Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Revisiting a bad faith media narrative on the Covington Catholic story

original article: A Year Ago, the Media Mangled the Covington Catholic Story. What Happened Next Was Even Worse.
January 21, 2020 by ROBBY SOAVE

Journalists and pundits who frantically doubled down on their initial bad takes deserve more criticism.

On the weekend of January 18, 2019, a short video appeared on Twitter that purported to show a group of Catholic high school boys—one young man, Nicholas Sandmann, in particular—harassing a Native American elder named Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: abuse, bias, corruption, current events, diversity, ethics, fraud, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, lies, news media, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, protests, racism, racist, scandal, victimization

Euphemising language to sanitize killing

original article: My visit to Auschwitz reminded me why I oppose abortion
June 1, 2014 by Rebecca Frazer

“When I learn about this mass killing process and see the tools and the remains and the pictures…I block the humanity…My heart still is not accepting that each one of them was an individual, intricate, valuable, hand-crafted human being.  But my head knows.  …If I accept the humanity in my heart, what have we done?”

I journaled those words in March of this year, crouched in a bottom bunk in a hostel in Krakow, Poland.  I was not writing about abortion.  I was writing about the Holocaust—writing out of stunned pain and confusion—having spent the day touring the sprawling, well-preserved complex known as Auschwitz concentration camp, a killing machine unlike any other.  Over one million people died at Auschwitz during its five years of operation, the vast majority of them Jewish.  Ninety percent of prisoners who entered Auschwitz died, most by immediate execution in one of the camp’s five gas chambers.

I had walked through an original gas chamber, where 2,000 people could be killed in 30 minutes.  I had gazed at piles of thousands and thousands of shoes—shoes that Jewish men, women, and tiny children had removed just before entering the “showers” to be gassed to death.  I had stood three feet from black ovens with special chutes for shoving in bodies—ovens that created endless heaps of human ash.  The harsh reality—that 1.1 million people had been sanitarily, systematically, efficiently “exterminated” in the very place I had stood was literally beyond my comprehension.    I concentrated on the statistics and blocked the human faces; it was simply too painful.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: abortion, culture, ethics, extremism, history, ideology, oppression, propaganda, public policy, relativism, tragedy

Socialism ethically compromised

original article: Unitarian leftist: Socialism is not ethically superior to capitalism
April 26, 2019 by REV. BEN JOHNSON

Socialism has made a resurgence in this generation, not least because of its deceptive moral appeal. Secular Millennials join liberal priests, pastors, and rabbis in saying that profits corrupt, unequal outcomes are immoral – and perhaps even Jesus would have been a socialist. Yet numerous people, secular and faithful, have weighed collectivism in the balance and found it wanting.

One of the people who found socialism ethically inferior to capitalism came from an unlikely source: the Unitarian Church.

His verdict? Socialism “is the necessary outcome, not of religion but of irreligion,” he said. Redistribution of wealth slows moral development and creates evils worse than capitalism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: capitalism, christian, culture, economics, ethics, government, ideology, left wing, philosophy, progressive, socialism

Public education and hyper speed sex ed

original article: Sex Ed and Stalinism at the Local School Board
February 13, 2018 by AUSTIN RUSE

I usually avoid really sick, appalling spectacles. I skip movies like Saw. But last Thursday I saw something worse. I went to the sex-education committee meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. I have never seen anything as shocking.

Understand, that I have sat through years of shocking meetings. My day job is monitoring and lobbying the United Nations. But, I have never seen or heard anything like this. This meeting was a horror show. And a Soviet one at that.

The Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC, pronounced flea-cack) advises the Fairfax County School Board for the content of the sex-education lessons taught to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

This group has come up with over 80 hours of sex-education for these poor kids. And some of it is straight-up pornography.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, children, corruption, cover up, culture, education, elitism, ethics, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal

The religion of sex: is rape in the eye of the beholder?

In the 1990s Whoopi Goldberg played wise, ancient sage in a popular TV show. In one episode her character and another were discussing matters of truth, and Goldberg’s character voiced this popular tenet of progressivism: “Truth is in the eye of the beholder”.

This was nothing innovative even back in the 90s. It was merely another example of how the political left revels in customizable reality. But the quote is a good reminder of the underlying problem: some people don’t know the difference between fact and opinion.

People who wish to genuinely understand the world freely recognize the difference between fact and opinion. We recognize there is no such thing as “your truth” or “my truth” or “true to you but not to me”. If something is “true to you”, it’s your opinion, not truth. Your opinion is yours, reality is not yours.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: crisis, culture, diversity, ethics, hypocrisy, ideology, law, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism, scandal, sex, unintended consequences

Climate change, scientific fraud, and population control work hand in hand

original article:
Climate change is ‘the biggest scientific fraud ever perpetrated’: scientist
October 18, 2017 by Fr. Mark Hodges

Social scientist and author Steven Mosher called the global warming movement an enemy of the sanctity of innocent human life at an international symposium that began online Tuesday to address the anti-Christian nature of population control.

Mosher, long recognized as an expert in China’s domestic policy, started his address by explaining that the earth’s temperature has always fluctuated, sometimes dramatically.

“I did a historical study of climate change in China, which shows that the climate in China 2,000 years ago was several degrees warmer than it is today,” Mosher said, adding, “And of course that was a long time before we started hearing about climate change and global warming.”

The bestselling author, who went through a Ph.D program in Oceanography at the University of Washington, further noted that during the Jurassic period, the earth was 15 degrees warmer on average than it is today.

Criticizing global warming fearmongers, Mosher said not long ago the same “experts” were frantically making the exact opposite claims. “In the 1970s … the climate ‘experts’ were warning about a coming ‘ice age,’” he said. “Now it has flipped over 180 degrees to be global warming.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bias, climate change, corruption, elitism, environment, ethics, fraud, funding, government, greed, ideology, political correctness, politics, propaganda, public policy, scandal, science, scientists, study

This, above all else, is why Roy Moore has as much support as he does

original article: ‘Reckoning’ Attempts Display A Left Still Unable To Face Bill Clinton’s Alleged Sex Crimes
November 15, 2017 by Daniel Payne

It is fascinating and welcome to see liberals discovering their consciences on Bill Clinton’s alleged rapist tendencies. True, this moral revelation comes about two decades later than it should have, and at precisely the moment the Left can no longer reasonably ignore it and not a moment sooner.

Just the same, it is nice to finally see some honesty on this issue. It is nice to see liberals, having no more use for the Clintons, finally undertaking what MSNBC host Chris Hayes calls “a real reckoning” with the very real possibility that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick nearly 40 years ago.

And yet.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: abuse, bias, corruption, culture, Democrats, elitism, ethics, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, politics, progressive, relativism, scandal, sex, unintended consequences, victimization

Government is not enough to rebuild a broken society

original article: Why America Will Not Solve Its Existential Crisis Without A Rebirth Of Faith
November 8, 2017 by Emilie Kao

Country music legend Johnny Cash had hit rock bottom. Exhausted by his struggle with drug addiction, he literally crawled into a cave to die. But then, as he described it later, a feeling of tranquility came over him and drew him back from the brink: “There in Nickajack Cave I became conscious of a very clear, simple idea: I was not in charge of my destiny. I was not in charge of my own death. I was going to die at God’s time, not mine.”

Cash’s spiritual awakening gave him new hope. His story of redemption rings true among countless Americans who credit faith with helping them overcome addiction and other self-destructive behaviors.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of Americans are living only the earlier part of Cash’s story—the misery, futility, and sense of hopelessness. The Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Index of Culture and Opportunityreports that Americans are now four times more likely to die from opioid overdose than in 1999. Teens are 13.5 percent more likely to use drugs than in 2006, with just under a quarter of high school seniors reporting drug use last year. President Trump was right to recognize that the opioid crisis is really a national emergency.

The suicide rate has risen so sharply that the overall life expectancy of Americans is declining for the first time since the 1930s. Meanwhile, the marriage rate continues to decline. A likely related trend is the unemployment of young men, which has doubled in the last 15 years.

Money and Programs Can’t Provide Existential Meaning

Clearly, many Americans are stressed out—economically, emotionally, and psychologically. But what ails America cannot be remedied with just money or counselling. A genuine cure must include cultural revival in which religious communities come alongside individuals and families to reweave the frayed ends of broken relationships. Empirical research demonstrates that religion contributes to individual and societal prosperity. In his book, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” J.D. Vance shows how religion can help generate holistic flourishing.

Like Cash’s story, Vance’s memoir brings to life the statistics about divorce, domestic violence, and drug addiction. He credits his own upward trajectory to acquiring “social capital.” Through personal networks, he learned “soft skills” like conflict resolution and financial management that fueled his upward mobility. He cited both the military and churches as critical institutions that form social capital.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber’s research has demonstrated a causal connection between children’s church attendance and their ability to stay off drugs and out of prison. After analyzing religious attendance, Gruber also observed an “incredibly strong correlation” with higher education, more stable marriages, higher income, and lower likelihood of being on welfare. A study at Harvard showed that those who attend religious services at least once a week are five times less likely to commit suicide.

A Commitment to Morality Increases Social Trust

The role of faith in preventing and treating opioid addiction is increasingly evident. New Hampshire and West Virginia present a contrast in addiction and religiosity. New Hampshire confounds purely economic explanations of addiction, since it has both high employment and high addiction. It doesn’t fit in well with mainstream media narratives, but states like West Virginia, Utah, and those in the Deep South have both high levels of religiosity and low levels of addiction.

As the Trump administration builds a strategy to combat this public health emergency affecting 21 million Americans, it should consider not only criminal punishments and opioid alternatives, it should also take into account the empirical evidence of faith’s role as seen in the states. Similar to Gruber’s observations about faith’s effects in the lives of individual Americans, a Chinese economist saw faith’s effects on business transactions in America’s national economy. Zhao Xiao traces America’s prosperity back to the Puritans.

He sees a relationship between their transcendental motives and a high degree of personal integrity, which generated trust and minimized friction in economic transactions. Zhao’s research has influenced policymakers in the Chinese Communist Party, who are increasingly emphasizing the role of morality in fostering trust.

Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen also attributes America’s economic success to civic virtues religious communities teach, such as obedience to the law, respect for private property, and honesty. While earlier generations created the cultural momentum that led to American prosperity, Christensen warns that momentum is dissipating as religious belief wanes: “If you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police”

Religion Is Important for a Thriving Country

The importance of personal virtue for society is something Vance takes seriously. He urges Americans to incorporate cultural causes into our discussions of the structural factors that contribute to poverty. When individuals feel hopeless, marriages dissolve, and children get caught up in families’ breakdown, government solutions are not enough to make up the difference. Religious communities, however, are there when life falls apart.

Just how critical are religious organizations to the fabric of American life? Religious networks provide $161 billion in medical services annually. Religious schools and colleges provide $138 billion in education. Religious charities contribute $95.2 billion, religious businesses $438 billion, and religious congregations $326 billion. Eliminate religious organizations, and Americans would lose $1.2 trillion in services.

Communities also benefit greatly from partnerships between government and religious groups. Consider the relief efforts needed to deal with natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Nonprofits provide 80 per cent of recovery efforts, and they are mostly faith-based. But faith is equally as powerful in less visible day-to-day interactions. In Gadsden County, Florida, partnerships between faith leaders and city officials have transformed programs in women’s prisons and schools.

In the words of the town sheriff, “We cannot incarcerate our way out of crime. When all else fails, you sometimes have to appeal to the spiritual side of offenders.” Local churches in Gadsden send members to teach inmates the Bible and life skills. Other churches help find jobs and housing for newly released inmates. Gadsden County’s story is one of countless examples showing the “spiritual capital” that religion provides on top of its tremendous economic value—more than that of Facebook, Google, and Apple combined, according to the research of Brian Grim.

Faith Provides Private Accountability We All Need

Faith infuses lives with greater meaning, and faith communities help us make and keep wise commitments. They help us to stay engaged in the lives of our spouses, children, and friends. They help us to stay in school and at jobs when we might prefer to quit. Most of us are more likely to keep commitments when others help. But this kind of accountability, which requires face-to-face contact over a long period of time, is not something the government is well-equipped to provide.

Religious communities help parents raise their children. They provide counseling to individuals while they are dating, after they get married, and even when they lose a spouse. They provide assistance, loans, and job contacts to those who are unemployed. And they are a source of encouragement and hope for people desperate to stay out of addiction.

The American Dream is still alive, but it needs renewal. Government can help. But it takes communities of faith to fully rebuild what has been broken and to restore hope where it’s been lost.

——————-
crisis, culture, economy, ethics, family, ideology, religion, study, unintended consequences

Filed under: crisis, culture, economy, ethics, family, ideology, religion, study, unintended consequences

After tearing down the old religious sexual barriers, is feminism rebuilding them?

original article: From chaperones to modesty wear, a sexual reformation is underway
November 4, 2017 by Lara Prendergast

Quick note: there is no such thing as “ethical porn” and being fearful of harmful allegations is not “prudish”.

Nell Minow, an American film critic, recently described how in 2010 she had interviewed the Friends actor David Schwimmer. When the noise in the restaurant grew too loud, he asked her whether she might like to move to a room upstairs with him, and if so, would she like a chaperone present. She praised him for this behaviour. ‘He understood what it is like to have to be constantly on the alert and he wanted to make sure I understood I was safe.’

When I read Minow’s story, my reaction was to think what a patronising arse Schwimmer must be. A woman journalist shouldn’t need a chaperone when she is doing her job. But, in the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein allegations, it has become clear that, for many women, safety is starting to trump liberty. We are moving towards a chaperone culture, in which women, delicate lambs that we are, must be protected at all times.

A new schism is opening up between men and women. Women are incessantly told to be vigilant of predatory men and are increasingly scared to be out in public. Men, meanwhile, are becoming more nervous around women for fear that their very nature is itself threatening to the opposite sex. The wrong words, gestures or body language might now render them guilty of one of the new crimes popping up on social media — for example, ‘creeping’ on someone or being ‘too handsy’. The spotlight is on Hollywood and Westminster — or ‘Pestminster’, as it has been dubbed — but it will soon turn to other industries. More sex pests will be exposed or their peccadillos gossiped about on WhatsApp groups. The internet jury will then make its decision.

It’s not hard to see why this is happening. There have always been rapists and men who exploit women for kicks, and the sexual revolution of the 1960s has done nothing to stop them; worse, perhaps, it has given them licence to operate without the old boundaries. We live in a time that is almost defined by seedy characters such as Donald Trump and Weinstein, so it’s natural that women feel they must be on their guard.

Sexual abuse allegations are coming thick and fast. If real crimes are uncovered because women feel emboldened to come forward, that can only be good. It should go without saying that any woman who has been the victim of sexual abuse deserves sympathy and to be believed. Unfortunately, that still has to be said, because too many women are not believed when they tell their stories. And if they took a while to speak, they are doubted because of the delay or told not to cause trouble. Just this week, activist Bex Bailey claimed that she was raped by a senior Labour official six years ago — but was advised by a party official not to report it in case it damaged her career.

But if you look beyond the current hysteria, something sinister is happening. Barriers between men and women that had been knocked down by feminists are being resurrected — in the name of feminism. Whereas it used to be religious groups that enforced sexual morality, in our modern, secular culture, the loudest voices on the internet are taking over that responsibility.AdTech Ad

Think of it as a new sexual reformation. Five hundred years ago, Luther posted his 95 theses on the door at Wittenberg; today, prominent women have begun issuing edicts about appropriate male behaviour. Like Luther, these women think it is their mission to change the world.

Earlier this month, the writer Helen Rosner published a guide to ‘20 things men can do to support women, beyond just literally ceasing to sexually harass us’. It included suggestions for men such as ‘seek out women to be your heroes’, ‘talk less. At all times’ and consume ‘ethical’ porn made by women, queer people and people of colour. I wonder what Luther would have made of that.

A lot of this boils down to that boring ancient impulse to separate men and women. There is political chatter about the possibility of ‘women-only carriages’ on trains. The orthodoxy of ‘safe spaces’ —which began as part of the women’s movement before becoming a university campus cliché — is starting to infiltrate public life.

Last year, a survey showed that 70 per cent of British women have taken steps to guard themselves against harassment. The poll included ten different strategies those polled had used, including avoiding parks or public transport, missing school or work or taking a chaperone. ‘Modesty wear’ — clothing which offers an alternative fashion for those who want to cover up — is becoming more popular on the catwalks. In February, more than 40 designers took part in the first ‘London modest fashion week’.

The old feminist trope says that it is not a woman’s responsibility to worry about her own safety; it is a man’s job not to harass her. Yet women are clearly taking increasingly extreme measures to protect themselves because a small number of vocal campaigners are telling us that all our worst fears about men are true — and we must take action. And if this means reinstating old-fashioned segregation at the expense of hard-won freedoms, so be it.

The #MeToo hashtag, which trended on social media in the days after the Weinstein story broke, revealed just how many women considered themselves victims of sexual abuse. But also, how alarmingly wide that definition ran. On my own Facebook feed, the experiences described stretched from rape to ‘feeling as if a man once looked through me’. The implicit message of all these confessional posts was clear: if it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’ve just been lucky. Or perhaps you are in denial. It’s as if a new feminist movement is advocating victimhood, rather than equality. And women who protest about this new reality are denounced as traitors to their sex.

The paranoia isn’t confined to women. Understandably, plenty of men are starting to feel anxious about what this might all mean. Each day brings fresh stories in the newspapers of prominent figures tumbling from positions of power because of a major — or minor — misdemeanour. A sexual abuse accusation, or even a snifter of gossip published online, has the power to sabotage a career and ruin a life.

So men are also starting to think about how best to defend themselves. Nobody wants to be daubed with the pervert brush. Older men tell me that they are nervous that something in the distant past that would once have been dismissed as silly behaviour will now be dredged up as damning evidence. Younger men, meanwhile, seem even more reticent about approaching women or making a move. I heard a story recently about a woman who had been on a date with a man who was younger than her. After a few drinks, they ended up back at her house. The woman was keen to go to bed with him, but he refused because he was so worried about doing something that might later lead to recriminations. In the current climate, who can blame him?

Professional life is becoming a nightmare. Young women feel uneasy about the lay of the land. What career can you choose that won’t involve creeps? And men in positions of authority will inevitably become more anxious about hiring women. It must just seem easier to hire other men, who are less likely to interpret a clumsy comment as sexual assault. Across a wide range of industries, men are being given guidance as to how they should behave so as to avoid getting caught out by this new sexual counter-revolution. Consent classes have been compulsory at British universities for a few years, but law firms and banks are also starting to introduce them. In the military, some officers have been advised that they should ask for a woman to give them consent, filmed on their phone, before taking things further.

It’s a surprise, really, that anyone is having sex these days, given the reputational risk involved. One single girlfriend tells me she is worried about what this all means for her hopes of finding a husband. What sensible man would try it on after a few drinks? Then again, what happy romantic relationship didn’t start with a lunge? Sexual relations are never black and white.

The paradox is that all this paranoia comes during an era of intense sexual libertinism — the decade of Fifty Shades of Grey, one of the bestselling books of all time. We live in an age of chemsex parties and ‘hi-tech sex toys’. Hard-core porn is always a few clicks away. It’s never been easier to hook up, via dating apps or the internet. While embracing so much freedom, society is moving towards prudishness. We all talk about sex all the time, but the safest sex is no sex at all.

This new sexual reformation may leave women feeling safer in a domestic environment, surrounded by other women — or chaperoned when out in public. So what started off as an attempt to give support to abused women mutates into a movement that undoes everything women’s rights campaigners have fought for. Men, too, may cut themselves off, retreating into the company of other men, and we will be back where we were a century ago. How’s that for a sexual revolution?

————————
culture, ethics, feminism, freedom, reform, sex, unintended consequences

Filed under: culture, ethics, feminism, freedom, reform, sex, unintended consequences

The Harvey Weinstein story goes much deeper than one big creep

original article: The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story Is Worse Than You Think
October 09, 2017 by Lee Smith

The New York Times last week broke the story of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long record of sexual harassment. Actresses including Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd came forward to detail Weinstein’s depredations, and so did former employees of the man who founded one of the most important independent film companies of the last 30 years, Miramax. The details were so jarring and the trail of abuse so long, that it was impossible to read the story and not come away wondering: How did no one know what he was doing?

But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story. And Miramax was a major advertiser. Her editor at the TimesJonathan Landman, asked her why it mattered. After all, he told Waxman, “he’s not a publicly elected official.”

Manhattan’s district attorney knew, too. In 2015, Weinstein’s lawyer donated $10,000 to the campaign of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance after he declined to file sexual assault charges against the producer. Given the number of stories that have circulated for so long, Weinstein must have spread millions around New York, Los Angeles, and Europe to pay off lawyers and buy silence, including the silence of his victims. But he had something else going for him, too. He knew his victims would be reluctant to go public because it might suggest that some of their success, their fame even, was a function of their inability to protect themselves from being humiliated by a man who set the bar for humiliating others at the precise level of his own self-loathing.

Hollywood is full of connoisseurs like Weinstein, men whose erotic imaginations are fueled primarily by humiliation, who glut their sensibilities with the most exquisite refinements of shame. A journalist once told me about visiting another very famous Hollywood producer—you’d know the name—who exhibited for my friend his collection of photographs of famous female actresses—you’d know their names, too—performing sexual acts for his private viewing. As with Weinstein, this man’s chief thrill was humiliation, and the more famous the target the more roundly it was savored: Even her, a big star—these people will do anything to land a role; they’re so awful, they’ll even do it for me.

One of the refrains you hear today from media experts and journalists is that they’d known about Weinstein’s transgressions for a long time. The problem, they say, was that no one was able to nail down the story.

Nonsense. Everyone had it, not just Waxman. Sure, reporters hadn’t been able to get any stars to go on the record. But that means the story journalists were pursuing wasn’t really about Weinstein’s sexual depredations. It means that what they wanted was a story about actresses, junior executives, or assistants who had been humiliated, maybe raped, and chose to remain quiet in exchange for money and/or a shot at fame.

Of course no one was going to get that on the record—very few journalists would even want to publish a story like that. But journalists always had the actual story of how a Hollywood producer humiliated and sexually assaulted women. How? Because he victimized journalists.

Fox News reporter Lauren Sivan told Huffington Post that a decade ago, Weinstein masturbated in front of her. She says she didn’t say anything at the time, when she was an anchor on a local cable show, because she was “fearful of the power that Weinstein wielded in the media.” She was right and her fear was understandable.

Writing in New York Magazine, Rebecca Traister remembers the time when she asked Weinstein an interview question at a book party, he screamed at her, spit in her face, called her a “c—t,” and then put her boyfriend in a headlock and dragged him to the street. Traister said nothing at the time because she figured she had little chance against “that kind of force.”

I don’t blame her or Sivan for not saying anything, never mind reporting the story. Weinstein is violent, vindictive, and litigious—as well as sexually abusive—facts that the entertainment and political media knew for years. No one wanted to publish that story. But that’s not the same thing as “not being able to nail it down.” “Nailing it down” would have amounted to nothing more than printing a collection of facts under a byline.

The real issue, as Traister notes, was that “there were so many journalists on his payroll, working as consultants on movie projects, or as screenwriters, or for his magazine.” Traister is referring to Talk, the magazine Weinstein started at Miramax with Tina Brown. The catchword was “synergy”—magazine articles, turned into books, turned into movies, a supply chain of entertainment and information that was going to put these media titans in the middle of everything and make them all richer.

Traister and I worked at Talk together in the late ’90s. There were lots of talented journalists but it was still a mess. Outside of “synergy,” there was no idea driving the magazine, and Tina’s search for a vision was expensive. She spent lavishly on writers, art directors, photographers, and parties. Harvey got angry. Every time Tina went downtown to meet with him he screamed at her the whole time. He humiliated her. At least this was the story that went around the office every time she went down there, a story circulating through, and circulated by, several dozen journalists.

Or, to put it another way: More than 20 people in one magazine office alone all had the story about Harvey Weinstein’s “mistreatment” of women.

So why didn’t anyone write it? Not to take anything away from Jodi Kantor’s excellent New York Times piece, but the reality is that everyone had the story.

The reason no one wrote it is not because the press wanted to get Weinstein, but couldn’t prove the story. No, it’s because the press was protecting Weinstein.

Why wouldn’t they? He made terrific movies and he was a big mover in Democratic party politics, raising millions for local and national campaigns, including the Clintons. (Hillary, some readers will recall, was on the cover of Talk’s first issue.)

John Kennedy, Jr. tried to blend politics and entertainment with the magazine he founded, George. His basic insight was correct; but he misunderstood something crucial. And John John misunderstood it because he was, by all accounts, a good man.

You know the old joke about Washington: That it’s Hollywood for ugly people. Kennedy thought that this was unfair to Washington and that the people in the nation’s capital had the capacity for glamour, too.

But it turns out that the joke works in the opposite direction: Hollywood is for ugly people, too. That was Harvey Weinstein’s essential insight, and how he managed to combine the worlds of politics, entertainment, and media. They’re all repulsive—and I know they’re disgusting or else they wouldn’t be courting, of all people, me.

Thus his fortress was quarried from the misshapen material of human vanity, ambition, and greed. Writers and journalists—the intellectuals, in his mind—were nearly as contemptible as actors. They wouldn’t dream of crossing a guy who could turn them into culture heroes with a phone call. Hey, I just optioned your novel and I already know who’s going to make the movie. And oh yeah, please confirm that you don’t, like I think I may have heard, have a reporter looking into a story about me.

A friend reminds me that there was a period when Miramax bought the rights to every big story published in magazines throughout the city. Why mess with Weinstein when that big new female star you’re trying to wrangle for the June cover is headlining a Miramax release? Do you think that glossy magazine editor who threw the swankiest Oscar party in Hollywood was trying to “nail down” the Weinstein story? Right, just like the hundreds of journalists who were ferried across the river for the big party at the Statue of Liberty to celebrate the premiere of Talk—they were all there sipping champagne and sniffing coke with models in order to “nail down” the story about how their host was a rapist.

That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.

Look at Vanity Fair, basically the in-house Miramax organ that Tina failed to make Talk: Condé Nast demanded massive staff cuts from Graydon Carter and he quit. He knows they’re going to turn his aspirational bible into a blog, a fate likely shared by most (if not all) of the Condé Nast books.

Si Newhouse, magazine publishing’s last Medici, died last week, and who knows what will happen to Condé now. There are no more journalists; there are just bloggers scrounging for the crumbs Silicon Valley leaves them. Who’s going to make a movie out of a Vox column? So what does anyone in today’s media ecosystem owe Harvey Weinstein? And besides, it’s good story, right? “Downfall of a media Mogul.” Maybe there’s even a movie in it.

Rebecca Traister says the stories are coming out now because “our consciousness has been raised.” Between Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Donald Trump, argues Traister, people are now accustomed to speaking and hearing the truth about famous, sexually abusive men.

This is wrong. It has nothing to do with “raised consciousness”—or else she wouldn’t have left off that list the one name obviously missing. It’s not about raised consciousness or else the Democratic party’s 2016 presidential campaign would not have been a year-long therapy session treating a repressed trauma victim with even its main slogan—“I’m with her”—referencing a muted plea for sympathy for a woman who’d been publicly shamed by a sexual predator.

Which brings us, finally, to the other reason the Weinstein story came out now: Because the court over which Bill Clinton once presided, a court in which Weinstein was one part jester, one part exchequer, and one part executioner, no longer exists.

A thought experiment: Would the Weinstein story have been published if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency? No, and not because he is a big Democratic fundraiser. It’s because if the story was published during the course of a Hillary Clinton presidency, it wouldn’t have really been about Harvey Weinstein. Harvey would have been seen as a proxy for the president’s husband and it would have embarrassed the president, the first female president.

Bill Clinton offered get-out-of-jail-free cards to a whole army of sleazeballs, from Jeffrey Epstein to Harvey Weinstein to the foreign donors to the Clinton Global Initiative. The deal was simple: Pay up, genuflect, and get on with your existence. It was like a papacy selling indulgences, at the same time that everyone knew that the cardinals were up to no good. The 2016 election demolished Clinton world once and for all, to be replaced by the cult of Obama, an austere sect designated by their tailored hair shirts with Nehru collars. “That is not who we are as Americans,” they chant, as Harvey Weinstein’s ashes are scattered in the wind.

abuse, bias, bullies, corruption, cover up, criminal, culture, elitism, ethics, extremism, feminism, political correctness, politics, progressive, scandal, sex, sexism

Filed under: abuse, bias, bullies, corruption, cover up, criminal, culture, elitism, ethics, extremism, feminism, political correctness, politics, progressive, scandal, sex, sexism

Pages

Categories

Archives

February 2020
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
242526272829