Everybody awed by Amusement is an enabler of Harvey Weinstein

There are now numerous unsolved allegations against and public stories about Harvey Weinstein that it is tough to find out a circumstance other than disgust.

But here is one way of looking at the larger context — a problem with public perception of the allegations against Weinstein is the fact that it fits into the public’s imagination as a sort of perverse beauty-and-the-beast illusion.

Weinstein is a large, abrasive and aggressive, strong man. He is no one’s idea of a dreamboat. He adheres to the monster fantasy — physically intimidating, capable of excellent fury and destruction. The feminine, in the illusion that the public sees, is attractive, youthful, smart but inexperienced, psychological and slight of frame, easily overpowered.

This isn’t useful. Some people familiar with the surface gloss of the entertainment industry will examine the allegations and conclude, “It is gross but that’s gont occur.” Everybody will believe stories that conform to historical myths and fairy tales, particularly about the entertainment world. And in doing this, everyone enables the likes of Harvey Weinstein.

Predatory behaviour and harassment shouldn’t happen. And here is the thing to remember: Not all predatory men in the entertainment world are ogres who resemble Weinstein. Most who harass, abuse or humiliate girls are slicker than Weinstein but possess good power in making or breaking careers. It is just that we, by inclination, wish to see ogres.

To be clear, based on my knowledge from years of covering television, the huge majority of people in the market, women and men, are professional, disciplined and more enthusiastic in their work than sexual shenanigans.

What some of these share, however, is a feeling of protectiveness about their business and the substance they produce for public consumption. They want the dream to remain intact: the dream of happy, skilled, motivated, attractive individuals working together to create inspirational, entertaining stories for your audience. Admitting that there’s obnoxious and sometimes disgusting behavior is anathema to them. The facts about that would endanger everything.

That’s one reason {}, perhaps, so many girls come forward to name and shame seekers and harassers. The principal reason, of course, is that the fear of repercussion and career destruction, but in a general way, there’s the reluctance to shatter myths and traditional assumptions about working in television and film — and a belief that the public does not need the myths shattered.

Ask girls actors concerning the casting couch and harassment in television, even off the record, and they’ll clam up. That is understandable, if regrettable. There’s anxiety about being the first to talk about it and the work drying up. Request others, who would have no such fears, and they’re coy or shrug. There is, particularly among men and among websites, publicists and others on the fringes, a fierce urge toward denial and there is a peculiar omerta based on the idea that the public does not need to understand what’s happening.

Media coverage of the film business accepts the omerta. Most journalism about the movie world inhabited by Weinstein is restricted to puffery. Normally, there are limits on what questions could be asked in interviews. At exactly the exact same time, editors and writers need journalism which amounts to easy-to-understand stories which fit into a limited number of genres. Those journalism genres are somewhat like myths and fairy tales. Everybody enjoys stories about underdogs. Everybody enjoys stories about a deep personal relationship between the star and the material from the movie. That type of journalism taps into a really old human desire to see everything concerning a small set of storylines. Most movies do exactly the same thing, and people worship at the altar.

There are several layers and relations in the Weinstein narrative at this point that it is a bewildering saga, seemingly decades and full of all manner of malfeasance. Replies to it all can differ tremendously. Everyone has an angle on it so as to point a finger at someone else.

But here’s the most important takeaway we ought to remember after the dust settles and the indignation just simmers — the entertainment world traffics in dreams we would like to consider, and to buy into a beauty-and-the-beast situation is only to buy to a dream version of the sordid truth. If we expect female celebrities to speak out, we should be ready to challenge our very own handy assumptions and myths. There are ogres everywhere, it is only a myth that they look like Weinstein.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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