Harvey Weinstein Types Pervade the Universe

This week many fingers have pointed to “Democrats” and “liberals” and “Hollywood” regarding Harvey Weinstein. One particularly objectionable piece was actually titled “The Specifically Jewy Perviness of Harvey Weinstein.” I’m not going to link to it.

Ross Douthat, for example, had great fun hanging both Weinstein and the late Hugh Hefner around the neck of “liberalism,” which in Ross’s mind is a synonym for “libertinism,” while touting the innate moral superiority of conservatives.  As you might imagine, the comments to this column were robustly peppered with the names of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.

Harvey Weinstein has long been on my list, headed by Kim Kardashian, of famous people to which I pay absolutely no attention. And he can stay there. If history is our guide, he’ll join Anthony Weiner, John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer on the liberal persona non grata list. If he’s sued, I wish the plaintiffs best of luck. I’m not going to make excuses for him.

The fact is, though, that Weinstein’s behavior has nothing to do with a political ideology, an ethnic group, or an industry. There are creeps like Weinstein everywhere, across the political spectrum, in every walk of life. The enabling behavior that lets them get away with their actions is as common as toast. People will wink and nod at, or avert their eyes from, this behavior for years until, suddenly, they don’t. And then it all comes out.

Ross has his own theory about why this happens:

Maybe his overdue exposure shows that the world has changed, and progressive industries are finally feminist enough to put their old goats out to pasture.

But it might just show that a certain kind of powerful liberal creep only gets his comeuppance when he’s weakened or old or in the grave. The awfulness of Ted Kennedy, at Chappaquiddick and after hours in D.C., can be acknowledged only now that he’s no longer a liberal lion in the Senate. The possibility that Bill Clinton might be not just an adulterer but a rapist can be entertained now that he’s no longer protecting abortion from the White House. The sins of Woody Allen — well, I’m sure Hollywood will start ostracizing him any day now.

And, of course, it’s possible that those men were not guilty of all they’ve been accused of, but even so, I’ve not seen that people have been harsher toward Ted Kennedy since his death, or of Bill Clinton since he left the White House.

I think there’s something in our species that causes a kind of collective blindness or even amnesia toward the private bad behavior of people we want to like. The Jerry Sandusky scandal comes to mind. Once Sandusky was publicly outed as a child molester, many people came out of the woodwork to admit yes, they’d seen this or knew that. But for some reason they couldn’t bring themselves to say anything when it happened, or possibly even admit to themselves they’d seen what they saw.

See also this post from 2010, Spitzer’s Law.

Getting back to my point that Harvey Weinstein types pervade the universe, see “How Women Are Harassed out of Science.”

We recently spoke with a group of senior scientists who confirmed the prevalence of sexual harassment. Kim Barrett, the graduate dean at the University of California, San Diego, said she did not know of a single senior woman in gastroenterology, her subfield, who had not been sexually harassed. Margaret Leinen, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, described a conversation she once overheard between one male and five female scientists at a meeting where harassment was being discussed. “I don’t see what the fuss is about,” said the man. “I’ve never met anyone who has been sexually harassed.” The women just looked at each other. “Well, now you’ve met five,” they said.

Earlier this very year we learned that a doctor with USA Gymnastics had been sexually abusing young women athletes for years.  Women entrepreneurs in the tech industry have been speaking out about being sexually harassed by investors. Women lawyers have reported sexual harassment in law firms. Many religious figures have been named in sexual harassment scandals.

Name just about any profession or large organization, actually, and I can just about guarantee you can find articles online about how sexual harassment is going on in it. Here’s a handy list of Republican sex scandals, for example. And notice I’m just now mentioning the pu**ygrabber in chief. See “A Running List Of The Women Who’ve Accused Donald Trump Of Sexual Assault.”

So it’s kind of a joke when someone like Harvey Weinstein is outed, and suddenly people jump to the conclusion that this is about his being a liberal, or a Democrat, or about Hollywood.

No, it’s about his being a man in a patriarchal culture.

18 thoughts on “Harvey Weinstein Types Pervade the Universe

  1. Don’t forget “coach” Hastert! .. Oh, and also the guy who was shagging Callista in a broom closet at Sam Rayburn building..You know, the guy who has the impeccable command of world history.. gecko somebody? a real human reptile.

  2. “No, it’s about his being a man in a patriarchal culture.

    No, it’s about his being a predator in a patriarchal culture. Not all men are like that.

    Many, many years ago I was an assistant manager at a McDonalds. The son of the owner was a supervisor – he “worked” at any of the three stores daddy owned. He was a predator – a low-life who got a thrill by publicly groping the girls at work, ‘by accident’. Nobody could do anything about him – the accusations would be hard to prove. One girl who was particularly blessed in the chest was a favorite target. That is until one afternoon she stepped back after an unwelcome grope and screamed, “Keep your hands off me, you PERVERT!” They were standing in the front of the store in front of customers and there was no doubt what had happened or who her anger was directed at. He blushed scarlet up to his hairline, grabbed his coat and left and did not return for 3 weeks.

    Predators like that can only survive when the victims are convinced that he has the power to hurt them – their reputation, their career, etc. If every woman who was assaulted went public at the time of the incident, the predator could not survive. I taught both my daughters that they will be victims only if they choose to be victims. No one can guarantee there will be no repercussions if you out your tormentor, but by refusing to be a victim, you never suffer the guilt of victimhood.

  3. “I think there’s something in our species that causes a kind of collective blindness or even amnesia toward the private bad behavior of people we want to like.”

    Boy howdy, if there ever was some quality that you could truly attribute to “both sides,” that’s it, and it brings another quote to mind. I think it was Ursula K. Le Guin who said, “to light a candle is to cast a shadow.” Another aspect of the situation is that we have such a strong proclivity to see only one or the other, but not both. I suppose it’s related to the commission of the fallacy of composition. If one part is bad, the whole is bad, and of course vice versa.

    Then again, we tend to associate ideas and ethics with personalities, and the association takes on an allegorical quality, where the personality stands in for the idea. How much better it would be if we could accept that no action or thought is purely good or bad*, but some blend of the two. The most you can hope for is to be weighted a little more towards the good. Then we might be able to recognize what is good in others in order to replicate it, and discard the rest.

    * I realize these are comfortable. simple terms, and that they are imprecise.

  4. Weinstein? He’s a known sleazebag and everyone disapproves. At least I think they all do now. But this isn’t really about him. It’s about which people are “required” to respond to the story and how.

    For example, I’d like to know why Obama was pressured to say something about this. Nobody wanted to consult him about any of the series of sex scandals at Fox. Or Hefner. Or anyone else I can remember. He is not the voice of Democrats. Or some kind of political Dr. Ruth. Nobody honestly cares what he has to say about Weinstein but the right, unable to actually make good news about the successes it’s lacking, seems to need to create fictional problems for its “enemies.”

    I suppose it’s a nice distraction while I’m kneeling and listening to music, trying to avoid thinking about how my country is being dismantled by the cabinet.

  5. Yeah, I saw that one about “Jewy Perviness.” Couldn’t believe it got published in a Jewish magazine. I don’t think it was particularly political, though, just bizarre. The writer’s got some serious problems.

  6. If every woman who was assaulted went public at the time of the incident, the predator could not survive.

    It’s not always that easy. Years ago my wife worked at a bank. A customer whom I’ll call Mr. Big who had several multi -million dollar accounts with that bank came into the bank to do something requiring him to access his safe deposit box. The safe deposit boxes are dual controlled, meaning that a bank employee( predominately female) has to accompany the customer into the vault to unlock one of the locks on the safe deposit box.
    My wife went into the safe deposit vault with Mr. big to provide that function whereupon at some point he assaulted her by giving her a pat her on the ass.
    My wife left immediately, like she was required to do, so Mr. Big could be left alone to do his business.
    As she recounted to me her humiliation and vulnerability of being in that situation, she made it clear that she had no viable options for recourse. No way to prove what she knew had transpired. She was in a situation where it would have been his word against hers in an environment where it’s stressed to the extreme that the customer is always right. And to top that off, This was Mr. Big. When it comes to dealing with customers in a banking environment..the balance in your accounts determines the status of your treatment. They don’t tell big money people to take their business elsewhere. Employees are expendable.
    So I guess Trump must truly understand what he says when he says: “when your a star you can grab them by the ….. and get away with it.” So long as you do it when you know it can’t be proven and nobody is going to come to their defense. If you speak up it will cost you more than you’re willing to pay.

  7. The Spitzer’s Law link led me to a comment thereto from the c u n d gulag. You just can’t miss this stuff enough.  Here is a tease.

    “And as for the Pope, or any other members of the church hierarchy, disavowing any right to yammer on endlessly about moral rights, well, isn’t that like asking a bear NOT to shit in the woods?
    The bear can’t help himself. Neither can the Pope. The difference is that the bear doesn’t have a billion or so people cheering his every turd.*”

  8. Doug said, “No, it’s about his being a predator in a patriarchal culture.”

    Doug, I would tweak this a bit and say, no, it’s about his being a predator in a predatory culture.

    From an early age, we’re encouraged to admire and emulate the man or woman who “knows what they want,” and goes out and takes it through “ruthless determination,” letting no one get in their way. In short, we’re taught to worship money and power no matter how they were acquired. If the pursuit of an objective requires predatory behavior, so be it. Nice guys finish last and that’s just the natural order of things.

    Those who have studied the issue believe that sexual harassment and sexual assault are not about sex, but are about power, dominance, and control. In a predatory culture where the assertion of power over others is encouraged and rewarded, predatory sexual behavior will continue to be tolerated and even (quietly) admired by many, if not most. Even many women seem to believe that sexual predators should be tolerated and admired (I still can’t believe it, but Trump actually received a majority — 53% — of the votes cast by white women).

  9. What comes to my mind is not quite an assault, but, inappropriate behavior. One of the administrative assistants at our facility was a very attractive, mature woman. She was truly both very beautiful and a beautiful person, with a great sense of humor. She had a great sense of style, and always dressed and acted in a very professional manner.

    She and I were quite close, and one day she asked my opinion about something. We had a practicum student who was about her age, and he had been flirting with her consistently. Her main problem wasn’t the flirting, it was the fact that it was happening at work. In fact, she thought he was nice, and that she might even want to know him better. So, after our conversation, she decided to tell him that she cared about her professional image and conduct, and she didn’t want the flirtation, at least in the workplace.

    Well, the practicum student told the director some version of events that made her look like a fool. I felt like a jerk because I thought that situation would be resolved with a little honest conversation and I encouraged her into an embarrassing situation. I mistakenly thought that she could count on the director’s support, since she was also a woman.

    But, I learned something. I’ve been in coercive, uncomfortable situations at work. I’ve tolerated a lot of stress and unfairness, but I was clueless about the vulnerabilities and disadvantages that many women encounter.

  10. It IS all about being in a position of power over others. Women, in smaller numbers than men, are prone to this, but we do not know if it is just the lack of equal opportunity that makes this statistic so.

    Basically, if you want to be in a position of power, you are the kind of person who is more likely to abuse that power. People who are thrust into positions of power also succumb, but not at quite the same rate, apparently, though time in power-positions certainly factors in.

  11. My daughter is 24, very smart, a beautiful, petite blonde with martial arts training. She is into cross fit type workouts, and is solid as a rock physically. We talked briefly last night about the Harvey Weinstein mess, but I neglected to tell her what she should do if assaulted, we talked about a movie starring Adam Sandler about 10 years ago, where Sandler’s character bragged about dominating and sexually abusing women. I warned her back then that there were men and boys who will use their positions of power to take advantage of others in many ways. In an episode of “The Big Bang Theory”, the character Walowitz used a Yiddish term for Gentile women, and explained “We don’t pray to them, we PREY ON them.
    My advice to my beautiful and fit daughter is if a creep assaults her, deconstruct his face as fast as you can, nobody will fault you. Don’t EVER worry about “not working in this town again”.

  12. Predators are ubiquitous, as are their bad deals.  The potholes of life.  No problem finding the motive here, as the old standards Greed, Power and Lust work just fine.
    Extortion and Rape are covered by our justice system, but the system’s control of them is weak.  The predators mostly thrive in the grey areas of the law.  Elites generally get more grey than others and are in general more adept at working the system.  Harvy W., like many recently, had made too many bad deals.  This time he could not point the money gun at it and avoid the repercussions though settlements.  This predator settled many times, not just with money to the victims but he settled repeatedly for pathetic, perverted, predatory sex. A sad story.

    Gail Collins outlines Ivana’s book in the NYT today.  It is another similar sad story. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/12/opinion/ivana-ivanka-trump-book.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=region&region=region&WT.nav=region  It is quite the read.

  13. erinyes, sometimes it’s not so simple with those kinds of people.

    In my own distant youth I liked to think of myself as a very smart, beautiful, not exactly petite (fit) male blonde with martial arts training. Still, I received the treatment from a sociopathic female at work. That situation wasn’t too different from the one described in the “Disclosure” movie. She was in power over me and she maintained high respect from management because of her credentials, including a summa cum laude degree from a major university. She said a lot of things to me that conflicted with that education, but she still had that power over me. All I could do was beg my boss to get me the hell out of there, which he did, but at some cost to my career.

    Many years later I met somebody who’d graduated from that very school at that time. He’d never heard of her. He did a background check on her, including calling the administrative office and they said she did attend that university but was never in that department. Back then my gut had told me something was very wrong with that woman, but I had trusted management to know what they were doing. Today she’s not in that business and is part owner of her own (bought) company so I can’t exactly warn others about what they’re dealing with there. Like Bill Cosby, the intelligent ones are quite charming and crafty.

  14. You raise a good point, Bill. One of the first lessons I learned when I entered the world of large corporations was that our nation’s supply of sociopaths is fairly evenly divided between the two genders. This came as quite a shock to me as I was taught in elementary school that girls are made of “sugar and spice and everything nice.” 🙂

  15. Yeah, if your gut is telling you that something’s wrong, it’s best to pay attention and start planning your strategies. One that you cannot ever use is negotiation. They’re compelled to win, and are usually expert with lies, cheats and tricks and you’ll lose. Best to ambush them. Never count on the boss to help you unless you can get them to KNOW that you provide more personal value to them than the psycho ever can. If you’ve lost the war I’d recommend forgiveness, but only after you’ve given them a scratch they can never itch, especially if it makes you chuckle. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. They usually have lots of enemies and victims but still, be careful with that one. Don’t get caught.

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