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Me Too(!)

2018 January 11
by honcho

People abuse power and/or influence  they’ve accumulated to coerce powerless people into varying forms of submission. Further,  almost always , after these defilements  the perpetrators  wield their power again to procure impunity for themselves and to discredit and silence their victims. In this case I address myself to the fact that almost all of the victims of this are women.

The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House sparked a reaction among women to the foregoing phenomenon. I fervently hope that this reaction catalyzes broad and systemic changes. They are LONG overdue. I want to see the extinction of patriarchal systems. They are bad for art and here’s why:

 

I flatter myself with a general demeanor of philosophical detachment. But that all crumbles when I contemplate this . I am intellectually and emotionally helpless to describe this as anything  but an EVIL.

And the fact that history and literature show that this evil is commonplace; seemingly integral to human nature,  does not make it less tragic or disgusting. It makes it MORE tragic and repugnant.

The pedantic philosopher in me insists that I assert that this evil has been perpetrated by women. But those cases are so rare that they are statistical novelties. I assert that it is fair to say that this evil is the province of men.

Lately we are hearing about well-known perpetrators of sexual extortion: Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby, and Donald Trump, to name a few. Closer to home, I’ve seen clear indications that the business for which I’ve worked in my day-gig has suppressed sexual harassment accusations using combinations of bribery and legal bullying.  The victims were all disadvantaged women and the perpetrator was a wealthy, influential man.

It makes me sad, sick and fearful to write about this.

But I will strive not to burden you, the reader, with a surplus of my personal vitriol over this. I beg my reader’s indulgence for a purge in the subsequent paragraphs but I have a very focused point about ART to make, and I will strive to restrain the use of my emotional excoriations to the service of the exposition of that point.

The focus of my point is the incalculable damage this heinous trait has done to art and culture and the whipping boy I choose for this is exemplified in Harvey Weinstein.

[start of purge:]

Mr. Weinstein you have done immense evil. It is not mine (or any other human being’s)  to know of  your personal redemption or condemnation but I have full rights to report what I have witnessed . This article is not a trial by law. You chose a life in the public eye and my eyes are among them. Here are a few of the premises I’ve witnessed. You have raped with impunity for decades. You identify with the Jewish faith ; You have recently pleaded for forgiveness (‘ a second chance’)offering, among other things, a $5M scholarship for women directors at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, ostensibly for atonement.

Clearly you are so far gone that you can’t see the repulsive cynicism of that gesture.

Such a gesture would only serve to assuage your ruined karma if no one, including me, knew about it; if it  were donated in complete anonymity.

Associating your poor deceased mother’s name with it insults her beyond my comprehension. Can’t you see that any aspiring director who accepted a scholarship with the name Weinstein on it is showing up for her first day of class gagging on your tepid semen? When Asia Argento told you,  ‘I am not a whore’ , you laughed at her and told her you’d ‘put that on a T-shirt for her’ . Your tawdry little 5-million dollar bribe to USC puts that T-shirt one every one of its recipients.

This is my blog, Harvey. You are judged here. I have a beautiful daughter possessed of a wealth of powerful and imaginative ideas that will likely never see the expression they deserve because she and her family are ‘little people’ , unconnected and devoid of influence. I’m proud to say that my daughter would rather remove your shriveled balls with a rusty cheese –grater,  and shove the resulting pulp down your throat,  than walk through a door to ‘industry advancement’ under the name ‘Weinstein’.

But that’s HER deal…

As for me…

Now that the bottom has fallen out of your despicable life, beyond the even the reach of your obscene wealth and corruption to protect you… NOW…. you are claiming humility and asking for help ….( And HERE is my focus)…. you are also citing ‘all the good you have done’ ; positing your oeuvre as a compensation for the putrefaction of your ‘personal life’.

[end of purge]

NO.

NO, NO…..NO!

Your production company produced some good movies. Your production company produced some movies that I personally love. I may be one of the little people,  but I know from art. Great art can seep out of the worst monstrosities that humanity begets. I have met a few of them.  That fact is one of the greatest paradoxical perversities intrinsic to the nature of art.

An oeuvre cannot redeem an artist. And in your case, I prosecute further. Miramax and your other enterprises have produced some fine movies but that work is the work of very large teams of creators. And  I contend that the oeuvre you claim as a debit in your karmic ledger was , in truth,  wholly injured and handicapped  by your involvement,  and moreover that rather than edifying our culture, the effect of your repugnant habits has impoverished your productions.

Here’s why:

Your movies featured only the most defeated of your victims.

Who DIDN’T we see as Mighty Amphrodite, Viola, or Emma, because she dodged your groping , or failed-to, but  told a reporter and/or cop? Now we have no choice but suspect that we saw the losers in those squalid skirmishes;  the girls whom you humiliated rather than the best actresses.

Even worse- Who are the aspiring actresses who got close enough to the ‘business’ to realize that you, and those like you were blocking all the gates and left their gifts forsaken because they demurred from being raped, discredited, and humiliated?

And WORST, who are the actresses who never even tried-out , because they realized that they ‘d never get a chance,  because they know full well that pigs like you, wouldn’t even notice them enough to wipe your feet on them?

I will never know because of –you- , and those like you.

Your presence, and the policy of rape at the check-in desk of the entertainment business has absolutely impoverished the art of cinema.

In spite of my ‘little-personhood’ I’ve had some contact with ‘the industry’ and I’ve heard all the equivocations.

‘Look at all the good he’s done too.’

‘There are no great undiscovered artists’

‘yes, but he has a heart of gold’

False, false , and dangerously false!

I have seen the work of actresses who could rival Sorvino, Paltrow, and even Streep, in local bands, middle school classrooms, and behind the counter at the DMV.  Unlike Miramax movies , they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

And even though there’s always been some fine acting on the screen , as I age, the movies I see, seem increasingly flatter and more monochromatic all the time, and I’ve come to realize that that’s because all the women seem the same. They’re the ones who were left at the end of the gauntlet of Harvey Weinsteins.

I can hear you Harvey!

You say that this systematic and celebrated exploitation and humiliation has existed since the first pretty girl stood on a rock at some primordial campfire…… that you are not to blame.

Read your own filmography ! Your avaricious reach afforded you the power to be one of the worst. But you’re right. You didn’t invent the suspicious stain on the casting couch. There are thousands of others  and they should all be bankrupted, powerless, unknown, and exiled  with you. You and your ilk have exalted in rape  and we’ll never know how much art you ruined by it.  Our culture would be better today if you’d been hit by the Q65A on Jewel Ave.  before you ever reached puberty.

Opportunity cost, dear patient readers…. opportunity cost… That is devastation that the Harvey Weinsteins of the world inflict. Their product is not art, (or prosperity, or eminence,) or value of any kind. Their product is despair. They suppress those among us who do not appeal to them and they corruptly  use overwhelming influence to convince as many of us as they can that the ‘undesirables’ are made so by their own doing. …

…sigh…

But the echo chamber of my isolated little nothing of a soapbox here is allowing me to drift too close to the illusion of relevance…

I’m an artist, so I’ll constrain my megalomania to what I know.

Intransigent rapists like Harvey Weinstein are not redeemed by the merit of their oeuvres. They are condemned by the potential that the despair they sow has squandered.   When debased men like Weinstein hold power, art is always among the victims.

Rot in Hell, Harvey, no one should ever have heard of you.

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