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Hollywood embraces instant guilt

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POSTED November 1, 2017 1:47 a.m.

If you have a hankering to visit Hollywood, you might want to do so soon.
Given the new reaction of pulling the plug on contracts, yanking reruns, and cancelling shows based on accusations of sexual harassment or other sexual improprieties and the pace that they are occurring, there won’t be much left of Sodom and Gomorrah — I mean, Tinsel Town —  by the end of 2020.
u Hundreds of stars will be ripped out of the Hollywood Walk of Fame
uTest patterns will replace network TV shows and network news programs.
uMovies, if they are still made, will be produced by Siri.
uCable TV networks will have no cable news shows left with programming almost exclusively devoted to robots selling zircon diamonds.
uNetflix will be streaming reruns of informericals and original programming will consist of live cams.
uSixteen-screen cinemas will be running Looney Toons shorts — the few that pass muster with 2017 political correctness models.
And if the new way of operating spreads to professional sports, other areas of entertainment, and even politics when it comes to reacting to sexual harassment charges, watch out.
uThe Young Republicans and Young Democrats of America will have to banish the listing of more than a few former presidents from their respective parties from honorary membership.
uThey’ll be special elections for Congress and state legislatures at least once a week.
uThe NFL’s biggest problem wouldn’t center on whether players kneel but whether they can field a team with enough players that pass the new litmus test.
uConcert promoters would be forced to book the venues such as the Shoreline Theatre and Carnegie Hall exclusively with acts such as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
No one guilty of sexual harassment should get a pass. And there should certainly be major repercussions if they are found guilty.
But despite how abhorring the alleged behavior is, the rush to judgment should concern you as much of the charges of sexual harassment.
It is part of a trend that started in those bastions of never ending protests, anarchy, beer parties, and political correctness hotbeds that once dealt with the mundane task of higher education. Guilty as charged until proven otherwise and then, thanks to social media zealots even if the person is found completely innocent, they are tainted for the rest of their lives.
It’s a modern version of a cross between Old West hanging trees and the Salem Witch Hunts.
That’s because in the final analysis a lot of those accused are likely guilty to some degree while a sizeable number may be falsely accused or even framed on hearsay.
Why the tar and feathering is gaining momentum may have something to do with the sheer hypocrisy given how more than a few of the fallen portrayed a virtuous lifestyle — apparently it was only acting  — or were quick to condemn those accused of such behavior that didn’t run in their social circles.
Do not get me wrong. Anyone who tries to force themselves on anyone else has a special place in hell reserved for them. But the rush to judgment is only missing the pitchforks and torches.
People in positions of authority or control such as directors, bosses, parents, adults dealing with kids, older siblings, and those who are stronger physically and mentally have a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to adhere to higher standards if for no other reason than the fact they weld more power over the lifes of others.
Perhaps yanking reruns of “The Bill Cosby Show”, cancelling “House of Cards”, and firing contracted personalities for cable, TV, and Internet sites will send a message.
But the real question is where do you draw the line? Does a tweet by Elle DeGeneres about another woman’s anatomy rise to the same level as Anthony Weiner’s sex-texting? Does a complaint about the 90-year-old ex-president putting his hand on the behind of a woman the same as other presidents before or after they were elected using their position of authority to get what they want?
It’s ironic, in a way, that the very segment of American society that slams those with social mores closer to the Victorian Era than the Summer of Love — the entertainment/major media industry — are those setting the new standard for quickly tossing those overboard who are accused of sexual harassment.
What it comes down to, of course, isn’t a question of fairness of justice, but the fear of the industry losing money in an era where electronic entertainment choices are becoming more balkanized and more competitive.
The world we have created is just as double-standard as the Victorian Era that has been unmasked as such. We have torn down any pretense of barriers. Colleges deep sixed separate dorms years ago. It is considered bad form at the least and sexist at worst for society to impose standards when it comes not just to interactions with the opposite sex but with anyone.
We need societal pressures to stop people from acting on their worst impulses. That doesn’t mean turning the clock back a hundred years.
We need to strike a balance and admit the rewriting of the social standard of the past 50 years hasn’t exactly taken us to the next level as a society unless, of course, the next level is down a dozen or so floors.

 


This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209.249.3519.

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