13 Ways of Looking at a Harvey Weinstein

(A Make-Shift List-in-Progress…)

  1. I KNEW IT.
  2. Did I actually know it? Let me think about it…
  3. Yeah, I guess I did know. I sort of compartmentalized. Man, that’s probably the problem, isn’t it?
  4. Boy, I’m glad they never called me for an interview when I applied for a job at the Weinstein Company: I like to think I’d be a terrible Honeypot. So impressed by Ronan Farrow’s reporting…
  5. Teaching my Hollywood Stars seminar and bringing this news story into the classroom has really forced me to approach it less as a gossip hound and more as a cultural critic. So when a Harvey Weinstein is exposed — and there are a lot of Harvey Weinsteins out there — what does the public demand to know?
  6. How long has this been going on? What has been happening? Spare no gory detail, please! Who did it happen to? Again, tell us everything…
  7. There is a particular kind of voyeurism that goes hand-in-hand with righteous indignation: we want to condemn Harvey Weinstein as a community, but there is a sadism inherent to wanting to know (and possibly picture) what he did or didn’t do to Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence…
  8. But not Gretchen Mol. Go figure.
  9. Whatabout-ism is for people without the capacity for critical thought: true story. We got Roger Ailes and Donald Trump on the right, Harvey Weinstein and (if we want to throw him in) Anthony Weiner on the left, and Bill Cosby wherever you want to put him. Of course we do. I may agree with Harvey Weinstein on gun control measures, but if he approaches politics as a form of channeling his desire to dominate others, then how can I possibly feign surprise about these allegations? If he wants to fight Wayne LaPierre and the NRA from a NYC jail cell, he is welcome. I very much doubt that is what it is about for him.
  10. HW’s “apology” is just about the worst. He is obviously only sorry he got caught, but even bracketing that, this idea that he is from “a different time” is absurd. Someone needs to tell this guy that Mad Men is not a documentary and that there was never a time where making a woman lock herself in the bathroom to get away from you was an inscrutable, opaque chain of events. “What could she possibly mean by her hysterical retreat? I wouldn’t know. I’m a baby boomer.”
  11. The inner academic chimes in again: how many personas will be forever altered, even shattered, by the on-going revelations? Matt Damon? Ben Affleck? Eighth grade me shudders at the thought. #RoseArmy
  12. I would be remiss as a Film Studies professor if I did not direct you to this wonderful essay from The Toast (RIP The Toast! We miss you) on the Awful Studio Heads of the Classic Era. Unsurprisingly, Louis B. Mayer tops off the list. Hollywood is predicated on sexism, predation, and abuse: it’s not a bad apple problem. It’s a tree problem.
  13. With the Sony Hack, I watched the stories roll in with a mixture of professional and personal interest. The ever-evolving Weinstein case feels different. What can I — what can any of us outside the industry — do now? Leave thoughts in the comments…

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