How #MeToo revives the damsel in distress

Many of the powerful men in Hollywood who were toppled for naughty behavior with women were conspicuously absent from this year’s Academy Award ceremonies, and beautiful women draped in expensive gowns to accentuate their curves and cleavage (all the mourning black was left at the Golden Globes) were pleased to let them know that their days of potency and power were numbered. Two men accused (but definitely not convicted) were there to represent the notion that talent trumps testicular tampering. Kobe Bryant, accused of rape, took Oscar home for best animated short for “Dear Basketball,” and Gary Oldman, accused of domestic violence against his wife long ago, won best actor for a dead-on portrayal of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in “The Darkest Hour.” The applause for each of them was deafening, as if the audience wanted a moment of fighting for the real purpose for being there, to honor performance and creativity in movies.

If creative people through history had to be judged by what people accuse them of having done, we’d have a much shorter and much more airbrushed cultural history. Hollywood would be a ghost town. The bad, the mean and the ugly of Hollywood men should not go unpunished, but “Sentence first, verdict afterward,” as set out by the Red Queen in “Alice in Wonderland,” has sometimes played out unjustly in the excess of #MeToo.