The “Courage” of the Mob

On October 30th, shortly after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, I published a column — which was also published in my local newspaper, The Signal — under the title “Casting couch probably has not seen its last days”. As the title implies, I believe that once the dust settles things in Hollywood – and elsewhere – will return to pretty much the pre-Weinstein status quo.

In the meantime, though, we’re being treated to a hair-on-fire spectacle of absurd proportions, a lynch mob straight out of a 1950s “B” Western two-reeler. To paraphrase a line from the Bogart classic Treasure of the Sierra Madre, “Evidence? We don’ need no steenkin’ evidence!”

Every pat on the knee, persistent flirt, failed seduction attempt, inappropriate joke, unthinking comment, or unwanted compliment has been elevated from the level of innocent interaction or boorish behavior to the equivalent of the rape of the Vestal Virgins.

The biggest problem with all this hyperventilation is that it ends up trivializing and camouflaging the real offenders, those such as Weinsten. To paraphrase another saying, this time from the realm of civil rights, “when everything is rape, nothing is rape”.

At the Golden Globe Awards ceremony female attendees demonstrated their “courage” by vowing to wear black. I hate to be the one to break it to such vacuous luminaries, but real “courage” is putting on a camo-pattern uniform and fighting ISIS in the Middle East, not donning a black gown by Givenchy with plunging neckline and side slits from floor to derriere.

The hypocrisy on display at the Golden Globes was also breathtaking in its depth. Apparently, before Oprah Winfrey and Meryl Streep became such figures of “courage”, and spokeswomen for “oppressed” victims, they were pretty much besties with Harvey Weinstein, if we can believe pictures of them with him before his precipitous downfall. And since his “proclivities” were such an open secret in Hollywood, it’s hard to believe they didn’t know anything about his perversions before they became splashed all over the pages in the media.

The other major problem with the current hysteria is that we’ve entered a “no proof required” zone. All it takes is an unsubstantiated accusation – sometimes even made anonymously – for the outrage machine to gin up to destroy some guy’s life.

Every accuser is given the presumption of driven-snow purity and victimhood, and every one of the accused is given the presumption of villainy and guilt. There’s no effort made to consider facts or circumstances in play at the time of the alleged offense. No thought as to whether or not the “victim” was, at the time, a willing participant. Whether or not the accusation is actually an expression of “buyer’s remorse” in regretting an action that they may even have encouraged at the time. No recognition of the reality that sexual mores have changed over the last couple of decades, and that behavior that’s now considered out of bounds was perfectly routine and acceptable just a short while ago. No acceptable possibility that truly innocent words or actions were completely misconstrued by the accuser.

In other words, it’s a witch hunt.

Am I saying that there’s no fire causing all this smoke? Of course not. Weinstein alone is the only example one needs to recognize there’s a real problem, and the evidence against him is incontrovertible and overwhelming. But in no way does that justify the irrational furor we’re seeing today.

We’ve been down this road before. In 1921 Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, one of the top film stars of the Silent Era, was accused of raping Virginia Rappe, who had died after falling ill at a small party being held in Arbuckle’s hotel suite in San Francisco.

Because of the stature of Arbuckle’s celebrity and the salacious nature of the accusations – that he’d raped her with a foreign object – the event became a national scandal of epic proportions, fueled by the yellow journalism of the Hearst newspaper empire.

The San Francisco District Attorney filed criminal charges and took Arbuckle to trial… three times. The first two trials ended in hung juries, in both cases 10 – 2 in favor of acquittal. The third trial concluded with the jury not only unanimously finding Arbuckle “not guilty” after a mere six minutes, but they spent about five of those minutes composing a formal letter to Arbuckle apologizing to him for having been put through the ordeal.

But the damage had been done. The completely spurious allegations had ruined his life, and his career never really recovered. In spite of his actual innocence and acquittal at trial, the scandal alone was enough to make him essentially unemployable in Hollywood from that point forward.

Arbuckle’s ordeal should serve as a cautionary tale for everyone. There’s no “courage” necessary to be a member of a lynch mob.

 

©Brian Baker 2018

 

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal )

 

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19 comments on “The “Courage” of the Mob

  1. Hardnox says:

    Good post bro. Agreed.

    The other hypocrisy I saw from the “glam shots” of the Golden Globes is the women who were there to oppose sexual abuse by men were all dressed like sluts. 🙂 Hell, if they don’t want us to look why show their wares? Naturally, us knuckledraggers will be accused of raping them with our eyes.

    Let’s face it, the director’s couch was/is a staple in Hollywierd. It’s not gonna change until those being victimized refuse to prostitute themselves for their careers. Those protesting it now are part of the problem and the latest cause celeb.

    On a side note, Oprah for prez is the best the left has because their bench is about as deep as fishing line.

    • BrianR says:

      Thanks, pard.

      I absolutely couldn’t agree more, as to your comment. In fact, I tried to figure out some way to work that into the column, but couldn’t do it because as it is now it runs over the max length restrictions of the newspaper that publishes my stuff. But you’re right: so many of the dress and act like whores, then get all offended when someone treats them like whores.

      After I’d written the piece, this latest brouhaha came up about Aziz Ansari, which really illustrates the whole issue.

      As to Oprah for Prez…… Maaaaan, ya really gotta laugh at those clowns! They are SO desperate and silly.

  2. captbogus2 says:

    I agree 100% with this column. Matter of fact I said pretty much the same thing about women dressing one way then acting insulted when their public demonstration of their wares are appreciated by the men in the world.
    Only to become embroiled in a strong word conversation with one of my female cousins.
    But, dammit, they dress in black…Okay. Not very colorful but their choice. Then their evening attire leaves very little to the imagination so just WTF are they really saying???

  3. CW says:

    “There’s no “courage” necessary to be a member of a lynch mob.”

    That’s the perfect ending to a great essay, Brian. Well done. The Fatty Arbuckle story was particularly salient.

    No crusade is so righteous that the Left cannot discredit it with their selfishness, their greed and their insatiable egos; but what’s most vexing to me is their disrespect for the intelligence of the rest of us. Do they think we won’t notice that they went from fawning over Harvey Weinstein one minute to vilifying him the next? Do they think we won’t see the grander scheme to secure an advantage for women based upon victimhood? These people have no shame, but that’s not news to anyone here.

    I almost felt sorry for Matt Lauer the other day. The gal who replaced him on the Today Show said something gracious about him on air after she got his job, and she was swiftly condemned by the harpies on the Left. Apparently she didn’t get the memo that Lauer was to be fully sacrificed for the sake of the crusade. In addition to losing his job, his reputation and his wife he must be a social pariah as well. Poor Matt must have been scratching his bald head given the lovefest that surrounded Bill Clinton all these years. But then I remembered that Matt Lauer and all the other leftist males who’ve been caught in the net have dug their own graves not just by their behavior towards women but because they helped create this lynch mob. Oh well!

    • BrianR says:

      Thanks for those kind words, CW.

      Everything you wrote is right on the money, but I was struck by a new “case” that’s come up since I actually wrote this essay about a week ago (I’ve been waiting for the Signal to publish it).

      It’s about this comic I’d never heard of, Ansari Aziz. Apparently he made a modest name for himself on some comedy show, and now some woman’s come forward to sob an accusation at him. But the funny thing is, when you read the details, which really aren’t in dispute because she doesn’t contradict him, all he basically did was participate in what kids nowadays call a “hook up”. And now she seems to be upset because instead of, I guess, pledging his undying love, he gave her a “Thanks, see ya” and showed her the door. So she’s sobbing the blues and trying to do a #metoo number on him.

      Man oh man, the hits just keep on a’comin’.

      • CW says:

        You got his name backwards, Brian (tee hee). It’s Aziz Ansari. I know him from “Parks and Recreation,” on which I thought he was hilarious. I only saw the headlines but I don’t doubt whatsoever that he’s an innocent victim of the witch hunters.

        I agree, of course, that the whole thing has become absurd. It’s what happens when all the wrong motives are driving a movement like this. Women are trying to have their cake and eat it too – they want no bounds on their sexuality but they want to play the victim card when things go awry. Their disingenuousness will lead people to be cynical and distrustful of all harassment claims, just as we’ve seen with their self-serving abuse of the word “racist.”

      • BrianR says:

        Well… ahem… clearly “popular culture” isn’t my forte, I guess!

        Yep, you and Buck have both noted the same phenomenon: women who want to “advertise” their wares, so to speak, but get their noses bent when some guy tries to take them up on the “offer”.

        That “advertising” is part of human nature. Part of the mating ritual. Men and women want to look attractive to each other. ALL animals have some method of attracting mates, be it the male lion’s mane, birds’ plumage, the bullfrog’s croak, whatever.

        These new Puritans apparently want to somehow magically redefine our mating dance. Well, maybe they should look to the Middle East for their solution: burqhas and chadors.

        THAT would certainly be a new look at the awards ceremonies, wouldn’t it?

      • CW says:

        No doubt it would speed up the photo-taking on the red carpet!

      • BrianR says:

        Hahahaha!

    • captbogus2 says:

      Realize that the people who lit the straw & pitch under the accused witches in Salem were also righteous…in their own minds.
      This is the problem we are facing with the left millennials. They have been so brainwashed that nothing they do not approve of they consider evil and should be burned at the stake. And go home and sleep well. all night.

  4. garnet92 says:

    Great piece, Brian! I have to laugh at the left’s local outrage du jour when what’s going on has been going on for eons – in various shapes and forms.

    The human mating ritual has only changed around the fringes since ape-guys were romancing ape-gals. The thing is… it’s worked out quite well for us humans. We’re still here and still procreating – like rabbits – even though we’ve supposedly evolved into cerebral entities, far too intellectual to wallow in the slop of sex. But, here we are, wallowing away.

    What we should be concentrating on is the forced aspect of any act. If a woman wants to dress like a slut, that’s her right, but she shouldn’t be surprised when she’s treated like a slut. Dress like a lady and be treated like a lady. Is that so difficult to understand?
    The human mating ritual is our Kabuki Dance of romance. We execute all sorts of expressions, gestures, and actions to entice the opposite sex (yes, there are only two). Sometimes, the pairing works, sometimes it doesn’t. As we used to say, that’s life.

    But now, some of the feminists who are trying to establish power & control – over men, are trying to redefine what is part of our inbred interest in mating to make their “new, improved, mating ritual” conform to their “enlightened” choreography.

    I say, leave well enough alone, concentrate on punishing any forcible acts, otherwise flirting, boorish comments or inappropriate actions are all part of our own Kabuki ritual. Two people either mesh well or they don’t and it usually doesn’t take long to find out.

    Our flirtations are part of who we are, we shouldn’t be monkeying around with them too much or one day humans could go extinct.

    Garnet92.

  5. Terry says:

    Notice these abused women only ‘showed their courage’ well AFTER their careers were established.
    Has anyone heard from any spurned wannabe starlet who actually said NO at the time of the indecent proposal, and now lives in obscurity, forced to continue to wait tables due to their morallity ?

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