Mercifully, the Golden Globes have come and gone.
And it was perhaps the most ostentatious display of self-righteousness, hypocrisy, dishonesty, and moral cowardice that our generation has supplied to date. At a time when moral exhibitionism has become as common as the air that we breathe, particularly in Hollywood, this is really saying something.
If the cheap virtue that is especially prevalent in the den of iniquity that is Tinsel Town was ever in doubt, Sunday night’s program, which featured attendees clad in black, should have dispelled it once and forever.
The black attire designed to symbolize Hollywood’s awareness of the sexual scandals of the Harvey Weinstein era was but the latest example of the moral symbolism for which Hollywood celebrities are infamous. The black suits and dresses are the moral equivalent of a hashtag, like the silly, useless, substance-less hashtag that Michelle Obama fired off some years back in response to Boko Haram’s abduction of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls.
Let’s be clear: These same fakes and frauds, like Oprah Winfrey, who are now waxing indignant about female victimization and male oppression share in the culpability of Harvey Weinstein and others who utilized the casting couch.
They are Harvey.
I recall my father telling me when I was an adolescent that if I laid down with dogs, I was bound to get fleas. Some variation or other of this pearl of wisdom has been around for ages. Goethe said: “Tell me with whom thou art found, and I will tell thee who thou art.” John Ruskin made essentially the same point: “Tell me what you like, and I’ll tell you what you are.”
Weinstein was a Hollywood powerhouse, a mover and shaker, a maker and breaker of careers. To everyone in the know his sexual exploits were all but self-evident. Oprah, Meryl Streep, and everyone who is anyone in the entertainment industry not only said nothing; they ran cover for Harvey by lavishing praise upon him.
Not one person in that room at the Golden Globes or anywhere in Harvey’s orbit is a hero. Not a one. Their readiness to befriend, work with, reward, and otherwise treat Harvey as “God,” as the queen fraud, Meryl Streep, not all that long ago referred to him, renders them nothing more or less than Weinstein’s accomplices, his colluders.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).
The Hollywood bigwigs who now expect for us to believe that they are shocked—“Shocked!”—by the revelations concerning Weinstein (and his legions of imitators) are among the most resourceful human beings that have ever walked the Earth. Their money, visibility, and influence insure that with the greatest of ease, whatever they say will be heard by the country.
They refused to use their resources when they could have done so.
If scores of young, impressionable women were being preyed upon by “powerful men,” to use Oprah’s term, then real virtue—costly, not cheap, virtue—would’ve led these world-famous stars to go public with that information years ago. The truth is hard, Friedrich Nietzsche memorably remarked. Well, it would’ve been before the #MeToo (another hashtag) campaign became trendy. This is why Hollywood preferred to wait until they had a bandwagon to jump upon so that they could courageously wear black to their latest exhibition of self-congratulations.
No, there are no heroes to come out of the Weinstein-era. In fact, while there are doubtless some victims, only the naïve and/or the dishonest will accept that there are nearly as many victims as Oprah and her ideological ilk would have us think there are. The celebrities and aspiring celebrities who now claim that they were sexually used and abused on the old casting couch were hardly babes-in-the-woods. The Harveys of Hollywood used them, yes; but they too used these powerful men to advance their careers.
And then they continued to think only about themselves in remaining silent, thereby endangering who knows how many other women as unsuspecting as they allegedly once were themselves.
Those in the entertainment industry more than anyone else have labored tirelessly to normalize sexual promiscuity. The hypersexualized, “hook-up” culture that they created demands that people objectify or “use” one another. When human beings are regarded as assemblages of body parts to be used for purposes of gratification and commitment is written off as an instrument of Christian, bourgeois repression, then sex is let loose and all sex, consensual as well as non-consensual, consists in people using themselves and one another for pleasure.
What is most shameful and most infuriating about Sunday night’s spectacle is that even though those in attendance were thicker than thieves with Weinstein (Oprah has been photographed hugging and kissing him!), and even though they were as essential to producing this Hollywood culture of sexual scandal as anyone, they not only refuse to assume any responsibility for their part.
They not only blatantly lie about having been, somehow, blissfully unaware of Hollywood’s underbelly.
These frauds, cowards, and hypocrites have the audacity to now present themselves as virtuous.
To see just how morally reprehensible this is, consider a hypothetical analogy.
Suppose that I knew the identities of the perpetrators of not just one, but numerous violent crimes. I also knew that these gangsters, being the predatory beasts that they are, would surely victimize others in the future.
Yet I stayed silent for years as these gangsters continued to destroy lives. They didn’t bother me personally and, let’s say, they even provided for me.
Now, however, the gang is busted, weakened, and publically disgraced.
Though it is common knowledge that I had to have known what had been transpiring all of this time, rather than admit it, I lie by professing my ignorance.
Maybe, instead, I admit that I knew but insist that I was fearful of coming forward, or maybe I claim to have been too humiliated to come forward after having already remained silent for a lengthy period. So it is fear for my well-being and/or the fear of humiliation that kept me quiet.
In other words, I make myself into a victim.
Or perhaps I spin my apathy, cowardice, and selfishness so as to make myself, somehow, into a hero for speaking out now that everyone despises the criminals and they have been rendered powerless to harm me, now that I no longer have anything to fear losing and only my face to save.
Suppose I stand before the press and the real victims of these vermin and say to the imprisoned or dead gangsters: “Your time is up!”
What would people think of me? The question is rhetorical.
Yet this is the exact same position in which Oprah, Meryl, and their adorers in Hollywood have placed themselves.
Decent folks should hold them in the contempt that they so richly deserve.