Weinstein scandal leads to progress, reveals Hollywood hypocrisy

Published 2:54 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017


Contributing columnist

One would be hard pressed not to conclude the Weinstein scandal represents progress. Hollywood is bound to be a better place now these things are in the open and universally condemned. It does raise other questions, however.  Hollywood is the nation’s virtue signaling capital and it energetically supported women’s rights; so, what does it mean when they support the issue in theory but not in practice?   

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Other questions are worth examining. Hollywood movies do not reflect the values Hollywood claims it holds. Is Hollywood obsessed with sex and violence, particularly gun violence? Harvey Weinstein is certainly obsessed with sex. Movies show a similar obsession with gun violence — that is, any Tarantino movie you choose. Hollywood personalities reveal a strong proclivity for drugs, as measured by the number in rehab. Other social metrics might be the penchant for obscenities and the divorce rate.    

For some time now, the elites on both coasts have complained about “regressive” attitudes among inhabitants in the “fly-over” states. If you have superior enlightenment, you fly over those states rather than risk contamination.  

The fly-over hypothesis is: Middle America suffers from collective arrested development. President Obama says these citizens “cling to their guns or religion.” According to the Hollywood elites, people in the interior have not “evolved,” presumably as Hollywood has.

Of course, if we have not evolved as Hollywood has then we are a pre-human species, unworthy of recognition or respect. We are the “deplorables,” who are “irredeemable.”      

The Weinstein scandal demonstrates how an ardent progressive culture was used to hide a malignant and regressive reality for generations. Further, the most powerful women in Hollywood were silent about the misdeeds of their male counterparts, allowing other young women to be victimized. Simultaneously, Hollywood relentlessly lectured middle America about their “racist” religion and patriotism.  People who habitually posture with their virtue on display frequently have troubled and dark souls.         

Given Hollywood is on one coast and Washington, DC is on the other coast, the heart of America contains more character, commitment to public service, self-sacrifice, and charity than on both coasts combined. Yet, our culture is defined by dysfunctional people on the coasts; people who are completely self-absorbed, narcissistic and without an ounce of charity in their heart.

It is time for a revival of American culture, a vigorous and confident resurgence of the values that built the country. If you are religious or patriotic don’t be embarrassed about that. Revel in it, and share it with others. Let it be a set of values that accepts all who follow the rules and who want to contribute to our shared future.

The past is the past and as economists would say, it is a sunk cost (best to be learned from and then ignored). No other country in history has freed more people both at home and abroad than the US. No other country gives as much to charity as does the US. Celebrate who we are and always have been: not perfect, but people who learn from their mistakes. Above all, stop listening to what people say; but, pay close attention to what they do. Political language is used to hide intentions, while actions reveal one’s true intentions.

Bob Martin is Emeritus Boles Professor of Economics at Centre College.