Most people do not particularly care to be preached at by individuals who are not upholding the very principles that compelled them to proselytize in the first place. For instance, I do not think its appropriate for a minister to encourage me towards the path of sexual purity if he has a mistress (Or mister) on the side. Nor do I think it appropriate for an active alcoholic to lead an AA Meeting.
Though we naturally recoil at hypocrisy, fair and balanced minded people understand the notion of grace. It is possible to possess high moral standards and fail to live up to them. That doesn’t mean that the standards are wrong, it means we have more work ahead. There comes a point, however, when the tensile strength of grace has extended beyond its maximum capacity when multi-millions dollar profits are at stake.
What do I mean?
Well, what would you say if a Hollywood mogul appeared on a high profile/low ratings show and decried the atrocities of the recent school shootings and, as a result of being moved both emotionally and spiritually, vowed to change the way he finances movies? What if said person declared that he would no longer be involved in making gratuitous violent movies? What if said person “bravely” announced that he was going to take on the NRA in an upcoming movie with the help of Meryl Streep? Stay with me; the rhetorical questions are coming to an end… Then what if said person just signed on to finance the next Quentin Tarantino movie entitled the Hateful Eight?
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause. Apparently, a belief in Santa is more credible than the convictions of one Harvey Weinstein.
In a piece on Variety.Com, Harvey and brother Bob announced, “We are incredibly excited to begin production on ‘The Hateful Eight,’ as we know this picture will be as innovative, brash and of course fun as all Quentin projects prior… There is, quite simply, no other filmmaker like him, and we are as proud as ever to continue this partnership that started over twenty years ago.” The piece when on to say, “Tarantino confirmed in July at Comic-Con that “The Hateful Eight” would be his next project. He shot “Django Unchained” in 2012… The story is set in Wyoming and focuses on people trapped after a snow storm forces a stagecoach off its route.”
A mere couple of couple of years ago, Weinstein [Harvey] was on with Piers Morgan with his soap box and said the following:
MORGAN: They could. Let’s turn to guns because this was a really fascinating interview with Howard Stern. I want to play a clip for viewers who are not up to speed for this, from what you told Howard.
WEINSTEIN: I don’t think we need guns in this country. And I hate it and I think the NRA is a disaster area and I’m going to actually make a movie, I shouldn’t say this, but I’ll tell it to you Howard, I’m going to make a movie with Meryl Streep and we’re going to take this issue head on. And they are going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them.
MORGAN: Big words. I mean, not many people in America in high profile positions have directly challenged the NRA. I’ve been beseeching people to do this. Obviously, I am delighted that you are actually going to publicly take it along, the leadership by not just the — not the membership. Why are you doing this and why do you care so passionately?
WEINSTEIN: You know, it’s funny, all the past school massacres and you know, I read about them in the newspaper, Columbine, Aurora, you know, we shield deeply for four or five days and then we get on with our lives, you know. We say, “God, let’s fight for gun control. Let’s do something about it.” You know, when Sandy Hook in Newtown happened, it’s 20 minutes away from where I live with my kids, and I mean, whatever. You know, I watch your shows and you know all during that time period. And you know, when it’s in your backyard, you cannot ignore it, you know. I mean, I’ve done a good job of feeling sympathetic for it over the years but I’ve done also a good job of ignoring and say, “Well, that’s somebody else’s fight.”
By now, even the average movie fan boy is able to see the glaring hypocrisy on display here and, to Morgan’s credit, he does too. Morgan presses Weinstein on this issue:
MORGAN: … Putting that to one side and I’m sure you expected all that let’s talk about the main allegation against you will be one, of hypocrisy. Hey, you are a Hollywood mogul. You produced some very violent movies, “Django Unchained” and “Pulp Fiction” and others. So people say, “Come on Harvey, what about your law (ph). When do you guys in the movies going to stop glamorizing guns if you mean this so sincerely.”
WEINSTEIN: I think they have a point, you know what I mean, you have to look in the mirror too, you know, and I have to just choose movies, I mean that aren’t violent, you know what I mean, or as violent as they used to be. And I know for me personally, you know, I can’t continue to do that. So the change starts here, you know what I mean, and has already…
I know, but for me I can’t do it, you know, or I can’t make one movie and say this is what I want for my kids and then just go out and be a hypocrite, so…
Yeah. I’m not going to make some crazy, you know, action movie, you know, just to blow up people and exploit people and make some, you know, crazy action movie just for the sake amazing. But I understand the criticism and I’m not playing anymore Ted Nugent music, you know…
Well, I don’t know about you all, but I for one am glad Harvey Weinstein is taking such a bold stance against gun violence in America by not playing Ted Nugent’s music anymore. In fact, I too am going to take a stand against gun violence in America by never ever watching another Weinstein movie again. Okay, not true. Harvey finances some really good movies. But since it’s trendy these days to run in front of the nearest camera and wax philosophic about how “moved” one is by the victims of gun violence, I figure I too need to make some self-promoting pronouncement to the world that I’ll ditch at the latest sign of a 9 figure movie.
By agreeing to produce another violent movie, Harvey’s vow to change his ways is now no more noble than the New Year’s resolutions everyone makes right after their second gallon of moderately priced champagne. You know what; I go through a similar routine every time I step on a scale. As my weight increases, I too am “moved to action” by vowing to adjust my lifestyle. I give it the ole college try, but the moment I’m invited to an all you can eat Asian buffet; I throw such constricting notions of change out the window.
Needless to say, this is yet of another example of Hollywood’s attitude towards social change. They want to put on a show in front of the cameras to show that they really do care about social injustices, but when it comes down to it, they assume that it’s not themselves that are the problem, it is the peasants in the fly over states who need to change their violent/judgmental ways.
It is this same spirit that we get such towering intellects like Zach Braff who will Tweet about how he wants the rich to pay higher taxes but probably doesn’t donate the dollar amount he thinks he should be paying in taxes. Or you have Barbara Streisand wanting “you people” to use your central heating and air conditioners less but is perfectly fine cooling and heating the homes that she doesn’t currently live in. Or Michael Moore protesting with Occupy Wall Street against the 1%. How much does he stand to lose in his latest divorce settlement?
Wait, isn’t Harvey’s lack of conviction and resolve another example of a [movie] corporation exploiting people and violence for the sake of profits? Someone contact Occupy Wall Street. Quick! Get Leonardo DiCaprio on board with the movie version of this scandal. Someone tell one of Jon Stewart’s writers to come up with a snarly joke for him. Maybe corporations really are a bad thing. Especially in Hollywood!
The next time you hear a Hollywood celeb trying to bring to light the atrocities of social injustices or horrors of corporate greed at the latest awards ceremony, ask them if they plan to donate those $10,000 free grab bags that they get from the same corporations they so publicly denounce.
In the end, I don’t know what’s in Harvey’s heart. He might very well be sincere in his stance on curbing gun violence, and while his character is not up for debate, his actions are. And apparently his friendship Tarantino and the potential profits to come weigh more in Harvey mind than his commitment to saving people from scary guns. It is his money to invest in it as he wishes, I just hope he doesn’t expect the public at large to take such public self-aggrandizements seriously. We will buy any ticket to the latest Weinstein production. what we won’t buy is your soap box speeches.