What do you do if Hollywood has been rocked for months by the biggest sex-harassment scandal ever and the Academy Awards are coming up and you're running a film-industry trade paper that's in the habit of putting out an annual Oscars issue?
Well, if you're the editors of Variety, you put your heads together and decide to grace your cover with the most courageous victim of Hollywood sexism ever – namely, Barbra Streisand.
Written by Ramin Setoodeh, the slobberingly obsequious cover story is entitled “Barbra Streisand on How She Battled Hollywood's Boys' Club.” It opens with what must be the millionth account of what, one gathers, was the great anti-woman crime of the twentieth century: the denial of an Oscar nomination to Babs for her direction of Yentl (1983). How dare they overlook her while nominating five males, including some Swede named Bergman! “It really showed the sexism,” Streisand tells Setoodeh.
She tells this to Setoodeh, mind you, “over a cup of tea at her her stunning Malibu estate.” That's Hollywood female victimhood for you, folks!
Streisand isn't embarrassed to still be whining about her supposed snub 34 years later. Then again, when has she ever displayed the slightest sign of embarrassment about anything? What's a bit more surprising than her eternal self-obsessed kvetching is that neither Setoodeh nor his editors at Variety seem to have sensed any contradiction whatsoever between her endless complaints about patriarchal indignities she's suffered in the film biz (once, when she was directing The Prince of Tides, her crew refused to work overtime) and the ample evidence of her own professional triumph served up in the article itself – from Setoodeh's giddy description of her estate to the cover photo of her surrounded by a profusion of Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, and Golden Globes.
Think about it: since the takedown of Harvey Weinstein, dozens of Hollywood careers have been lost, scores of black dresses designed and fitted for the Golden Globes, hundreds of Time's Up buttons proudly brandished, thousands of celebrity #metoo hashtags tweeted and re-tweeted, and heaven knows how many pious, pompous, publicist-written-and-approved speeches about male oppression in the entertainment industry delivered on talk shows, at rallies, and from the stages of awards galas. Formerly silenced and suppressed women in Hollywood, Setoodeh solemnly pronounces, are “finally gaining control of their own narrative.”
And naturally, Variety's pick for the face of this movement is this legendary ball-buster and man-eater – this woman who, famously, far from ever letting anybody boss her around, is notorious for using her lofty position to treat underlings rudely and generally push her inferiors around. Can you imagine any man trying to force anything on her? Her husband, when she allows him to appear in public, looks as well-trained as a show dog. (One pictures him cowering meekly in some remote room on the estate, waiting to be summoned into the royal presence.) I could cite numerous accounts of her abusiveness, but I'll confine myself to one: four years ago, the New York Daily News reported that she nagged and haggled with interior decorators working at her estate, talked to them as if they were children, and ordered them not to look at her,
Face it: is there any woman on the planet who's less of a victim? She's made it to the very top in not one but several fields: she's the best-selling female recording artist ever, the female artist with the most #1 albums ever, the only recording artist to have a #1 album in each of the last six decades, the only woman ever to serve as producer, director, writer, and star of a major studio picture, and the first woman to win an Oscar for songwriting. She's been fêted at the Kennedy Center Honors, given a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and on and on and on.
As for making Streisand the poster girl for purportedly long-silenced women: this is a lady who's been running off her mouth about everything on her mind ever since she first stepped into a spotlight. Every chance she gets, she oozes tiresome Hollywood-leftist platitudes, hectoring captive concert audiences about economic inequality and global warming – all the while living like an African potentate and having a carbon footprint rivaling that of a small town. (A 2010 issue of Harpers Bazaar featured a garish spread of the “street of shops” in Streisand's basement in which she stores some of her pricey possessions.) In Variety, she offers not one but two theories about why Hillary lost the election: (1) Trump stole it; (2) Hillary was “just too smart.”
That the editors of Variety could actually consider this powerful showbiz bully – this Harvey Weinstein in a dress – the perfect cover girl for their #metoo Oscars issue only goes to show that at least some folks in Tinseltown still don't get it, still don't see any of this clearly, still need an introductory course in basic morals and decency, and still don't grasp why all the deplorables out there are sick and tired of the whole lot of them.
Add to all this, by the way, the fact that Streisand herself not only admits to Setoodeh that she's never, ever been sexually harassed but also provides this “explanation” for why producers and directors kept their hands off her: “I wasn't blond enough.”