October 1, 2018

NETS SKIP RANK HYPOCRISY OF WEINSTEIN PAL MATT DAMON PORTRAYING ‘FRAT BOY’ KAVANAUGH ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.

In addition to Damon admitting that he’d fight any accusations these days tooth and nail himself:

In December 2017, Damon appeared on ABC’s “Popcorn” with Peter Travers and explained that in the years before the #MeToo movement, false allegations were often settled monetarily. But after the fall of Harvey Weinstein, all that changed.

“If you make the same claim to me today,” he said, “it would be scorched-earth. I don’t care if it would cost me $10 million in court for 10 years, you are not taking my name from me, you are not taking my name and reputation from me, I’ve worked too hard for it, I’ve earned it, you can’t just blow me up like that.”

Back in July, USA Today columnist Hannah Yasharoff asked, “In the era of #MeToo, is it still OK to laugh at ‘Animal House’?”, which starred SNL’s John Belushi:

National Lampoon’s raunchy frat house comedy “Animal House,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary Saturday, is widely regarded as an all-time great movie. But four decades later, it feels less like a comedy classic and more like a toxic showcase of racism, homophobia and jokes about sexual assault.

While parts of the film are still genuinely funny and enjoyable in 2018, the crueler moments beg the question: In the era of #MeToo, is it still OK to enjoy “Animal House”?

(As Jim Treacher responded at the time, “My goodness. Whatever you do, don’t show this young lady Porky’s.”)

In his column yesterday, Ross Douthat wrote, “The Year of Our Lord 1982, upon whose disputed summertime events a Supreme Court nomination now hinges, was part of the Reagan era but not a particularly conservative year:”

Most contemporary discourse about the social revolutions of the 1960s and ’70s imagines a consistent “left” that created those revolutions and a consistent “right” that opposed them. But glancing back to the debauched world of 1982 suggests a rather different take, one that clarifies what happened to American politics in the age of Bill Clinton and what’s happening now in the age of Donald Trump.

The world of Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford’s youth, the world that’s given us this fall’s nightmarish escalation of the culture war, was not a traditionalist world as yet unreformed by an enlightened liberalism. It also wasn’t a post-revolutionary world ruled by social liberalism as we know it today. Rather it was a world where a social revolution had ripped through American culture and radically de-moralized society, tearing down the old structures of suburban bourgeois Christian morality, replacing them with libertinism. With “if it feels good, do it” and the Playboy philosophy. With “Fear of Flying” for women and “Risky Business” and “Porky’s” for the boys. With drunken teenage parties in the suburbs and hard-core pornography in Times Square.

Which means that the culture war as we’ve known it since has not been a simple clash of conservatives who want to repress and liberals who want to emancipate. Rather it’s been an ongoing argument between two forces — feminists and religious conservatives — that both want to remoralize American society, albeit in very different ways.

Additionally, when the Harvey Weinstein story broke right around this time last year, as with NBC News’ efforts to block Ronan Farrow’s reportage, very likely because they knew it could lead to stories about their own Matt Lauer, Tom Brokaw, and Chris Matthews surfacing, Saturday Night Live’s creator-producer Lorne Michaels told reporters that his show also wouldn’t touch the Weinstein story, dismissing it as merely “a New York thing.”

As John Hinderaker wrote last year at Power Line, political reporters and wire services love to recap SNL episodes, because it allows them to get their biases in print while still maintaining a thin veneer of objectivity.“‘Respectable’ news outlets like the AP can’t publish absurd comedy skits ripping President Trump, much as they might like to,” Hinderaker wrote. “But by covering Saturday Night Live, they turn such meaningless attacks into fake ‘news.’”

To borrow from Douthat’s phrase above, reading Jeff Weingrad and Doug Hill’s 1986 book Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, it’s obvious that SNL impresario Michaels also wanted to remoralize American society. He certainly wanted to remoralize NBC’s formerly staid and morally conservative censors, fighting tooth and nail to coarsen the culture at NBC, and ultimately winning that battle, and on the big screen. The histories of SNL and the National Lampoon of the 1970s and early 1980s are heavily intertwined — Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Gilda Radner and original senior writer Michael O’Donoghue were all recruited by Michaels fresh from the Lampoon. After SNL made them superstars, Chase and Belushi would in turn go on to star in the Lampoon’s movies. So it makes sense that SNL would much prefer to have the media generating stories about its host mocking Kavanaugh, rather than risk a look back on its role in shaping the culture of the late ‘70s and ‘80s.

While the Kavanaugh hearings were going on this past Thursday, Dan McLaughlin of NRO tweeted that they “mark a milestone: this is the first true Gen X culture war moment in national politics, relitigating not the Boomers’ Days of Rage or Summer of Love but John Hughes [another Lampoon alumnus – Ed] movie tropes, drinking ages, yearbook quotes & Trapper Keeper day planners.”

If the left is going to take #metoo — let alone their charges against Kavanaugh — seriously, that would require a hard reassessment of SNL’s role in reshaping the culture of the period from 1975 to 1985 or so. I wonder how this aging NBC institution would look, afterwards. SNL’s attack on Kavanaugh was actually more of a defensive head fake, by yet another leftwing institution begging to be devoured by the mob last.

Related: Victor Davis Hanson’s Epitaph for a Dying Culture.

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