What About Weinstein’s Public Offenses?

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Hollywood Sign in California at Sunset

Harvey Weinstein, I’ve just read, is “the disgraced Pulp Fiction producer.” But isn’t someone who encourages millions of people to think of murder and torture as super cool and fun already pre-disgraced? Doesn’t he arrive in the locked office with the actress cowering in the corner already publicly disgraced and intent on disgracing himself in private?

This is a man whom we have to thank for Reservoir Dogs, Gangs of New York, Kill Bill, RamboInglorious BasterdsDjango Unchained, and mountains of similar trash. I imagine he doesn’t donate to the NRA, but I can guarantee the NRA would have donated to him if asked.

Does it take something away from the appropriate outrage at Weinstein’s hidden offenses to notice his publicly accepted offenses? I don’t even think people believe that it does. I think they mostly just find his public offenses completely inoffensive. Sure, he promotes violence, sadism, sexism, and all forms of nastiness to the globe through the most powerful medium available for influencing the least educated audiences available. Sure, thousands of people act on what their culture feeds them. But only when Weinstein acts like a pig off-camera are we supposed to finally get upset?

This is a theme we see in all sorts of variations, from cheering for military leaders who slaughter Iraqis until they share secrets with their mistresses, or applauding presidents who end welfare, create NAFTA, create media monopolies, and drop bombs on people, but who must be impeached for sex with interns in the White House, or presidents who go out of their way to destroy the natural environment and risk World War III but whom we must denounce for their personal crudeness.

Aren’t we suffering from a bad case of misprioritized outrage? That is, shouldn’t we be even more outraged than we are over Weinstein’s sexual offenses, but shouldn’t we be still more outraged than that by the insidious effect that the entertaining filth he produces for a living has on our young people and the young people of the world?

I asked Heidi Tilney Kramer, author of Media Monsters, her view, and she replied,

“We have seen the poor behavior of many media executives, including the leaked internal memo from (former) Disney CEO, Michael Eisner: ‘We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective.’ The Weinstein brothers battled with the Disney corporation for some time and Harvey Weinstein has promoted some fine work on screen, not least of which is Billy Eliot the Musical, promotion of the beautiful Hayao Miyazaki films, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; however, he is also the person who gave us the shocking brutality of the Scary Movie series, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Halloween and Inglorious Basterds. He also gave us Spy Kids, pitting kids against criminals.

“The pattern we see here is excessive, often gory violence. It does not surprise me that Mr. Weinstein has so many allegations against him. He, like many industry others, has so much power that he not only thinks he can subject his audiences to brutality, but those around him.”