"Everything is as it should be."

                                                                                  - Benjamin Purcell Morris

 

 

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Harvey Weinstein is America

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes 39 seconds

Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment scandal isn’t only an indictment of his twisted soul but of America’s as well.

The story of Harvey Weinstein, the uber-powerful film producer, co-founder of Miramax Films and major donor to Democratic politicians, who got fired from his job as co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company after the New York Times ran an article exposing his serial sexual harassment of female employees, is such a perfect storm of corruption, depravity and hypocrisy that it exquisitely encapsulates the moral decay of America.

The Times piece revealed that Weinstein has settled at least eight different sexual harassment lawsuits over the years. The Times article was just the tip of a really grotesque iceberg though, for in its wake a plethora of other claims have surfaced.

In a New Yorker article, written, ironically enough, by Ronan Farrow, son of accused pedophile Woody Allen, even more claims emerged of Weinstein’s predatory behavior. One of the many lowlights from that article include Italian actress/filmmaker Asia Argento and two other women claiming that Weinstein raped them.

The most famous women among the sea of those claiming harassment at the hands of the movie mogul are Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette.

The odiousness of this Weinstein scandal is overwhelming, and nearly public person is going through the Kabuki theatre of denouncing Harvey and his lecherousness but this strikes me as disingenuous at best. All the movie stars, media members and politicians strongly reprimanding Weinstein now, displayed nothing but egregious cowardice during Harvey Weinstein’s grotesque reign of wanton terror.

Many Hollywood heavyweights like Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lawrence, are feigning ignorance of Weinstein’s disgusting depravity, but the revelation of Weinstein’s repulsive misdeeds cannot possibly come as a surprise. Harvey, the rotund and repugnant Hollywood kingmaker, is notorious in the film industry for his petulant and imperious approach, which includes physically abusing underlings and being a lascivious beast to women. Tales of Weinstein’s bad behavior are so legion that even a complete nobody like me has heard them ad infinitum.

So how did Harvey get away with being such a gigantic creep for so long? The main reason is that he possessed the most rare talent that all of Hollywood covets, the ability to garner Oscar votes for his films. Weinstein produced films have been nominated for Best Picture 26 times in the last 28 years and have been nominated for over 300 Academy Awards overall. In other words, Harvey could make people rich and famous beyond their wildest dreams, which is why so many in Hollywood checked their humanity and ethics at the door and looked the other way when he was being such a troglodyte. To quote Upton Sinclair, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Blind ambition isn’t the only reason Hollywood looked the other way regarding Weinstein, political expediency played a part as well. Weinstein has been a long time supporter of Democratic candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in particular, and has donated a lot of money to their campaigns.  

A perfect example of someone making a devil’s bargain with Weinstein for political reasons is Lena Dunham. Dunham, a vociferous and vocal Clinton supporter and devout feminist, admitted that she knew of Weinstein’s predatory reputation in regards to women, but still shook his hand and performed at a fundraiser he held for Clinton’s campaign. Dunham said she betrayed her feminist values because “she so desperately wanted to support Clinton.” 

Hollywood liberals were quick to denounce Evangelical Christians for supporting Trump despite his moral turpitude and misogyny, calling them hypocrites. I agree that Evangelicals are hypocrites for supporting Trump, but so are Hollywood liberals for enabling Weinstein. Both sides, Trump supporters and Hollywood liberals, need to get off their high horse and read Matthew 7:5, “You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Speaking of enabling, the Weinstein scandal brought to my mind a line from a U2 song, “if you need someone to blame, throw a rock in the air, you’ll hit someone guilty.”  When I throw my rock it often lands on the media, and so it is with this case.

Ronan Farrow published his Weinstein story in the New Yorker magazine, but only because his employer NBC news refused to go with the story. NBC is in business with Weinstein on various film and television projects, and no doubt did not want to ruffle the feathers of such a powerful and litigious man like Harvey Weinstein, so they passed on it, which means this story says just as much about them as it does about Weinstein.

Even the New York Times, which broke the Weinstein story, came out smelling less like a rose and more like a manure pile after it became known that the newspaper spiked a similar story regarding Weinstein in 2004 after being pressured by the producer and his lawyers to do so.

The New York Times dropping the ball on an important story in the early 2000’s should come as no surprise to anyone who followed the lead up to the Iraq war or Bush surveillance, but what was shocking was who helped to scuttle the 2004 Weinstein article. Matt Damon, yes, Matt Damon, Mr. Good Will Hunting and thought-to-be good guy, called the Times reporter to defend and vouch for Weinstein in an effort to stop the story. So did everyone’s favorite Gladiator Russell Crowe. I wonder how Damon and Crowe sleep at night knowing they were complicit in thirteen more years of Weinstein’s abusing women?

It is uncomfortable to acknowledge, but another group of people who could have stopped Harvey Weinstein but did not were the more famous of his victims, like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd. These women did not ask to be placed in this terrible position, but they could have stopped him cold if they came forward years ago. The reason I cite them and not the other victims is because they were uniquely positioned to be able to defend themselves and to take on Harvey Weinstein, where the other victims were not. What I mean by that is that Paltrow, Jolie, Sorvino and Judd all come from entertainment families that are well-known and liked in the industry. They were not powerless because they have strong allies and deep connections in the business. These women, sans Judd, also won Oscars, giving them even more credibility and visibility to make their claims. I do not “blame” these women for being harassed or assaulted by Weinstein, I only wish they overcame their ambition and saved others from that awful fate.

 The cavalcade of condemnation for Harvey Weinstein will continue unabated for the days and weeks to come, and deservedly so, but to see him only as a target of derision diminishes his impact as a cautionary tale. Harvey Weinstein is simply a symptom of the wider disease which I call “reality show America”, which sees human beings as disposable and transactional objects whose value is measured in terms of their usefulness for entertainment or pleasure.

The true power of the Weinstein story is not about his personal failings, but that it is symbolic of the fact that “reality-show America”, which thrives across the political and cultural spectrum, is a collection of self-serving, amoral, hypocrites who are quick to attack the failings of their enemy but slow to embrace self-reflection.

Will the denizens of “reality-show America” in Hollywood, Washington and the news media ask themselves how they have contributed to the culture that bred a man like Harvey Weinstein? I sincerely doubt it since deflection, emotional myopia and historical amnesia are as American as apple pie.

The Weinstein scandal is an opportunity, not only to see Weinstein for who he really is but also to see America for what we have become…an ethically bankrupt and indecent collection of moral cowards allergic to self-reflection and truth.

This “reality show America”, currently starring the Trumps and Kardashians (with special guest appearance by the Clintons!) and produced by Harvey Weinstein, shows that America has devolved to the point of shameless obscenity, and regardless of how self-righteous we as liberals, conservatives, Democrats or Republicans may feel, we no longer possess any moral authority because, just like Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood, Washington and Wall Street, we are incapable of being honest with ourselves.

It is difficult to admit, but if we mustered the courage to see ourselves as we truly are, we would recognize that Harvey Weinstein is America, and America is Harvey Weinstein. Both are bloated, entitled, corrupt, bombastic, blindly ambitious bullies, full of fear and loathing, that use their outsized power to exploit the defenseless in order to indulge their darker impulses and insatiable desires. The sooner we recognize that, the faster we can try to change it.

This article was originally published on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at RT.

©2017

3rd Annual SLIP-ME-A-MICKEY AWARDS ™® : 2016 Edition

Estimated reading time : 19 seconds

The Slip-Me-A-Mickey™® awards are a tribute to the absolute worst that film and entertainment has to offer for the year. Again, the qualifying rules are simple, I just had to have seen the film for it to be eligible. This means that at one point I had an interest in the film, and put the effort in to see it, which may explain why I am so angry about it being awful. So any vitriol I may spew during this awards presentation shouldn't be taken personally by the people mentioned, it is really anger at myself for getting duped into watching.

The prizes are also pretty simple. The winners/losers receive nothing but my temporary scorn. If you are a winner/loser don't fret, because this years Slip-Me-A-Mickey™®  loser/winner could always be next years Mickey™® winner!! Remember…you are only as good as your last film!! 

Now…onto the awards!!

WORST FILM

Nocturnal Animals - Nocturnal Animals has two, equally insipid and flaccid story lines running concurrently through it which makes it twice as awful as it could have been. In addition, the film vomits a horrendous Jake Gyllenhaal performance all over its audience like a sun-baked clam chowder. I would rather be abducted, dragged out to the desert, gang raped and tortured to death by a bunch of backwoods yokels than have to watch another single second of this abysmal trash.

Hacksaw Ridge - Desmond Doss was a remarkable man of great faith and courage…sadly, in Mel Gibson's version of Doss' life story, Doss is a mildly retarded fool with an almost accidental and minimal connection to some nebulous religion. Hacksaw Ridge, like all of Mel Gibson's other films, is an exercise in a masturbatorial masochism marinated in a heavy-handed, mawkish melodrama. This film is just the worst type of cookie cutter, war movie dreck. I wish a kamikaze pilot flew right into this movie and put us all out of our misery.

Suicide Squad - I was psyched to see Suicide Squad. Then I saw it, and I wanted to kill myself. When Will Smith is the best part of a movie, that is a strong indicator that that movie is a giant pile of steaming dogshit…and so it is with Suicide Squad. I still haven't gotten the stink of this movie off of my shoes.

And the loser is.a tie between NOCTURNAL ANIMALS and SUICIDE SQUAD : 

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS : Just a muddled mess of pretentious incoherence. This film didn't reek of the art house, it stunk of the dungheap. Nocturnal Animals, or as I keep calling it, Nocturnal Emissions, is not a wet dream, but a bone dry nightmare. Awful. Awful. Awful. 

 

 

SUICIDE SQUAD : A repetitively repetitive film that repeats itself repetitiously, one repetition after another repetition, over and over and over again. A most boring and idiotic endeavor that could have been truly magnificent, but instead it made me want chop my head off and throw it in a septic tank….repetitively. 

 

 

 

WORST PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

Vince Vaughn - Hacksaw Ridge : I like Vince Vaughn. I really do. He is great at the things he is great at…he is not great at the thing he was asked to do in Hacksaw Ridge. Vaughn stutters and stumbles his way through the most derivative and hackneyed performance imaginable as the Sergeant who must lead his men from boot camp to battle. I was genuinely embarrassed for Vaughn as it felt like he was reprising his role from Dodgeball with a world war II setting around him. 

Nicholas Cage - Snowden : I have always felt Nic Cage was a shitty actor. Even when he was winning Oscars and was a critical darling, I thought he was a bullshit artist who was just mimicking what he thought a great actor should be like. In Snowden, Cage is stripped bare and revealed for the artistic fraud that he has always been. Cage is so extraordinarily awful in the film, it is utterly amazing. Watching Nic Cage act is like watching a dog eat its own poop. Both the viewer, and the poop eating dog, wonder why they don't just stop their self-destructive and disgusting behavior. How Oliver Stone didn't cut Cage entirely out of this film is the one of the great mysteries of life.

Jesse Eisenberg - Batman v Superman :  Eisenberg is an interesting actor, but he is so overwhelmed and out of his depth as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman, that it is painful to watch. Never has an actor who needed to come across as big, felt so small. 

And the loser isNIC CAGE : A cringe-worthy display of the most forced and phony acting imaginable garners Cage the least coveted award of the season. Cage's long spiral down into cultural and artistic oblivion seems to be stuck in a bottomless pit of embarrassment.

 

 

MOST OVERRATED FILM OF THE YEAR

Hacksaw RidgeHacksaw Ridge, its lead actor Andrew Garfield, and its director, Mel Gibson, all got Oscar nominations. Was it that bad of a year in cinema? Did the Academy watch this movie? After seeing the film, I kept reading about how great it was and wondered if the critics were simply suffering from PTSD from having to sit through this ridiculous bucket of amateur-hour slop. Hacksaw Ridge SHOULD HAVE BEEN great…but it just wasn't. And anyone who thinks otherwise has absolutely lost their mind.

Manchester by the Sea - Question : You know who loves Manchester by the Sea? Answer : Manchester by the Sea. This movie was so in love with itself I needed to shower after seeing it. The film is fine…but not nearly as good as it thinks it is…or as good as many critics think it is. It is a paint by numbers art house film, and that is painfully obvious for anyone who sees through the marketing bullshit that tries to polish the most mundane of turds.

Nocturnal Animals - Some jackass at the Guardian thought this was the best film of the year. He should have his eyes cut out and never be allowed to look upon this earth ever again. This same critic described the film as a fascinating meditation on masculinity. When you are relying on the impeccably fabulous fashion designer Tom Ford to direct a meditation on masculinity, you need to have your head, and loins examined. Tom Ford wouldn't know genuine masculinity if it walked up to him kicked him in his perfectly coiffed and powdered nuts.

And the loser is.HACKSAW RIDGE : This film is an unmitigated disaster of a movie that somehow got 6 Oscar nominations and even two wins (film editing and sound mixing). How the hell did that happen? Across the board the acting is atrociously bad, most notably by Vince Vaughn and Hugo Weaving. The direction is utterly abysmal as Mel Gibson brings his usual ham-fisted approach to storytelling. A remarkably overpraised and underwhelming film. The dash cam footage of Gibson calling a cop "sugartits" is a considerably more entertaining and note worthy piece of cinematic art than this excrement.

P.O.S. HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Woody Allen :

Woody gets his long awaited induction into the Piece of Shit Hall of Fame this year after a stellar career as a gigantic piece of shit. Where to begin with Woody's piece of shit credentials…should we start with the very believable charges of molestation by his daughter Dylan? or with his numerous references to his desire for young or underage woman and girls in his films (check out Stardust Memories or Manhattan…they are creepy as hell in retrospect)? Or how about the piece de resistance, his having an affair with his adopted daughter and then marrying her? Or maybe we should just stick to his insidiously awful, narcissistic, self-serving films that the elite love to love?

Wherever we start looking for proof of Woody Allen being a piece of shit, we stumble upon a target rich environment of shitbaggery. History will not be kind to Woody Allen…and if I ever have the displeasure of meeting him…neither will I. Congratulations Woody Allen…you are an all-time piece of shit. Welcome to the Piece of Shit Hall of Fame!!

 

2016 P.O.S. ALL-STARS

Billy Bush - Billy Bush is a douchebag. He has always been a douchebag and will always be a douchebag. Like all of the Bush clan, he is a feeble minded and needle-dicked mid-wit, born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a chip on his shoulder. Bush was exposed for his douchebaggery by the "grab her by the pussy" video of Donald Trump released during the campaign. Bush's ass kissing of Trump in particular, and his sycophancy in general, along with his complete lack of a spine, soul, brain or balls, are why I knew he was a douchebag from day one. Nice to see the rest of the world finally catching up to me. Fuck you Billy Bush…and the rest of the Bush family. 

Lena Dunham - This is back to back trips to the P.O.S. All Star game for Lena Dunham. This year she gets in for lamenting the fact that she never had an abortion. Way to stay classy, Lena. The cool thing is that Lena doesn't need to have an abortion, because she is one. So is her awful show, her awful writing and her awful presence in the public square. Dunham is a repugnant, repulsive pig, and I for one, am hoping for an abortion of her career, post haste. 

The Butter BrigadeChris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Jessica Chastain, Jenna Fischer  - Remember these dipshits who got their panties all in a tussle when they idiotically thought Marlon Brando anally raped Maria Schneider while filming Last Tango in Paris?  The bunch of them are gigantic pieces of shit, and have earned their all-star status. None of them recanted, none of them apologized, and none of them set the record straight. I hope Brando's ghost haunts them all by shoving a stick of butter so far up their asses that their eyes turn yellow…and then he gives them all the business but good up their well lubed butter chutes. 

And thus ends the third annual Slip-Me-A-Mickey™® Awards!!! To the winners/losers…don't take it personally…and God knows I hope I don't see you again next year!! To you dear reader…thanks for tuning in and we'll see you again next year!!

©2017