Trying to Understand The Harvey Weinsteins of this World

By Dr David Laing Dawson

Harvey Weinstein. We can call his behaviour evil, reprehensible, outrageous, nasty, illegal, criminal, or sick, but is there a way to understand it? Such behaviour does require a degree of sociopathy, the absence of empathy, of guilt or remorse. It does require a degree of self-importance, of narcissism. It does not bother him much that he hurts people.

But the cloying, nasty, crude, pleading, begging, and disgusting aspects of his behaviour, combined with the physical reality of the man speak to a different impulse. The same with most of the others who have been recently exposed, with the exception of George H. W. Bush, whose fixation on a single play of words that provides him the excuse for a fanny squeeze suggests a little frontal lobe dementia is at work.

But the others, what of the others? What strikes me is that they are physically repulsive men living in a world that values youth and beauty.

To some extent we all live in that world. Beautiful young, and beautiful not-so-young women are paraded before us on our screens, on our billboards, at the office, on the campus, in our newspapers and magazines. Every man notices. Every man enjoys this visual treat. Every man is attracted to this spectacle. And if drag queens are anything to go by, the attraction is not limited to the heterosexual male. Even gay men are fascinated by the adornment, the display, the theatricality, the vigour, the exhibitionism – youth and beauty.

If the Harvey Weinsteins of this world took advantage of their positions to court, seduce, and then maintain as mistresses a couple of beautiful young women, it would be understandable as the fulfillment of a natural biological yearning experienced by an Alpha Male. Common around the world, with humans and other primates.

But that is not what they do. They display their own disgusting selves, their bodies, and then force these young women to degrade themselves, to experience the disgust they must feel for themselves.

So Harvey looks in the mirror and finds himself physically repulsive, unhealthy, weighted with an excess of mortal flesh. His successes in film making do not remove this repulsion, this self-disgust. Especially when he is reminded every day that some others, most notably young female actors, glow with health and beauty, and command the eyes of everyone else in the room.

He will make them suffer too, and suffer with the same sense of self-disgust he feels. And then make them flee from him as they must, but now reduced and no longer threatening.


There is a cartoon circulating now with a father explaining to his son that, regarding sexual abuse, “We hold our movie stars to a higher standard than our presidents.”

But is there a real link here? I mean between the presidency of Donald Trump and so many women now blowing the whistle on abusive male behaviour?

It is not surprising that Donald Trump has provoked a backlash of Democrats being elected. Maybe a little surprising that one of those Democrats is a transsexual. But has the election of Donald Trump and his band of privileged rich white males caused a reactionary wave of female empowerment? Maybe.

That would be a treat. Perhaps Trumpism will ultimately produce, by reaction, a universal health care system, some environmental protection, some concern about global warming, a more equitable distribution of wealth, some actual gun control, less racism rather than more, a rational, thoughtful and more realistic assessment of America’s place and role within an interdependent world.

It is the silver lining to this mess. His two steps backward may cause a mighty leap forward.

But I am surprised and troubled by just how many rich privileged males have been behaving as if they were 16 year old brain damaged boys living in a group home.

3 thoughts on “Trying to Understand The Harvey Weinsteins of this World

  1. I would not let George Bush Senior get away with anything. He made the remark “we kicked a little ass last night” following his debate with Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. I watched that debate and believed that she had won that debate but the male dominated press saw it another way. I was really dismayed and horribly disappointed to hear their comments. Even his wife referred to Ms Ferrarro as “a million dollar ‘I can’t say it but it rhymes with rich’.”

    I am wondering what all the fuss is about regarding Weinstein and others. This stuff has been going on for years. Trump won the presidency even though he said he could grab women by the pussy!

    So why is this stuff even news? It’s just status quo. As Ice T said at the end of one of the Law and Order shows. “Nothing ever changes, it always stays the same.”


  2. Interesting idea about the “Trump backlash” as more women (and men) are speaking out about sexual harassment and abuse.

    Your sentence “Maybe a little surprising that one of those Democrats is a transsexual.” uses an outdated term, if you are referring to Democrat Danica Roem, member-elect of the Virginia House of Delegates. The proper term is “transgender woman”. GLAAD offers a media reference guide on terms at

    And maybe not “a little surprising” but “a little ironic”. Several transgender people won various seats in local elections across the US on Nov. 7.

    I make this point in respect for transgender citizens, some of whom suffer the worst kinds of abuse, harassment, and even murder, at the hands of evil people among us.


  3. Well it seems to me that these types have usually got away with it. The WHATEVER HIS NAME .. Strauss, Head of the International Monetary Fund ALMOST GOT AWAY WITH IT , but DID HAVE TO STEP DOWN AFTER THE ATTACK ON A MAID IN A POSH NEW YORK HOTEL, BUT THE SAD BIT IS THAT THESE REVOLTING PEOPLE OFTEN PREY ON YOUNG PEOPLE AND WHEN WE WERE ALL MUCH LESS INCLINED TO TALK ABOUT SUCH THINGS THE PREDATORS GOT AWAY WITH IT OFTEN. Collette had something to say about a saucy pinch on the bottom, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. Manipulative males should be made to stop or face the music. Maybe it was ever the thus, but that does not make it O.K. Therefore it has to be talked about, boring as it is.


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