What Harvey Weinstein looks like doesnt matter it is the evil lurking within | Barbara Ellen

All predators harbour a moral darkness thats what makes them truly repellent

Should Harvey Weinsteins physical appearance matter? Watching Ursula Macfarlanes devastating recent documentary Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein, I felt renewed admiration for all the courageous women recounting the alleged attacks, all denied by Weinstein. However, I was also struck by how much interviewees, generally, mentioned Weinsteins appearance his ugliness, his weight, his repulsiveness. Which seemed strange. Surely Weinsteins unattractiveness isnt the issue?

Weinsteins appearance should be completely irrelevant. Ugly people attract beautiful people. And it isnt as though women feel any less attacked if a good-looking man does the attacking. Some sexual predators are good looking (look at handsome serial killer Ted Bundy), but theyre still preying on women. Predators are just predators being attractive doesnt seem to stop them, nor does it excuse them. Why then is there so much emphasis on Weinsteins ugliness?

Of course, his looks could have mattered to him and contributed to what he became, giving him a sinister craving for women hed once never dreamt he could get near. Once he got near them, in a work capacity, he could have despised them for giving him professional attention because he was powerful.

But thats just Weinsteins pathetic inner psychodrama it was up to him to control impulses that were as premeditated as they were dark. If, as has been claimed, he usually had enough composure, even in the moment, to nastily threaten his victims careers, he also had enough self-control to stop.

As for the complainants referring to his appearance, whos to judge, if, for them, the ugliness of the moment, also manifested in Weinsteins physicality, added to their nightmare? From what they say, forcing them to look at him was a significant part of his thrill. Some also seem to be saying Weinsteins bulk made them more vulnerable.

Maybe some felt the need to emphasise how absurd it was for ugly Weinstein to claim theyd welcomed his sexual attention for their appalling experience to be diminished and dismissed as just another tale from the casting couch.

Ultimately, it doesnt matter. These women arent the ones on trial they dont have to police their real and visceral memories for the sake of anyone else. If thats how they remember it, thats that. Still, it seems odd for the physical ugliness of an alleged attacker to be repeatedly stressed. Weinstein could be drop dead gorgeous and it still wouldnt make what hes alleged to have done bearable. Not that the recurring focus on Weinsteins appearance was my chief reaction to the documentary that was still the claimed attacks. While victims are entitled to recall their experiences in any way they choose, the rest of us need to keep a sharp focus on whats genuinely repellent about such men. Their actions. The ugliness inside.

Survival of the fittest? Temple will kick it off

Temples Mark Strong: apparently the show is a fictional drama. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

The new Sky One series, Temple, starring Mark Strong and Daniel Mays, looks intriguing. Its about surgical operations performed underground, its about prepping for the coming storm and oh hang on. Back now, panic over, I just thought Id better double-check, but its definitely a fictional drama and not Newsnight.

Talk about art reflecting the world we live in. Just as Russell T Daviess Years and Years was about society screwing up, Temple, though set in the present day, effectively draws on future fears.

How timely, what with the recurring talk of everybody stockpiling everything from teabags to penicillin. (Underground bunkers optional. For now.) How about the possibility of going from were all middle class now to were all survivalists now within one-and-a-half generations?

Are people just overreacting about the idea of Armageddon? I hope so, but then who knows? There was a gentler, more innocent time when I thought that people were overreacting when they said that Boris Johnson might become prime minister.

What effect is this ceaseless shredding of nerves having on the national psyche? The answer could fall somewhere between a feeling akin to being trapped inside an evil wizards pinball game, to confusion and despair. Could the stress end up warping perceptions of what it is to be human? Psychologically and emotionally, are people being driven underground, increasingly searching for meaning in activism and resistance? Right after theyve managed to locate a multipack of lavatory paper for under 50.

While usually themes such as those in Temple feel soothingly fictional and alien, perhaps theyre just that little bit closer to home than people are comfortable with.

Warning to lazy vegans: you may be harming yourselves

Doing vegetarianism or veganism properly takes effort. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

A study published in the BMJ says that while vegan and vegetarian diets are linked to a lower risk of heart disease, they may increase the likelihood of strokes, partly due to nutrient deficiency.

Which reminds me that I need to embark on my clamoured-for food memoir: Confessions of a Lazy Vegetarian. The first chapter could be titled The Crisp Years, the second Children of the Quorn and so on.

My problem was that, as someone who turned vegetarian young because of animals (third chapter: Virtue Signalling for Dummies), I didnt give much thought to nutrition. Actually, thats a lie: I didnt give any thought to nutrition. Hence, over the years, Ive had some health problems that were most probably linked to being a gormless, vitamin-deprived vegetarian. But thats my own fault, isnt it?

Vegetarians and vegans cant blame their diets for health problems they can only question if theyre eating properly. Vegetarians and vegans who are scrupulous about nutrition wouldnt invite needless problems, while also reaping the genuine health benefits. The fact is, doing vegetarianism or veganism properly takes effort, which can be boring, but it must be done. Though really this applies across the board. No diet (meat or meat-free) is automatically healthy you always have to work at it.

Barbara Ellen is an Observer columnist

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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