Short Take: The Other Harveys

Schadenfreude is ugly and petty, and delicious. But in the case of Harvey Weinstein, it appears to have taken everyone’s eyes off the prize.

There is a storybook villain, Mr. Weinstein, whose repulsive face turns out to be the spitting image of his putrescent soul. There are victims, so many of them, typically up-and-comers in an industry where he had the power to make or wreck their careers, or bully or buy their silence, or, if some allegations are to be believed, rape them.

But mostly there are enablers, both those who facilitated his predations and those who found it expedient to look the other way.

Bret Stephens goes on to name some corporate types, A-Listers, “and then there was the rest of Hollywood.”

Mr. Weinstein’s depredations were an open film industry secret, the subject of an onstage joke by Seth MacFarlane at the 2013 Oscar nomination announcement. Everyone laughed because everyone got it.

So at the same time as the woke of Sunset bemoaned the depredations of social justice, they were enabling, or at least concealing, a movie mogul’s use of his coercive power to rape would-be starlets. They would decry the misogyny of a politically incorrect word, but not a rape? At least not when it was done by a guy who could make you, or keep you, a star.

Having gotten past the first level, that Harvey is scum, we’re on to the next level of blame:

Some of his victims, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, became Hollywood powers in their own right but never publicly rang an alarm until this week. The actor Ben Affleck, who owes his start to Mr. Weinstein, is an overnight laughingstock because he acts surprised by the producer’s behavior.

And Matt Damon? Don’t forget Matt Damon. So what else are we missing here?  What about the other Harveys?

The casting couch is mythic, there being only so many roles for too many beautiful young women, and fat, old, greasy gatekeepers enjoying the “benefits” their access allows them. Was this only a Hollywood legend, or was this how it really worked, the producers, directors, agents and talent scouts able to coerce the lovelies into providing them “favors” they would otherwise never get?

For now, everyone seems focused on the old questions, “what did you know and when did you know it” with regard to Weinstein. The claim is that his predations were the worst kept secret in Hollywood. Not being of that ilk, I wouldn’t know.

But even if Harvey was the “worst,” was he the only? While we’re busy smacking the stars who kept their yaps shut about Harvey for their hypocrisy, as well as their pretense of being icons of equality and equity while keeping a rapist’s secrets, was nasty ol’ Harvey the only fat guy with a repulsive face who used his power against women?

One thought is that this is bad enough, horrible, that the bastion of progressivism and social justice has now been exposed as a farce, so that the forces of evil can laugh at the hypocrites. Certainly, Weinstein’s financial support of the Democrats and progressive causes makes it impossible to ignore the blatant hypocrisy. Let’s not make it worse. Let’s not give them a whole town filled with Harveys. And let’s not ruin the cash flow to worthy causes in the process.

Or maybe it was only Harvey. Just one guy, one disgusting predator, who was using his casting couch. But if it wasn’t just one Harvey, then what will the Bens and Matts and Gwyneths say to explain why now, as this disgraceful episode plays out in public, they persisted in enabling and concealing other Harveys?

These actors have seized the opportunity to condemn a great many social justice horrors, like words they find exhausting and families on television commercials of mixed gender and same race, rather than same gender and mixed race. But they’re totally cool with actual rape as long as it could get them that next Oscar-winning role from some other Harvey?

19 comments on “Short Take: The Other Harveys

  1. B. McLeod

    Weinstein was a good, lock-step liberal and Hilary donor, who, one day before he was caught, would cheerfully have raised the hue and cry against any colleague. The whole industry has been trashy since its inception, at once the progressives’ propaganda ministry and most staggeringly huge glass house.

    1. SHG Post author

      While it’s impossible to ignore Harvey’s political positions and donations, there are bigger questions here than the smack at Hillary, as much fun as that may be.

    2. DaveL

      Perhaps the larger takeaway is that celebrities have gotten too comfortable with presenting themselves as our moral and intellectual leaders, and when they have, too many of us have responded with polite applause and too few of us with belly laughs.

  2. PseudonymousKid

    Dear Papa,

    Exploitation only makes people feel icky when it’s an old fat fuck bumping the young and beautiful. People in Weinstein’s position always use their natural advantage of age, wealth, and power to their own benefit. Whether they value favors or money or whatever else, they are going to get it.

    It’s good that Weinstein was outed, but the danger of him being a whipping boy for the whole system is real. Corruption seems to metastasize. Yes men become bag men, ferreting money from one palm to the next. Weinstein’s “death” changes nothing, but it may run interference on the “other Harveys.”

    The concentration of power in the hands of the few is bad for all of us. The abusers, the enablers, the sycophants, they are all whores. Thanks for the opportunity to moralize again.

    Best,
    PK

    1. SHG Post author

      But now Hollywood can take pride in being 99 44/100s % pure, and no one will look behind closed doors for another generation since they’ve cleaned up their nasty Harvey mess.

      1. PseudonymousKid

        There’s some hope. Maybe young aspiring starlets will be more prepared for the Harveys of the world with the amount of attention here. That some will still pay the meat price is inevitable, but the ones that don’t want to might feel better about saying “go fuck yourself” to the Harveys of the world.

        It’s not all doom and gloom, but people who think it’s sunshine and rainbows are worse.

  3. Martin

    One could have written almost the exact same article after the Bakker and Swaggart scandals, regarding the religious right and their false moralizing/lack of introspection. Or about Trump’s conservative supporters conveniently turning a blind eye to all his horrible behavior while still trying to claim the moral high ground. Or the lack of backlash over Limbaugh’s drug addiction and prescription shopping. Such articles may feel good to write, but do little to further the discourse on the social issues being fought over.

    Cheap shots like those lacing your article are one big reason cause-supporters are so reluctant to police their own. They don’t want to damage the cause by burning down flawed proponents. Of course, fear of financial consequences is probably another big driver of Hollywood’s general silence. Standing up against injustice is easiest when it’s far from home. And like the women who accused Cosby years ago, there’s a very real fear of leading a charge and discovering it’s a charge of one or two. Lastly, widely spread rumors aren’t the same as actionable proof; indeed, they’re potentially slanderous unless there’s evidence (cross-apply all the great arguments against “accusers should be blindly believed” here). “I heard director X loves to exploit his casting couch powers” is hardly enough to go public with. But that’s probably all that 99% of the glitterati actually know for certain. They aren’t investigative reporters after all; they really do just play them on TV.

    The thesis that “hypocrites support of X means X is inherently wrong” is pretty intellectually lazy, and no substitute for engaging with the ideas of others and refuting them. But it’s super popular as a hot take. I generally enjoy reading your posts and find them thought-provoking and engaging. But this is pretty disappointing. You’re better than this.

    1. David

      Your comparison to Bakker and Swaggert would be relevant, except they aren’t in the news. If they were, do you doubt that Scott would be just as inclined to write the same about them?

      As for Trump, it’s not analogous on any level, not the least of which being that Trump is Trump, and nobody expects him to be virtuous. But Hollywood holds itself out to be the mother lode of social justice virtue.

      The problem is that you’re arguing about team sports, because your team is getting ripped a new one here. Unlike you, Scott is principled and would rip those on either team for such blatant hypocrisy.

      1. SHG Post author

        My concern isn’t just the known hypocrisy, but the as yet unknown, and that while everyone is focused on Harvey, what about the rest of Hollywood. If Harvey isn’t the *only* one enjoying the casting couch, then this is all bullshit virtue signalling, while the rape goes on.

        1. Martin

          If that’s your real concern, then why are you dropping in all those pointed barbs at social positions you disagree with? Which point are you really trying to make, and who are you actually trying to convince? You’re not talking to the people whose opinions you need to change in order to prevent further casting couch rapes; your polemic would cause them to stop listening early on. Looks to me like you’re playing to the cheap seats in an audience who already agree with you. Y’know, virtue signaling. But please, by all means, just disregard what I said as dismissively as possible because I said I was disappointed in this one post among many of yours I actually like.

          For a man who’s asked people to comment on his blog rather than on Twitter so as to engage in genuine discussion, you seem pretty uninterested that actual discussion. It’s not like I just said “nya nya you suck.”

          1. SHG Post author

            Not every comment is worthy of serious discussion. Some are kinda dumb. I posted your, for what it’s worth, but if you believe that just because you posted a comment you’re entitled to my time and serious attention, you severely over-estimate yourself.

          2. B. McLeod

            You really believe anyone was going to talk Harvey out of his activities, or for that matter, “change the opinions” of all the ones who are still doing the same thing as we write? I doubt that any of them really think it is OK. It becomes a matter of convincing them they won’t get away with it (and Hollywood doesn’t seem to be sending that signal).

            1. SHG Post author

              Wait, what? Are you trying to say that Weinstein and all the other Hollywood directors and producers don’t read SJ and this glaring hole might have been directed instead at, say, reporters for the NY Times who do read SJ and who might start asking the right questions if someone makes them think?

  4. Martin

    Or, more succinctly, pluck out the schadenfreude beam in your own eye before going after the mote in your neighbors’. Was this too irresistible to avoid saying? Does it aid the message or score points?

    “So at the same time as the woke of Sunset bemoaned the depredations of social justice, they were enabling, or at least concealing, a movie mogul’s use of his coercive power to rape would-be starlets. They would decry the misogyny of a politically incorrect word, but not a rape? At least not when it was done by a guy who could make you, or keep you, a star.”

    1. Sgt. Schultz

      So he can’t make a point plus include some obvious yet accurate snark (which, actually, is why the point is a point in the first place)? Are you sure you’ve ever read anything here before?

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