Yet Another Comment on Harvey Weinstein

Trigger warning for my husband, who is so far past peak Weinstein he’s living in the future we all want to inhabit. Don’t read on, honey!

So obviously I followed the Weinstein horror story, like everyone else did.  I was going to write an essay much like the below, but then I got a little grossed out by all the op-eds and think pieces, some of which were obviously hastily conceived and outrageous (AHEM) while others benign but obvious attempts by journalists and pundits to get a piece of the pie, meaning clicks and then money, thereby benefiting from the pain and havoc.  (Like, did we really need Mayim Bialy’s take on the matter?  Which includes a weirdly self-critical note about how, because she’s not a conventional beauty, no producers ever invited her upstairs?)  But only a few––heroes every one!––read my blog, and I could never figure out how to opt-in on WordPress ads, so I don’t make any money from this, which means I can rant without feeling like a bottom-feeder.

I’ll be succinct, or attempt to be: Of course I wasn’t surprised to see that Weinstein immediately adopted the language of therapy––he talked of bringing therapists onto his “team,” of “issues” (others in his vicinity used “demons,” a peculiarly resilient holdout from the era of possession as mental illness), and of possibly going to a “facility somewhere.”  This was literally his only possible course of action––he’s calculating, and realized denial would have played way, way worse––but it galls, because it suggests that therapy––which I think of as essentially a luxury for most of what Freud might deem the “commonly unhappy” which is most of us––has officially reached the point at which it can be used in an attempt to downplay the severity of one’s crimes against others and relinquish responsibility for one’s actions.  (See also: Mel Gibson’s abhorrent anti-semitic rant and fucking WIFE BEATING, which now are mostly brushed off by the establishment as solely the result of alcoholism, in remission due to counseling––and yet strangely, I know many recovering alcoholics who managed, throughout the duration of their drinking, to never claim that Jews started all the world’s wars or hit their partners.  Curious!)

I am not saying that intensive therapeutic treatment isn’t ever useful or appropriate.  For one, anyone with an acute and recognized (sex addiction is not included in the DSM) mental illness that hasn’t committed a crime.  Also, if someone has committed a crime, but hasn’t, for socio-economic reasons, had access to quality counseling ever––say, an inner city drug addict, or a mentally ill person from a very insular religious enclave, like the Amish––a treatment program is probably a better first line of defense than prison.

But Harvey Weinstein comes from a rarefied world in which people go to therapy for all kinds of banal reasons.  There’s no stigma attached to seeing a shrink amongst Hollywood bigwigs and New York intellectuals.  The odds are good HW’s been to a psychologist himself before.  He’s a Woody Allen fan (see what I did there?) so at the very least he knows about the concept of psychoanalysis.  The fact that he failed to enact change in his life up until this point indicates that he either tried to make use of the no doubt abundant therapeutic resources he had access to and couldn’t (which doesn’t mean the therapy didn’t work for him, it means he didn’t work hard enough at the therapy) OR didn’t give enough of a fuck to even explore said resources for this “issue.”  I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume it’s the latter.

I could cite some recent events and studies––including the story about a sex offender treatment program at a prison here in England that actually made prisoners more likely to reoffend, because the constant discussion of sexual violence and deviance “normalized” the activity––or maybe the study about mindfulness (no doubt on menu at the Meadows) making criminals more likely to reoffend as well, because it encouraged them to “not judge themselves” HAHAHAHA––but I won’t, because I don’t think I need to.  I’m guessing that a lot of people are hearing that Harvey’s headed to a plush rehab facility and thinking, “Oh Gawd.”  (Except for maybe this sex addiction therapist interviewed by the The Cut, who claims that “I’ve never met people who suffer more than [sex addicts.]”  Gee, Deborah Schiller, I can think of at least thirty women who have suffered more than a certain sex addict has.)  I’m guessing a lot of people are feeling that talking about his childhood to a kindly Arizonan wearing jade earrings and elbowing the guy with the DTs out of the way to get to the make-your-own-omelet station is not the way to get back in our good graces.  I’m guessing the Meadows is even a step above Pine Grove, where the Cut lady works: “[The sex addicts] have a nice big gazebo out front, they have cookouts out there, ping-pong, and foosball, and they can sit around a picnic table under that gazebo.”  I have assaulted zero people in my life, and I don’t have a big gazebo.  Jussayin.

So how exactly should a man like Weinstein make good?  He should find a way to donate all his money to charity without having his name attached to it.  In so doing, he should steer clear of causes that are linked to entertainment or maybe even women’s groups.  Children’s cancer seems like a safe bet.  He should sell all his belongings, and give away that money, too.  He should then don the robes of a religious mendicant, and find a cave to live in, probably outside of North America.  Said cave should be as isolated as possible, so he is extremely unlikely to come into contact with other human beings (let alone a therapist––something tells me that for a man like HW, not talking about himself would be a more fitting fate, than being given a captive audience––or, G-d forbid, a woman.)  If he is found and––the horror!––photographed, he should move caves immediately.  He should survive on insects, leaves, and rainwater.  He should remain in the cave, while his executors handle the occasional cleansing of his coffers when they refill with Miramax dough, until he dies.  The end.

 

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