith:

They [the “journalists” who protected Weinstein] wouldn’t dream of crossing a guy who could turn them into culture heroes with a phone call. Hey, I just optioned your novel and I already know who’s going to make the movie. And oh yeah, please confirm that you don’t, like I think I may have heard, have a reporter looking into a story about me.

Imagine the implications of that scenario.  Weinstein’s sexual assaults became so frequent that his publishing and moviemaking decisions were geared toward covering up those assaults.  Those whose employees might be investigating Weinstein became prime candidates to have their articles turn into books and movies.  Instant stardom and riches awaited those who would keep quiet.  

Over the past thirty years, few individuals have exercised more influence over the national culture than Harvey Weinstein.  His movies have been well known.  At one time, “Miramax bought the rights to every big story published in magazines throughout [New York] city.”  His financial contributions bought access and more to the White House.  He made careers from Hollywood to New York to Washington.  I need not list his beneficiaries, but they are well known (some of whom now issue obligatory press releases denouncing Weinstein’s decades of mayhem).

Not only did this influence provide cover for Weinstein as he victimized Hollywood’s women, but it created a whole new class of victims who have been ignored over the past week (and apparently the previous few decades).  I refer to Hollywood’s consumers.  We complain about our choices in movies (and television).  We lament that there is nothing to watch (even though we spend exorbitant amounts to see and subscribe to these nothings).  There have always been theories as to why our entertainment lacks quality.  Now Harvey Weinstein has provided us with the most interesting theory of all.  If the Weekly Standard’s scenario is correct, then Weinstein’s choices in movies and even book options were motivated not by quality (or even his own bottom line), but by the need to cover up rape and sexual harassment.

The nation’s media now devote endless bandwidth to ever more breathless denunciations by those who were all too happy to take Weinstein’s money as long as the accusations could be squelched.  But instead of serving as a conduit for the press releases of Weinstein’s former allies and enablers, maybe our nation’s “journalists” should try a different approach.  Maybe they should research actual correlations between Weinstein’s movies and his cover-ups.  We now have enough accusations to span several decades of movie production and distribution.  How hard could it be for the New York Times or the Washington Post to figure out which Miramax movies resulted from which rape coverups?  Who was Weinstein paying off by approving or distributing which movie?

The Washington Post still takes credit for bringing down President Nixon in the Watergate scandal more than four decades ago.  The powers that be are still (as of 2017) writing books and making movies about Watergate.  Exploring the motivations behind particular movie investments should be child’s play by comparison.  There is enough material here for decades of new articles, books, and movies.

Weinstein’s offenses arguably have done more damage than anything that happened in the Watergate Hotel in 1972.  The movies that occupy our theaters (and enter our homes through cable and DVD) set the tone for our culture more than any other contributing factor.  That the purpose of those movies was to aid Weinstein in bribing journalists into silence would be of interest to the people who have devoted many hours of their leisure time to sitting through those movies.

In our naïveté, we expect that movie-makers try to make the best possible product.  We note continuity errors and inconsistencies in a storyline.  We criticize acting or directing and wonder why a particular scene (or the entire movie) is not somehow better.  But we have never considered that the game might be rigged from the start.  When expensive movie projects are “green-lighted” for the purpose of concealing sexual harassment, it becomes apparent that Hollywood has other motivations than our enjoyment (or even its own bottom line). 

If recent press releases are any indication, it appears that Weinstein was not alone.  The problem appears to be widespread.  Who knows how many movie deals resulted from the need to cover up some sex scandal?  How many scandals are our movie dollars suppressing?  Should we simply applaud Hollywood for belatedly denouncing Weinstein and then file back into the theaters?

Unlike the powers that be in Hollywood, the average consumer does not have money to waste for the purpose of hiding someone else’s sexual harassment scandal.  Our dollars are limited.  Our time is limited.  Yet we have dutifully entered the theaters and paid our cable bills for decades for the now apparent purpose of enabling an alleged rapist (and others).  Why bother to oppress the peasants when the peasants will oppress themselves? 

But we are not bound by the past.  Just because we have supported Hollywood and its various unknown agendas does not mean we must do so forever.  We have other things to do with our time.  We will never get back the hours we spent mesmerized in front of the screens (both big and small).  But now that the truth has blown up in all of our faces, what excuse do we have to continue filing into theaters and vegetating in front of our televisions?  While the whole truth may never be known, we need no longer care if we would only find something else to do and leave Hollywood to drown in its own swamp.

The Harvey Weinstein story continues to reverberate, as new accusations, denunciations, or other consequences of his decades of sexual harassment seem to come to light every day.  Weinstein has dutifully been abandoned by company, industry, friends, politicians, and family.

The movie and television industry now appears to be focused on reassuring the public that the era of “sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.”  That appears to be a tall order.  Before such a declaration can be made, we must first understand what is “over.”  The scandal is about more than mere sexual misconduct or even rape.

Of all of the articles and accounts of this scandal, the most telling so far appeared in the Weekly Standard on October 9.  Lee Smith, instead of merely repeating fresh condemnations, focused on how Weinstein had gotten the industry to protect him for so long.  Weinstein’s power in both the movie and publishing industries insured that he could purchase an army of enablers.  But simply stating that fact does not go far enough.  One must imagine the relevant scenarios and take them to their logical conclusions, as does Smith:

They [the “journalists” who protected Weinstein] wouldn’t dream of crossing a guy who could turn them into culture heroes with a phone call. Hey, I just optioned your novel and I already know who’s going to make the movie. And oh yeah, please confirm that you don’t, like I think I may have heard, have a reporter looking into a story about me.

Imagine the implications of that scenario.  Weinstein’s sexual assaults became so frequent that his publishing and moviemaking decisions were geared toward covering up those assaults.  Those whose employees might be investigating Weinstein became prime candidates to have their articles turn into books and movies.  Instant stardom and riches awaited those who would keep quiet.  

Over the past thirty years, few individuals have exercised more influence over the national culture than Harvey Weinstein.  His movies have been well known.  At one time, “Miramax bought the rights to every big story published in magazines throughout [New York] city.”  His financial contributions bought access and more to the White House.  He made careers from Hollywood to New York to Washington.  I need not list his beneficiaries, but they are well known (some of whom now issue obligatory press releases denouncing Weinstein’s decades of mayhem).

Not only did this influence provide cover for Weinstein as he victimized Hollywood’s women, but it created a whole new class of victims who have been ignored over the past week (and apparently the previous few decades).  I refer to Hollywood’s consumers.  We complain about our choices in movies (and television).  We lament that there is nothing to watch (even though we spend exorbitant amounts to see and subscribe to these nothings).  There have always been theories as to why our entertainment lacks quality.  Now Harvey Weinstein has provided us with the most interesting theory of all.  If the Weekly Standard’s scenario is correct, then Weinstein’s choices in movies and even book options were motivated not by quality (or even his own bottom line), but by the need to cover up rape and sexual harassment.

The nation’s media now devote endless bandwidth to ever more breathless denunciations by those who were all too happy to take Weinstein’s money as long as the accusations could be squelched.  But instead of serving as a conduit for the press releases of Weinstein’s former allies and enablers, maybe our nation’s “journalists” should try a different approach.  Maybe they should research actual correlations between Weinstein’s movies and his cover-ups.  We now have enough accusations to span several decades of movie production and distribution.  How hard could it be for the New York Times or the Washington Post to figure out which Miramax movies resulted from which rape coverups?  Who was Weinstein paying off by approving or distributing which movie?

The Washington Post still takes credit for bringing down President Nixon in the Watergate scandal more than four decades ago.  The powers that be are still (as of 2017) writing books and making movies about Watergate.  Exploring the motivations behind particular movie investments should be child’s play by comparison.  There is enough material here for decades of new articles, books, and movies.

Weinstein’s offenses arguably have done more damage than anything that happened in the Watergate Hotel in 1972.  The movies that occupy our theaters (and enter our homes through cable and DVD) set the tone for our culture more than any other contributing factor.  That the purpose of those movies was to aid Weinstein in bribing journalists into silence would be of interest to the people who have devoted many hours of their leisure time to sitting through those movies.

In our naïveté, we expect that movie-makers try to make the best possible product.  We note continuity errors and inconsistencies in a storyline.  We criticize acting or directing and wonder why a particular scene (or the entire movie) is not somehow better.  But we have never considered that the game might be rigged from the start.  When expensive movie projects are “green-lighted” for the purpose of concealing sexual harassment, it becomes apparent that Hollywood has other motivations than our enjoyment (or even its own bottom line). 

If recent press releases are any indication, it appears that Weinstein was not alone.  The problem appears to be widespread.  Who knows how many movie deals resulted from the need to cover up some sex scandal?  How many scandals are our movie dollars suppressing?  Should we simply applaud Hollywood for belatedly denouncing Weinstein and then file back into the theaters?

Unlike the powers that be in Hollywood, the average consumer does not have money to waste for the purpose of hiding someone else’s sexual harassment scandal.  Our dollars are limited.  Our time is limited.  Yet we have dutifully entered the theaters and paid our cable bills for decades for the now apparent purpose of enabling an alleged rapist (and others).  Why bother to oppress the peasants when the peasants will oppress themselves? 

But we are not bound by the past.  Just because we have supported Hollywood and its various unknown agendas does not mean we must do so forever.  We have other things to do with our time.  We will never get back the hours we spent mesmerized in front of the screens (both big and small).  But now that the truth has blown up in all of our faces, what excuse do we have to continue filing into theaters and vegetating in front of our televisions?  While the whole truth may never be known, we need no longer care if we would only find something else to do and leave Hollywood to drown in its own swamp.



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