#ThinkpieceThursday – I Call “Bullshit” on Scott Rosenberg’s Essay

Thinkpiece Thursday

Sacrifice is a word that has very much fallen out of favor in our current cultural and political climate. Protect yourself.  Protect your career. Protect your party. Shut and go along to get along.  Don’t sacrifice anything for the good of the country or anyone else.

I’m sorry but, to me, this attitude is exemplified by Scott Rosenberg’s recent Facebook post which has been lauded for its “bravery” “courage” and excellent writing.  I have to call Bullshit.

I will admit, Rosenberg is right in calling out the sanctimonious “shock” of those who now condemn Harvey Weinstein, pretending personal ignorance.  These folks remind me of the gambling scene in Casablanca:

Rosenberg very rightly says:

And to me, if Harvey’s behavior is the most reprehensible thing one can imagine, a not-so-distant second is the current flood of sanctimonious denial and condemnation that now crashes upon these shores of rectitude in gloppy tides of bullshit righteousness.

Because everybody-fucking-knew.

And do you know how I am sure this is true?
Because I was there.
And I saw you.
And I talked about it with you.
You, the big producers; you, the big directors; you, the big agents; you, the big financiers.
And you, the big rival studio chiefs; you, the big actors; you, the big actresses; you, the big models.
You, the big journalists; you, the big screenwriters; you, the big rock stars; you, the big restaurateurs; you, the big politicians.

I saw you.
All of you.
God help me, I was there with you.

He repeats “Everybody fucking knew” several times.  Which begins to feel like an excuse.  It doesn’t matter what anybody else knew.  It matters what YOU fucking knew.  It matters what YOU did or didn’t do.

That’s the cowardly rub.  Rosenberg was enjoying himself too much, lapping up the perks, the prestige, and the champagne to do anything. It was benefiting his career too greatly, in becoming anointed as a major talent, to rock the boat. The fact is: HE saw it.  HE knew it.  HE did nothing.

And this is as pathetic as it is true:
What would you have had us do?
Who were we to tell?
The authorities?
What authorities?
The press?
Harvey owned the press.
The Internet?
There was no Internet or reasonable facsimile thereof.
Should we have called the police?
And said what?
Should we have reached out to some fantasy Attorney General Of Movieland?
That didn’t exist.

Substitute 1930’s Germany and Rosenberg’s quote tells us exactly how the horrors of that time happened.  The excuse: “what could I do?” “who could I go and tell?” is a collaborating coward’s way out.  The Edmund Burke quote:  “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”–  That’s what this is about.

I am not saying I’ve never been a coward when I should have spoken up.  I remember a particularly vicious writer’s room where the target was male.  I am just so annoyed by the acclaim Rosenberg’s post has gotten now when it now costs him nothing to speak out. His recent “mea culpa”, in fact, has only enhanced his reputation.  It seems like it was designed to do so.

I don’t doubt Scott Rosenberg is a good man (although I don’t know him personally) who did nothing.  He wasn’t willing to sacrifice anything to call out what was wrong.  And he even dances around blaming the victims:

Not to mention, most of the victims chose not to speak out.

Like it was a choice?  Rosenberg seems to think he needn’t speak out, which WAS a choice because the women Weinstein destroyed didn’t want to risk total professional and emotional annihilation?

Contrast this with Quentin Tarantino’s interview reported in the UK Independent:

Quentin Tarantino has admitted he was aware, for decades, about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged misconduct towards women. The director said he failed to act in order to protect women despite knowing about several instances of alleged sexual assault, stating: “I knew enough to do more than I did.”

In a new interview Tarantino, who worked with Weinstein on some of his best known films including Pulp Fiction, said he regretted not taking action with the knowledge he had.

“There was more to it than just the normal rumours, the normal gossip,” he told the New York Times“It wasn’t second hand. I knew he did a couple of these things. “I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard. If I had done the work I should have done then, I would not have had to work with him.” 

What a wonderful ride Scott Rosenberg had at the expense of so much suffering.  He waxes poetic about just how much fun it was.  And I can guarantee that Oscar-winning Quentin Tarantino had an even better ride.  But Tarantino doesn’t get into the perks, the glam, the fun!  His was a simple apology for HIS actions and failings.

I am glad Rosenberg is ashamed.  He should be.  But what is he going to do now– besides public handwringing and excuse making, which has served to garner him much public adoration?  What is he willing to sacrifice now?  What is Tarantino going to sacrifice?

Would the WGA (Writers Guild) ever bring gender equality and an end to sexual harassment to the bargaining table?  Would it ever strike because of those unmet demands?  Or is it just the privileged white male’s income protection society?


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