The reaction to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the story of lecherous MPs reminds me of Casablanca. In a terrific scene, Humphrey Bogart asks why Claude Rains’s Captain Renault is closing down Rick’s Café.
Captain Renault says, “I’m shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” At this point, a croupier hands Renault a thick wedge of notes, saying: “Your winnings, sir.”
The same goes for rapacious Hollywood producers pouncing on the talent. I’m shocked! Shocked!
And MPs behaving inappropriately with their secretaries and researchers. Shocked! Shocked!
I used to go to party conferences regularly when I was a leader-writer at the Daily Telegraph. They were a Petri dish for studying the behaviour of the lunging male. Take several hundred deeply ambitious, vain, middle-aged men; simmer in an ocean of warm white wine; add in several hundred younger women, whose jobs often depend on the older men; provide hotel rooms in close proximity. Repeat for several weeks at different seaside locations – and, voilà, a certain proportion of the men will behave appallingly.
You can concoct an even more lethal version of the same cocktail in Hollywood – where the men are much richer and more powerful; and the number of beautiful, young women are in an even greater proportion.
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