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Reaction to Sex Harassers

Don Rose 15 November 2017 No Comment

Alabamans get to vote yes or no to senate candidate and accused pedophile Roy Moore, who joins the endless parade of producers, actors, journalists, professors and others accused and probably guilty of rape, assault or harassment.

Most have no impact on me other than generalized contempt. But I’ve had personal reactions, apart from disdain, to some of these characters. Certain figures prompt an emotional or intellectual question: Should I boycott or make exceptions and forgive?

Take Bill Cosby–whose comedy and mutual love of jazz I enjoyed. I rarely watched his TV show, but considered it a great model for improving race relations. That’s shattered. I won’t listen to his old comic recordings, despite the laughs. Drugging women is particularly low. No sympathy.

Never saw much of Louis C.K. so won’t miss him.

But Kevin Spacey is one of my favorite actors . I was saddened by disclosures of his pedophiliac assaults. It’s the end of his career.  I will miss him–won’t go back to “House of Cards,” though occasionally I’ll watch a rerun of one of my favorite films, “The Usual Suspects,” with mixed emotions.

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Harvey Weinstein? Total scumbag who has had only an indirect impact on me on by taking risks promoting a controversial but great director, Quentin Tarantino. Weinstein produced some good films I won’t bother with again. Also embarrassed that he was such a big giver to Democratic campaigns. To hell with him.

Leon Wieseltier, the former New Republic critic and commentator was denied editorship of a magazine. I’m filled with schadenfreude–almost always disagreed with him and glad about his comeuppance.

I’ll miss the snarky but acute political commentator Mark Halperin. But for Bill O’Reilly my schadenfreude overflows.

Actors I respect include Dustin Hoffman who has apologized for a 32-year old incident and might be forgiven; Jeremy Piven is denying and fighting harassment charges. If he wins, great. Otherwise I won’t miss him.

Woody Allen is a true favorite. His marriage to his lover Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter has lasted 20 years. This I think was true love, and, though bizarre at first, time has proven ok. Other charges of pedophilia were dismissed in court but new ones emerged, though the sources may be questionable. Nevertheless I’ll probably return to “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan,” “Midnight in Paris” and see new releases.

I’ve loved dining at John Besh’s restaurants in New Orleans, but they’ll do fine without him and there’s more great eating in NOLA.

Roman Polanski is clearly a guilty sick-o but an undeniable genius. I’ll feel uncomfortable returning to masterpieces like “Chinatown,” just as I look with mixed admiration at the great paintings of Caravaggio, who was a murderer.

Through the years we learned various heroes had feet of clay. Picasso was a sexist pig; T.S.Eliot and Igor Stravinsky were anti-Semites. Does that reduce their accomplishments? Personally, Joe DiMaggio was a bastard. Does that erase his baseball record? Hemingway, among many great writers, could be thuggish.

We each reach personal–and political–decisions on complex cases. It would be uncomplicatedly delightful to vote against Moore. But who wants to live in Alabama?

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Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

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