Just as America started to recover from Harvey earlier this fall, fate hit the replay button. Harvey the First destroyed property and took lives across Texas and parts of the Southeast. Harvey the Second, the alleged rapist and confessed serial sexual predator moonlighting as a movie mogul, pulled back the curtain on Hollywood’s sordid business practices, proving that the motion-picture industry practices the same sexual barbarity that it preaches. After decades of coarsening American culture through the exaltation of violence, the degradation of religion and tradition, and the normalization of every perversion, including even incest (see Columbia Pictures’ 1996 Oscar-nominated Lone Star), moviegoers have become inured to moral depravities once thought the sole dominion of the insane. In the wake of recent revelations, the celebrities most offended by Harvey Weinstein’s felonious predations took hypocrisy to a level not seen since former president Bill Clinton’s aggressive consigliere Hillary, surrounded by armed Secret Service agents, blasted the Republican Party for being controlled by the gun lobby.
Shortly after the story broke, Ben Affleck tweeted that the Weinstein allegations “made me sick.” In a follow-up tweet the very next day he apologized for groping actress Hilarie Burton’s breast on camera during an interview in 2003. Glenn Close, who destroyed a marriage and, even worse, murdered a cute bunny rabbit while stalking Michael Douglas in 1987’s Fatal Attraction, whined about feeling “angry and darkly sad” at the prurient scoop. Judd Apatow described Weinstein’s actions as “abhorrent.” This is, of course, in stark contrast to the “On All Fours” episode of the Apatow-produced HBO series Girls, in which one Weinsteinesque character’s idea of objectification requires his girlfriend to crawl naked across the apartment floor. Then, after perfunctory intercourse, the degraded human toy blurts out, “I really didn’t like that.” Ars gratia artis.
Politicians, many of whom have been in Weinstein’s pockets for decades, have also feigned umbrage. A mere five days after the story broke, Hillary Clinton—who, if you didn’t know, won the popular vote in last year’s presidential election—said she was “shocked and appalled,” but not so shocked and appalled as to belittle Weinstein as “a narcissistic loony toon” as she did her husband’s former courtesan, Monica. Connecticut’s senior senator, Richard Blumenthal, pledged to return all the payola Weinstein stuffed into his election coffers as soon as he finishes his combat tour in Vietnam. And Barack Obama, ever the vigilant parent, recoiled at the sordid accusations after remembering his daughter Malia’s gap-year internship at the Weinstein Company. To assure Americans of his stance on sexual harassment in the workplace, Obama demanded enforcement against similar degenerates, “regardless of wealth or status.” Obama rarely saw the need to make such threatening presidential proclamations when the manager of the greasy burger joint harassed the single mother of three, slaving over the french-fry machine for minimum wage. (She probably clung to her Bible and her gun—and her Confederate flag! Who else would do such a dirty, meaningless job?) Obama sought rather to ensure that no other Harvard-bound teenaged careerists like Malia, being groomed for the position to which their birthright entitles them, ever run into a lecherous creep on the movie set after delivering the crew’s Starbucks order.
We should also question just how surprising the announcement of the allegations actually was. Seth MacFarlane has now admitted his barbed joke as the 2013 Oscars emcee “came from a place of loathing and anger.” In support of his friend and Weinstein victim Jessica Barth, MacFarlane wisecracked while introducing the nominees for supporting actress that year, “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” A year earlier comedienne Jane Krakowski joked on NBC’s hit series 30 Rock, “Oh please, I’m not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions. Out of five!” And most recently, in a CNN interview Hanoi Jane has admitted that she knew of Weinstein’s disgusting crimes for more than a year before the story broke. Fonda can now add the title “Traitor to My Sex” to her LinkedIn page next to “Traitor to My Country.” Insiders find inside jokes funny in part because only they understand them. But now that the truth has come out and we are all insiders—albeit not on the inside as long as Hanoi Jane was—these jokes turn our collective stomach.
But that was the point all along. Hollywood is inside; America is outside. Hollywood plays by its own set of depraved rules, based on hypocrisy, venality, and the destruction of everything regular Americans cherish and respect. Young women who want to break into Hollywood are nothing more than blowup dolls to the libidinous Harvey Weinsteins and their armies of defense lawyers, p.r. flacks, and partner-in-crime assistants. Starry-eyed wannabes from flyover country step off buses in Los Angeles and New York only to fall into the lascivious grasp of perverts who view them as mere objects. These ingénues don’t come armed with postgraduate degrees from USC’s film school after six years majoring in social justice and skiing at Rich Kids U. They didn’t grow up coddled by an army of nannies, SAT tutors, and psychotherapists, as the misbegotten children of Hollywood executives do. And these dreamers don’t have the financial resources or career standing to face up to sexual bullies like Harvey Weinstein.
Instead, Weinstein and his sleazy ilk assault them in ways that would result in violent ejection from the seediest strip joint. And then Hillary, Glenn, Barack, and Ben all shed crocodile tears after the naive public finally learns the vile details. Unsurprisingly, no one in this Greek chorus of egomaniacs thought to offer sympathy to the most deserving victims in this whole affair. For as vociferously as they railed against the carnal abuse of marquee names like Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, and Asia Argento, our egotistic elite remained painfully tight-lipped in offering sympathy to Weinstein’s wife and two children. But only a fool, or someone unfamiliar with Hollywood’s repulsive celluloid finished product, would expect movie stars and progressive politicians to respect the conventional family, even Weinstein’s bizarre version of it.
No, the hierarchical ranking of Weinstein’s victims starts, at the top, with the women whose careers almost got derailed by sexual harassment, a mortal sin against feminism and gender equality. One rung down the pecking order of our therapeutic victim culture we find Weinstein himself. Designer Donna Karan tried to discredit his accusers for “asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality.” Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels also tried to defend the indefensible. Michaels, who never shied away even from attacking former New York Democrat governor David Paterson’s blindness, excused his reluctance to poke fun at Weinstein with a curt “It’s a New York thing.” By contrast, the New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News, and The New Yorker envisioned a different “New York thing,” each running lurid cover stories for days after the news broke.
And what about the women Weinstein abused who never got a professional break and are now suffering their lifelong trauma in solitary silence? Who cares! They were, and still are, nobodies in the land where only the selfish somebodies matter. The public support of Weinstein, along with the deafening silence and lack of pity for his forsaken wife and young children, stand as testament to a sick subculture where families, and family, have never jibed with Hollywood’s libertine agenda.