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The testimony from those who were assaulted or harassed by the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is extraordinary to listen to. The interview with actress Zoe Brock conducted by Justin Webb on BBC Radio 4 was particularly striking for its dignified power. She described abuse of authority and the activities of a predator operating with the help of hangers-on and assistants who should have intervened. But then why blame the assistants? No-one in power intervened either. A dam has broken and witnesses are emerging to tell their stories, about Weinstein and others who will be very nervous watching his rapid fall.
But for all that it incredible to watch, and good to see those involved finding their voices, no-one can really be surprised by what has happened in Hollywood, surely?
Hollywood has long been one of the worst industries on earth. The arms industry is honest about what it does compared to the film industry. The news media, while flawed, is like Save the Children in comparison.
But Hollywood has got even worse than usual in recent decades. The early corruption and moral mayhem in Hollywood, as told in accounts such as Hollywood Babylon, was at least straightforward. Behind the scenes it was lust, drugs, lying and nastiness, all for as much money as possible. And that was just Singing In The Rain.
Somehow, from the chaos, a few decent souls managed to get a half decent film out. Confusingly, sometimes it was the worst characters who made the very best films.
Since then, to all the traditional abuse and manipulation, and twisting and greed, has been added an ever big dose of sanctimony by the industry and its promoters.
For several decades now we have had to listen to the whiny speeches at Oscar ceremonies and other gala events, and in endless interviews with extremely boring film stars who should just act and not talk about it or anything else.
Where once it was James Stewart, realising by virtue of having flown in combat what a tough life and danger is really all about, now it is endless emoting and snivelling about pet causes. It is unbearable, from the actors crying that they live to “tell stories that speak to the core of the human experience,” to actresses weeping over being “on a journey”, and others breaking down about global warming and what it is supposedly doing to the polar bears, and how war is never the answer to mankind’s problems (unless it’s the true genius of Hollywood, Spielberg, and he offers you millions of dollars to pretend to fight Nazis, and then of course war is the answer.)
In spite of all its high flown and pious cant about values and feelings, no industry outside the porn industry, the cousin of the movie industry, has done more to demean women and to debase our culture in recent decades. To empty our wallets it has serially terrified people and distorted their view of human relationships, love and sex. Filmmakers construct gory nightmares featuring slayings and violence that would make Hieronymus Bosch blush.
Harvey Weinstein may be horrible, but Hollywood made him. Hollywood is just horrible.