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Tags: weinstein | hollywood | jesters | harvey

Harvey Weinstein's Hollywood Court Jesters

Harvey Weinstein's Hollywood Court Jesters
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman and co-founder of Weinstein Co., attends the second day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 12, 2017, in Sun Valley, Idaho. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

John Kass By Friday, 13 October 2017 01:01 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

When Hollywood types walk the red carpet, gathering to pay tribute to their virtue — while lecturing the rest of us about our moral and political sins — an image comes to mind.


That's the first thing I think of when Hollywood awards shows come on TV: a dance of medieval jesters in motley and harlequin, wearing curly toed boots upon their two left political feet. They scamper excitedly upon that red carpet, chatting with celebrity journos, and later they hold golden trophies and make fine speeches.

Not all of Hollywood is a farcical grotesquerie, but the overwhelming liberal virtue-signaling becomes unbearable, with every award show a mummer's farce as jesters heap glory upon themselves and their lords.

A dark lord like Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood lord without peer.

They feared him, and they loved him as the fearful and the broken love those with absolute power over them. He was someone who could do wonders for their careers, if only they would submit and serve his appetites.

Perhaps actress Meryl Streep, in what is now a cringe-worthy moment, said it best when accepting a 2012 Golden Globe award for her portrayal of Lady Margaret Thatcher in a Harvey Weinstein-produced film, "Iron Lady."

Streep thanked her agent, Kevin Huvane, and one other.

"And God, Harvey Weinstein," she said to great applause, "the punisher, Old Testament, I guess,"

Weinstein had built a reputation as a punisher. But God?

Perhaps the word came to her mind because he could reach down and bend and shape not only American culture from the silver screen but shape and twist careers too. So who said Hollywood irony was dead?

Weinstein indeed was a lord of Hollywood, a lord of culture, with celebrities and Democratic politicians sucking up to him for political funds and access to the flame of celebrity, and journalists with dreams of Hollywood screenwriting cash and glory, all of them stuck like crumbs to his chubby hands.

Then came the recent expose in The New York Times, revealing Weinstein as a serial sexual abuser of women, as the creepy cliche of the king of the casting couch became flesh once again. And more came out in the Times the other day, a series of actresses from Angelina Jolie to Gwyneth Paltrow talking publicly of harassment at Weinstein's hands.

Streep and several others have now properly denounced Weinstein as disgusting, and his pet Democrats, like Hillary Clinton and the Obamas, have finally come out with belated, safe statements of condemnation.

But no one knew a thing?

So many have been jabbering that they knew nothing, absolutely nothing, that they never heard and never suspected and never, ever countenanced it, you get the sense Weinstein's behavior was a secret to all the good people in Tinseltown and their counterparts in New York.

It was no secret. It was known. They protected Weinstein while condemning similar behavior in others because they feared him.

A quick hint of how that works was offered by "Saturday Night Live" boss Lorne Michaels, days after the Weinstein story broke, even though "SNL" had jokes and skits ready to mock the Hollywood mogul, just as "SNL" had mocked Republicans like Donald Trump for boorishness.

But "SNL" didn't touch Weinstein in that first show after the story broke. They shelved the Weinstein bits, although with Gal Gadot of "Wonder Woman" as guest star, it would have been easy to do a "Harvey Weinstein Among the Amazons" skit, with plenty of screaming.

The Amazons had special treatments for men like Harvey Weinstein.

But what was Lorne Michaels' explanation for leaving Weinstein alone?

"It's a New York thing," he told a reporter.

Ah, a New York thing, and a Hollywood thing, where friends protect friends. And still, it was known to leading Hollywood actresses, and their leading men, known to other producers and journalists for decades and decades.

The New York Times deserves credit for its recent stories on Weinstein, but it doesn't come away clean, either, as former Times writer Sharon Waxman claims that she had the goods on Weinstein in 2004.

She now says that Weinstein, using connections and getting stars like Matt Damon and Russell Crowe to call on his behalf, put his advertising weight upon the story until the paper "gutted" her piece.

The Times denies this, and an editor suggested that Waxman did not have the story nailed down.

But there are many stories coming out now that it's safe. Writing in New York Magazine, Rebecca Traister — whose boyfriend was grabbed in a headlock after the fat producer allegedly screamed obscenities and spit at her — explained it all in a paragraph.

"Back then, Harvey could spin — or suppress — anything; there were so many journalists on his payroll, working as consultants on movie projects, or as screenwriters, or for his magazine."

It comes back to that: Weinstein's liberal media connections, his political connections, his power, his celebrity virtue-signaling defenders.

And women knew that if they stood up to him, they'd be crushed by this liberal army as it protected itself and its source of nourishment: Weinstein.

They protected Bill Clinton the same way.

And now they're all jesters, aren't they? They're holding rattles, shaking them in ostentatious anger, as Harvey shrieks and quakes and is devoured.

I bet they're already writing movie treatments for his story.

But before the Harvey Weinstein movie wins an Oscar, I must apologize to medieval jesters for comparing them to Hollywood types.

Medieval jesters wrote their own material. And jesters took their own risks.

I am sorry, jesters.

John Kass has covered a variety of topics since arriving at the Chicago Tribune in 1983. Kass has received several awards for commentary and journalism, from organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Press Club of Atlantic City, the Chicago Headline Club's Lisagor Award for best daily newspaper columnist. In 1992, Kass won the Chicago Tribune's Beck Award for writing. to readmore of his reports, Click Here Now.

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When Hollywood types walk the red carpet, gathering to pay tribute to their virtue — while lecturing the rest of us about our moral and political sins — an image comes to mind.
weinstein, hollywood, jesters, harvey
Friday, 13 October 2017 01:01 AM
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