Inserting movie lines into regular conversation, particularly with my husband, is one of my guilty pleasures. Why come up with a good line of your own when the best of Hollywood screenwriting is there for you to plagiarize?
Karl knows by now that any attempt he makes to call me out for doing something borderline awful will be met with “You knew what a frightful girl I was when you married me. I did not deceive you, sir.” Karl still hasn’t come up with a good response to that, but then neither did Rock Hudson when Elizabeth Taylor said it to him.
There are only a couple of movie lines that Karl throws out with any regularity. When I’m careless and set it up for him, he’ll drop the “but ya are Blanche” line at me, which always gets a laugh.
But the one we’ve overused recently is the Claude Rains line from Casablanca: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” This past week I’ve been shocked, shocked so many times and for so many reasons.
Take for example Harvey Weinstein. I was shocked, shocked to find that there was still a casting couch in Hollywood. I guess Mr. Weinstein just didn’t get the memo that banned predatory sexual behavior toward vulnerable women by powerful people in Tinseltown. And by powerful people, I mean men. Possibly he didn’t get the memo because it never went out.
But I’m not alone. Meryl Steep and Judi Dench were shocked, shocked to find out about the abuse allegations against Mr. Weinstein, adding that they “didn’t know” and were “completely unaware” of the behavior. Kate Winslet was also shocked, shocked as well, adding that she “had hoped that these kind of stories were made up rumors.”
Gwyneth Paltrow was not shocked, shocked because it happened to her. She says she was berated by Mr. Weinstein for telling her boyfriend (Brad Pitt) about the incident. As she said, “I was expected to keep the secret.” Personally, I am shocked, shocked that she did.
As a side note, that group of four actresses all won Oscars for movies either produced by or distributed by Mr. Weinstein through one of his companies.
But this phenomenon of denial isn’t unique to the movie business. One’s focus need only be redirected to Washington to see much of the same dynamics in play.
The “actors” in Washington are going to have to choose which part they will play. There’s too much talk about Trump’s fitness and competence for office and too much speculation about the causes of his inability to demonstrate the needed stability to execute his responsibilities. They must pick a role.
Let’s face it—it’ll take the acting genius of Iron Lady Meryl Streep to assert credibly that one didn’t know at all. Or, one might opt for a more believable line like The Reader Kate Winslet and hold out the hope that all these stories are unfounded rumors. Or, there’s the uneasy Shakespeare in Love Gwyneth Paltrow position of knowing the truth and keeping quiet about it. From my perspective, all of them are bad parts.
Claude Rains was right that there was gambling going on at Rick’s Café Americain. He knew because he got his winnings right after he declared how shocked, shocked he was. So if some folks in Washington do speak the truth and shame the devil, I’ll decide whether to be shocked or just shocked, shocked based on whether or not they get their winnings right after the truth telling.
So let’s see a show of hands from the Washington crowd. Because any hands you don’t see will belong to the ones holding the edge of the rug.