BREAKING: Everyone knew, Tim Robbins tells Dowd!


So why didn't anyone speak:
In Sunday's editions, Maureen Dowd finally found her niche. She was reinvented as the New York Times' Hollywood justice reporter.

In the Sunday Review, she wrote a giant, sprawling report about Harvey Weinstein based on an interview with Uma Thurman. According to today's page A3, it was "the weekend's most read article."

Dowd also wrote a sprawling profile of Tim Robbins on page one of the paper's Sunday Styles section.

The Thurman piece ran 2800 words. Including both its parts, the piece with Robbins was slightly longer.

That represents a lot of copy. Let's start with something Robbins said—something Dowd failed to pursue:
DOWD (2/4/18): Asked about the tectonic shift for women in Hollywood, Mr. Robbins says he is happy that ''the incredibly libidinous atmosphere in Hollywood is changing'' so that men will be more afraid ''to intimidate women into compliance in horrible, rapey ways.''

''Everybody knew,'' he says in a disgusted whisper about Harvey Weinstein. ''Everybody knew.''

He thinks there might actually be a fundamental shift, ''not just on the man-woman thing but the male-male thing, too. That's been happening for a long time.''
In fact, Robbins discusses his interactions with Weinstein over the years in some detail. But his most striking statement appears in that passage:

"Everybody knew," Robbins said, referrng to Weinstein's sexual misconduct, which seems to have reached criminal levels over a substantial number of years.

"Everybody knew," Robbins said. We hapless liberals tend to lionize those who make such comments. To our tiny, small, withered minds, a comment like that helps make Robbins a progressive star.

"Everybody knew," Robbins said. Presumaby, everybody includes Robbins himself. Needless to say, Dowd didn't pose the obvious question:
Motherfrumper, why didn't you speak if you knew? Why did you, and "everybody" else, maintain the culture of silence?
People like Dowd know that, under industry rules, such questions mustn't be asked—not even of someone like Robbins, who is described, in the headlines above Dowd's piece, as a "veteran activist." She blew right past the same moral question in her tedious interview with Thurman.

Credit where due! Early on, Thurman is quoted suggesting that she herself might be to blame in the case of some "young girls" whom Weinstein attacked and assaulted. In this passage, she's discussing the public silence she maintained after she herself was attacked in a way she describes in the interview:
DOWD (2/4/18): ''Pulp Fiction'' made Weinstein rich and respected, and Thurman says he introduced her to President Barack Obama at a fund-raiser as the reason he had his house.

''The complicated feeling I have about Harvey is how bad I feel about all the women that were attacked after I was,'' she told me one recent night, looking anguished in her elegant apartment in River House on Manhattan's East Side, as she vaped tobacco, sipped white wine and fed empty pizza boxes into the fireplace.

''I am one of the reasons that a young girl would walk into his room alone, the way I did. Quentin used Harvey as the executive producer of 'Kill Bill,' a movie that symbolizes female empowerment. And all these lambs walked into slaughter because they were convinced nobody rises to such a position who would do something illegal to you, but they do.''

Thurman stresses that Creative Artists Agency, her former agency, was connected to Weinstein's predatory behavior. It has since issued a public apology. ''I stand as both a person who was subjected to it and a person who was then also part of the cloud cover, so that's a super weird split to have,'' she says.
According to Dowd, Thurman looked anguished in her elegant apartment. That may explain why no questions were posed by Dowd about the long public silence which let "young girls" be attacked.

Under industry rules, these bargains will always be struck when Hollywood stars agree to speak to tabloid stars like Dowd. People like Dowd will not push glorified people like Robbins and Thurman about their failures to speak and to act.

Instead, glorified people like Robbins and Dowd will be burnished in long, flattering profiles. A photo of Thurman will eat perhaps eighty percent of the front page of the Sunday Review, with these huge words next to a photo from her elegant flat:
A Goddess, A Mogul, And a Mad Genius
In this case, the person who didn't speak gets to be hailed as "A Goddess." In the case of Robbins, he gets to rattle at great length. No embarrassing questions get asked!

As Robbins rattles further, he's quoted offering this remark:

''It's really, really important that women have the floor now to talk about this because it has been so pervasive throughout every industry as long as I've been alive.''

In this way, we know that he's a veteran hero of activist labor. Dowd knows she mustn't ask the obvious question:

"So why did you refuse to speak up? And why did everyone else?"

In an early comment about the interview with Thurman, one poor soul suggested that Thurman is less a hero than those who actually broke the ice, speaking up when no one else had done so. ("I've mixed feelings regarding Ms. Thurman's story.") This poor soul was quickly assailed for making this vile remark.

Elsewhere in comments, everybody was praising the goddess for her transplendent courage. We modern liberals are simply unable to deal with the actual world.


  1. If it takes being a hero to be the first, or among the first, to speak up, most people aren't heroes. That's probably why people didn't speak up.

  2. I believe people in Hollywood did speak out, and Weinstein is gone, never to return. The awareness is there, and one imagines there will be greater vigilance and zero tolerance of this in the future.

    Why does Somerby choose to make this a political thing? Sexual harassment happens to everyone, left, right, conservative, progressive, male, female. "Progressives" (Somerby uses this word in today's post rather than "liberals") are human beings. They struggle with the same issues as anyone else. Amazingly, there are liberals who sexually harass others. And liberals who cover that up. Just as there are conservatives who do. I imagine there are even independents who do it too. And Christians. And atheists. Because we are all human beings with human weaknesses. But Somerby wants to mock "progressives" above all, because they would like to improve things, but they weren't able to instantly eradicate all evils from the world. And that is an irrational stance.

    Newsflash Bob: no progressive would think like you do. No rational human would think like you do.

    1. You must have a client to be making these arguments.

  3. "We modern liberals are simply unable to deal with the actual world."

    Another problem with you liberals is that you have to pretend that this is a clear villain-victim situation, when undoubtedly it's the game both sides play.

    Say Yes, suffer a few minutes - and become Goddess, or say No and disappear into obscurity.

    Thurman made the choice, and perhaps that's why she wasn't too keen on talking, until the perpetrator-victim context was firmly established. imho.

    1. In other words, Thurman is a human being. Her decision had nothing to do with her politics. The problem is when someone objects, and it is covered up, or they are ruined. That's the culture that is unacceptable. It's ridiculous to say well, that's just the way the world works, so we shouldn't or can't try to change it. That excuses all kinds of evil.

    2. This is not about Uma Thurman or Harvey Weinstein. You're right: they are human beings operating within their environment.

      Yes, one could say that this is the way the world works.

      Or, we could put it differently: Hollywood is a corrupt institution. But then all hierarchical/capitalist institutions are corrupt. We're just used to it.

    3. So, all institutions are corrupt, therefore we shouldn't try to fight corruption?

    4. Why, it makes sense to try keeping it to a minimum. Without getting too excited about it.

  4. I feel sorry for the goddess. Not because she was a victim, but because she is stoking her anger, and clinging to her victim status - and also being encouraged to do so.

    She seems to think she needs to killHarve. According to the story, she is angry and haunted.

    I think it is too bad she cannot be happy.

    Of course, that is the victim narrative. That one incident can so traumatize a poor victim that they never get over it, no matter how hard they try or how much they may want to - they just can't.

    I suppose that is possible, but I have doubts whether it is as common as it seems to be now. Now there seems to be an industry, a social expectation - that says, the victim does not have to get over it.

    Even as I write this, I am remembering some phone incidents from work and yelling at the empty room. If MoDo told the story, she could write about his cold drafty pigsty that he lives in.

    Except that the sufferings of this young Werther are NOT considered worthy of either attention or sympathy. The only place I can find sympathy is in the dictionary between shit and syphilis.

    That last line is from the movie Johnny Be Good, which Uma was in. But really, Uma is brave for telling her story. If I told mine people would say I was a whiner, and probably call a wahmbulance.

    Especially if I told my story on a liberal message board and dared to compare my sufferings to Uma's.

    Even I read her story. I cannot even remember what happened to her. Harvey made some kind of a pass at her. Parts of the story she claims to not remember. Apparently there was no sex, just some form of "sexual assault".

    Meaning what? Twenty years ago, somebody touched my penis and because of that I cannot enjoy my $45 million? Really?

    Maybe she just feels guilty for not saying something ten years ago when she was worth $20 million.

    1. Ask the gymnasts molested by Nassar if the incidents were trivial. Better yet, ask that gymnast's father that tried to attack Nassar if he can't just "deal with it."
      People deal with things differently. I had an incident as a child when I was molested, but it didn't traumatize me. But I don't extrapolate from that that no one should be traumatized by a similar incident. I also realize that there are far more and worse incidents that never happened to me but did happen to others.
      I can't clearly tell if you are saying that you yourself were a victim. If so, did you complain to your work or to the police? See, the problem is when people do complain, and either nothing gets done, or they are hounded out of their job. That was a legacy of male domination in our society. The culture that would label you a "whiner" rather than take you seriously. The more stories that come out, from celebrities for example, the more light shines on the issue. And that is a good thing. I'm old enough to remember how the death of Rock Hudson from AIDS brought more focus on AIDS.

      I also don't see how the size of someone's bank account minimizes the impact of a sexual assault.
      (Also, I'm pretty sure Uma Thurman doesn't have a penis, so I don't think Weinstein touched hers.)

  5. OK, here's Somerby's thesis as I understand it, going back over the recent history of his blog:

    Liberals (or progressives--he uses both terms) think that they are better or "morally superior" to conservatives, when in reality they are not. One proof of this is how Hollywood liberals kept silent about sexual harassment in their midst all these years. Thus, liberals are hypocrites when they speak out against sexual harassment.

    Isn't it possible that liberals think that not sexually harassing someone is better than sexually harassing them, and their objection to sexual harassment is just that --an objection to the harassment, without reference to the person's political views? Aren't the ones who have recently been punished supposedly liberals, like Weinstein?

    Is a person not allowed to denounce sexual harassment just because some other people who happened to vote for the same candidate or share some similar political views may have committed or covered up sexual harassment?
    (Guilt by association, I guess?)

    Hypocrisy is apolitical. Somerby thinks it is some great revelation that it exists within liberal ranks. It is not. That it exists does not lessen the importance of exposing and dealing with sexual harassment.

  6. The actors were afraid to speak up. Doing so would most likely mean goodbye to the good life.

    1. Exactly. Substitute "career" for "the good life" and you have identified a big part of the problem in the society as a whole in and outside of Hollywood. That is why the changes we are seeing are for the better.

    2. First you have to learn to smile as you kill.

    3. That Lennon lyric, here as so often in our crazed (too weak a word) culture, is quite apt.

  7. Bette Midler did speak up in 1995. Samantha Bee re-ran the interview in which she described what happened to her. Midler’s interview was greeted by total silence by everyone. That is why women don’t speak up. They have no power.

    1. That's why powerful men are resigning simply for being accused of sexual harassment by women.

  8. Two things:
    A story about Tim Robbins crapping on the people who had worked with him in his LA Theatre Group (The Actor's Gang) about twenty years ago never much made it out of town, but it was in the LA Weekly and it severly damaged his reputation from then on. His then inflated reputation as a movie director never recovered. Which is to say: he's a well known phony, and is now sactimonously trying to cash in on the "me too" thing.
    After reading Uma Thurmond's own instagram post about QT and his own lengthy defense (yes, like Bob, I hate his movies) it's obvious that Maureen Dowd manipulated Thurmond to take down Taratino, in a fashion that rivals all her steller reporting on the Clintons and Al Gore.