The Arts

Oct 13, 2017

Rundle: Weinstein’s ruin epitomises how we do politics now

Paradoxically, the one industry that won't be reformed is Hollywood.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Were you to cast someone in a Harvey Weinstein-produced movie about sexual predators, you’d almost certainly cast someone who looks like Harvey Weinstein — an ogreish man-mountain, someone who tumbled into filmmaking through the business side — whose bullying of employees and would-be stars alike has been a matter of public record for decades. Is that one reason why the Weinstein scandal is widening, growing, beyond all limits, swallowing up not only all of entertainment, but a large part of the news proper?

It’s worth asking why Weinstein-gate is becoming so transfixing. There is the fact that it’s happening in Hollywood of course, and so famous actresses are involved, there is the sleazy nature of Weinstein’s acts, which involve using sexual demands as a power over women, there is the substantial media access of the most-high profile victims, and there is, paradoxically, a voyeuristic thrill at hearing the stories of sexual shakedown, which is present underneath and with the public outrage at the acts themselves.

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23 thoughts on “Rundle: Weinstein’s ruin epitomises how we do politics now

  1. Richard Thompson

    Why is it that ‘gate’ has to be placed after most notable events. I started reading this article and by the time I got to the second ‘gate’ I decide that it wasn’t worth opening! Goodbye Guy.

    1. lykurgus

      You got further than I did… (throws it on the Bill Cosby pile)

  2. zut alors

    It’s an industry which worships & promotes youth & beauty so why is anyone surprised by the sexual exploitation? The daily parade of eager starry-eyed wannabees must be too great a temptation to some men. As Rundle points out, it’s a Hollywood tradition which goes back to pre-talkies. Several powerful perpetrators received Lifetime Achievement Awards – chosen within an industry which was perfectly cognisant of the extra-curricular behaviour of recipients.

    Weinstein’s predicament is of particular interest to us as he is (was) a tall poppy. His executive colleagues knew about his misdemeanours (due to the silence money payouts) but were complicit by renewing his contract. I’m not so interested in which big name ‘celebrities’ have done a deal – or dodged one – with the casting couch devil but it’s well overdue to shine light on the Weinstein Company board. Not that anything will change.

  3. Desmond Graham

    Of course Hollywood will be reformed – it is now the turn of the next wave of perverse executives same sex and alphabet people.

  4. Will

    Why now though, and not in earlier years? I wonder whether we’re not witnessing an almost autoimmune reaction within Western liberal progressivism to last year’s shock trans-Atlantic loss to Trump and Farage – i.e. the now-mandatory piling onto of Weinstein is serving as a symbolic purging of impurities responsible for sabotaging that movement’s appeal?

    1. Suzie_darling

      “Autoimmune reaction”, great analogy. Will think that one through and see how far it runs…

    2. JQ

      A great analogy, Will. However I think the piling on is more symptomatic of the current accelerating chaos that has been brought about by the spread of postmodernism, an ideology nested in neo-Marxism, throughout western society’s institutions. A key tenet of this movement is the narrative of victims vs oppressors which was a nice sleight of hand by French intellectuals in the 1970’s. Instead of the struggle of capital versus labour, the struggle is now defined as those with power vs those without. The game therefore becomes: Identify a group that can be described as victimised; Declare other groups oppressors; Align yourself with/claim you’re speaking on behalf of the victims; Claim moral superiority; Repeat forever. The problem with this ideology of course is that it assumes that ALL hierarchies are corruptly obtained power structures and not hierarchies of competence, excellence, or authority.

      Weinstein is a repugnant cretin to be sure, and his actions are inexcusable, though Rundle points out perspicaciously how that kind of behaviour becomes normalised, however the desire to publicly destroy him (and Travis Kalanik, James Damore, the Drumpfster, etc.) is, like Trump’s election, a symptom of the same chaos.

    3. Will

      For sure, JQ. Politically post-modernism only ever flipped liberal proofs of the possibility of individual emancipation upside-down, ensuring it never really superceded them. And the privilege on show in this Weinstein mob-lynching spectacular certainly doesn’t contradict that. But what gets me is how very liberal media-driven it’s all been, and how Hillary Clinton has been presented within that ‘in final judgement’. Despicable as he has undoubtedly behaved, Weinstein, I think, is being served up in ritual sacrifice to a fascistic god: not women’s rights at all, but un-discrediting Clintonism.

  5. Venise Alstergren

    What do I have to do to continue reading the Rundle article on Harvey Weinstein?

    1. Will

      Either log in or, I dunno, stop visualising him?

    2. catts stan

      Have a stiff drink.Then let,s line up some felines to undo some of these pollies ..Maybe further get obeid back in the press and get some of his girl friends inside talking to us for an ounce of baco to get some more dirt to keep him off the streets

  6. Nudiefish

    I’m surprised that the Weinstein saga is even a thing. It must be the worst kept secret in Hollywood? I am only a moderate fan of the movies and I knew about it. There have been inside jokes about Weinstein for years, including Tom Cruise’s producer character in Tropic Thunder.

    This recent line of exposes have flushed out all sorts of sexist behaviour by leading male performers that were already on the public record. How we all turned a blind eye to it is interesting. It was on open show, yet is was also a complete shock? Ben Affleck’s groping of Hilarie Burton on TV, and pretty much everything that Howard Stern did on his radio show, are cases in point. It was so open and obvious that it was somehow never really visible.

    It probably was to their victims, tho.

  7. mikeb

    How do you account for the fact that the current POTUS bragged of doing exactly what Weinstein has now been pinged for?
    Is it because apart from the voyeuristic fascination the majority of people just don’t care who shagged him to land that part?

    1. Wallywonga

      Yes, maybe the election campaign was really a poll on level of public outrage about this stuff. Thought those tapes were the most telling part of the campaign, yet no apparent impact. Maybe even inspired predator Putin to “look after” his sleazy mate?
      There have been so many novels written, movies made about the dark side of Hollywood culture for decades – so am a little stunned by the level of expressed shock, or are they all just really good actors?

  8. mikeb

    Looking at the snaps of Weinstein and his very glamorous (soon to be ex) wife you can see how she would be attracted to him. She is like an egret on the back of a Rhino.

  9. Pedantic, Balwyn

    If Hollywood makes a film about Weinstein surely they need look no farther than the President to take the leading role?

  10. Woopwoop

    Guy, half the audience may have felt a “voyeuristic thrill” at this story, but the other half would just give an angry sigh of recognition.
    And as for the supply/ demand aspect, more desperate applicants than jobs is the case in many, many industries.

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