If you’re just now escaping from accidentally hermetically sealing yourself inside your PrepperPad 9000™ over the Labor Day weekend, I have some shocking news for you: Harvey Weinstein is a perv. I won’t relay the details because eww, but a quick search on Dogpile.com will reveal the truly gross misdeeds of a major skeev that has, for decades, preyed upon those in (or who hope to be in) his employ. Except when they’re just random ladies, of course. The scandal finally broke last week (October 5), like an orca crashing into a kiddie pool, thanks to long-gestating stories from The New York Times and The New Yorker.
What happened afterwards is exactly what anyone attuned to the pop-culture-slash-political-grievance complex would expect. There was justifiable outrage. Justifiable yet seemingly insincere outrage. Claims of Harvey’s behavior being “an open secret.” Protestations of total ignorance. Awkward silence. And the collective sense that we could all use a non-collective shower. Except Harvey managed to ruin even that analogy.
What struck me the most was those who acted surprised. Now, I don’t know Harvey Weinstein. Lucky me. But even as a fairly casual observer of Hollywood goings-on over the years, I could ascertain that he wasn’t, or isn’t, a terribly outstanding fellow or all-around righteous dude. I wasn’t necessarily judging a book by its proverbial cover mind you – I was intuiting character by what actions and attitudes I saw from the actual man. Namely, an insatiable need for awards, prestige, self-aggrandizement and power. Granted, there are numerous people who fit this same profile who don’t go on to ask for or perform the types of acts of which Harvey is accused. Nonetheless, the perception I had of the public Weinstein made the revelations of his private behavior not the least bit shocking.
Because what it comes down to is that Harvey Weinstein was a powerful man, but not a strong one. He possessed the authority and ability to make multi-million dollar deals, produce films and television shows, and make or break careers, all while maintaining a lavish lifestyle regardless of how well or poorly his company’s films or extra-entertainment ventures performed. But when it came to controlling his baser impulses, he was weak. Weak of mind, weak of will and weak of resolve to do what is right. Or at the very least refrain from what he knew was wrong.
Yes, we all give in to our own less-than-elevated compulsions from time-to-time. Hopefully in ways that don’t do terribel evil to those around us. But Harvey made the mistake of conflating power with entitlement. He was Harvey the Hutt, master of all he surveyed (which is to say, leered at) on his Cannes party barge. It’s easy to spot the lack of true remorse in his PR-driven statements since the scandal broke. After all, why should someone be remorseful for merely doing what they believe they have the right to do?
Sadly, the world is full of such powerfully weak men. Harvey Weinstein is much less an aberration than a representative example of too many today. Their corporeal kingdoms may be global empires, cubicle duchies or mere household fiefdoms, but their belief in their own lordship varies little. And we as a society are the worse for it, not to mention the poor people who feel powerless to escape their orbits.
What we need, instead, are meek men. Today, we think of meekness as being submissive. But that is both partly right and wholly wrong. The true definition of meekness – the way the Greeks defined it – is strength under control. So, yes, there is an element of submissiveness in that strength is harnessed and submitted to the control of a better purpose. Meek men do not feel entitled to anything, much less another person. Meek men lead their families (or companies or softball teams) sacrificially, putting the good of the group ahead of personal gain. Meek men seek forgiveness over rationalization. Meek men marry above their class and help raise meek sons and strong daughters. Meek men have learned how to tell their inner Harveys to go to hell.
May we all be so fortunate as to earn the label of meek.