I’d like to think that fairness, respect and equality were always issues that I took seriously but will reluctantly admit that as a father to girls, women’s issues have taken on an added significance for me. My desire for them to be able to lead happy, successful lives bringing into clearer focus some of the obstacles that they may face in reaching those goals.
It was with those obstacles in mind that when my news feed became inundated with outrage over the wage discrepancy paid to stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams for additional filming necessary on the film “All the Money in the World” I was absolutely stunned.
Stunned that there are so many people so desperate to find something to be outraged about that they would choose this story to fire their ire. Think what you may about his acting skills or some of the absolutely horrible movies he’s appeared in over the years, Wahlberg is an internationally recognizable movie star, the highest paid actor of 2017 according to Forbes magazine. Its reported that he took a pay cut simply to be in the movie to begin with. Michelle Williams is apparently an amazing actress, having been nominated for four Academy Awards, and probably has people that will see a movie based only on her appearance, but I’ll confess to not being able to name anything that she has previously been in without looking it up.
Perhaps this speaks more to poor choices in the movies that I watch or perhaps it’s simply the “mansplaining” that I will undoubtedly be accused of, but I find it hard to use this case as an example of the income bias that is a real and relevant issue in society.
One of the main problems with the 24/7 news cycle and the pay per click advertising business model that so many websites now rely on as their business model is the constant need for content, for stories that elicit a response. I bear no love for our current President and find his attacks on the media boorish and immature but there is truth to the idea that he could try and slip out a silent fart in a closed elevator and CNN would immediately have a panel of experts explaining why this lack of decorum makes him unfit to lead.
The irony here is that the reason for the re-shoots was the unprecedented move by director Ridley Scott to replace actor Kevin Spacey after the movie had completely finished filming. Spacey being one of many in Hollywood recently exposed as taking advantage of a culture of silence and fear to sexually harass and assault.
Before he also became persona non grata amid similar allegations there was a Louis CK quote that I would come across often : “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.” As much as I understand the sentiment behind his words and agree with them in principal, it ignores the fact that offense spread too thin becomes dilute, instead lending credibility to those that would rather mock and ignore the voices calling for fairness and decency.
The result is a tuning out, an exhaustion for controversy. I applaud and encourage all who would speak out against wrongdoing and injustice, but how often are these voices being lost amid all the excess noise?
All parents have had days when it seems like your child has done nothing but whine the entire day. It becomes nothing but a distraction, ignored and disregarded. Think of the people that you know that are constantly bitching, a complaint about everything and anything at all times. What happens eventually is that they have a legitimate concern, something important to them that needs to be heard.
It often isn’t.
It isn’t and only after the fact are we left to wonder what else we might have missed.