Category: David Lanza

Charlie Rose: One More Reason to Turn Off the Television


For more than a month, the American public has heard many stories of sexual harassment among Hollywood, media and political elite. New accusations against different perpetrators seem to emerge every other day. We have reached the point where we are no longer surprised.

It would take years for us to place all these events into proper context. What they say about our culture and our recent history is momentous. Instead of trying to digest this whole story at once, I would like to focus on one of these perpetrators in order to understand our “elite” and who they really are.

Last week, the award-winning Charlie Rose was the subject of sordid allegations by eight different women. He did not specifically deny the allegations. He was fired by CBS and PBS. Most likely, his career is over. But for several decades, Rose has been a chief source of information for the American public. A protégé of Bill Moyers, Rose has provided softball interviews for establishment media and political figures since the 1970s. He has conducted extensive interviews with world leaders, authors, establishment journalists, artists, and entertainers. Rose has walked with kings while pontificating from on high to the rest of us. He is well-educated, cultured, and, until last week, highly acclaimed and awarded.  Rose is the recipient of doctorates, both real and honorary. He was, until now, a sought-after commencement speaker at our institutions of higher learning. He is as smooth and glib as any journalist/politician.

He is the opposite of the “deplorables” that the establishment castigates. Rose and his erstwhile allies exude every indicium of sophistication that they claim the deplorables lack. Charlie Rose, Hollywood, and the entire Eastern media have brought King Louis’ Palace of Versailles into the 21st century — with predictable results. The elite have created a culture of faux sophistication where courtiers imitate them and seek favor from them, while disdaining the mere peasants of flyover country.

I am sure that Rose has dined at the finest restaurants around the world. He can probably name the chef (and even his favorite waiter) in many of those places. I am sure he always knows what wine is appropriate to order with what meal. His choices of food, entertainment, and company reflect not mere personal taste, but the desire to name-drop and impress. It worked. For many years, Rose impressed his way into a position of power.

Would Rose or his allies ever have been caught dead at a Denny’s chomping down on an ordinary hamburger? Needless to say, Rose and many others have now been caught in far worse circumstances than merely eating non-pretentious food in a non-pretentious restaurant. Rose’ honorary degrees and political connections could not rescue him. He now stands figuratively naked (in addition to his literal activities) in front of the “deplorable” audience that he once “informed” and influenced.

Of all the lessons that these episodes hold for ordinary Americans, one lesson is worth noting. The pretentiousness, refinement, education, sophistication, wealth, and connections of the elite in no way mean that they will refrain from boorish, disgusting, and revolting behavior. They are as petty, unrefined, and vile as the rest of us (I suspect much more so). We can now officially stop being impressed by their former status.

Why does this matter? Because for more decades than Charlie Rose was on the air, we have relied on the elite for our information and our very understanding of the events of the day and the policies that shape our lives. Their very sophistication and professionalism gave credence to their views, their biases and their alliances.

Only with the availability of the internet and cable have we begun to break free of our long attachment to the elite. The deplorables’ ability to ignore them in 2016 created a backlash among the elite that is, itself, a story. The 2016 election may, itself, become the model for behavior among a portion of the electorate in the future. At the very least, a large portion of the voters are prepared to ignore the establishment media instead of engaging it by means of their former fealty or their recent pushback. The influence of the old media continues to wane. But the scandals of late 2017 should make this trend more pronounced.

We already know that the mainstream media (and their elitist allies) are out of touch. Until now, we have only complained about “media bias.” We have waited in vain for some degree of fairness with each successive broadcast. We continue to pay for movies and watch television in the foolish expectation that we will receive entertainment instead of propaganda. But these scandals should relieve us of these expectations. The image of Charlie Rose abusing his staff should forever make the rest of us forget all his honorary degrees and friendships with world leaders. We should once and for all understand how little value there is to being a member of the elite and why we should not care what they say or believe.

Instead of tuning in and arguing with them, it is time to tune out find some other leisure activity. Pretentiousness, sophistication, world-travel, and the trappings of power are expensive. This expense is borne by the rest of us every time we turn on the television — whether we agree with what we see or not. It is time to starve the beast. We do not need literally to storm the Bastille. We need only turn off our televisions. What better reason to tune them out than the revelation that so many of them are sexual predators behind the scenes who put their clothes back on only to appear on camera. Only when we learn to ignore them will they lose influence over our country and the policies that oppress the rest of us. 

For more than a month, the American public has heard many stories of sexual harassment among Hollywood, media and political elite. New accusations against different perpetrators seem to emerge every other day. We have reached the point where we are no longer surprised.

It would take years for us to place all these events into proper context. What they say about our culture and our recent history is momentous. Instead of trying to digest this whole story at once, I would like to focus on one of these perpetrators in order to understand our “elite” and who they really are.

Last week, the award-winning Charlie Rose was the subject of sordid allegations by eight different women. He did not specifically deny the allegations. He was fired by CBS and PBS. Most likely, his career is over. But for several decades, Rose has been a chief source of information for the American public. A protégé of Bill Moyers, Rose has provided softball interviews for establishment media and political figures since the 1970s. He has conducted extensive interviews with world leaders, authors, establishment journalists, artists, and entertainers. Rose has walked with kings while pontificating from on high to the rest of us. He is well-educated, cultured, and, until last week, highly acclaimed and awarded.  Rose is the recipient of doctorates, both real and honorary. He was, until now, a sought-after commencement speaker at our institutions of higher learning. He is as smooth and glib as any journalist/politician.

He is the opposite of the “deplorables” that the establishment castigates. Rose and his erstwhile allies exude every indicium of sophistication that they claim the deplorables lack. Charlie Rose, Hollywood, and the entire Eastern media have brought King Louis’ Palace of Versailles into the 21st century — with predictable results. The elite have created a culture of faux sophistication where courtiers imitate them and seek favor from them, while disdaining the mere peasants of flyover country.

I am sure that Rose has dined at the finest restaurants around the world. He can probably name the chef (and even his favorite waiter) in many of those places. I am sure he always knows what wine is appropriate to order with what meal. His choices of food, entertainment, and company reflect not mere personal taste, but the desire to name-drop and impress. It worked. For many years, Rose impressed his way into a position of power.

Would Rose or his allies ever have been caught dead at a Denny’s chomping down on an ordinary hamburger? Needless to say, Rose and many others have now been caught in far worse circumstances than merely eating non-pretentious food in a non-pretentious restaurant. Rose’ honorary degrees and political connections could not rescue him. He now stands figuratively naked (in addition to his literal activities) in front of the “deplorable” audience that he once “informed” and influenced.

Of all the lessons that these episodes hold for ordinary Americans, one lesson is worth noting. The pretentiousness, refinement, education, sophistication, wealth, and connections of the elite in no way mean that they will refrain from boorish, disgusting, and revolting behavior. They are as petty, unrefined, and vile as the rest of us (I suspect much more so). We can now officially stop being impressed by their former status.

Why does this matter? Because for more decades than Charlie Rose was on the air, we have relied on the elite for our information and our very understanding of the events of the day and the policies that shape our lives. Their very sophistication and professionalism gave credence to their views, their biases and their alliances.

Only with the availability of the internet and cable have we begun to break free of our long attachment to the elite. The deplorables’ ability to ignore them in 2016 created a backlash among the elite that is, itself, a story. The 2016 election may, itself, become the model for behavior among a portion of the electorate in the future. At the very least, a large portion of the voters are prepared to ignore the establishment media instead of engaging it by means of their former fealty or their recent pushback. The influence of the old media continues to wane. But the scandals of late 2017 should make this trend more pronounced.

We already know that the mainstream media (and their elitist allies) are out of touch. Until now, we have only complained about “media bias.” We have waited in vain for some degree of fairness with each successive broadcast. We continue to pay for movies and watch television in the foolish expectation that we will receive entertainment instead of propaganda. But these scandals should relieve us of these expectations. The image of Charlie Rose abusing his staff should forever make the rest of us forget all his honorary degrees and friendships with world leaders. We should once and for all understand how little value there is to being a member of the elite and why we should not care what they say or believe.

Instead of tuning in and arguing with them, it is time to tune out find some other leisure activity. Pretentiousness, sophistication, world-travel, and the trappings of power are expensive. This expense is borne by the rest of us every time we turn on the television — whether we agree with what we see or not. It is time to starve the beast. We do not need literally to storm the Bastille. We need only turn off our televisions. What better reason to tune them out than the revelation that so many of them are sexual predators behind the scenes who put their clothes back on only to appear on camera. Only when we learn to ignore them will they lose influence over our country and the policies that oppress the rest of us. 



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We Are All Harvey Weinstein's Victims…and Enablers


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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