Years ago, when I watched Hotel Rwanda, I was intrigued by Sophie Okonedo, her unique beauty. She can appear plain, almost strange looking, yet when that huge smile dances across her face, she dazzles. She is radiantly gorgeous.
Recently, after watching a series in which Okonedo stars, I entered her name in a Google search to see her filmography. From Wikipedia, I discovered this:
In October 2017, Michael Caton-Jones revealed that he had chosen Okonedo to star in B. Monkey. However, the producer, Harvey Weinstein, decided the actress was not ‘fuckable.’ Caton-Jones and Weinstein discussed the matter heatedly, and Caton-Jones said, ‘Don’t screw up the casting of this film because you want to get laid,’ whereupon he went mental.’ Weinstein then leaked to Variety that Caton-Jones had walked off the movie due to ‘creative differences.’ Asia Argento, who replaced Okonedo, was one of three women who in 2017 were reported in The New Yorker to have been raped by Weinstein; she said that she submitted to Weinstein because, ‘I felt I had to, because I had the movie coming out and I didn’t want to anger him.’
The disclosures, arriving almost daily now, another actor emerging to say she or he was sexually assaulted, are phallic emblems of power, power over someone, something. Sociopathic conduct.
Here’s what Hillary Clinton said about exceptionalism during her presidential campaign: “The United States is an exceptional nation. It’s not just that we have the greatest military, or that our economy is larger than any on Earth, it’s also the strength of our values. Our power comes with a responsibility to lead.”
Steve Bannon’s excavation of dirt on the women accusing Roy Moore of sexual misconduct reminds me of HRC. Because when Bill Clinton’s political aspirations were at risk (from entry level to his tenure as president) due to the many allegations about sexual predation, she was defiant. (As defiant as Roy Moore is now, and more on Moore later.) She knew her man and she, of course, had her own political aspirations. Read this to see what HRC did through the years to preserve whatever contract she and Bill Clinton honored. Turns out her response was to discredit each of her husband’s accusers, to ridicule, even to say the charges were part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy. Her reaction to Bill Clinton’s manipulation of power to extract sex, rubbing his penis against some terrified target, was similar to her mission as secretary of state: undermine and destroy.
To talk hypocrisy is almost trite. Still, it’s important and also important to question the power that accompanies a responsibility to lead. Lead how? The U.S. leads by misleading. By making a case to gullible, propagandized voters. By engaging in overt military incursions, regime-change oriented invasions, and also through covert operations—all conceived to overthrow governments in countries whose resources or lands are essential to U.S. supremacy. Raping a country’s resources, raping the mind, raping the body, rape is a weapon of war whether the war is waged against men and women 6,000 or 8,500 miles away or here at home.
At home in Alabama, Roy Moore may win despite the assertions of sexual indecency, including one from a woman who was 14 when Moore allegedly initiated sexual contact. May win because Alabama voters care more about those other Roy Moore displays. You know, his pulling out a pistol in a theatrical support of gun rights, his refusal to remove a granite sculpture inscribed with the Ten Commandments from inside a judicial building, his vocal hatred of gay people.
Insert: Mitch McConnell says he believes the women. Please. McConnell’s getting in touch with his fem side only because Bannon’s placing a bullseye on McConnell’s backside to clear out the Old Guard. When McConnell said that Moore is unfit to serve as senator, someone should have challenged, “Au contraire. Moore is exceptionally qualified to serve among a group of corrupt sleaze creeps. Moore is the U.S. Senate, is the U.S.A.”
Back to Sophie Okonedo who must be relieved that Weinstein didn’t think she was “fuckable,” thankful she dodged Weinstein’s fusillade. As relieved as people who live in areas not atop huge oil and mineral reserves or where access is needed to these areas. In other words, countries not considered fuckable by the Empire.
Missy Comley Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: email@example.com.