There’s fear and loathing in this town, and in El Lay it’s even worse. Torquemada and Savonarola are in charge, and if this is not a new edition of the Spanish Inquisition, I don’t know what is. The enemy is “toxic masculinity,” as exhibited by the latest to lose his job forever, Charlie Rose, not a bad guy but a bleeding-heart liberal who acted like Benito in front of fair maidens. Or so they claim. In the meantime, he’s toast. I have only one question: What ever happened to due process?
What also bothers me is that the latest purge is the only subject of conversation nowadays. At Thanksgiving dinner with Oliver Stone and his charming family chez Michael Mailer, I literally had to bully Madame Stone to run away with me to Mykonos in order to change the subject. (I didn’t dare do it to his lovely daughter Tara because, at 22, she might be called underage in view of me being overage.) The director, in the meantime, just looked at me openmouthed as I repeated the Mykonos offer after every gulp, and I took many.
Let’s face it, and this is not the first time I’ve brought this up. I’ve been writing fifty columns a year for the past forty years, which makes it around 2,000 times that I’ve mentioned La-La Land. So some of you old-timers can give this one a pass: Here we are in the grip of a sexual counterrevolution, with stories of abuse and harassment being believed and alleged abusers and harassers being thrown to the wolves without a trial. Yet at the same time, Hollywood chooses to go all-out for a movie by the name of Call Me by Your Name, the story of a 24-year-old man seducing an underage 17-year-old boy and the love affair that follows. I haven’t seen it (nor do I plan to), but I could not avoid reading about it and hearing the usual suspects going ape over it.
In other words, doing it with a youngster of the same sex is okay, but undressing and being suggestive in front of a mature woman is not, especially if she’s an aspiring thespian. It’s okay if it’s gay, is the obvious motto. But then what about a great actor like Kevin Spacey? (I know, Rod Liddle covered it two weeks ago, but still.) Without him, House of Cards is House of Crap, even if the divine Robin Wright, whom I once tried to steal a kiss from, is on it.
Hollywood’s false and wrong values continue to reverberate throughout our culture. These values have corrupted our sensibilities and have blighted our souls. They have made the bad guys look good and the good ones look very, very bad. Looking through recent American contributions to culture, I find only nihilistic impulses and bogus rhetoric about liberation and other very tired subjects. After Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, and Larry McMurtry, the last two still very much with us, I cannot read American novels. Or phonies like Susan Sontag, a provider of nonstop nonsense and radical-chic attitudes. Give me Jerry Lee Lewis any day, the great pianist/singer who married a 13-year-old and when visiting London and asked her age by intrusive British hacks, answered, “Thirteen and a few weeks, and she’s mah first cousin.” That’s what I love about America, not our highly praised cultural heroes of the ’60s but the blue-collar workers in the South of the country—in other words, the deplorables.