The Culture Current: What The Fall Of Weinstein Means For The Right
Sometimes it’s best to wait until the dust settles a bit, to take a hard look at the situation. This was a golden example. As anyone who’s followed recent Hollywood politics knows darn well, Harvey Weinstein is one of the BIGGEST movers and shakers in the industry. Or at least he was, until all this happened.
For those not in the know, Weinstein rose to prominence over the course of the 1990s, as the head of Miramax (with his brother Bob)—eventually moving on to form The Weinstein Company, taking all his influence with him: Culturally…and politically. See, the mega-success in 1994 of Pulp Fiction—which Weinstein produced—essentially initiated the return en masse of films at once prestigious and entertaining…and from that point on, Weinstein became a force to be reckoned with. Most notoriously, he used the full extent of his power to ensure that Shakespeare In Love defeated Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture. (Now, for the cinephiles that contend that Shakespeare truly did deserve that win…all I can say is: Roughly the only thing anyone remembers that movie for is for beating Saving Private Ryan.)
Basically, post-Pulp, if there’s a memorable mid-budget drama or dramedy that does well both critically and financially—in other words, if there’s a classic non-action and non-“kids” movie you know and love from the past three decades…chances are, Weinstein had a hand in it. See: Good Will Hunting.
That, dear readers, is who Harvey Weinstein was. Meryl Streep once called him a god…and as far as the Hollywood Establishment’s concerned, she wasn’t far off. For all intents and purposes, he was the Hollywood Establishment.
“How the mighty have fallen” indeed.
For good measure, he’s also been arguably the central figure of the Hollywood Left—the guy holding all the fundraisers to support the Democrat machine, and whatever candidate comes out of it. In other words, my fellow Conservatives…when we all vent about the Hollywood Left and the power it wielded over Tinseltown, for all intents and purposes he was the arch-villain.
And now, that power has crumbled—stripped away from him. The Left has once again eaten its own…and what a cannibalistic feast it is.
Still, I myself was sure to take a pause, when the accusations first came out. After all…I seem to remember this being the go-to tactic of the Left for taking down a Conservative threat, lately: Accusations of the Unforgivable Sin—sexual harassment.
Herman Cain—Roger Ailes—Bill O’Reilly—even Sean Hannity (though they’ve backed off from that one…mainly because Fox finally smelled a rat, there…). And of course, there’s all the “rape culture” overreach of Third-Wave pseudo-Feminism—culminating in Hillary’s proclamation that women accusing men have A Right To Be Believed. (Unless, of course, their names are Paula Jones…Kathleen Willy…Juanita Broderick…Gennifer Flowers…)
The point is, rewarding as it is to see such a guy—a central power player among the enemy in the Culture War—suffering such persecution at last…well, look: One of the central tenants of Conservatism—what makes it, after all, Conservatism—is a commitment to the facts, the truth. As the great Ben Shapiro (“Thug Life™!”) tells us, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” As such, if we were going to take part in taking Weinstein (or anyone, for that matter) down…it’d darn well better be over something legitimate. Heaven forbid, after all, the accusations turned out to be all bogus, and we’d be the ones left with the mess by the “mainstream” media….
Of course, it’s been over a week. If the Left were able to save one of their biggest cultural players, they’d have done it by now. And besides, this scandal has something all the anti-Conservative witch hunts don’t have: Actual, honest, solid evidence. Namely: A tape, depicting Weinstein actually intimidating a girl into a compromising situation.
And of course, there’s that…weird letter Weinstein wrote in response to everything. Seriously: One second he’s going on about, “I’m sorry, my behavior was a product of my growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, blah-blah-blah”…the next, “I’m gonna focus on taking down the NRA—LOVE ME!!!”…and then: “Oh, and I’m gonna sue the press for libel!”
Uh…so if it’s all libel…then what, exactly, are you apologizing for, Harvey? Are you guilty, or not?
And so, upon having actual evidence…then, I fully accepted, “Yep, he’s guilty as sin—TAKE HIM DOWN!!!”
So that’s the first point to keep in mind:
First—Do NOT fall prey to knee-jerk emotions. Take no intellectual shortcuts and no factual chances, when fighting the Culture War.
The Number-One lesson of Sun Tzu’s Art Of War is to leave emotion at the door. A warrior must always evaluate the situation dispassionately—assess the reality of the situation, and respond accordingly.
Now…this leads to the “spin-off” that’s happened in the wake of Weinstein. After Ben Affleck denounced Weinstein and disassociated himself from the man, lo and behold: He ends up with a couple accusations thrown into his lap.
Again…I’m sure it’s tempting to jump into this. But leaving aside that, nuts as Ben is about playing nice with CAIR, and so on, he’s actually pro-gun (as he once noted to Bill O’Reilly) and as such ain’t all bad…leaving that aside, as Conservatives, we really need to look at the reality of the situation. We’re Conservatives. “Reality” is what we do.
And in reality, the first accusation—that he groped a woman on the behind, hence the whole “Buttman” meme—has a few “rest of the story” facts attached to it. Namely:
- Ben made it a point to offer a no-holds-barred apology for it—and mind you, I’m not convinced he isn’t sincere. You see…
- It really seems like the woman in question didn’t call him out on it at the time. And Affleck, being a veteran ladies man with a few…loose inhibitions at the time (remember he’s just been through alcohol rehab, this very year!), probably took that to mean, “Oh, she didn’t mind.” It’s not too far-fetched to imagine that, had she taken him aside at the time and went, “Ben, I get you were just messing around, but…that wasn’t cool”—Ben would’ve apologized right then. As it stands, he probably didn’t even remember doing it until she brought it up, last week.
- There’s no tangible evidence for this—just everyone’s words. He-said, she-said. And “he said” he didn’t realize how uncool it was at the time. But now that he does, he’s sorry.
And as for the other story about Affleck—where there is a tape, a recording from an “interview” where he has the interviewer on his lap while acting drunk as a fish, going on about how he’d love her to “show off” a bit…?
Well, wouldn’t you know it: The woman’s come out and said that it was all an act—they’d planned it all out beforehand. Completely, fully, 100% consensual.
Facts—facts—facts. And frankly, everyone talking about this hurting Justice League—and even talking about taking part in that damage—really need to do some soul-searching. Because if we’re going to abandon facts, in the Culture War…we’ll have beaten no one but ourselves.
Second—Be very careful about “strange bedfellows” and “the enemy of my enemy”.
It’s funny how fickle the online Conservatives in comments sections can be. This is kind of connected to the “knee-jerk” issue above, but it’s big enough to warrant its own point:
For the past few years, Rose McGowan’s been re-stylizing herself as a militant’s militant, as far as feminism’s concerned. To say she’s had a chip on her shoulder would be an understatement—lashing out at Fox for an X-Men: Apocalypse poster, claiming it “promotes violence against women,” for example. (The villain’s choking out a heroine who’s long established in previous films as “super-awesome”, as it is.) Or complaining at how filmmakers nowadays want her wardrobes to accentuate her figure, or something….
(All right, that last one’s pretty rich, coming from her. Rose McGowan does not get to complain about being viewed as a “sex symbol”, when she’s based her entire career on constantly playing “the cool, hot, sexy gal”! Does Planet Terror not somehow ring a bell? Not too long ago, she was even planning on starring in a remake of Barbarella, for goodness sake!—and now she’s complaining about those kinds of roles…? To paraphrase famous YouTube channel Cinema Sins, that’s like having your cake, eating it, and then saying, “Screw cake!—I’m above cake!—how dare you bring cake to this party?!” But I digress….)
And now she’s styling herself as the self-proclaimed leader of the women striking back against Weinstein…to the point of basically lashing out at any woman who apparently hasn’t fought hard enough. Seems she’s mad at them for not speaking out sooner and therefore being complicit. Pot and kettle, Rose?
But here’s the point: The folks in the comments sections of Conservative sites have known all of this. And now…now, they speak of her in such glowing terms—praising her in ways they wouldn’t have dreamed of, a mere three weeks ago! Even a certain writer that I, on this very site, have long expressed serious admiration for…has chosen to extol McGowan for her “ever-fearless testimony that proves she might be the only hero left in Hollywood.”
(By the way, she’s lashing out at Ashley Judd in particular—you know, Ms. “I!!! Am a naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-sty woman!!!” Maybe that’s a part of it? “Yeah, McGowan’s annoying—but she’s fighting someone even worse, so I’m with her!” Okay…“someone worse” or “someone who said something more recent”? Are people’s memories really that short? Mind you, sometimes that’s a good thing—it allows immature reactions to meaningless things to die down. But still…)
To be fair, a lot of folks do seem to have wised up a bit. Rose has just overreached with frankly outrageous-sounding claims about the “real” reason she hasn’t been in movies lately. Her claims kinda jump over each other in their inconsistency—she was threatened into keeping quiet, or she’d be blacklisted…and then she was blacklisted, though she kept quiet….
At any rate, the comments-section folks have caught on. We’re still waiting on the writer, though.
Now, just to be clear: None of this is meant to cast any doubt on the accusers of Weinstein. Like I said, we’ve got evidence, and that’s what matters, there. And when a man is guilty of bullying women into intimate situations—and then bullying everyone around him into keeping quiet—he’s the worst kind of scum, and the women who finally speak out should be praised for it.
I just mean, McGowan in particular really comes across as taking advantage of this scandal for her own benefit, and little else. She’s acting just a bit too self-righteous over the whole thing. And that is not the sort of thing we need to encourage, even for the sake of “enemy of my enemy”.
In fact, especially for that. Ben Shapiro’s been warning a lot about the dangers of tribalism. Do we want to win the fight? Absolutely! The question is: What are we fighting for? And does a particular alliance help achieve that end, and not something else…?
Third, and MOST IMPORTANTLY—Whenever a vacuum shows up in pop culture, our Culture Warriors MUST make every effort to fill it.
Any Conservative reading this article should pay close attention to this point—and pass it along to anyone in a position to answer the call.
This Weinstein scandal is a golden opportunity. Seriously, when it comes to the Culture War, it doesn’t get any more golden than this: Whatever Harvey’s brother Bob says for damage control, the future of The Weinstein Company is in serious doubt. With Harvey gone—and again, we’re talking about quite possibly THE most powerful single person in Hollywood—there is now a big gaping power vacuum in Tinseltown.
And nature abhors a vacuum.
I admit, over the course of this past week, a vision came to mind. If you will, “I have a dream!”
Consider the possibility, dear readers…of someone like Clint Eastwood or Jerry Bruckheimer taking control of the now-renamed company. The vacuum is filled…by someone on our side.
Imagine, dear readers. Imagine what that would do to the Hollywood Establishment. It could well go a LONG ways toward shattering the “New Blacklist”. All those known Conservatives who’ve more-or-less retired from mainstream Hollywood (now including James Woods) coming back. The A-Listers and B-Listers on our side who’ve kept silent for fear of damage to their careers, no longer needing to be afraid. To invoke Star Wars, a Conservative mogul filling the void left by Weinstein might as well be “The Chosen One”—bringing balance to the politics of Hollywood.
“Come on, Eric—it’s just one production company.”
Not just any studio—it’s Harvey Weinstein’s production company. And the significance of that extends far beyond one company. Think about all the talk, this past week, about who “knew about it”, and who “could’ve spoken out”, and so on. All the stars, from Affleck to Matt Damon to Russell Crowe to Brad Pitt—and yes, Meryl Streep. All the filmmakers—particularly Quentin Tarantino…and again Weinstein pretty much owes the vast majority of his rise to power to Quentin, with Pulp Fiction.
(For the record, Quentin had a two-year relationship with one of Weinstein’s apparent victims—beginning a year after the incident allegedly happened. As such, when he says he didn’t know, I’m kind of inclined to believe him. Of course, full disclosure, he’s my cinematic hero and inspiration…so take this point with whatever salt you need.)
The Weinstein Company is connected to so much in Hollywood—it’s the ultimate sweet spot, a target we’d be foolish beyond words not to at least take a shot at.
It’s maddening to think I might be the first one to actually push for this. (And even here it’s just verbal—what kind of power do I have, after all?) At any rate, I hope against hope it’s not too late for someone to try.
One of the enemy’s key fortresses has been rendered vulnerable. It’s up to us to take it. For if we don’t take advantage of opportunities like this—and they re-build, because we let them…the blame for any continued attacks on our side from the Hollywood Left won’t be on them.
It’ll be on us.
UPDATE: Breaking news for THIS week—an investment firm called Colony Capital has bailed out The Weinstein Company…with the option to buy it up in the near future. You will LOVE the details of this—and I’ll talk about it in a follow-up piece. STAY TUNED!!!
And stay film-friendly, my friends. Scandal or no scandal.
Eric was raised by Conservative Christian parents, but first became especially passionate about politics in high school, through reading up on economic theory. He also first read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged around this time, for the ARI's essay contests. He now owns a great deal of Ayn Rand's work. Also included in his library are the collected works of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, etc.
Eric is no stranger to writing commentary, as the writer of the Conservative Considerations column on CampCampaign.com, and as a film critic and commentator on FlickRev.com. He has also carried on the Conservative tradition of talk radio commentary, as the host of "Avengers of America" for the USF student radio station, Bulls Radio. In the meantime, he is practicing what he preaches: Striving to enter the professional realm of Hollywood, he has already written and directed short films for the Campus MovieFest, which can be found on his YouTube channel, Hard Boiled Entertainment.
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