Harvey Weinstein, Michael Moore, and the End of the 1960s Sexual Revolution

So amid the crashing and burning of the Weinstein empire in such spectacular fashion that it reminds of a Hollywood Hindenburg, we learn two things. (OK, many more than two, but two will suffice for now.)

First, here is Harvey himself, who early on in this on-going debacle said this:

“I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”

Stop the presses. Harvey has in fact put his finger on one serious cultural truth.

Against all the advice of their parents that what was becoming known in the Baby Boomer generation as the “sexual revolution” would eventually lead to woe, Harvey’s generation — yes, my generation of millions of “Boomers” — not only ignored the advice but flaunted the breaking of centuries of cultural mores. Cultural ways that demanded respect for women, promoted sex within marriage and most certainly sex only with consent. Some of us listened (ahem!), others — many others — did not. In fact the number of those who did not listen to the wisdom of Mom and Dad, if not far outnumbering those who did listen to their seniors in what is now known as the Greatest Generation, at a minimum were egged on in the culture by, yes indeed, the self-same Hollywood that is now pretending to be aghast — horrified! — at Harvey’s conduct.

Second? Let’s take a look at three examples of the impact of that “anything goes culture” when it came to sex. And yes, but of course, this focus begins with that ultimate Boomer Bill Clinton.

Exhibit One: Michael Moore. 

One of the tidbits that has dribbled out of the ongoing Weinstein company crash is this from Deadline Hollywood. The headline:

The Weinstein Co. Nears The Brink As Agencies Cut Off Talent Supply

Among other things the article says:

Among the unanswered questions rearing up: what will happen to TWC releases including The Current War and The Upside? In Cannes last spring, TWC announced Fahrenheit 11/9Michael Moore’s sequel to the all-time highest grossing documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. The new film, about the election of Donald Trump, was expected to open next month. A theatrical release was possible, but at a buyers screening at Cannes, HBO and Amazon were among the outlets mulling a combination of a limited theatrical and an event broadcast window.

So Moore and Weinstein had reunited to do an anti-Trump film and because of Harvey’s situation the project is now in trouble, along with other Weinstein projects. But there’s something else, a big something else. Actress Rose McGowan says that “they all knew” in Hollywood about Harvey’s attitude about sex, and others say indeed it was an “open secret.”

Question. Where did Harvey ever get the idea he could do these things and it was no big deal?

Answer: From a ’60s culture of a sexual revolution that produced exactly the same behavior in fellow Boomer Bill Clinton. Recall in 1999 that by then Bill Clinton had been accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick, indecent exposure by Paula Jones and groping — in the room adjacent to the Oval Office — by Kathleen Willey. And, of course, he had been investigated by Independent Counsel Ken Starr in the Monica Lewinsky matter, she a White House intern of the ripe old age of 22. The last was detailed in the Independent Counsel’s official report to the House of Representatives, known as “The Starr Report.” It was, to say the least, graphic in terms of what it described of Clinton’s behavior.

With that as background, recall now the incensed response from Democrats and liberals raised in that Baby Boomer sexual revolution culture. They were furious, insisting that this was “only about sex.” Meaning, no big deal. With this in mind, ever the showman, Michael Moore set up a scene for his then-television show The Awful Truth. Here it is, alive and well on YouTube.

The idea. Dress up actors as Puritans — you know, those witch-hunting sexual prudes from the 1600s. And once so costumed, Moore would have them confront the man viewed as the Puritan-in-Chief — Ken Starr. And do so in the leafy Virginia suburb of Washington where Ken Starr made his home and every morning since this controversy had erupted had been televised walking out the door of his home, coffee cup in hand, and getting in the back seat of his government limo.

So the scene unfolds. Starr emerges from his home and Moore’s cast dressed as witch-hunting “Puritans” begins shouting at him as if he were a captured pornographer. One “Puritan” holds a copy of the Starr Report aloft while yelling “Titillator” and “Smut Peddler!” “Tool of Satan!” Starr smiles, gets in the car and as it drives down the street the crowd of “Puritans,” led by Moore, races after him shouting loudly.

Next they take their act to various Washington venues — Capitol Hill, a House hearing room, the corridors of a House office building and even a statue that has a child displayed with bare buttocks which are promptly covered by the hat of a stern-looking male “Puritan.”

All of this with Moore narrating, saying things like this in a mocking tone of voice:

“My very own witch hunt! Ruthless! Sex obsessed! Single-minded!” he mocks. Washington, he says as his cast is driven around the city in the back of an open truck, is ripe for “persecution.” His “Puritan” man holds a copy of the Bible as he waves the Starr Report at passers-by, castigating them as “sinners!” In front of the White House the “Puritan” points at the mansion and says “Here’s where he lives!…The Ejaculating Whore Monger” as the women in the group, all perfectly dressed in 1600s garb, shout things like “Semen Spiller!”

Classically, at one point Moore encounters Clinton friend and ally James Carville to discuss the prudes going after his friend the president. Carville muses with a grin that he is concerned the country will be ruled by people who “don’t have sex” or “don’t party.”

There’s more.

Exhibit Two: The New York Times

But today this clip from Moore’s show is a vivid expression of just how the ’60s culture out of which Baby Boomers emerged disdained their parents’ sexual mores as a joke, the culture of Puritans and prudes. As if to prove the point, turn no further than a review of Moore’s show in the New York Times. The review says as follows:

Nothing on “The Awful Truth” has been quite as funny or satisfying as a segment from the first episode, in which people dressed as Puritans chase after Ken Starr’s car, waving copies of the Starr Report and howling like extras in “The Crucible.”

Got that? The New York Times — even as Bill Clinton was awash in allegations of rape, groping, pants dropping, and an affair with an employee his daughter’s age — finds Moore’s take labeling Clinton critics as Puritans and prudes “funny” and “satisfying.”

No wonder Harvey Weinstein — a friend of both Bill Clinton and Michael Moore — thought he had carte blanche to do what he has been doing.

Exhibit Three: The 2003 Oscars

And, of course, Hollywood’s beautiful people self-immortalized themselves on their real views of all of the 1960s sexual revolution when it was announced back at the 2003 Oscars that director Roman Polanski, convicted of child rape, had won an Oscar as Best Director. As Harrison Ford announces Polanski’s win, with a roar the star-studded crowd rises to its feet cheering for the out of-the-country Polanski (who was on-the-lam from American law) — and yes, right there at 1:18 in this clip, there, big as cheering life behind an applauding director Martin Scorsese, is a smiling and applauding… Harvey Weinstein.

You can’t make it up. (Note: The Academy is now expelling Harvey. But Polanski? We shall see.)

Harvey Weinstein deserves all that’s coming. But the interesting question here is what about the 1960s sexual revolution itself that launched, in fairness to Harvey, all manner of Baby Boomers into a sexual culture where everything and anything goes? A sexual culture that was glorified countless times in Hollywood films, sending the repeated message that not only does everything and anything go but that anything and everything are OK.

Liberals — frantic now at the sudden self-undermining of a sexual culture they have spent decades championing, cheering, literally applauding not to mention protecting when they weren’t mocking those who objected — are trying to point accusing fingers at, but of course, President Trump.

Newsflash? Like millions of his fellow Boomers the young Donald Trump grew up swimming in the same culture as the rest of us. And the worst liberals can point to is locker room talk on a bus in a private conversation and what they once liked to call in the Clinton cases “she said-he said” situations, all of which he has not only denied but threatened lawsuits to settle.

The real problem here? It isn’t Harvey or anybody else — it’s the 1960’s sexual revolution and the sexual culture it produced that is so vividly illustrated in those clips from Michael Moore’s mocking of Ken Starr, the loving New York Times review of that episode, and all those cheering Hollywood stars standing to give a rousing round of applause to a child rapist. Not to mention those countless films that glorified all kinds of sexual revolution practices.

Maybe at long last aging Baby Boomers will take some time to reflect on what their — my — generation has wrought. And begin to ask whether what began all those decades ago with the sexual revolution of the 1960s is now taking its long overdue curtain call courtesy of Hollywood’s ultimate Boomer showman — Harvey Weinstein.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
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 Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan. An author and CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com and @JeffJlpa1. His new book, What America Needs: The Case for Trump, is now out from Regnery Publishing.
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