“Scumbags and superstars/ Tell me your names
I’ll make a bet, you’re/ Both the same.”
~Talking Heads, “Lifetime Piling Up”
A Mirrored Fun House
Of course, Harvey Weinstein’s behavior can only have been an “open secret” in Hollywood, a popular oxymoron referring to something insiders are aware of, and aware enough not to talk to outsiders about. Weinstein has worked and/or partied with just about every major Hollywood player alive, and Matt Damon & Russell Crowe were even named as “enablers” who helped kill an earlier exposé on Weinstein. Damon, along with other Weinstein bedfellows such as George Clooney and Ben Affleck, are of course now denying all knowledge and putting their acting skills to maximum use in expressing shock and outrage at every opportunity. This raises the question, on which side of the screen is the more fantastic fiction unfolding? Movie fans and celebrity worshipers (that’s us) have always been fascinated by the lives of the rich and famous, even when they were being artfully airbrushed to appear squeaky clean and exemplary or endearingly hell-raising. How much more so now the cracks are beginning to show?
The Patron Saint of Sociopaths
Meanwhile, Weinstein’s “defense” opens the floodgates for a whole new paradigm: praise the sinners, for only through sin does grace come into the world.
Weinstein could be seen as a follower of Rabbi Sabbatai Zevi, who declared himself the Messiah in 1666. Zevi proclaimed that redemption was available through acts of sin and he amassed a following of over one million passionate believers, about half the world’s Jewish population during the 17th century. The shift from total sinner into the new messiah figure was certainly rapid for serial predator Weinstein. But this shouldn’t take us by surprise. Weinstein’s regard for himself as a ‘martyr for social change’ is consistent with Tikun Olam – the misguided Jewish belief that it is down to the Jews to repair the world.
I guess we are witnessing a radical shift in the world of criminal defence. Jeffrey Epstein could just claim that in retrospective, he helped to raise awareness of child prostitution. Israel can say in its defence that its history of crimes against humanity made it into a martyr for social justice proving how lethal choseness and chosenism are. But, could Jimmy Saville do the same? What about Stalin? Let us push it even further, could Hitler apply the same strategy in his defence? Is he eligible to become an anti racism martyr? I’ll let you ponder that one… (Gilad Atzmon)
Ann Diamond first made me aware of Zevi when she talked about how Leonard Cohen was fascinated by him. Maybe he is the patron saint of superstar scumbags?
Hollywood House of Cards
Then of course there’s the Kevin Spacey affair. 15 men have now leveled charges against Keyser Söze of sexual assault, including journalist Heather Unruh, filmmaker Tony Montana, actor Roberto Cavazos, Richard Dreyfuss’ son Harry (!), and eight people who worked on House of Cards. Spacey has been fired from House of Cards and a Gore Vidal biopic he starred in (as Vidal) from Netflix is being shelved. As happens, Vidal is a known sexual predator, as already discussed in Occult Yorkshire. Spacey was also due to appear in Ridley Scott’s biographical film All the Money in the World as industrialist J. Paul Getty, but has now been replaced by Christopher Plummer. Spacey is in the process of being blanked out; maybe in the future, “being spacied” will become an expression in the entertainment echelons?
Spacey’s childhood backstory has been filled in, however, somewhat sensationally as always, by the Daily Mail: Spacey’s older brother claims their father was a Nazi and that he, the elder, was raped by him as a child. A few years back,the Mail also reported that Spacey
attends political conferences – New Labour’s, naturally, where he once turned up as a friend of Bill Clinton when the former president made a keynote address. But it is his relationship with another political figure that has raised eyebrows among the chattering classes. Sources say Peter Mandelson and Spacey have been friends for five years. Indeed, Mandelson – who was famously ‘outed’ by former MP Matthew Parris on Newsnight in 1998 – enjoys regular dinners with the star whenever they are both in London.
(Mandelson is linked to my own family, and his name comes up quite a bit in connection to organized child sexual abuse in the UK.)
Some people are naturally asking whether removing all traces of Kevin Spacey from the celebrity roster is a valid way to address the problem of his behaviors (which, let’s face it, are relatively innocuous), much less their implications. But then this is the same culture that wanted to change the title of the second Lord of the Rings movie (The Two Towers) after 9-11, to protect its citizens from painful memories; or more accurately, to remove any negative associations in their minds with the product being sold. So this sort of reaction is to be expected.
Inevitably, a roster of movie personalities have been piping up with their two cents on Weinstein and Spacey. Woody Allen denied all knowledge of Weinstein’s behavior and warned about a Hollywood witch-hunt. After he was trashed on social media, he rapidly backpedaled by calling Weinstein “a sad sick man.”
Tom Hanks said this in The Independent: “Sure there were people who knew exactly what was going on.” And: “[Weinstein’s] name will become a noun and a verb. It will become an identifying moniker for a state of being for which there was a before and an after.”
Jeff Bridges to Variety: “Talk about facing your fear, he’s gotta face his demons now. I wish him the best of luck with that, he needs to lean in and really face those things.”
Meryl Streep: “The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.” (Our watchdog media? Seriously?)
Bryon Cranston went on record calling Spacey “not a very good person” and opined that his “career now I think is over.” A few days later, he was asked if there is a way back for Hollywood figures accused of sexual harassment or assault. “Maybe so,” he said: with time, society’s forgiveness, and a “tremendous contrition on their part.”
Susan Sarandon commented on Spacey by stressing that “the unfortunate thing is that he somehow tried to mix the idea of pedophilia and homosexuality, as if they had anything to do with each other.”
Having emphasized this point (which is debatable) over all others, she added optimistically, “People have a short memory,” by which she meant that Spacey might be able to salvage his career in time. Then: “it couldn’t happen if it weren’t protected. . . hopefully those days are over because everyone’s discussing it.” (I wonder what happened to her point about people’s short memories? I guess she forgot it already.)
An Unseen Iceberg & Invisible Tipping Point (Homosexuality, Hebephilia, Pedophilia, What’s the Diff?)
Spacey has more recently been accused of showing pornography to a 16-year old. This is all very sleazy and sad, but is it ipso facto deviant behavior? I mean, compared to what everyone in Hollywood, and just about everywhere else these days, is doing? Do 16-year-olds really need sleazy and corrupt movie stars to lure them into this stuff, when they are gorging on a whole culture designed to do just that? In some ways, exaggerating the gravity of these peccadilloes, and referring to Spacey (as Sarandon and one of his victims did) as a pedophile, may even present a bigger problem than the kind of behaviors being described.
If wanting to have sex with a fourteen-year-old makes someone a pedophile, by this definition, there’s probably not a sexually active person alive who, given the right circumstances, wouldn’t fit the bill and find themselves “beyond the social pale.” At the risk of appearing to be a pedo-apologist (I am not), we are biologically programmed to want to have sex with pubescents—that’s what pubescence is for! The moral code of society has no regard for biological imperatives, however, which makes it out of touch with reality and thereby creates the perfect breeding ground for actual deviants. Technically, a desire for pubescents is known as hebephilia, and whether or not it is a pathology, and whatever the moral implications may be, it is not the same as the desire to have sex with prepubescent children. Since both are equally illegal, however (at least in some parts of the world), they tend to get lumped together as a single vice. The problem with this ought to be apparent to anyone who is able to think about it and not merely reacting emotionally. If Spacey—or whoever—is condemned by society as a pedophile, when his sins actually correspond with a far less unusual—and even a biologically standard—predilection, then a whole lot of people are going to feel sympathy for this “pedophile,” even if they are too afraid to express it. Pedophilia then becomes a much less clear-cut problem—it becomes something closer to what homosexuality once was: a socially condemned sexual preference that is assumed to be pathological and harmful, but that is so widely practiced that, eventually, we will have to seriously rethink our ideas about the parameters of consensual sex in order not to demonize a whole social set of people.
The same is true of Weinstein, when sexual harassment—or couching cast methods—become akin to rape, an awful lot of undisciplined men may start to feel like rapists—or at least that they are in danger of being accused of it, if they express any sort of testosterone at all. After Weinstein was busted, several other people came forward making accusations about “sexual misconduct.” A woman who was a 17-year-old production assistant on the 1985 film adaptation of Death of a Salesman claimed that Dustin Hoffman “was openly flirtatious, he grabbed my ass, he talked about sex to me and in front of me.” From this, we can reasonably deduce that Hoffman is a bit of an asshole. How is this news rather than gossip? Because the context is the most deadly serious one imaginable: organized, systematic sexual abuse in the entertainment industry. So on the one hand, accounts like this are the tip of an iceberg that could sink Hollywood and even society as we know it. On the other hand, if they are not seen as such or contextualized with the necessary deep background, if the focus is on individual behaviors and not the system that creates them, they are just floating flotsam, trivialities.
I suspect that this is all part of the program. Orchestrate an organized overreaction and you can create a corresponding upswell of the opposite, namely, of unspoken (even unconscious) sympathy for the damned. Over time, the Spaceys and Weinsteins become victims of unjust social condemnation— martyrs. This is exactly the way pedophiles once tried to represent themselves back in the 1970s. The time wasn’t ripe back then and, at a surface glance, it would seem to be even less ripe now. But might that only be because we are still on the blind side of a tipping point?
Elite Hollywood Pedophiles Control America: Or Someone Wants Us to Think They Do
Comedian Louis C.K, also accused of repeat sexual misconduct, is now undergoing “spaceyfication.” On November 9, 2017, The New York Times reported that five women (including two fellow comedians) accused C.K. of asking them to watch or listen to him masturbate. The distributor of C.K.’s film I Love You Daddy, The Orchard, canceled the New York premiere of the film due to “unexpected circumstances.” His scheduled next-day appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert was also canceled. HBO dropped C.K.’s appearance on an upcoming Night of Too Many Stars autism television special, and removed his 2013 stand-up special Oh My God and his 2006 sitcom Lucky Louie from their on-demand services. The Guardian ran a piece yesterday called “If you laugh at Louis CK now, you’re accepting his worldview.” (Call it post-Savile remorse.)
The celebrity-turned-deviant syndrome is rather like the Midas -touch: when everything you touch turns to gold, pretty soon you wind up killing everything. Nothing to see here, folks. Any resemblance between sexual predators and celebrity superstars is entirely coincidental.
On the other hand, perhaps more encouragingly, all of this has inevitably been emboldening others to speak up. Such as Corey Feldman, who in his 2013 memoir, Coreyography, wrote: “The No. 1 problem in Hollywood was, and is, and always will be pedophilia.” Feldman claimed that his co-star Corey Haim was raped at age 11 by a high-level movie industry player (or players), and that this contributed to Haim’s addiction and early death. Feldman dropped a lot of hints about who was responsible, as reported by Radar Online last year, without ever naming names. The perpetrator “has children of his own” but “behind the family-man facade is an evil monster who has led an extraordinarily twisted double-life.” “The ‘kingpin’ of a child sex ring . . . a household name and revered by millions around the globe he “systematically abused [Haim] as a young boy, both on-and-off set, in their trailers and at parties attended by other A-List actors.”
Now Feldman, back on mission, is trying to raise $10 million via crowd-sourcing to make a (fictional) movie about Pedo-Hollywood, as a way to get the truth out there…? (Or to resurrect his career?) [Edit: Ferldman has named a couple of names, but none of them are close to being household ones: actor and assistant John Grissom, child talent manager (and convicted sex offender) Marty Weiss, and club owner Alphy Hoffman.]
Meanwhile, although he doesn’t fit the original description (of super-powerful Hollywood family man, or even A-list actor), Charlie Sheen has been named (though not openly by Feldman) as The Perp:
New allegations have emerged about a 13-year-old Corey Haim being raped by Charlie Sheen while filming the 1986 movie Lucas
Former actor Dominick Brascia alleges that Haim told him about his incident with Sheen and that a 19-year-old Sheen rejected him after their encounter
Corey Feldman, Haim’s closest friend, wrote in his memoir about Haim being sodomized on the set of Lucas but never named Sheen. (Link)
Feldman isn’t alone in calling Hollywood a hunting ground for pedophiles: Elijah Wood made similar claims in 2016, only to retract them the following day.
“Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organized. There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind.” This was followed by: “I have no firsthand experience or observation of the topic, so I cannot speak with any authority beyond articles I have read and films I have seen.”
While clicking around YouTube this week, I noticed that Justin Bieber allegedly made a similar claim this August: Justin Bieber: Pedophiles Run The ‘Evil’ Music Industry. According to Snopes, this is a fake news story, as is the one about Katy Perry, and this one: Brad Pitt: ‘Elite Hollywood Pedophiles Control America.’ The Brad Pitt piece (from June 2017) was the first result when I did a Google search for “Hollywood pedophilia,” and it certainly got my attention. But it turns out the site, Neon Nettle, is probably as close to a genuine “Fake News!“” (TM) disinfo site as you can get, meaning it’s probably (IMHO) intel.-run. Yet it also has current pieces about Spacey and I presume other legit scandals, thereby blurring the line between true disclosures (of high-level power abuses in the entertainment industry) and fake, or at least unsubstantiated ones.
This is inevitably going to have a jading effect on people. Those who are drawn to this stuff because it excites them won’t care too much, since they believe it all anyway. (There are even people applauding these fake news stories because they are exposing the truth by telling lies!) The people who are repelled by stories of this sort because it depresses them will probably stop looking. Since it’s getting harder and harder to tell truth from fabrication, it becomes easier and easier to assume it’s all exaggerated anyway. What if Brad Pitt came out and said something about pedophiles in Hollywood now? It would be like the next time Sylvester Stallone dies. “Didn’t he die (twice) already?” Shrug. “Who cares, dude. He’s just a reptilian hologram.”
Fake charges of this sort would also discourage people from speaking out, since they can’t be sure their testimonies won’t get drowned in a sea of bogus claims. This would be especially true of the more extreme claims, which even at the best of times are almost impossible for people (the ones outside the second matrix of conspiratainment) to believe.
Inside the Videodrome
“I think of ideologies as fragmentary mythologies, that’s where they get their archetypal and psychological power.” ~Jordan Peterson:
There’s also been a recent resurrection of Crispin Glover’s infamous 2000 essay “What is It,” calling Steven Spielberg a pedophile (the essay first appeared in Feral House’s Apocalypse Culture II). As rumors go, this one has legs. There was a 2010 episode of Seth MacFarlane’s animated TV show, “American Dad” entitled “May the Best Stan Win,” with a sequence satirizing The Goonies (the Spielberg-produced movie starring Corey Feldman). At one point the director character, “Ira Siegel,” who resembles Steven Spielberg, grabs a child actor from behind and mimics having anal sex with him.
Then, beyond rumor but strictly in the realm of (tenuous) circumstantial evidence, there’s the online transcript of Spielberg, Lucas, and scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan brainstorming Raiders of the Lost Ark (talking about Marion’s character):
George: I was thinking that this old guy could have been his mentor. He could have known this little girl when she was just a kid. Had an affair with her when she was eleven.
Larry: And he was forty-two.
G: He hasn’t seen her in twelve years. Now she’s twenty-two. It’s a real strange relationship.
Steven: She had better be older than twenty-two.
G: He’s thirty-five, and he knew her ten years ago when he was twenty-five and she was only twelve.
G: It would be amusing to make her slightly young at the time.
S: And promiscuous. She came onto him.
After this Lucas and co. dial the girl’s age back to fifteen and agree that it will only be implicit in the film, never stated. In the end, they cast an actress only nine years younger than Ford, but some residue of this “outrageous” idea remains in the finished film, in the scene where Marion slaps Indy and says, “I was a child!” His response: “You knew what you were doing!”
For the record, Corey Feldman had this to say to Hollywood Reporter about Spielberg : “a great man and he was always very kind to me, and we always had a great rapport. Even recently when I’ve seen him, he is still the same guy. He hasn’t changed. I love Steven, great guy.”
Considerably more disturbing is the rumor currently circulating that Heather O’ Rourke, the child actress who played Carrie Ann in Poltergeist (the young girl who gets trapped inside a TV set) died as a result of repeated sexual abuses when she was only 12. There’s currently no way to ascertain the validity of these rumors, but whether it’s being manufactured or not, a picture is starting to emerge.
The Apostles of Tolerance, or The Immanentizers of the Eschaton
“Like all propagandists, the apostles of tolerance, truth to tell, are very often the most intolerant of men. This is in fact what happened, and it is strangely ironical: those who wished to overthrow all dogma have created for their own use, we will not say a new dogma, but a caricature of a dogma, which they have succeeded in imposing [on the western world in general]; in this way there have been established, under the pretext of ‘freedom of thought,’ the most chimerical beliefs that have ever been seen at any time, under the form of … different idols.” ~René Guénon, East & West (Frontpiece to Ideology of Tyranny by Guido Preparata)
I was thinking recently (after listening to this podcast) about the tendency some people have to dismiss alleged events because they don’t believe in the motives of those involved. This is quite bizarre if you think about it, as if not believing in Satan means not believing in Satanists. Maybe it has to do with how much we identify with our own beliefs, to the point that we feel like we don’t quite exist without them. Ergo, we can’t really believe anyone could believe anything different to us, and if they do, they are deluded and don’t quite exist for us…. I think this principle may be being consciously exploited by the followers (figurative or literal) of Sabbatai Zevi, to stay with the above (admittedly extreme) example. Associating Weinstein with Mossad makes him distinctly sinister. Suggesting he is part of a Satanic cult, to some people at least, makes him seem a bit quaint.
On the other hand, there may be something to not believing that people believe what they appear (or claim) to believe, because they may very well not believe it, and only want us to think they do. There are many levels to fragmentary narratives, and those who create ideologies do not themselves necessarily adhere to them. In fact, not believing in them may be essential to using them against others. Do movie stars worship one another? Do they believe in the cult of celebrity? It seems about as likely as the CIA believing their own propaganda.
We shouldn’t doubt that ideologies can be (and are being) manufactured as a way to create false narratives. These false narratives are created to force our perceptions and insights to conform to them, rendering them (and us) distorted and dysfunctional. Social control begins with perception management, and perception management is about coercing people to believe things that are untrue and perceive things that are not real so they will act in ways that are, essentially, insane. This process is one I have called cultural engineering and it is similar to how (I imagine) irrigation works: by creating grooves that guarantee water will flow in certain patterns. In this case, the water = people’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. The grooves are ideological narratives embedded in (and spread by) culture. As to what’s being irrigated, presumably a Garden of Earthly Delights that is open only to the Unholy Elite.
The worship of stars, combined with the desire to join them, or at least get close to them, is fueled by an archetypal longing. Such feelings of religiosity (since they pertain to the long view) are unequaled as motivational tools. People’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are massively more charged (more invested) when they are triggered by fears and hopes around the eternal. Fame is the modernist/postmodern equivalent (the best we can summon in a secular age) of immortality, and the desire for immortality is always going to be sourced in primal, preverbal modes of being. It moves from (and pulls us into) unconscious, archetypal, and infantile perceptual (and affective) realms. Fragmented mythologies.
As ever, divide and conquer seems to be the principal at work here. That part of predictive programming, at least, is fairly predictable. As I mapped with Seen and Not Seen, these archetypal ideological narratives go so far back, and run so deep in us, that our sense of identity depends on sticking to them. That degree of prior investment means we will fight to defend these fragmentary myths even when they are killing us ~ or preventing us from living. We are like the protagonists of a movie, heroes on a revenge mission who, in any other context (a real one), would have no choice but to see ourselves as psychopaths. Over time, it is like turning up the heat in a lobster pot: the storyline (the ideological narrative of “Hollywood”) becomes increasingly outré and irrational, until eventually it jumps the shark altogether, taking our previously invested identities along for the ride. Kansas has gone bye-bye.
As I see it, with the Scumbag-Superstar archetypal dyad, there are two ideological narratives currently being pitted against each other in the public mind. First up, there is our cultural indoctrination that tells us that certain behaviors are unacceptable and must be punished. The sexual harassment of women (Weinstein) is not just politically incorrect, it is morally abhorrent to us. Ditto drunken advances on an adolescent boy by a horny movie star (Spacey), or masturbating in front of female fans without their spoken consent (Louis C.K). While these may be minor peccadilloes compared to the systematized rape, torture, and murder of children (or what allegedly happened to Heather O’Conner, or to Corey Haim), there is a general consensus of opinion that these behaviors are wrong and that anyone who practices them is unworthy of our respect, much less our adoration. Ergo, those who behave thus are to be removed immediately from positions of power and influence, for our own protection. While we are at it, they are to be excised from our chosen forms of entertainment—since being reminded of them will only sour our experience and make it unpalatable to us. And then what would be do in the evening?
Calling Spacey or Weinstein “scapegoats” might seem odd here. The word implies innocence and there’s no reason to assume they are innocent. It may even be rash to suggest they are relatively innocent compared to more high-power, untouchable Hollywood personalities, since we don’t know the extent of their crimes, only what is coming out in the news. Normally, a scapegoat is selected (usually unconsciously) as a means to unify a group in agreement about a person’s guilt. The solidarity of condemnation brings with it a declaration of innocence: those who accuse the guilty also affirm their own innocence. This depends on the scapegoat already being an outsider, as in the case of Osama Bin Laden.
So what happens when the guilty party is an insider, in a social set in which the majority are themselves complicit with the crimes? (This is even true, to some degree, in the case of the older victims, aspiring actors who went along with sexual advances in order to advance.) Whether we are talking of complicity in terms of looking the other way and saying nothing or of committing similar or worse acts, or all of the above, the condemnation is of one of their own—or at least is a failure to defend one of their own. It is like a pack of animals throwing the runt of the litter to the wolves so as to make their own getaway. In fact, wild animals will even devour the weakest in the pack when food is limited, because a pack is only as strong as its healthiest member.
What I am saying is that, in cases such as Spacey, Louis C.K., or Weinstein, the moral condemnation from Hollywood is merely a strategy. It has nothing at all do to with genuine distaste or outrage at their behaviors—on the contrary. It is necessary precisely because these behaviors are practiced, or at least known about, by the majority in that community. Condemnation signals to those outside the community that the community is self-policing and that, consequently, such behaviors are not the norm.
If people believe the Damons and the Clooneys when they express shock and outrage at the Weinsteins and the Spaceys, it is not only because they want to: they need to. It is not only Hollywood insiders who cannot bear for the Dream Industry to end. If the process of accounting continues for too long, who else might be redacted from the Pantheon? And what would be left of our nightly rituals then? What becomes of the worshipers when all of the idols are fallen?
This is the second ideological narrative that, I believe, is currently being pitted against the first: the morally neutral narrative that creates superstars, social heroes, gods and goddesses in human form, that raises them up as paragons of social achievement and as role models who give our lives higher meaning and purpose. Only one of these narratives can win out, so which are we more invested in? If the role models we have created as the basis for identification and mimesis are acting in ways our moral conditioning tells us are reprehensible, what then? Either we lose our idols and, in the end, the entire value system that raised them up; or we have to radically rethink our ideas about what is morally acceptable behavior.
This is a classic double bind. At base of it, I think, is the fact that our social values about what constitutes success—what count as desirable and meaningful life goals—are inherently at odds with our human values, our morals, our beliefs about what makes us good people. We desperately want to be (seen as) good people, but we feel incapable of it. To help us achieve (some sense of) goodness, we elect leaders—we create “stars” to guide us—to embody an idea of goodness which we can navigate by. We both adore and emulate our icons because doing so allows us to feel better about ourselves. Yet the power we bestow on these “gods” is the same power that we have disowned out of fear we would abuse it. It is the strategy of a helpless child who takes a submissive position in the hope of being rewarded, or at least avoiding worse punishment, after years of abuse. Naturally these false “gods”—our surrogate parents and siblings—abuse the power we give them by acting out all the worst aspects of ourselves. By accepting all our childlike projections and being “illuminated” by them, they also take on our shadows: the very qualities we are most afraid to see in ourselves. Hence we get the gods—and the world—we deserve.
A Secret Covenant
The good news is that all of this is pointing to the roots of our predicament. It is not human nature that is irredeemably “bad,” it is our social condition(ing). We have been enculturated and indoctrinated to believe the fundamental lie of a hierarchical, cryptocratic abuse culture, namely, that those who achieve wealth, power, and status in our world are also (like the guests of the Overlook) “all the best people.” This overarching ideological tyranny is like a secret covenant between the masses and those who rule them. The elite pretend to be shining light upon us, and we pretend to believe in that light because it means we won’t ever have to see, or own up to, our own darkness. The house of cards can then stay intact.
In 2017, how many people still believe in the light (the virtue) of our political leaders? Even many people who supported Hillary Clinton (my cousin among them) admitted that she was really just the lesser of two evils, thereby acknowledging it was only their idea of Trump’s “evil” that made Hillary “good” (desirable). It is like in Western movies when villains take over the town and the people call on a violent man who doesn’t belong there, because he is the only one who can save the community. These are the myths Americans are weaned on, and like the devil, they were murderous from the beginning.
Entertainment celebrities—stars—may represent our last bastion of belief in our culture as something benign. Artists, musicians, filmmakers, movie stars: surely they can be trusted? Wasn’t it our love that made them great, that gave them their divine status in the first place?! Wasn’t it our ability to recognize their goodness that bestowed them with worldly status? This is another foundational lie of culture; the gods aren’t gods because we love them; we love them because they are gods. They elected themselves by exploiting, by occupying, the hole, the wound, in our hearts and souls.
Deep down, I think we know it was a willingness to align with power—not talent, and certainly not virtue—that raised these individuals to a higher plateau. And vice versa, I think we intuit that the real reward of quasi-divine social status—what makes it so desirable—is in the same perks and privileges of alignment. Worldly power is not a means, it is an end.
In a culture that rewards ruthlessness and charisma over virtue, we are naturally, however unconsciously, drawn to emulate ruthlessness and charisma. We mistake expressions of power for indications of virtue. Because it feels good (safe) to be close to (or aligned with) power, we mistake power for goodness. Behind this is an infant programming: whatever we have to do to signal that we are one with the pack, to escape being cast to the wolves, is what we will do. Because the alternative is the most frightening thing there is. It may also be the one way through, and out, the nightmare hall of mirrors.
As we begin to see what the stars really are—diamond-hard sociopaths whose success depends on the artful simulation of goodness—our first reaction is to want to condemn them. (This is what happened for me with the spiritual teacher John de Ruiter, as documented elsewhere.) Yet not only are we the products of the same culture, it is a culture that these “gods” have made with our support. Consequently, we can’t help but aspire for wealth, power, fame, influence, and social status, even against our conscious will, because, what else is on offer? When the Hollywood bell rings, we salivate. Yet since we know there is no nourishment in an empty sound, we intuit that there must be some hidden benefit on offer, known only to those who attain the godly plateau. So we are drawn into the maze.
This is the dark side of celebrity culture, and if it is being revealed to us now, presumably that is because, one way or another, we are ready to start seeing it. So what are we to do, as we begin to see that our ideas about morality are insufficient to comprehend, much less enjoy, the lifestyles of the rich and powerful? How can we continue to imitate our gods when we are being culturally signaled to condemn them? What comes out of, or enters into, such a profound schism in our most deeply embedded, value-based identities?
At some point, we have to choose. Either we admit that our gods are fickle, cruel, and unworthy of our worship, and are faced with a godless universe in which everything we have striven to achieve and used to keep us happy no longer holds meaning. This path is not for the faint of heart: it entails moving consciously towards, and into, a terrifying abyss. To the encultured self, it looks like being trapped inside a TV set, with no more programming, only endless snow, forever. An eternity of (cultural) emptiness.
The second choice is far worse, even if (I suspect) it presents the line of least resistance to most people. It is this: we continue to believe in our icons. We slowly accept that they live and operate inside a higher sphere of existence to us, just as we have always suspected, and that their behaviors are ultimately incomprehensible to us. Gradually we make the transition from believing that they are unfit for worship to deciding that we are unfit to judge them. Faced with the realization that it is not their goodness that bestows on them their power, we begin to accept what we unconsciously believed all along: that their power makes them good. When a movie star plays the villain, he is still very much the hero to us.
It is a small step from here to believing Weinstein’s one-size-fits-all defense: That they are martyrs to our own ignorance and condemnation. Since we have given them the power they have abused, who is accountable for the abuses, if not us? They create the culture, they make the laws, and they set the standards of behavior. Their role is to define what is good. Even when they commit what we see as atrocities, we remain hardwired to look to them for leadership—why else would we want to hear what movie stars have to say about endemic sexual abuse in Hollywood? This is the price of power? So be it. Alignment with the inhuman comes at a cost—our humanity. But when it comes to keeping at bay the abyss of an empty screen—the total and irrevocable loss of cultural identity—maybe this is a cost some people are willing to pay? We worship the noise because we have been entrained to hear it as a signal. We let the television take us to the other side.
It is the oldest social contract there is: For the ultimate gain, ultimate sacrifice is required.
 There is some confusion over whether Feldman is fingering out an actor or a producer, or both. According to anonymous source: ‘Pedophile #1: A current Hollywood producer who molested Haim at age 11, ran a pedophile ring, and had the power to render people silent out of fear. Haim’s abuse at the hands of this person was ongoing. This powerful pedophile is “one of the most recognizable faces in the industry,” “has children of his own,” and maintains a “family-man facade.” He is also referred to as a “household name and revered by millions around the globe.” Pedophile #2: At the end of the Radar article, there is an actor discussed who molested Haim LATER when Haim was in his mid-teens, separate and apart from Haim’s abuse as a child: “The identity of the A-List individual at the center of Haim’s second nightmarish abuse occurred when he was in his mid-teens.” TWO people. The A-list actor is NOT the family man referred to and is not the ringleader.’
29 thoughts on “Scumbags and Superstars: Hollywood Predators & the Dark Side of Celebrity Culture”
For the actual shit that goes on see ‘Thanks for the Memories’ by Brice Taylor
I have rewritten the last section, “A Secret Covenant.” It was rushed and needed work. Apologies for jumping the gun. My most consistent sin is over-enthusiasm.
. “They elected themselves by exploiting, by occupying, the hole, the wound, in our hearts and souls.” I think this also applies to the sense of Self. Most people are codependent and their sense of Self is external, their inner world being empty it’s quickly occupied by the stronger self possessed personality.
I recollect as a child seeing the Freddie Kruger movie for the first time and then taping butter knives to my fingers immediately afterwards.
Yes that’s another strong angle to take, I hope implied by my piece. Celebrity worship as a sort of voluntary possession. Which is also what celebrities themselves do: let themselves be taken over as vehicles for the culture. Hence when we imitate them, it creates an infinity loop for psychic fragments or tulpas to replicate indefinitely
Interesting looking blog, happy you showed up here.
Ever decreasing circles of self possession, hmm interesting – How many levels of externalized sense of self would one have to extricate themselves from before they tip the scales towards the inner sense of self.
I now imagine a world from a different perspective where celebs are not measured in cash wealth but in how many personas their “Self” can squat inside of.
like gods grow bigger according to how many subjects they can “gobble.”
I like what you have re written. As I read it I kept thinking how the cult of celebrity is a shalllow facsimile of the cult of Greek gods and goddesses. You have described it all so beautifully. I could never really wrap my head around the appeal of the god/goddess phenom but I get it now. And yes when we worship something non human we deny our own humanity. Thx Jasun.
Succinctly put, mc.
When child sex isn’t rape: French to set age of consent
By The Associated Press
PARIS — Nov 14, 2017, 5:24 PM ET
A technologically facilitated process spanning decades in which the Abrahamic faiths are supplanted by these new distorted archetypes , press ganged into service of global transnational capitalism. The trouble for the controllers is that these archetypes are quite organic and their attempts to subvert them are likely to be filled with delightfully unpredictable unintended consequences.
Keeping them on their toes and forcing them to learn new tricks. :/
Really enjoyed the post.
One thought regarding the choice you present:
If you imagine a society unfolding, in which the Elite gods continue to be revered, there is some overlap with a major memetic current running through our culture. In such a world, the acceptance that the world is a place where some people just live in a different stratosphere, beyond the limitations of our everyday lives, mirrors the transhumanist fantasy in which those with means will be able to achieve a radically new kind of existence. I have yet to hear from a transhumanist who believes this celestial future will have room for all 8 billion people on the planet to take part in it. If it is ever available, it will be available to those with means, the remaining doomed to be the last batch of the human species as we ascend to new heights. Isn’t this the reason that transhumanism and individualism/libertarianism seem to come in the same package?
“Gradually we make the transition from believing that they are unfit for worship to deciding that we are unfit to judge them. Faced with the realization that it is not their goodness that bestows on them their power, we begin to accept what we unconsciously believed all along: that their power makes them good. ”
For the technocratic elites who push the progressive transhumanist vision, wouldn’t it be convenient to have the majority of the population accepting that unconscious belief that you describe. It might be the only way to pull off a transition to the posthuman future, leaving so many behind.
I had typed up a bunch more regarding the worship of Silicon Valley titans as gods in the same fashion, but I lost it all.
Interestingly, there have been several well-regarded tech bigwigs or entrepreneur types that have been thrown to the wolves in recent months a la Weinstein. Not sure if these make it into any major news, but some are quite well-known amongst tech enthusiasts (Robert Scoble for example). This is in addition to the more widely published stories focused on the plight of women at Uber and Google.
Perun: doesnt everyone desire to live in a world with less people who are more simpatico? maybe because we never had the original tribal/family experience that made us feel at home in our bodies and world?
Interesting fork in the road at the end. Either face a godless empty universe, which seems unlikely given our programming. Or “Gradually we make the transition from believing that they are unfit for worship to deciding that we are unfit to judge them.” It’s difficult to imagine where this path would lead…. Strip away some necessary illusions of a power structure (and take apart yourself) then it requires some real imagination to build a new engine for moving forward… A lot of disorientation in the works.
Perun, fascinating the transhumanism angle. I’ve definitely noticed the transhumanist/libertarian package (Peter Thiel probably the biggest example) and wondered what the plan is for the rest of us poor dears in the post-human future. And i wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is a purge of more tech titans in the coming year. Silicon Valley’s more of a boys club than Hollywood… Would love to hear more on the tech gods.
Gib: I don’t think we can imagine it. Isn’t this techno-narcissistic dystopia the result of trauma-fueled human imagination that reaches always out and away from our centers?
Can we imagine being at home in such a world because our orientation is 100% on the inner/eternal that is in but not of the world?
Ongoing discussion on The Problem of Conspiratainment:
Jasun, I suspect you are right about that. I think that the desire to live in a world with less people might even be one of modern man’s defining traits. It seems like everyone is either in the way or competing with you.
Perhaps if you go back several hundred (or even thousand) years to before the explosive population growth took off you would see a different picture. I think it is unlikely that many suffered from the alienation and depersonalization rampant today. And since they relied on other human beings for their day to day needs rather than the systems that we have today, we could speculate that they may have felt more at home despite the terrors that lurked in the dark.
Meant to be a reply to your comment, Jasun. My mistake
Yeah, scumbags …. but isn’t there always two sides to every story, especially complex issues like this?
For one thing, women have been selling their booty to advance their careers and/or pocketbooks since the beginning of time. Prostitution existing before casting call directors. And so did marrying for money.
Regarding young girls, again it’s complex. If you are a caring, present, and intelligent father, you can help your daughter avoid predators … for the most part … no? And if your 14 year old daughter is groped while playing poker with middle-aged men on a Friday night at 2 am, the father is to blame. But to add even more complexity, I doubt that in most sexual abuse cases the girl has been abused for the first time by someone OUTSIDE the family. Probably 99 times out of 100, and someone please do some research on this if you can! …. the father or someone within the family (ie uncle, grandfather), someone that the family would NEVER suspect, got their paws on said victim of abuse … and then the abuse is merely being “re-enacted” in the outside world. Having had somewhat abusive parenting myself, not sexual abuse (at least not that I am consciously aware of), after many effed-up repeating scenarios in my life, I learned that we sub-consciously re-enact childhood wounds. So it is my belief that most harm comes to children through abusive parenting, either outright abuse or neglect. Not the Weinsteins of the world.
Absolutely; & ironically and a bit creepily, this fact, if fact it is, strengthens the superstar-scumbags’ case for being martyrs to a cause.
Sorry, maybe I haven’t read enough of your work, but I am not sure what cause you are referring to. I can guess, I suppose. But I would prefer that you elaborate please.
It’s implicit in your comment above, which rightly points out the correlation between adult predations and the blind compulsion to heal childhood trauma, as being what magnetizes predator & victim in an unconscious & repeating re-enactment drama. So then the Weinsteins and the Saviles of the world can claim that they are not only healing themselves but also their victims by subjecting them to abuses, as if in some dark shamanic initiation theater. The rationale collapses when the victims are small children however.
Jasun my friend,
What a insightful and thought-provoking commentary you’ve laid on us with this one.
I’ve been thinking so many similar thought-forms lately; so many manifestations are coming at us from so many different directions, but all seemingly from the same wellspring. Disclosure is becoming a two-edged sword of both illumination and deliberate distraction, but at the end of the road lies the plain truth that the greater mass of people have been pushed far enough, and breaking points are spilling over into the red zones of frustration and community action on levels both psychic and physical — this far and no farther. No amount of “witch hunt” calling is going to put the righteous indignation back in the bottle at this point. Unfortunately, to think that the Overlords are going to go gently into whatever fate awaits them without one last major pushback I think is naive at best — after all, we’re talking hundreds of years of institutionalized atrocity and mayhem masquerading as normality in an uber control system of vast proportions.
We are living in ground shaking, California burning, monetary-system upending times that I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. Literally EVERYTHING is up for reappraisal, reassessment, and reconstruction, from banks to organized major sports to what is socially acceptable and tolerated as we try to go forward as a species. Turning a blind eye and ear to children continually being harmed, I fervently hope, is simply no longer going to be tolerated. If we relinquish the momentum and drop the ball this time, we simply deserve everything that will be coming to us, in spades.
I leave you with the always prescient words of Stanley Kubrick: “Be suspicious of people who have, or crave, power. Never, EVER, go near power. Don’t become friends with anyone who has real power. It’s dangerous.” If the majority of us had lived by, and truly taken those words to heart and action, we might have saved ourselves, and a lot of children, a lot of damage.
Keep on doin’ your thang funk soul brotha — the words are weapons. Robin (Wordman)
the funny thing about the Kubrick quote is that, by almost any criteria, Stanley Kubrick has to be ranked among the most powerful people of the 20th century.
Oh, by all means Jace; Kubrick ran in circles that were the highest of the high — which is the very reason I lend such credence to his warning — he definitely knew whereof he spoke. The fact that he held them in such utter disdain, pretty much holing up in the UK and shutting himself off from the world, I’m sure infuriated them even more when it came to his final fate, one way or the other. Clarke, Asimov, so many of the sci-fi masters, they were all a part of it or damn well sure knew what was going on at the uppermost levels…Be in touch soon…the time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things…
Compliments for a superb essay. In a more enlightened media landscape cultural commentary of this quality would be offered in better frequented and more prestigious outlets. Alas, the voice of the intelligent few who lack a “willingness to align with power” can only be found in the dark corners of the Internet.
The comparison of our celebrities with Greek gods is interesting, though Greek mythology seems more morally nuanced than the black and white ideological narratives we are getting dished up. Some of the cultural paradoxes are striking. On one hand hysterical puritanism (public pillorying of men who brushed up against a woman’s breast or bottom or made a crude, sexually aggressive remark decades ago in a misjudged moment of foolish intoxication); on the other hand, the total acceptance of pornography, sexual promiscuity (homosexual and heterosexual) and exhibitionism, and the absolute unacceptability of expressing any kind of disapproval about the sexual morality of women (and homosexuals). The double standard is glaring but utterly ignored in mainstream discourse.
It’s all for the same old purpose, of course. Divide and conquer, undermine courtship, heterosexual companionship and relationships, frustrate sexual satisfaction; stifle male initiative, creativity, fraternity; undermine community. All to weaken the family, social solidarity, territorial rootedness, and the capacity to defend resources against the global oligarchy.
Heroes is just a stroke away from herpes.
“This is a classic double bind. At base of it, I think, is the fact that our social values about what constitutes success—what count as desirable and meaningful life goals—are inherently at odds with our human values, our morals, our beliefs about what makes us good people. We desperately want to be (seen as) good people, but we feel incapable of it. To help us achieve (some sense of) goodness, we elect leaders—we create “stars” to guide us—to embody an idea of goodness which we can navigate by. We both adore and emulate our icons because doing so allows us to feel better about ourselves. Yet the power we bestow on these “gods” is the same power that we have disowned out of fear we would abuse it. It is the strategy of a helpless child who takes a submissive position in the hope of being rewarded, or at least avoiding worse punishment, after years of abuse. Naturally these false “gods”—our surrogate parents and siblings—abuse the power we give them by acting out all the worst aspects of ourselves. By accepting all our childlike projections and being “illuminated” by them, they also take on our shadows: the very qualities we are most afraid to see in ourselves. Hence we get the gods—and the world—we deserve.”
I agree and it is a profound observation (while reading this passage in my mind I saw a visual of a 3 dimensional structured system, I shall reread and see if I can draw it.)
The double bind is the most difficult aspect of complex trauma to integrate. I have read this in my research on cptsd and speak from experience.
By examining the methods as you have done artfully and compellingly here the metaphysical thought structures underpinning the system become visible
The sacrifice of the young, complicity through consent regardless of age, further complicity with every passing consumption/participation, cognitive dissonance confusion when the cracks in the surface start to appear triggering further investment, the dimming awareness of the shoreline of redemption as it drifts further the more we invest until it disappears.
A heavily loaded dice with the slimmest possible chance of escape but not zero filled with booby traps and false exits and surrounded by a wilderness of unknowing.
A lifelong hazing ritual.
An escape elicits the beginning of something totally new and different yet strangely familiar
And only on the home stretch like Dorothy in Oz do we realise all we had to do was click our heels and turn off the damn tv.
(Last sentence is somewhat tongue in cheek but only somewhat.)
I am glad you got as much as you did here; it seems you have taken the transmission inside the word-content, unpacked it, re-verbalized it, and sent it back, thereby transmogrifying the meanings into something more resonant because of being possessed of an added dimension/perspective…
I haven’t turned off the TV yet, but I am currently only watching period dramas, usually set in England. This is not out of a deliberate sacrifice but, perhaps, an organic move away from the more toxic cultural products into something less frenetic.