Every good holy war starts with the destruction of icons of the former prevailing culture. In between beheadings, ISIS took the time to vandalize and explode vast numbers of Muslim antiquities from opposing branches of the religion of peace. Black Lives Matters called for the destruction of General Lee horsey statues. Fundamentalist Christians in the Middle Ages took to chiseling images of Christ out of previous era church engravings. The women of the #MeToo and #TimesUp hashtag slacktavist riots want the elimination of men who’ve not been forthright and kindly to women in the past. Without the benefit of any criminal code to support their claims of offense, they’ve decided that complete expungement from the social record will do. In the manner of an orthodox son who marries a shiksa. Cut that disgraceful son right out of family photos on the mantle. His name shall never be spoken again in the home. He is, non-existed.
James Franco has spent ten years in Hollywood being a roundly loved actor and cad, despite objectively topping out as a B+ comedic actor, pot smoker, and gay-baiting handsome rogue. Little bits and pieces of Franco’s use of his clever smile and celebrity fame for the purposes of sticking his dick inside of beautiful young women had been largely dismissed as “Oh, James” Bondian type excesses. The difference between flirting and harassment has always largely been the desirability of the man behind the comments. Because women could see themselves being Franco’s girlfriend, his occasional pickup lines with underaged girls on social media are given a pass. A grumpy fat ugly dude would be on Dateline hidden camera for the same. Remember that time Rob Lowe made a sex tape with a seventeen year old? Of course you don’t. He’s hot.
In the past six weeks, numerous young actresses and desiring to be actress types have stepped forward to claim Franco uses his position and power as their acting coach to sexually harass and, in some cases, do the dirty with them. Which raises the question, why is James Franco mentoring and tutoring young female actresses when he clearly doesn’t need the gig? Right. To farm a crop of potential squeezes without the hassle of hitting the clubs or the social media bit that provides too many jailbait traps. It’s unusual for an acting coach to hit on his attractive and impressionable apprentices, female or male, only if you know nothing of how these relationships work. It’s always going on.
One of Franco’s accusers, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, claims Franco cast her in a nude role in a movie and only paid her $100 a day for her work.
Remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn’t exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that! I 100% did not feel like I had a choice to say no.”
That’s the nature of most latter day sexual misconduct charges. You made me feel uncomfortable, or like I had no choice, or you used your power over me to make me do things I immediately regretted. It’s an odd strain among victim’s stories in so much as it completely counters the long standing feminist argument that women are as capable as men in the realm of being strong and independent and looking out for number one. This type of story would force you to see women as far more defenseless creatures if you’re to believe the subjugation aspect of the tale.
Whether or not Franco actually did more than utter, “C’mon, you know you want to” and entered into some kind of criminal coercion is entirely unproven. If it’s anything like the last 1,000 such charges against men in Hollywood, it won’t. The cops can’t even pin a crime on Harvey Weinstein, and he’s clearly not attractive. So, we’re in the realm of untoward behavior. That used to merit a slap. Ask Sharon Stone or Pamela Anderson, among the 50+ year old women now calling Millennial female actress claimants kind of fragile weaklings.
Despite his pleas of innocence, Franco was found guilty by the random and self-appointed star chamber of the current misogynists-in-our-midst witch hunt. The kangaroo court in question has no legal power, but it can send shivers up and down the spines of media outlets, advertisers, and various girl-power Facebook and Twitter groups. For this reason, the erasure of the very existence of James Franco kicked in.
James Franco was supposed to be appear on the annually anticipated February/Oscars edition of Vanity Fair magazine. It’s an A-list visual aristocratic delight each awards season, typically featuring the biggest thespians from the most award nominated films of the season. Franco was up for numerous trophies for his portrayal of famously horrible filmmaker, Tommy Wiseau, in The Disaster Artist. The role was essentially a very long SNL impression of Wiseau, but Franco certainly nailed it, and appeared naked and well-lit in the movie to prove his method acting bona fides. Hollywood loves that. Which is why Franco won the Golden Globe Award for the film role, prior to the cascade of former acting students coming forward to express their Times Up thumbs down for Franco, wrecking his chances for any more awards. Not to mention seeing Vanity Fair literally erase his image from their cover shot produced a few weeks earlier in advance of publication.
Erasure is a weird response. It implies, this something was so terrible, we couldn’t even discuss it like adults. It’s intended to mute debate, though that’s rarely the lasting impact of the decision. Total omission is such an obvious choice. It’s about as subtle as ghosting. It necessarily becomes a bigger thing. What could have been a great More You Know teachable moment becomes a shrill partisan battle.
To wit, James Franco’s high school painted over a mural of the football team produced and signed by their famous alumnus while a student at the school. Palo Alto High School on the Peninsula in the Bay Area didn’t simply remove Franco’s graven image, they sentenced an example of his art work into the Phantom Zone. That seems extreme. Or similar to what Palo Alto area blue-staters would call extreme if similarly done by a Texas high school board to eliminate some controversial liberal author. This is how lunatic the logic tree becomes when the roots are infected with Twitter defined political correctness. You can’t even count on college town progressives to defend Free Speech. They’re the ones doing the book burnings now. In contrast, the conservatives are demanding more tolerance for alleged sexual rogues. A flip flop of momentary convenience and an ugly peek into the cynical nature of our unprincipled times.
When everybody is ISIS, you’d like to believe that creates some responding universe wherein nobody is ISIS. But in fact, it merely means everybody is ISIS. College professors are now calling for speech bans. Not in Tehran, well, yes, in Tehran, but also right here at home. We’ve become the jihadists. We’re whitewashing away outlets of opposing thought. Blowing up the relics of competitive ideas. And painting over James Franco’s high school murals, while completely neglecting at least a half-dozen horrible films of his that ought to certainly be pushed to the head of the bonfire line. We’re doomed.
Photo credit: Instagram
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