Wednesday July 06, 2022

And the award goes to… witch hunting

January 10, 2018

This year’s Golden Globe Awards, with its unchallenged support for the #MeToo movement, was a wretched spectacle, Hollywood and identity politics at their worst. The smug crowd of millionaires, and in the case of Oprah Winfrey, a billionaire, expected viewers to believe that the ‘MeToo’ movement constituted an epic chapter in the struggle for human liberation.

The self-absorption, self-obsession and endless self-pity of these people was ridiculous, pathetic, and utterly inappropriate. Amidst all the misery in the world, including the impending deportation of 200,000 Salvadorans, the devastation produced by US militarism and aggression across the globe, the thousands of Americans dying from drug overdoses and a hundred other social atrocities, the Hollywood celebrities devoted an entire evening of prime-time television to feeling sorry for themselves.

It is no wonder that the American film industry seems incapable, except for rare exceptions, of producing decent work. Its concerns are trivial and misdirected, or worse.

The actual handing out of awards, deserved and undeserved, was overshadowed by the sexual misconduct witch-hunt and the overwhelming stamp of approval that the film and television industry gave it.

The general character and tone of this year’s Golden Globes was established days or perhaps weeks ago. The appeal for women to wear black supposedly in solidarity with struggles against sexual harassment was almost universally heeded. Intimidations and conformism are the order of the day in Hollywood. What star would have dared to appear in an unsanctioned colour?

No one seemed troubled by the rampant violations of rudimentary due process and democratic rights. The fact that careers are being destroyed overnight on the basis of unproven and even anonymous allegations did not elicit a single objection. It was as if no one in the audience had ever heard of, or read a book about, the McCarthy era. It is back to ‘Scoundrel Time’.

Actress Ashley Judd, one of the leaders of the sexual misconduct campaign, posted on Instagram, “Today, we wear black. Why? Nearly 1/2 of men think women are well represented in leadership roles and 1/3 of women think women are well represented in leadership roles.” The post continued, “The *reality* is, only 1 in 10 senior leaders are women. #TimesUp #WhyWeWearBlack.” In other words, this entire ‘struggle’ is about celebrity and big money.

The host of the Golden Globes programme, Seth Meyers, of NBC’s ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’, has already shown his reactionary colours on a number of occasions. Last year, he eagerly lined up with the Democratic Party’s anti-Russian campaign and outright anti-communism. On Sunday Meyers set his mark on the event with an opening monologue characterised by cruel jokes about those in Hollywood accused of sexual misconduct. He began the evening’s hilarity with his introduction, “Good evening, ladies and remaining gentlemen.”

Meyers made an especially vicious jab at Kevin Spacey, a remarkable actor, who was kicked from his role in the popular Netflix series House of Cards on the basis of allegations about events that happened thirty years ago.

“Well, despite everything that happened this year, the show goes on. For example, I was happy to hear they’re going to do another season of ‘House of Cards,’” Meyers said. “Is Christopher Plummer available for that, too? [Referring to Plummer’s replacing Spacey in All the Money in the World] I hope he can do a Southern accent, “cause Kevin Spacey sure couldn’t. Oh, is that too mean? To Kevin Spacey?” It is despicable to ‘pile on’ like this, kicking those who are disgraced and excluded. One can only imagine what jokes Meyer would have told at the expense of Oscar Wilde had he been around when the disgraced playwright was rotting in prison.

The super-rich and super-banal Oprah Winfrey lectured the crowd about racial and gender inequalities, telling the audience, “speaking your truth” is the most powerful tool they had. “For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up,” she said after accepting her award. The crowd went wild.

The pious, hypocritical nonsense never stopped. Needless to say, not a word was said Sunday about the many social ills plaguing American society. Where was the discussion of the deteriorating social conditions in the US or the danger of war? Where was the call for support of Puerto Ricans still devastated by Hurricane Maria? Last year, Donald Trump was a hot topic at the Golden Globe Awards. He was barely mentioned this year. This year’s calls for ‘solidarity’ were narrow, utterly half-hearted and self-congratulatory in nature.

The Golden Globes ceremony stank of reaction and self-satisfaction. It was a celebration of inquisitions and unsubstantiated allegations. Increasingly, masses of working class people, female and male, struggling to keep their heads above water, will see through this.