That tweet—cynical, desperate, pathetic, ridiculous, hilarious—by the minor “Star Trek” supporting actor turned gay rights warrior turned pop celebrity pitch man turned Kevin Spacey—has been taken down, but it’ s too late. Poor George Takei has set a new mark for complex and creative virtue-signaling as an incompetent crisis management tactic. It’s interesting that this relatively new art form has become so popular for riders on the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck, because it has backfired every time.
It’s gratifying that these Hollywood types are beginning to grasp the cognitive dissonance scale, but the damn thing can’t work miracles.
First Harvey announced that he was going to go after the NRA as he sort of apologized for assaulting, abusing, intimidating and raping actresses, because Weinstein gambled that this would make Hollywood say, “Oh, you’re a good guy then! We’ll ignore the rapes, as long as your enemy is our enemy.” I can see how he may have thought this would work; after all, it had worked with Democratic politicians his whole career. When Kevin Spacey’s protective Wall of Silence was starting to crumble, he tried the “I’m gay! Love me!” version of this tactic, figuring that he would more than double his support in the show business community. This did not go well.
Takei had come out long ago, so he couldn’t try that, and he hadn’t been giving millions to the Democratic Party, so a pledge to destroy Ted Cruz or Roy Moore or some conservative organization that he thought people hated more than they have problems with gay sexual predators wasn’t likely to work. What do do? Wait…wait! People blame the Russians for electing Trump! I can’t say I’m going to go after Russia, but I can say that Russia’s going after ME! Sure, that can work! I’ll blame the whole Scott Brunton “Sulu molested me” accusation on Russian bots! Then I’ll take a heroic stand, explain the Putin’s out to get me because I called him out on Russia’s anti-gay policies and proclaim that I won’t be silenced! It’s perfect!”
Here’s the theory. This is the cognitive dissonance scale, devised by Dr. Leon Festinger. I post it often…
Let’s say George was at + 8, generally liked, not a superstar. Sexual predation is suddenly much less tolerated than it once was in Hollywood, so let’s say it’s a – 100 now. (At least that’s what Hollywood wants you to believe. Never forget..these are actors…)
Dr. Festinger said that in a case like his, a safely positive figure suddenly attached to a hugely negative activity, George would fall somewhere in the negative 90s on the scale once everyone’s dissonance was resolved. George, then, wants to use dissonance to get himself back into positive numbers. If he attacks someone or something deep in negative territory, he gets positive momentum up the scale. The NRA? Nope, Harvey already tried them. Anti-gay marriage bigots? No, Takei’s opposition to them is how he got all the way to +8.
AhHA! Russia! Russia must be at least as low on the scale as a one-time sexual assault!
The problem with Takei’s theory is that “ridiculous theories that insult everyone’s intelligence” are also low-rated on the scale.
I need a name for this tactic. I was thinking of calling it “The Lohan,” after Lindsay’s desperate claim when she was arrested with coke in her pockets that she was wearing someone else’s pants, but that was just a bad defense, not a transparently self-serving “I’m someone you should admire and/or a champion of justice, so whatever I did doesn’t matter!” defense. Should we call it an “O.J.”, after the Juice’s post-acquittal pledge to spend the rest of his days hunting down Nicole and Ron’s killer?
Maybe it should just be called a “Sulu”…