Ooh, where to start? A weekend of finger-pointing and retrospective accusations as summer’s ‘silly season’ is extended into the autumn has left me spoilt for choice when attempting to document the insane landscape we inadvertently inhabit. It began with that Hollywood PR exercise masquerading as a BBC TV chat-show presented by Graham Norton. Adam Sandler, one of those actors whose career provokes the question – ‘What the f**k have you ever done?’ – appeared alongside Emma ‘Miss Jean Brodie’ Thompson and actress Claire Foy, apparently placing his hand on the knee of the latter throughout the ‘interview’, something that provoked frothing-at-the-mouth hysteria on Twitter. A friend then sent me a leaked video of unknown origin in which another superstar of similar charisma – Ben Affleck – was mauling an MTV-style interviewer of Eastern European accent as she sat on his lap, a clip that climaxed with Affleck’s impersonation of a ‘spaz’. Suffice to say, he came across as an arrogant slimeball, albeit one that Tinsel Town’s system positively encourages. See also Harvey Weinstein.
This was followed by the dubious exposure of an online ‘closed group’ of ladies gossiping about various Westminster stalwarts that it’s best to avoid sharing a lift or taxi with. Lecherous old MPs groping young lobbyists, secretaries and PR trainees young enough to be their daughters? Jesus! Who knew? Call Mr Profumo! It’s not exactly Cecil Parkinson impregnating his secretary, but it’s what passes for a political sex scandal in 2017; hot on the heels of Jared O’Mara being suspended by the Labour Party following the publication of comments he made 15 years ago, we need to be vigilant, sex toys and ‘Sugar Tits’ pet-names not permitting.
Then we were told the actor who plays Todd Grimshaw on ‘Coronation Street’, the soap’s first openly gay character (currently in a relationship with a rather wet vicar on the show), has been shown the same exit door that illustrious predecessors such as Peter ‘Len Fairclough’ Adamson were shown for more serious crimes in more innocent times. Bruno ‘Todd Grimshaw’ Langley’s own crime was allegedly sexually assaulting a young lady in a Manchester night-club, though he received his cards before the allegation became a charge, suggesting the powers-that-be at Granada were waiting for an excuse to boot him out, anyway. This revelation broke more or less simultaneously with the news that a Five Live broadcaster has also been suspended on the basis of allegations he was guilty of letting his fingers do the walking where his female colleagues were concerned.
And we round off this supremely silly weekend with the convenient full-circle headline of another member of the Hollywood Royal Family being accused of a foul deed in the dim ‘n’ distant past. This time, it was the turn of none other than Kevin Spacey – someone whose off-screen activities have evaded my own personal ‘gaydar’; Spacey pre-empted an allegation of inappropriate behaviour with an underage actor in the 80s by belatedly coming out. Spacey is someone whose career has largely consisted of commendable efforts on celluloid (unlike Ben Affleck) and also included a stint as guv’nor of the Old Vic in London. Curiously, considering how ‘right-on’ the ruling elite of Hollywood are, they still have a problem with out-and-proud actors, casting resolutely straight leading men as gay characters in the likes of ‘Philadelphia’ and ‘Milk’, whereas we in Blighty have a lengthy list of gay Lord and Lady thespians, even if they tend to play it straight when cast in California.
So, what conclusions do we draw from several days of post-Weinstein allegations and accusations? Well, in the case of Ben Affleck, irrefutable evidence that he’s a bit of a prick is out there in cyberspace, so anything unsavoury levelled against him has pretty solid proof to go on re how he behaves in the company of young women. Kevin Spacey’s conduct is slightly different in that it took place before the days when everything was recorded and documented online, yet he’s still been forced into belatedly admitting his bedroom preferences courtesy of the imminent media storm. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe whatever men or women get up to behind closed doors is their own business and has no relevance to their profession unless they choose to be defined by it; personally, I don’t care if Kevin Spacey is gay or straight, but it evidently matters to media whores deprived of genuine scandal, so Spacey bows to their God-given authority before they exercise it.
Five years on from the tsunami of allegations triggered by the despicable Mark Williams Thomas’s ‘Exposure’ hatchet-job on Jimmy Savile – which served as a handy smokescreen to obscure the genuine outrage of Rotherham and Rochdale – we appear to have reached a point whereby any authentic act of deplorable misogyny aimed at the opposite sex by the male of the species has been overshadowed by the abuse of descriptive terms for actual assault, applied as they are with cavalier nonchalance to clumsy attempts at seduction, making men believe that any move on their part will be labelled ‘rape’. Perhaps it’s laying the ground for western women to adopt the burqa as a modern-day secular chastity belt, duped into the illusion of emancipation by the propaganda. Who knows? We are the dead, as someone once said. But maybe there’s life after death after all. Fingers crossed!
© The Editor
5 thoughts on “STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GET OFF”
The knee toucher was Adam Sandler, not Ben Afleck.
Cheers for letting me know. About to alter the post!
The workplace, whether that’s an office or factory, a film studio or Parliament, is the primary place where adult people with normal levels of sexual drive interact. It’s hardly surprising then that, within all those places, degrees of flirting occur, sometimes resulting in long-term relationships, sometimes in extra-curricular affairs, sometimes in nothing at all. That’s the normal human condition.
The current hysteria, whether related to casting-couch producers or government ministers, seeks to de-normalise that routine aspect of real-world life. That’s not to defend any offensive sexual assault or the blatant use of power for sexual gain, but the current hype risks a ‘baby with the bath-water’ moment, the loss of which normal human interaction would be, in my view, highly regrettable.
In my corporate life, there were all manner of sexual shenanigans going on, in addition to considerable levels of unrequited flirting and general banter – nobody died, life went on, all the richer for that colourful by-product of lots of adult people being in the same place, at the same time, with some shared interests. With no smoking and now no flirting as well, I’m glad I’m well out of it.
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As far as I can see, this is media hypocrisy and hype – headlines for nothing and your tits for free… Confusing flirting and sexual advances (how else do you know if someone else fancies a shag without making an advance?) with genuine sexual assault and rape is all good for sales. And of course, journos have no libido at all, do they?
As for Spacey…. well, we in Blighty all new he was batting for our side (being a pout of undisguised orientation myself) when he was reported as being mugged while “walking his dog”…. at 4 a.m. at a notorious south London cruising site. The result was a gigantic shrug and a squawk of “meh”. As for his conflating being gay with being interested in minors, I think he is pre-empting other allegations that will emerge about him. The expressed outrage about that from the pink camp seems to me to be a little overblown – maybe people should wait until they hear what is reasoning is for making his statement. Personally, having lived with the mistaken equation that gay = paedo and having had to challenge that assumption many times, I can understand why he may be playing it cagey.
Meanwhile, shaggers of the world will carry on shagging.
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As for Parliament and Hollywood in general, i suspect that this sort of stuff has been endemic since time immemorial. One can analyse this is terms of “patriarchy” or power structures, but in the end is it not simpler than that? The type of male ruthless bastards who survive and thrive in such environments are likely to be utter cunts, with a libido to natch their egos. That’s why they are there. And I am afraid that in some cases the young women and men who are the subject of their gross behaviour seem to be complicit in the game; it’s called the free market. Not always, but there is that aspect to it. One wonders how many Hollywood A listers have slept their way to the top.
As for Spacey, it seems to me that what he is saying is: well maybe i did do that, bit don’t worry, because I am now coming out as gay, so, really I am a victim.
My thoughts are best summed up here
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