Posts tagged “bill cosby”

Hollywood Hypocrisy

October 19, 2017   6:43 pm

No, this isn’t about Harvey Weinstein per se; he is but the latest in a long string of issues where Hollywood (used here as a proxy for the movie/TV industry as a whole) cannot seem to see its own hypocrisy. People in Hollywood tend to get the large part of their fame from literally pretending to be somebody else. (Yes, I know, it’s called “acting.”) When Hollywood decides to get political, though, they tend to be virulently against anything representing conservative principles and values. The “why” behind that is multi-facted: liberalism sounds more compassionate at first blush; those mean, nasty conservatives are the ones against our edgier art; I’m surrounded by these people and I don’t want to rock the boat.

Whatever the motivation, though, the Weinstein scandal exposes just another area where Hollywood claims to advocate one thing, but their product and actions contradict themselves.

Guns

On screens large and small, guns are everywhere. The criminals have them, the police have them (though sometimes the police are the criminals), and the really good guys can use them to fight for good (think Jason Bourne, or the Taken franchise). Yet, more than 9 out of 10 denizens of Hollywood are pro gun-control legislation, to the point where blood was still drying on the pavement in Las Vegas when they began beating that drum again. (I don’t even have time to get into the entire “silencer” thing; I think that they think those work the way they do in the movies, not the way they actually do.)

Well, Hollywood - you’ve shown us how things get resolved. Bringing in the firepower is the way you fix situations.

The Environment

Hollywood got on the glow-bull warming train a long, long time ago, and has amplified every doomsday and “man is killing the planet” claim that came along. They are so impassioned about this that they attend global conferences about this pressing issue… in their private jets, the mostly-least-efficient way to get there. Their primary homes are large mansions, and they usually have vacation homes as well. (This isn’t simple envy; I’d live in a mansion and get away to my vacation home too - if I could afford it. I just wouldn’t claim that I’m saving the planet from a death sentence while doing it.) The logisitics required to produce a blockbuster movie are staggering - yet they use them time and again, to line their pockets.

Actions speak louder than words; you say it’s a problem, but your behavior tells us otherwise.

Speaking of lining one’s pockets…

Income Inequality

Hollywood is greatly concerned with the topic of income inequality. I mean, it’s just not right that women earn 77 cents on the dollar as compared with men! (Well, except for the fact that, in reality, that number was poorly calculated when it first came out, and even that same flawed calculation gives a larger number now.) Yet, Hollywood continues to have very few female leads, and even when they do, there are often also male leads, who are earning double or more for the same film. It may be hard for us to think that there’s really that much difference between $5 million and $10 million.

It’s not just gender issues, either; at every opportunity, they support government programs to give things away, whether it’s medical care, food, or tax exemptions. Of course, it’s the government giving this things away, not them; compared to more conservative parts of the country, charitable contributions are low. In fact, what often passes for “charity” in Hollywood are dinners where the actual stars simply show up; the thousands-per-plate prices are paid by the well-connected but lesser-known people.

Plus - these folks amass their millions off the backs of the ~$10 ticket prices paid by average people. As a generally free-market guy, I’m not faulting them for extracting the value they believe society places on their craft. It does seem to me, though, they could be a bit more magnanimous instead of deriding the very people whose money has given them such a comfortable and fabulous life.

There is one place where actress salaries outpace actor salaries - the adult film industry. Which leads us to…

Sexual Morality

We’ll talk about Weinstein, et. al. - but let’s look at some history first. For years, decades, Hollywood has ridiculed those of us who have bemoaned the increasing vulgarity and explicit sexuality, telling us that a) it was artistically necessary to advance their story; b) it’s just a fictional story; and c) lighten up, you prudes! Now, I am not unaware of the balancing act between showing enough for people to get the point and not becoming gratuitous (this doesn’t apply exclusively to sexual content). If two people are kissing at the end of a date, the screen fades to black, and the next scene are them both in PJs at the breakfast table - does that not advance the story just as much as an extended scene with nudity, thrusting, and noises?

Traditional sexual morality has never been Hollywood’s interest. At times, the portrayals are setups to show the negative consequences of those actions; more frequently, they’re either just straight titillation, or they’re done by characters for whom we’re now rooting. Their private lives mirror their art; in fact, the term “Hollywood marriage” describes a union of two beautiful people which will only last until the next opportunity comes along.

The “casting couch” has become legend, and enterprising women decided that they could use their assets to break through that way, literally sleeping their way to the top. It’s a terrible thing to spell out that way, but facts are often terrible. Hollywood is not alone in this scenario; business, politics, and sports also have their stories of powerful men who used women for their own pleasure, maybe with the promise of preferential treatment or advancement. I’m glad that they are starting to see that this is a bad deal, but are you the ones telling us conservatives that we have a “War on Women” because we don’t want the government to pay for killing a baby in a woman’s womb?

Conclusion

I doubt anyone from Hollywood is reading this, and it’s already longer than I’d set out to write, so I’ll wrap this up here. I’m glad that a lot of people are coming forward to tell their stories and condemn Harvey Weinstein; it would mean a whole lot more if they had done so before it became trendy to do so. In summary, here’s how I see the recent action taken by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:

An organization, whose members still include Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby, decided to expel Harvey Weinstein.

The 2nd Annual Sanctity of Human Life and Martin Luther King Jr. Column

January 22, 2005   3:30 am

Last year, I wrote a quick blurb about the the sanctity of human life, and a longer piece about >Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream that is, as of yet, unfulfilled. This year, I’m combining the two occurrences (and putting it out 5 days late, but who’s counting?) with a single entry.

First up is the sanctity of human life. Dictionary.com defines sanctity (definition 2) as “The quality or condition of being considered sacred; inviolability.” What this means is that human life is sacred - something that is to be valued, and not to be taken lightly. It also means that life is not ours to create (ever, outside of the God-given means) or to destroy (save for the Biblically-based governmental duties of defense and punishment). There is encouraging news on the abortion front - Norma McCorvey, “Roe” in the (in)famous Roe v. Wade case, has entered a petition to the Supreme Court to review her case in light of new medical evidence of the effects of abortion on the women who have them. Together with Operation Outcry, which has compiled quite an array of statistics on medical issues with abortion, she hopes to get that ruling reversed. As an original petitioner in the case, she is in the unique position of being able to do this, and more details, including the briefs that were filed, can be found here.

There are others who have recently written about abortion as well. Chuck Colson’s recent article entitled Destroying Abortion Myths demonstrates that they hysterical “dangerous back-ally abortion” crowd actually made up their statistics. (And they say Bush lied and people died? How about “NOW lied, babies died”?) Marvin Olasky compares two tidal waves: the tsunami and abortion. (Did you know that as many people as died in that tsunami are killed every few months before they breathe their first breath?) Another site is Right Thinking Girl’s entry A Woman’s Right to Choose - it illustrates the absurdity of the “fetus as property” argument. I’ve also been active in the comments for this entry, in which folks have been debating the issue from pretty much all sides - my entries are the ones from “Daniel”. (Be warned, some comments may contain strong language.) And finally, this isn’t recent, but my entry about abortion being a bad idea whose time has passed still lays out, from a non-religious perspective, why abortion is wrong.

The numbers of abortions that have been performed is staggering - the latest numbers from Census 2000 show blacks as 11.4% of the population, but the CDC’s “Abortion Facts” website’s numbers show blacks have 33.9% of the abortions in this country. That means that blacks are overrepresented in abortion by 200%. This is not good, and (as we segue into the MLK portion of this entry) it’s something I think Dr. King would have worked to end. So much of his dream has been fufilled, but I believe he would be horrified at these statistics. The people for whom Dr. King gave his life working for (and, lost his life as part of that work) aren’t being killed and suppressed by the “white man” anymore. Take this abortion statistic together with gang and prostitution statistics, and you see that they’re suppressing and killing off themselves!

Dr. King’s legacy has been hijacked by the pseudo-civil-rights activists of our day. His was a message of peace, and of equality; not of opression, not of violence, and not of reversing the inequality. Though he was taken from us much too soon, his work endures - and to hear gay marriage proponents use his words in support of their agenda must make him look down on us and shake his head. His dream of equality in all areas, but especially economically, is beginning to be realized.

However, popular black culture does not encourage activities that lead to prosperity. When was the last time you heard a rapper rap about his mutual funds, 401K, or real estate investments? How about consumable goods (cars, electronics, etc.)? I’ll give you a hint - one of those is a lot better at building long-term wealth than the other. Bill Cosby is taking a lot of flak for his comments that have been critical of the culture. I’m glad he’s saying these things, because he has a lot of respect from folks in the black community. Maybe if the message comes from someone who is so respected, it will sink in. Children who are trying hard to achieve shouldn’t be ostracized from their peers and accused of “acting white.” Learning to speak the language properly isn’t selling out, it’s setting yourself up for success. (Now, since I’m not black, I guess I should interject here that I know plenty of white people who are foolish with their money, and whose grasp of the English language is less than it should be. I also know plenty of black people, some my very good friends, who do not conform to the pop culture image with which they’re bombarded on a daily basis.)

By realizing how precious life is, defending those who are defenseless, and empowering people to make their own destiny, we will honor not only Dr. King, but all those who follow after us. May the next generation look at us and say, “You know, they figured it out, and they lived it the way they should.”