“We are mad as hell, and we are not going to take this anymore.” — Howard Beale, from the film, “Network.”
Hear ye, hear ye . . . Babylon is falling! Hallelujah. Weinstein’s fall was the first sacrifice of the Old Order, the inglorious “Old Boys Club” that makes up Hollywood. When the testimonies of sexual assault and harassment within the industry first kicked up, most people thought it was a fluke, that the energy would dissipate. Yet, it was merely the first tremor of the quake that was waiting to hit. The lid was ready to blow off.
Hallelujah. My hope is that the whole infected Hollywood system crashes hard into the ground. The times of purging are way overdue. As Dr. King stated, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” This arc took a long ass minute to fall to earth, but when it hit, it shook. Times are long overdue for a shakeup—a cleansing. We need fresh blood and clean air. Artists, actors, and audiences—just need to be able to breathe.
We tire being forced to see through a glass darkly. People tire of being pimped by studio executives seeking profit with shitty formula movies, insider deals, using humans like products, exploiting women and treating people of color like shit. Or, to be more accurate, treating them as invisible. Amongst the corporations that make up Hollywood (from the top to the bottom) peoples of color are treated as the new Gandhi “Untouchables,” “unhireables,” as less than zero.
As this nation is going through these politically and culturally oppressive times, (with a president who is a known sexist—at best) the fall these power abusers is a small beacon of hope. Behold! — there ARE consequences for these sexist bullies who have been treating “La La Land” like their own personal “Candy Land?” Miracle of miracles!
What goes up must come down. We rejoice as these icons of depravity fall hard. We hope it hurts. Bullies, sexists, pimps, and racists deserve to hurt. People have grown tired of your oppression and arrogance. A new day has dawned. “We are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore” —Howard Beale, from the film, “Network.”
Deeds perpetrated in the darkness are becoming exposed by the light. Or as good ole Dr. Luke mentioned 2000 years ago in the Good Book: “Whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops (Luke 12:3).” Hear that Weinstein posse and their ilk? Hear that sexist and racist and money-power hungry studio executives? We are loathe to tolerate and smell your old dying bullshit anymore.
As a “card-carrying” feminist and social activist against gender violence and racism, I rejoice in Neo- “Babylon’s” fall. It pains me to no end that these reports from the victims of these power hungry predators make up a fraction of what has actually occurred. It pains me that it took so long for someone to hear these women out and ally themselves with the justness of their cause. Or even to simply just hear them — and perhaps even believe them.
The Old Boys club with its patriarchy, chauvinism, and dirty corporate money is a hostile environment not only for women, but for people of color. It is a hostile environment for stories that are not reinforcing the propaganda agenda of the “Powers That Be.”
Why Is Hollywood So Screwed Up & Out of Touch with Reality?
The fruits come from the roots. The first picture filmed in Hollywood was in 1910; “In Old California.” It was done by D.W. Griffith, the creator of the racists pro-KKK, anti-African-American propaganda film, “Birth of a Nation.” Griffith was also a key founder of the “Old Boys Club,” known as “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.”
The organization responsible for the “Oscars” Awards is by “invitation only.” It is comprised overwhelmingly of older White men. The influential “Oscars so White” protest was a battle against an old snake in the woodpile—the racism and sexism that make up the roots of Hollywood.
Though the right wing folks on the political spectrum love accusing Hollywood of being “liberal,” it astronomically behind other industries in real representations of diversity. The fact that it took a dam protest and boycott to make even an incremental change speaks volumes. The much criticized “Oscars So White” movement was dead on in its accuracy. A 2012 report showed that the Academy was 94% Caucasian and 77% male. This is close the demographic reflection of the film studio executives who are 94% Caucasian and 100% male.
The long and short of it is we should be rejoicing that the Old Guard is steadily falling the way of the dinosaurs. May they land hard. We should rejoice that their shitty formulaic movies are no longer making money. No one cares anymore about the regurgitated bullshit is nothing but a capitalistic profit seeking product—as far from art or good storytelling as one can get. We should rejoice with each of their crappy movies that dives and loses money.
We should likewise rejoice for those rarely studio-approved movies that tell the “half of the story that has never been told” —Stories of women, people of color, different sexual orientations, in other words, the 95% of humanity that are not White males. We should rejoice when movies that represent women as strong (“Atomic Blonde,” “Hidden Figures”) kick ass at the box office. We should rejoice when films that have Black female leads with modest budgets (“Girls Trip”) provide a higher R.O.I. and profits than shitty Hollywood films.
We must rejoice that there are now leaders in the industry that are finding ways to bypass these dying dinosaur systems that reinforce the dysfunctional status quo. We rejoice that award winning African-American female director Ava DuVernay created ARRAY as an alternative distribution company that promotes films featuring so-called “minorities.” The minorities are no longer the minority; they are the majority. They deserve respect. People want to see stories and films that represent who they are, the struggles and triumphs unique to their communities.
As this deconstruction unfolds, we need to rejoice. And not only that, but put our money where our values are. The tide of popularity for films that highlight women and people of color will not cease. It will continue to be profitable. It will continue to soar. It will soar above and beyond the ashes left behind of the decaying dinosaur system of Old Hollywood. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust—there will be no mourning for the death of a dead system. Let the dead bury the dead. A new day of pure light has dawned.