By Hans Ebert
Let’s call it The Hashtag Generation. Gawd knows where it started, but I’m guessing it was in a galaxy not that far away called the online world and not that long ago when it was de rigeur to embrace social media and talk about SEO’s- Search Engine Optimisation- and how the “right” hashtags would, or could. elevate one’s “status” on Google, which meant ease of discovery that would result in more visitors to one’s website. Or something like that.
Today, we’re drowning in hashtags- #blacklivesmatter #whitelivesmatter #policelivesmatter #alllivesmatter- and with “metoo and #timesup now leading the charge with Queen Oprah of America in the starring role and ably assisted by aides Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and others with that almighty Star Power.
Of course, all this carrying on with hashtags being used to fight the good fight and very reminiscent when “Yes We Can” was “trending” with Oprah happy to stand next to then Presidential candidate Barack Obama before suddenly dropping off as America saw the rise of its first Showbiz President who sold Coolness to the masses, is being driven from the hills of Hollywood. Is it more showbiz and where’s the final port of call? Is it sanctimonious bollocks mixed with hypocrisy and politics? Time will tell.
Where and how did this movement really gather steam? Probably when mega successful and sweaty film maker Harvey Weinstein, the mighty power behind Miramax, was accused of sexual harassment. Not to judge a book by its cover, but Harvey Weinstein hardly looks like a choir boy. Still, remember all those weepy speeches thanking him for his passion and support and, of course, funding? Where did it all go wrong for The Most Powerful Man In Hollywood?
Shining this strong accusatory light on him and him never pleading innocence spoke volumes. It led to a chain reaction of more and more accusations from more and more women until Harvey Weinstein did what Hollywooders do whenever under siege: He checked into a rehabilitation centre to cure whatever is ailing him.
It’s a matter of time before he returns a “new” man and probably helps the ratings game by repenting and crying on television to- who else?- but Oprah. And Oprah will give him hugs.
As John Lennon sang on “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out”, “it’s all showbiz, what it is what it is what it is.”
The downfall of Weinstein, a one time pal of those who have now distanced themselves from him, caused a chain reaction of sudden jolts to the memory banks of many. Suddenly, everyone wanted to play in the same sandbox. Hypocrisy became and has become rampant. Hypocrisy is trending.
Those with stories to tell go back to decades spanned with silence. Why? Shame? Fear? We’ll never know, but it’s led to a series of similar accusations against actors Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman and with James Franco’s name being the most recent one to be dragged through the quagmire of sexual improprieties. #Timesup
Before the Hollywood belles tolling for the head of Harvey Weinstein came forward, there was news about the sexual improprieties of Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News and the channel’s old curmudgeon Bill O’Reilly.
This news saw them both fired- but fired after receiving some huge golden handshakes to go with the golden parachutes already strapped to their backs. This kept everyone happy except Roger Ailes. He died less than a year later.
Donald Trump has talked about grabbing women’s private parts before being elected President, and former President Bill Clinton, who was found guilty of sexual misconduct with an ambitious intern while in the White House were given free passes. It’s how Hollywood and politics work hand in hand.
Hollywood constantly screams for equality, but this equality isn’t for everyone. It’s used sparingly and seemingly dependent on who jumps on the bandwagon with stories that can most benefit the cause célèbre. And then the big guns go to work by taking everything to a new level of sanctimonious handwringing with their cheerleaders fanning the fires of moral outrage.
Two others caught up in this movement which has more than a whiff of Hollywood McCarthyism- Bill Cosby and Matt Lauer, the host of the highly popular Today Show.
Cosby hardly comes across as a loveable figure. He’s been proven to be a dangerous sexual predator. What’s still puzzling is why it’s taken all these women whom he supposedly drugged and forced himself on them decades to come forward and call him out for what he is. It couldn’t be fear of any reprisals as Bill Cosby is a very old man who’s been irrelevant for decades. Why the moral outrage now? Where was investigative journalism hiding for so long?
The question is this: What’s the focus? A war against celebrity sexual predators? All sexual predators? Does this include the female of the species? Why not one word about Hugh Hefner and his links with Hollywood and what went on at the Playboy Mansion?
Is this about gender equality? Racism? Ageism? Time’s Up for what? To speak up? And then what?
Is it all of the above with some random new stuff thrown in just to confuse everyone including those who are fighting for whatever Rights they believe they need? Hell, even the Pope has been swept up in in all this.
Listening to this sudden torrent of rage and indignation in speech after speech after speech at awards shows where women dress in black, and men walk on eggshells to meekly show signs of solidarity only emphasises weakness, survival and going with the flow. Where’s George Clooney when we need him?
Why this silence of the lambs? Because their careers depend on it. Who has won what for whatever at these awards shows takes a backseat role to the speeches. Pity as there has been some terrific recent work that’s being robbed of their just dues- work that should be celebrated as great teamwork. But it’s all about the speeches littered with anger and self serving agendas. Oprah For President? Why not? Who cares?
It’s almost become a competition to outdo each other in the speech making department and where the Great Evil that’s being tackled has deteriorated into a light soufflé of #metoo nothingness.
What the hell do these women want? Did real trailblazers and strong women from Hollywood like Lauren Bacall, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, the wonderful Audrey Hepburn and a few others get onto their soapbox and talk about Tinseltown’s notorious Casting Couch System? Of course not, because that door swings both ways and it takes always two to tango.
Will all of whatever is going on lead to the Kennedys and Marilyn Monroe and who facilitated what? Doubt it. Way too many sacred cows for Hollywood to take on. And if they ever do, remind them of that classic film called “The Black Dahlia”.
#Hollywood #metoo #timesup #Oprah #Harveyweinstein #Kevinspacey #rogerailes #billoreilly #foxnews #Trump #BillClinton #MarilynMonroe #JFK #RobertKennedy #MattLauer #TheBlackDahlia #socialmedia #trending