Monday, January 08, 2018

Golden virtue signalers

I normally make it a priority to avoid smug, self-congratulatory Hollywood award shows. But at this year's Golden Globes, in light of serial harasser Harvey Weinstein being ostracized, it promised to be even more of an insufferable display of virtue signaling.

In the days leading up the show, there was a general announcement that many of the women in attendance would don black gowns to show solidarity in their vow that Weinstein-esque tactics would no longer be tolerated. All that sounds great, but one can't help to wonder though how many of these gals were privy to Weinstein's behavior yet chose to look the other way for the sake of their careers.

NY Post columnist Maureen Callahan felt these celebs didn't exactly cover themselves in glory last evening.

And the award for ultimate hypocrisy goes to . . . the Hollywood class of 2018.

This year’s Golden Globes were meant to be a defiant, vibrant celebration of a post-Weinstein industry, an awards ceremony about so much more than meaningless awards. We were promised a reckoning, the leveling of a male-dominated industry that institutionalized the rape, abuse and harassment of women for decades.

Like so much Hollywood product, advance buzz was greatly exaggerated. Not one actor or actress, on the red carpet or on stage, made direct reference to their industry’s greatest monster — the one they boast of slaying yet still want to appease.

Host Seth Meyers, in his opening monologue, was the only person in the room to mention him by name.

“Harvey Weinstein can’t be here tonight because, well, I’ve heard rumors that he’s crazy and difficult to work with,” Meyers said. “But don’t worry — he’ll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the ‘In Memoriam’ segment.”

And how did these brave, crusading, black-garbed, pin-wearing celebrities respond? They booed.

Same when Meyers made a crack about the disgraced Kevin Spacey fumbling a Southern accent. “Oh, is that too mean?” Meyers asked incredulously. “To Kevin Spacey?”

Even a tame Woody Allen joke fell flat. It seems there’s no sexual predator who still doesn’t get Hollywood’s sympathy.

While these woefully out-of-touch celebs offer up plenty of fodder (i.e. decrying poverty via a $380 sweater) for those who enjoy mocking them, National Review's Jim Geraghty suggests we look at the bigger picture.

Look, I enjoy bashing hypocrisy as much as the next guy. But is bashing hypocrisy a sufficient response to a scandal?

Last night, Hollywood held the Golden Globe Awards, and with almost everyone dressed in black, the hosts and winners and audience tried to grapple with the scandal in its own sometimes narcissistic, sometimes self-congratulatory, sometimes-off-key way. Yes, it’s likely that a significant portion of the people in the room knew about the “open secret” of Harvey Weinstein – and/or heard the rumors about Kevin Spacey, and Louis CK, and numerous other figures in the industry. Maybe there was some guilt behind that fancy black attire and the “Time’s Up” pins.

But does being insufferably smug mean that anything they said about the need to end sexual harassment wasn’t… you know, right and true? If “hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue”… doesn’t it still mean something that virtue deserves that tribute? If you want to scoff, “oh, Hollywood was always notorious for the ‘casting couch’”… Yes, it was, but what if the women (and some men) of Hollywood want that unsavory tradition to end? If there’s an effort to reform a corrupt institution, should we on the outside applaud or snicker that it will never change?

If you want to say their words are insufficient, fine. It would be nice to see Asia Argento, Mira Sorvino, and other women who had their careers derailed by Weinstein to start getting some jobs again.

I will cede Geraghty's point that, in this case, the ends would indeed justify the means if such lecherous behavior is eventually eradicated. But, as Ms. Callahan pointed out in the NY Post piece I referenced, Hollywood types still seem hesitant to be 100% vigilant. Color me skeptical that merely wearing black and perpetuating the #TimesUp hashtag will be the magic antidote.


1 comment:

Bike Bubba said...

Guilt and fear. Many there know that if the harassment and worse of the casting couch is reined in, acting jobs will start to be awarded more on the ability to act, which endangers many peoples' gravy trains. I also think that a lot of the things you see on screen now won't occur if actresses are not "groomed" to accept it.

Could be fun to watch--popping popcorn!