Pulp Fictions: The Weinstein Women’s Award

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 October 10, 2017|
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It’s the year 2200 and women everywhere are lining up to win the prestigious Miriam Weinstein Women’s Award, a gift bequeathed by the noted philanthropist and women’s rights activist, Harvey Weinstein. The award is selflessly named after the philanthropist’s mother as a symbol of the hardships of women past. The name Weinstein is synonymous with the struggle of women everywhere, but especially in the arts, where they have to fight harder to make their voices heard.

“Receiving the Weinstein Prize for Women in the Arts has been a lifelong dream of mine” said Director Jessica R. Abbot, whose films depicting the struggles of lesbian space pioneers in the male dominated mines on Mars received critical acclaim, but underperformed at the box office. “The Weinstein award symbolizes everything we want the industry to be, it represents our highest aspirations”

The Weinstein Prize, which began as a $5 million donation to a local university, has grown in scope over time to become the prestigious award it is today—the pinnacle of achievement in gender equity and women’s rights.

This seems to be the futuristic movie that’s playing in Harvey Weinstein’s head right now.

Weinstein, who recently was deposed from his own company as a result of a scathing exposé in the New York Times outlining his sordid history of sexual assault and harassment, has announced that he is giving $5 million to the USC women’s film program. The award is to be named the Miriam Weinstein scholarship after his late mother. Weinstein calls the timing of the announcement “coincidental,” and says it’s been in the works for a year, but we shouldn’t discount the high probability that he saw the storm clouds of his legacy accumulating and was setting up this scholarship in an attempt to combat it.

Weinstein’s vision for the future isn’t as divorced from reality as we might imagine. That the past can be clouded over completely and that money can rehabilitate legacies is a truth with many precedents. Just look at the case of Alfred Nobel.

Alfred Nobel, most famous for the peace prize bearing his name, also happened to have invented TNT as well as various other weapons. Nobel was both an arms dealer and war profiteer. There’s a reason most people don’t readily recall that: money and public relations.

In the waning years of his life, a French newspaper mistakenly thought he had died and published a scathing obituary with the headline “The Merchant of Death is Dead.” The article’s lede read: “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” As a result of this visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future, Nobel decided that he instead wanted to be remembered for good things….as opposed to the things he actually did in life. So he ran what essentially was a PR campaign to rehabilitate his sullied name. Upon his death in 1896, when his empire consisted of over 90 factories manufacturing explosives and ammunition, he bequeathed the majority of his weapons fortune toward the creation Nobel Peace Prize.

et Voila!  Within a few generations history was clouded. A few more and Nobel’s name has become synonymous with all that is good about humanity. It is the trademark symbol of hope and peace. We are only 121 years out from Nobel’s death but his legacy as a force for peace, despite his actual life’s work, has been cemented. Ask most people on the street about Alfred Nobel and they will tell you about the award, not about the war profiteering.

Is it really so far afield to imagine Harvey Weinstein attempting a modern remake of Nobel’s successful script?

Weinstein, too, sees his obituary—both professional and real—coming into clearer focus. He knows his only hope is to use his money to mask his lifelong lechery. He’s embarking on what amounts to a very expensive public relations campaign to affect the future narrative. I give Harvey good odds of success. This is a man who actively has been shaping narratives for over 30 years—a man who, after all, was able have his PR machine garner ”Shakespeare in Love” the best picture Oscar over “Saving Private Ryan.”

Weinstein is an operator working with the knowledge, rooted in history, that money and power buy narrative and legacy the world over. He assumes that image rehabilitation and historical whitewashing are always possible with enough money and force of personality. USC’s acceptance of his gift for the Miriam Weinstein Scholarship will start the process of “Nobelling” the Weinstein name and creating an historical opacity that will blur the focus of generations to come from the life he actually lived and hone in on the myths he’s seeking to create.

Editor’s Note:  A few hours after the publication of this article, USC announced that it would reject Harvey Weinstein’s donation.  The author and the editors of American Greatness laud that decision.

About the Author:

Boris Zelkin

Russian born Boris Zelkin is an Emmy Award-winning composer who has written the music to countless films, documentaries, television shows and major sporting events including the Tucker Carlson show, Bill O’reilly, the upcoming “Gosnell” movie, “FrackNation,” Citizen United’s “Rediscovering God in America II,” Roger Simon’s “Lies and Whispers,” the America’s Cup, the Masters, the World Skating Championships, the U.S. Open, NASCAR, the Stanley Cup Championship, and the theme to ESPN’s NCAA championship coverage. Zelkin received his B.A. from Colgate University and earned his M.A. in religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He has written extensively on the culture for various online journals and was a major contributor to the recently released “Bond Forever,” a book about the James Bond franchise. He currently resides in Los Angeles but is always looking for way out.

  • Dan Schwartz

    John was in the fertilized egg business.

    He had several hundred young layers (hens), called ‘pullets,’ and ten roosters to fertilize the eggs.

    He kept records, and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced. Keeping track of the roosters took a lot of time, so he bought some tiny bells and attached them to his roosters.

    Each bell had a different tone, so he could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing. He just sat on his porch and filled out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells. John’s favorite rooster, old Butch, was a very fine specimen, but this morning he noticed old Butch’s bell hadn’t rung at all!

    When he went to investigate, he saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets, hearing the roosters coming, ran for cover.

    To John’s amazement, old Butch kept his bell in his beak, so it didn’t ring. Butch would sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one.

    John was so proud of old Butch, he entered him in the County Fair and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.

    The result was the judges not only awarded old Butch the No Bell Piece Prize but they also awarded him the Pulletsurprise as well.

    Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making.

    Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them WHEN THEY WEREN’T PAYING ATTENTION!

    Vote carefully next year, the bells are not always audible.

  • Peta Johnson

    Let’s face it – Harvey Weinstein has been “executed” because the New York Times, which is heavily gay, is upset that they believe he filched money from an HIV/AIDS charity, which on any fair reading of the matter is a dubious claim.

    It is a pity that Weinstein does not look into the NYT hiring practices. I would be far from surprised if there is a “casting couch” of sorts there.

  • Anonymouse

    USC is not accepting Weinstein’s $5 million grant.

  • bdavi52

    Weinstein is a sleazy lecher. So what?
    Lots of people are sleazy lechers.
    Even more people are just plain sleazy — though their sleaze is spread across other things than just lechery.
    And even more people are lechers (meaning someone who is prone to sexual indulgence).

    Sometimes, obviously, these qualities are combined. And Harvey, clearly, is one such combination.

    We only really hear about sleazy people and lecherous people when they also happen to be famous. Simply being sleazy or lecherous is not news if you’re a “nobody”…and most of us are relative “nobodys”.

    Lechery, in particular, or lustfulness, is actually only a problem if its obvious even to the point of interfering with the day-to-day. “Ole Mr. Adams, he’s a lecher! He just stops what he’s doing & stares at Sissy’s legs every time she walks by!” Now Mr. Bob Smith (who is also ‘inappropriately lustful’) is much more subtle and his lechery essentially invisible (except to those who watch for it): “You ever notice that Bob always drops his pen when he’s around Susie?” And Stevie Jones, heck, he’s much slyer than Bob. He doesn’t do or say anything which is inappropriate, he just ‘jimmycarter’s’ the good looking women in his office, and “lusts in his heart”. But in the end, still the question: so what?

    Now if Mr. Adams worked for us, we’d probably have to fire him, if only because he’s not getting his job done. Bob we may just talk to and tell him to stop dropping his pen at Susie’s desk (but we only do that if Susie notices and complains). And Stevie — a great guy who does good work.

    So actually, being sleazy and lecherous is not a problem (except as God would see such things) until or unless one’s sinful proclivities interfere with normal stuff (or other people’s ability to do normal stuff).

    And thus back to Harvey. He’s evidently been like this and done this for decades…. probably with hundreds of stars and starlets…. with significant success (or so we’d guess) and very little blowback (otherwise we would have heard about his payouts). Miramax made lots of movies (some of them quite good); he was successful; and those who ‘succumbed’ to his lecherous sleaze were also (based on the names we’ve heard) consequentially successful. So what’s the real problem?

    Were his actions immoral and unethical? Absolutely. Were they wrong; did they violate what we can imagine is the corporate conduct code where he worked? Yes they did. So yes, we can object to the immorality of his behavior and we can object to his disregard for corporate policy…but obviously for decades he very effectively traded his wealth, power, and career building ability for sex….and equally obviously he had lots of willing partners who traded sex for career building, wealth & power. Is anyone truly “shocked, shocked” that such trades occur in an industry founded on trading beauty & sex appeal for dollars?

    The only thing which is really shocking is the crudity with which he presented the proposition.

    In fact, propositions are put forth every single day, in millions of ways — all the way from the beautifully romantic to the Weinsteinian Crude to the even cruder “Hey Babe ya wanna ****?” And the recipients of the proposition can feel romantically swept away, seduced, intrigued, insulted, economically interested, or outraged. It all depends.

    That Harvey doesn’t want to be remembered just as being a sleazy lecher is not surprising….just as those who willingly accepted the proposition don’t want to be remembered as being a prostitute (willing to exchange sex for money). It’s all a matter of perspective.

  • DejaniArlinda

    Let’s face it – Harvey Weinstein has been “executed” because the New York Times, which is heavily gay, is upset that they believe he filched money from an HIV/AIDS charity, which on any fair reading of the matter is a dubious claim.It is a pity that Weinstein does not look into the NYT hiring practices. I would be far from surprised if there is a “casting couch” of sorts there.

  • Moritz Thomas

    USC is not accepting Weinstein’s $5 million grant.

  • Milan

    Weinstein is a sleazy lecher. So what?Lots of people are sleazy lechers.Even more people are just plain sleazy — though their sleaze is spread across other things than just lechery.And even more people are lechers (meaning someone who is prone to sexual indulgence).Sometimes, obviously, these qualities are combined. And Harvey, clearly, is one such combination.We only really hear about sleazy people and lecherous people when they also happen to be famous. Simply being sleazy or lecherous is not news if you’re a “nobody”…and most of us are relative “nobodys”.Lechery, in particular, or lustfulness, is actually only a problem if its obvious even to the point of interfering with the day-to-day. “Ole Mr. Adams, he’s a lecher! He just stops what he’s doing & stares at Sissy’s legs every time she walks by!” Now Mr. Bob Smith (who is also ‘inappropriately lustful’) is much more subtle and his lechery essentially invisible (except to those who watch for it): “You ever notice that Bob always drops his pen when he’s around Susie?” And Stevie Jones, heck, he’s much slyer than Bob. He doesn’t do or say anything which is inappropriate, he just ‘jimmycarter’s’ the good looking women in his office, and “lusts in his heart”. But in the end, still the question: so what?Now if Mr. Adams worked for us, we’d probably have to fire him, if only because he’s not getting his job done. Bob we may just talk to and tell him to stop dropping his pen at Susie’s desk (but we only do that if Susie notices and complains). And Stevie — a great guy who does good work.So actually, being sleazy and lecherous is not a problem (except as God would see such things) until or unless one’s sinful proclivities interfere with normal stuff (or other people’s ability to do normal stuff).And thus back to Harvey. He’s evidently been like this and done this for decades…. probably with hundreds of stars and starlets…. with significant success (or so we’d guess) and very little blowback (otherwise we would have heard about his payouts). Miramax made lots of movies (some of them quite good); he was successful; and those who ‘succumbed’ to his lecherous sleaze were also (based on the names we’ve heard) consequentially successful. So what’s the real problem?Were his actions immoral and unethical? Absolutely. Were they wrong; did they violate what we can imagine is the corporate conduct code where he worked? Yes they did. So yes, we can object to the immorality of his behavior and we can object to his disregard for corporate policy…but obviously for decades he very effectively traded his wealth, power, and career building ability for sex….and equally obviously he had lots of willing partners who traded sex for career building, wealth & power. Is anyone truly “shocked, shocked” that such trades occur in an industry founded on trading beauty & sex appeal for dollars?The only thing which is really shocking is the crudity with which he presented the proposition.In fact, propositions are put forth every single day, in millions of ways — all the way from the beautifully romantic to the Weinsteinian Crude to the even cruder “Hey Babe ya wanna ****?” And the recipients of the proposition can feel romantically swept away, seduced, intrigued, insulted, economically interested, or outraged. It all depends.That Harvey doesn’t want to be remembered just as being a sleazy lecher is not surprising….just as those who willingly accepted the proposition don’t want to be remembered as being a prostitute (willing to exchange sex for money). It’s all a matter of perspective.