Hollywood

Referendum Called On Whether Nation Definitively Likes Or Dislikes Saoirse Ronan

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/01/2018 - 11:19pm in

“IT has never been more important to ask of the Nation, that most challenging question; in light of her third Oscar nomination, do we like or dislike Saoirse Ronan, there needs to be a definitive answer” A rare foray into overt political discourse from President Michael D. Higgins has set in motion a snap referendum... Read more »

The Feminist Arguments against the Metoo Activism at the Golden Globes

Last Sunday, 7th January 2018, was the Golden Globes. This got on the news around the world, not just because of the coverage of which actors and films were given awards, but because the female actors wore black in solidarity with all the women, who had suffered sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation. This culminated in one of the leading actors at the ceremony announcing that Hollywood’s ladies would stand in solidarity with every woman, who had suffered such sexual abuse and assault, and that they would be dedicating a special fund to help poor women sue their abusers.

Coming after the scandals about Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes and others at Fox News, including its long running host, Bill O’Reilly, such an announcement is clearly well meant, and for many women facing the cost of having to drag their abuser, who is probably their boss, through the courts, the prospect of being able to get some money from a charity dedicated to helping them would surely be welcome. But not all women, and not all feminists, saw it quite like that.

Roza Halibi in Counterpunch and the Sane Progressive on YouTube both put up pieces about it, criticising the move. Many women, including the French actress Catherine Deneuve, are critical of the #Metoo movement as they feel it demonises men. All men are now being viewed as sexual predators, real or potential. They also object to the way distasteful and unpleasant forms of sexual contact – like the boss with wandering hands – has been lumped in and conflated with far more serious forms of sexual abuse, like rape and women being told that if they don’t sleep with their boss, they’ll lose their jobs. Groping is unpleasant and humiliating, and it’s quite right that there should be a campaign to stop it. But it’s not at the same level as the other two.

They also found the stance of the individual actresses involved in the speech and this display of solidarity hypocritical. Weinstein’s behaviour was known for years by people within Hollywood, including Meryl Streep. And at the time they kept their mouths firmly shut. Some of this might have been because Weinstein was a powerful man, and no matter how respected and successful they were as ‘A’ list actors, he could have the power to destroy their careers, as he threatened numerous aspiring actresses if they wouldn’t sleep with him. But some of it no doubt was also the attitude of the time, to put up with it regardless.

But there’s also an attitude that the speeches against sexual harassment and exploitation were also a form of faux feminism, by rich, entitled women, who were trying to appropriate the protests by ordinary, middle and lower class women. Critics like the Sane Progressive and Halibi have argued that the successful protests always come from below. They are won by ordinary working people standing up for themselves and demanding further rights and change. They are not achieved by members of the upper classes deciding that they will charitably act as the saviours of the lower orders. The #Metoo activism at the Golden Globes represents very rich, entitled women trying to take control of a protest by their sisters lower down the social scale, and wrest it away from any meaningful challenge to a corrupt system as a whole.

The same critics have also made the point that the #Metoo activism has also acted as a diversion. Sexual abuse is only part of a whole series of problems corporate capitalism is inflicting on American society. This includes mass poverty and starvation, the further denial of rights to low paid workers, Trump’s attempts to repeal Obamacare and destroy Medicare, the destruction of the environment, and the political paralysis caused by a corrupt party system taking money and its orders from wealthy donors in big business, rather than acting in the interests of ordinary citizens. All of these issues need tackling, but the leadership of the Democrat party has become, under the Clintons and Obama, as thoroughly corporatist as the Republicans, and has no interest in tackling these issues. That would harm the interests of their donors in big business. So they make symbolic liberal gestures. Like Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency last year. Her policies were more neoliberalism, corporate greed, and aggressive militarism. For ordinary Americans she offered nothing but more poverty and exploitation. But she claimed that, because she was female, she was somehow an outsider, and that a victory for her would thus be a victory for women. Even though, as the lowest paid group, women would have suffered the most from a Clinton presidency. If you didn’t vote for Clinton, you were automatically a misogynist. And if you were a woman, and didn’t vote for her, she and her followers denied it was because you had opinions of your own. Rather, you were just doing what your husband or boyfriend told you. So much for Clinton believing in women’s independence and their agency as human beings.

But this experience of a very rich, entitled woman trying to make herself appear liberal when she was anything but, has clearly coloured some left-wing and feminist attitudes in America towards other attempts by the rich to embrace or promote left-wing causes. Clinton’s liberalism was a fraud, and so some people are suspicious that the actresses stressing their commitment to rooting out sexual abuse are less than wholehearted in their determination to ending the general poverty, exploitation and other issues plaguing American society. And just as the corporate Democrats are desperate to take power away from the real radical left, like Bernie Sanders, so these ladies are trying to take power away from ordinary women, determined to solve the problem their own way. Because this challenges their position in society and their political influence as arbiters and spokespeople of the nation’s conscience.

Now I think the #metoo speeches were well meant, regardless of the possible hypocrisy of some of the actresses involved, and hopefully some women will benefit from the money available to sue their abusers. But the Guardian’s Marina Hyde a few years ago wrote a book, Celebrity: How Entertainers Took Over the World And Why We Need an Exit Strategy, pointing out numerous instances where Hollywood celebs decided to take over a cause, only to make the situation worse. There’s a very good case to be made against such Hollywood activism. And this problem may well become more acute, as more celebs decide to promote symbolic issues, while leaving the other problems affecting ordinary people untouched.

5 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Scientologists

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/01/2018 - 12:23am in

SCIENTOLOGY, the punching bag of the religious world, has, despite its poor reputation, gathered a large following across the planet proving no more popular than within the clandestine circles of the famously famous Hollywood elites. However, due to the bad press that can lead to being associated with Scientology, many famous people keep their faith under... Read more »

Hollywood Should Totally Make a Movie from my book “The Year of Loving Dangerously”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/12/2017 - 6:47am in

In 2009 I published “The Year of Loving Dangerously,” my graphic novel about my anni horribili, 1984-1985. I was expelled from college, fired from my job and evicted from my dorm — and dumped on the streets of Manhattan during a long hot summer in Reagan America. I discovered that sex wasn’t just my favorite thing, it was also good for finding a place to crash. Manslut – that was me.

Year was my first book collaboration. I wrote the text. Spanish artist Pablo G. Callejo, best known for “Bluesman,” did the artwork. The results were spectacular: Callejo is a genius and evoked 1980s New York like no one else could.

There was interest in turning Year into a movie. Also a TV show. You know how that goes. I think the time wasn’t right.

Now, however, everything is coming up 1980s. I keep thinking someone should make a movie or TV show out of it. Not because I want a movie or TV show, which of course I do, but because it was so fucking cool and would make an awesome adaptation.’

So, smart Hollywood peeps, if you’re out there, here’s a few pages. If you want to see the whole thing, ping me by hitting the Contact tab on Rall.com.

A New Code of Practice

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/12/2017 - 3:00am in

by W Stephen Gilbert The Hays Code transformed the face of Hollywood in the 1930s, introducing rampant, some may say absurd, censorship and restricting the creativity of writers and directors. Here we take a closer look at what it meant, and what it can teach us about our own time From 1930 for almost forty years, film production and distribution in the United States was entirely governed by the Motion Picture Production Code. A set of dogmatic guidelines as to depicted behaviour, the explicitness of imagery and the tenor of the moral lessons to be deduced from a story’s outcome, this semi-literate document was known to all as the Hays Code, after its overseer Will Hays. Where a man like Hays would be coming from can be spotted a mile off. He was a Republican cabinet minister and a deacon in the Presbyterian church; to write his code, he commissioned a Catholic priest. The restrictions placed on screenwriters and movie directors inevitably look both piffling and dispiriting today. Thus: “…the use of liquor in American …

Local Idiot 100% Certain Everyone Making Up Sexual Harassment Claims

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/11/2017 - 3:39am in

RESPONDING, unprompted, to the thousands of men and women who continue to emerge to bravely share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault, one pioneering local man has used several of his brain cells to confirm his feeling that they’re making it all up. Citing no facts when citing fact checked and verified incidents, and... Read more »

New Template ‘Apology’ Issued For Men Accused Of Sexual Harassment

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/11/2017 - 1:53am in

AS A DIRECT result of the increasing number of famous and prominent men issuing statements of apology for harassing and assaulting people, there has been a push to provide them with a template stock apology/PR statement so as to avoid further enraging and insulting their victims. Written and drawn up by a vast array of... Read more »

Reasons for Hope: The Cultural Shift on Rape and Sexual Abuse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/11/2017 - 1:40am in

The election of Trump depressed a lot of people–in many cases literally causing depression. One of the worst parts of Trump’s success was that he was a known sex-abuser, with many accusers and who was caught on tape talking about grabbing pussies.

It was clear what he was, and it wasn’t enough to stop him being elected.

Now, Presidents make decisions that affect billions of people, and if George W. never sexually abused anyone himself, who cares? His war led to a pile of rapes that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. The same is true of Clinton and Obama in Libya.

Still, Trump’s a sexual abuser and it didn’t matter.

So it’s nice to see that in Hollywood, at least, the culture has shifted. Weinstein appears to have been as big an abuser as one can imagine: straight up rape accusations, and they’re quite believable.

This was an open secret, as with Kevin Spacey’s predilection for young men and teenagers.

It didn’t matter in the past, and now it does. All the money and power these men have (especially Weinstein) isn’t enough to keep the lid on.

It needs to be said clearly that sex is one of the reasons that men pursue money and power. And having sex with people who don’t want it is clearly a buzz for many people.

Guys like Weinstein pursued power as much so they could abuse and rape as they did for the money.

Rape, in particular, ranks up with torture in the ranks of evil actions: It causes depression and PTSD like almost no other experience. People are truly traumatized by it for the rest of their life.

But sexual pressure to commit sexual acts to get a job or “otherwise you’ll never work in this industry again” is also pernicious. Not only is this sickeningly unjust, it impoverishes everyone, by making it so that capable people don’t get the chance to do the work they are best able to do.

Whenever we choose people for positions of influence and power based on anything but the candidate’s ability to do the job (a criteria which should consider character and what they intend to do as well as technical ability) all of us lose. The more important those positions are, the more of a tragedy it becomes for everyone when they are filled by people who do not deserve them–and positions in film and television are important, because they tell stories which lay down behavioral tracks for billions of people,

“Deserve” is a tricky word, we tend to to use it as if it means, “If you manage to get it, you deserve it.” But good societies know that it means “the person who will do the job best,” not “the person who can get the job by out-competing.”

There’s some overlap between the two, of course, top jobs often require assertiveness, but nowhere near the level at which we pretend it is.

Sexual abuse, casting couches, and rape all damage people terribly and, in so doing, do harm far beyond the damage to those individuals directly involved (though that is enough alone to condemn them).

We can expect this cultural change to redound for the good. Having more, less damaged people given a chance to contribute benefits most of us.

It doesn’t benefit all, of course. There is only so much room, and if you’re someone who isn’t sure if they’d make it in a space, well, more competitors may not be a good thing.

But we don’t need to make this into an entirely zero-sum game. One of the interesting things about female-centric films is that they do very well, AND they bring people to the theater who don’t necessarily go to films made for young males (this shouldn’t be a surprise, but apparently is.)

In a positive sum game, more people win. The only people who don’t are those who wanted power so they could rape and abuse, and those are the people we want to lose.

So, lots of bad stuff in the world, but the culture continues to shift, and some of those shifts are good.

This is one.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

 

Weinstein, Acting and the Sexual Exploitation of Women

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/10/2017 - 5:34am in

The big news story this week has been the numerous accusations of rape, sexual assault and other forms of indecency against the big movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein. The papers and news broadcasts have been full of the accounts by actress after actress about how Weinstein assaulted or otherwise tried to degrade them for his own sexual gratification. And as the scandal has gone on, other women have also revealed how they too were demeaned or sexually exploited in order to get roles or keep their jobs in Hollywood. I saw one headline for a video about Weinstein on YouTube, which quoted one female celeb as saying that he was just ‘the tip of the iceberg. And I’m not remotely surprised.

Hollywood has always had a reputation for the dark side of the glamour of showbusiness. This isn’t just the sordid off-screen lives of some of the stars and directors and producers themselves, but also for the sexual exploitation of aspiring actresses. The most notorious aspect of this was the ‘casting couch’, in which producers would pressure actresses to sleep with them if they wanted to get a part. And I really wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing existed in the theatre. Something very much like it is portrayed in the film All That Jazz, in which Roy Schneider plays a dissolute theatrical producer, who in one scene sleeps with one of the women, whom he is supposed to be auditioning. The film tries to make it somehow less sleazy by having her asking him if he wants to go to bed with her.

And even when there is no personal sexual contact, there is nevertheless a culture where women are very much judged on their beauty and sexual allure in a demeaning manner. Jennifer Lawrence has told how she, along with a group of other young women, were made to strip naked, with only pads covering their private parts, while a female producer looked them over. In Lawrence’s case, she was told to lose a lot of weight in order to compete with the much thinner girls in the line-up. She has said how she told another, male producer about the experience afterwards, to be insulted by him in turn when he said that there was nothing wrong with her weight, and that she was perfectly ‘f***able’.

These stories have been about the American film industry, but I really don’t think we have cause for complacency over on this side of the pond. A friend of mine a while ago told me about a young woman he knew, who applied to enter one of the country’s most prestigious stage schools. She got an audition, during which she was asked to take her clothes off. When she asked why, she was simply told that they wanted to see if she would do anything to get a part.

I don’t know the person involved myself, and this could be another Friend-Of-A-Friend story, but it does have the ring of truth. Some British film stars have told in interviews how they were messed about by the stage schools or acting academies to which they had applied. Euan McGregor said on one interview that when he was trying to start out in acting, he tried several times to get into RADA. Eventually, he got an audition. So he spent £125 on a train ticket from Edinburgh to London. This was in the 1980s, when the money was worth rather more than it is now. When he got there, he found that there was nobody to see him except one man. He was told quite frankly that he hadn’t got in. When he complained that he’s spent a lot of money getting down there just for nothing, the man just replied ‘Well, you’re going to have a lot of disappointments’. Which shows just how arrogant and casually spiteful RADA was, at least to him.

And some men have also said that they were the subject of unwanted advances by powerful cinema executives, who tried to use the immense power they had over their careers to exploit them sexually.

It seems to me that the YouTube video is right. Weinstein is just the tip of the iceberg, and the whole showbiz industry is rotten with amoral, exploitative predators. It desperately needs cleaning out.