Weinstein, Trump, North Korea, et al – Is There An Upside To Ugly?


Yes. You read that right. First, let me make clear, if it is not already obvious. Unlike those celebrities and politicians, who first had to check their social diaries, campaign finances, moviemaking schedules (insert where appropriate), before they thought it wise to criticize Harvey Weinstein publicly. And speaking as someone with five sisters and most of whose extended family and close friends are female. I have no problem whatsoever in saying that Weinstein is a monster. And that I’m clearing out all Weinstein Company and Miramax films from my DVD collection. I just wish they’d made enough decent movies that such a move would have any kind of significant impact.

But. As a rather outré observer of social and political phenomena. I find myself compelled to comment that there seem to be some rather interesting, disturbing, welcome (again, choose whichever works) consequences to the focus on Weinstein.

1) First, the most disturbing. It is normalizing Trump. Don’t let this happen.

2) But. The good. Folks are coming forward. Trump, and now Weinstein. Have made the atmosphere so unbelievably toxic. We are prepared to believe anything and everything. And in a weird way. I sense people feel more comforted about coming out and speaking up. And are finding that there is more support for them. Well. Possibly not from those who have taken the Weinstein shilling.

3) There is so much ugly in the air at the moment. Those of us with a conscience are actually more alert, not exactly looking for, or expecting someone to support. But more ready to do so. And. Strangely. Prepared to discuss, advance social responses a bit more out of the ordinary than usual. I mean, I know we expect the unorthodox from Justin Trudeau. But would he have found himself able to suggest, as he did yesterday, in an essay in Marie Clair, that boys should be raised as feminists to change the culture of sexism. If the social and political environment were not so poisonous?

4) Broadening the scope beyond Weinstein. Taking into consideration issues like North Korea, Iran, Corker, Puerto Rico. Think of the times we have not organized sufficiently or quickly enough in response to allegations of wrongdoing. Because they seemed too unbelievable. The ‘Oh C’mon Syndrome.’ Do we have that stance any more? If you’re missing my point. Consider how long it took for people to believe that the BBC harbored child abusers. Or the Catholic Church protected sex molesters.

5) Our headlines at the moment are a psychological nightmare of uncomfortable. But, I remember reading a political analyst who, halfway through the TV Reality Show otherwise known as the 2016 Republican Primary, opined that, if elected, Trump might well serve a useful function in leeching the social poison simmering just below the surface of the collective US psyche. Er. Anyone want to contest that opinion now?

6) Put it another way. Would Weinstein have been exposed without Trump? Would we be thinking, bloody hell, we really do need to do something about North Korea, Iran, healthcare, jobs, immigration (again, you fill in the gaps), if we were not truly frightened sick that Trump and his ilk were about to take us all into the Dark Ages?

I genuinely am not making light of any of this. I’m just noticing that we merrily took the elevator to the Seventh Level of Hell. Sniffed. Dropped one. And now find ourselves truly mobilized to do stuff. And unwilling any longer just to accept.

For my own part. I have written some fairly whacky stuff in my time. But most of it now pales in comparison to the reality of what I’m reading in the headlines. Even on the fake news web-sites. My angels-fear-to-tread posts now have footprints that make them look like Macy’s carpet the day after Black Friday. Ok. That was a lighter reference. Just in case you’re finding it difficult to tell the difference.

The point is. I guess. As awful as are the stories we are reading at the moment. From Weinstein to California wildfires. From Vegas to Myanmar. As much as we may feel like the world is going to heck in a hand-basket. Even more than normal. Like we want to take a kneel just walking into a Regal 16. I find myself more heartened than normal. And I am Mr. Optimist. I find myself genuinely comforted that we are a sufficiently resilient and compassionate species. That we will always find remedies. And we may be more ready to do so now, because of, not in spite of, the monsters in our midst.

Having said which. For the love of the soon-to-be-incinerated Hollywood Couch. Please do not sink back into our now-normal, societal, 15-minute ADD, and not stay alert. There’s shit out there. Loads of it. Yet uncovered. Still unexposed. Keep your eyes open. Be ready to help someone you know. And be prepared to believe anything and everything. And then act. I’m not saying I’m happy we have monsters among us. I’m observing that they’re bringing to the surface matters we need to be ready to address.

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Published in: on November 10, 2017 at 2:03 am  Leave a Comment  

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