March 26, 2019

What's Behind Kevin Spacey’s Disturbing ‘Let Me Be Frank’ Video?

“The video Kevin Spacey posted on Christmas Eve has been repeatedly described as “bizarre,” with good reason: No one knows what it means. Wearing a Santa apron and occasionally sipping from a mug, Spacey seems to inhabit his House of Cards character, Frank Underwood, drawling things such as, “We’re not done, no matter what anyone says.” The monologue hints at a desire to return to Cards, despite his character having been killed off (“You never actually saw me die, did you?” he asks). It plays as commentary on the more than 30 allegations of sexual misconduct against Spacey: “You wouldn’t rush to judgment without facts, would you?” The confusion the video has sown may have distracted from the news that the actor was just charged with the sexual assault of an 18-year-old in 2016.

What’s clear, at the least, is that Spacey chose for his first significant reemergence to be a showcase—or “showcase,” heavy on the air quotes—of his acting. And for it to spotlight one of the roles that the public once feted him for. And for it to dispense thoughts about morality and truth. All of which makes a statement: Don’t separate this artist from his art.

As year two of the post–Harvey Weinstein reckoning unfolds, that old ethical question—can art be evaluated apart from its artist?—feels more and more academic. Whether or not they should, many people clearly are fine with being entertained by alleged abusers. The cheers outnumbered the walkouts at surprise comedy sets by the confessed creep Louis C.K. The rapper XXXtentacion faced well-publicized allegations of hateful violence, and yet since his death, his music has risen to mega-popularity. Art, it seems, can survive allegations. What’s more unnerving is the suspicion, now, that artists can weather them, too—by relying on the goodwill engendered by their work.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."

"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."

"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."

"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."

"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."

"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."

"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."

"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"

"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."

"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."

"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."

"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."