Dowd: Bringing down our monsters


Jaws drop and drop and drop. Until it seems it will never stop.

You would think we would get numb at some point. But no. There are just too many numbskulls.

We cannot refresh our browsers fast enough to see the latest stupefactions on sexual violations and Trump violations — which dovetail in a surreal way.

Every day, TV anchors breathlessly report some bizarre new insult or accusation or hissy fit or Putin nuzzling by the president, as he wanders around howling in the storm like a late-stage Lear in his White House of dark delusions.

The dynamic in the capital grows ever more dangerous, as Donald Trump tells fables to justify the unjustifiable and his staff feeds him more fables in a futile attempt to manage his puerile moods. Truth is held hostage to Trump’s ego.

As men are falling, women are rising. The gender gap in Virginia and Alabama presages a gender chasm in 2018.

Democratic women in Congress have decided they may be able to expel the president on his self-confessed sexual larceny. If they can purge their own party’s offenders and drive women to the polls by whipping up outrage over the absurdity of the nation’s avatar of aspirations and values being immune from the penalties facing other gropers, then they could take back the House and maybe even the Senate and hold hearings on the Harasser in Chief.

The country is going through twin traumas that seem pagan in their lack of decency.

With so many grotesque stories tumbling out about marauding men treating women as property or their office as their “stable,” as one former NBC producer said in the case of Matt Lauer, you’d think it would be hard to remain at peak disgust.

And yet I felt the revulsion rising yet again as I read Salma Hayek’s Times op-ed piece about her nightmarish experience with the depraved Harvey Weinstein when she was trying to get her Frida Kahlo movie made with Weinstein producing — and demeaning and threatening and pouncing and punishing.

It perfectly captured the rotten little secret that has long been corroding Hollywood. The industry that helps shape our view of women has fallen into gender apartheid.

Even though women are half of ticket buyers, only 4 percent of the 100 top-grossing films over the last decade were directed by women. Women make up 11 percent of writers, 3 percent of cinematographers, 19 percent of producers and 14 percent of editors. The quality of women’s roles, once so rich in the ’30s and ’40s, has atrophied. Last year, women comprised only 29 percent of protagonists.

There has been lip service given to fixing the inequality, but no one in power ever raised holy hell about it — not the women studio chiefs, not the male studio executives, not the unions.

When I wrote a Times Magazine piece two years ago, interviewing scores of women directors, writers, producers and cinematographers and studying their amazing work, I got more and more angry as I realized that these women were being systematically excluded based on ridiculous biases.

There are a lot of well-meaning people with power in Hollywood. But they have looked the other way for far too long on shameful imbalances.

Hayek nailed it when she concluded: “Until there is equality in our industry, with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators.”

No wonder, given the state of Washington and Hollywood, Dictionary.com chose “complicit” as its word of the year.



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