It’s obviously unwise at this point to express any kind of mixed feelings about anyone in the firing lines for sexual assault or harassment. The smart play is to keep your head down and STFU. You’d have to be fairly brutish to not sense the serious trauma and anguish that many women have experienced at the hands of God knows how many powerful, scruple-free jackals out there. But there are…how to put this without sounding like a pig sympathizer? Maybe no way. I should probably just zip it.

A friend noted this morning that James Toback‘s neck is now on the chopping block and asked “where’s it all going to end?” My answer: “It’s just beginning.”

My presumption is that every older, obnoxiously randy swagger-hound (i.e., particularly those who revelled as youths in the nookie heyday of the late ’60s and particularly the quaalude-fed, Sodom-and-Gomorrah-ish ’70s)…any such person who decided long ago that getting laid through the unscrupulous use of power and economic leverage was more important than adhering to basic standards of decency, kindness and compassion…many if not most of these guys are going to experience the howling of the mob and perhaps even in some cases the kiss of steel.

Most of us have lived our lives with an understanding that bad behavior results in punitive measures. This is how any civilized society discourages ugly, intolerable acts — “You fuck up, you know what.” I began to realize this when I was….what, a year old? Every time I’ve made any kind of mistake or broken any rule, the same admonishments have applied. Not cool, dude. Correct your behavior or else.

But those who’ve lived and operated within the quiet, cushioned realms of the entertainment industry have been taught a different lesson: “Within limits you can get away with a lot of stuff, especially if you’re loaded and don’t behave like an absolute animal.”

If life tells you again and again and again and again that you can skate or sidestep out of the usual consequences, after a while you’ll start to believe that you’re largely bullet-proof. It’s bad conditioning, obviously, but it happens.

43 years ago Noah Cross said to Jake Gittes, “I don’t blame myself. You see, Mr. Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they’re capable of anything.”

Another thing no one has mentioned: the film-culture guys who’ve been accused of sexual assault or harassment so far (Devin Faraci, Cinefamily’s Shadie Elnashai and Hadrian Belove, Harry Knowles, Harvey Weinstein, et. al.) have not been blessed with matinee-idol looks.

Handsome or otherwise presentable smoothies in the tradition of Brad Pitt, Montgomery Clift, Cary Grant, Warren Beatty, George Clooney or Gregory Peck along with God knows how many hundreds of thousands of marginally appealing guys have never, to go by most accounts, had to resort to unsavory means of persuasion. Largely, one presumes, because they had the pick of the litter but also because life and circumstance taught them to be well-mannered and respect others. Would that this were true for all men.