Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

On Problematic Favorites and the Work of Fallen Idols

When a notion keeps popping into my head, the only solution is to write about it. I respect it if you don’t want to hear any more about Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, or any of the others wrapped up in scandal. That’s okay. Just stop reading.

I had (and lost) a great deal of respect for these men. They were talented. They were funny. I admired them, looked up to them. I actually met Kevin Spacey at one point and found him to be every bit as charming in person as he was on screen. Then I felt disgusted when I read the allegations, and found I couldn’t refute them.


I don’t want to make this about them. They’re nowhere near as important as their victims (whom I believe across the board). This is about their work, and how it can make us feel.

A friend shared this with me: in which a woman explores whether or not it’s okay for her to keep enjoying films made by people who’ve done terrible things. In her piece, she explores her inner conflict and why she has such mixed feelings about it.

I’ve been bugged lately by my own nostalgia for certain movies. Timeless works like Annie Hall and Chinatown used to be among my favorites. In the last two weeks, I’ve thrown out my copies of The Usual Suspects. Tootsie. Anything in my collection with Kevin Spacey or Dustin Hoffman or Louis CK.

Part of it is about enjoyment. I see any of them on screen and I’m immediately pulled out of the story. All I can think about is what they did, and who they did it to.


Part of it is about some tiny grain of repercussion. I only have 24 hours in a day, I’m not going to waste precious minutes or seconds spending them on you. Not anymore. Not after what you did. It’s unlikely any of these people will ever face consequences (read: criminal charges). The most I can do about it is make sure they don’t get any more of my attention.

Beyond that, I felt frustrated with myself and couldn’t articulate why.

Then, today, the words clicked into place. It occurred to me that I don’t owe my nostalgia any loyalty. My feelings about a piece of art that touched me, that I resonated with years ago don’t matter against what I think or feel today.


This is just one opinion, and I don’t know that you’re going to share it. My heart goes out to the men and women that have been preyed upon. I wish I could do something more than just say, “I’ve turned my back on the people who did this to you.” But at least I can say that.

Share This Story