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Buffy sticks a stake in Joss Whedon

Sarah Michelle Gellar is, by modern standards of celebrity, a hermit.  She isn't tweeting constantly, blabbing to media about every issue and her political positions are generally unknown.

She got married and stayed married, and unlike Angelina Jolie, her face isn't a fixture on tabloid magazine covers.  She only surfaces when she's doing a project and wants to draw attention to it.

During the initial onslaught of #MeToo, I don't recall her expressing an opinion regarding "male feminist" uber-hypocrite Joss Whedon.  Now, however, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has driven a stake into Whedon's tottering career.

I'm of two minds on Hollywood's infamous casting couch.  On the one hand, it's exploitative and grossly immoral. 

On the other hand, such things have always been part of show business.  Throughout human history "actor" and "prostitute" have generally meant the same thing.  It was only in the last few decades that performers began to climb the social ladder and become respectable as a class.  I blame World War II, because so many entertainers (particularly movie stars like Clark Cable and Jimmy Stewart) dropped their careers and went to war.  That gave show business a reputation for honor and decency that it didn't really deserve.

To put it another way, I don't think anyone goes into an industry notorious for nude sex scenes and thinks that everything is totally moral and proper.  I'm not even going to mention the drugs and other goings on.  When a producer or director points links couch performance to movie roles, the obvious thing to do is leave.  Yes, it means giving up dreams of celebrity and fabulous wealth, but some prices are too high to pay.  Life is all about self-denial.

However, not everyone is that strong, and predators have ways of boxing in their prey, which is why I think the only way to win "the fame game" is not to play.

The key issue seems to be not that bad people did bad things, but that they failed to honor their contract.  The movie moguls of old really could make you a star if you catered to their whims.  Nowadays, Hollywood's audience and reach continues to shrink.  I'm not the first to note that Weinstein got dimed out in large part by middle-aged women whose careers had flatlined.

Whedon has similarly lost his golden touch, which makes his increasingly angry persona intolerable.  Hollywood itself has a whole genre of films about washed-up stars and their despair. 

The collapse of the studio system ushered in the era of the writer/producer/director auteur, and I think we're now seeing a similar collapse, with advanced yet affordable technology and online streaming allowing talented artists to bypass Hollywood altogether.  The day of having to find a distributor or raise millions of dollars from backers are quickly fading.  There is a massive audience hungry for content that Hollywood simply refuses to provide, and it will be interesting to see what comes next.

What that means is that the casting couch will have to find a new habitat.  The social ostracism of former apex predators isn't so much about a shift in values as it is about a declining population of prey.

 

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