Johanna Schneller: Rose McGowan speaks truth in docu-series Citizen Rose
Predators do recognize emotional damage and spin doctors do a lot of maligning.
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The Show: Citizen Rose, Season 1, Episode 1 (E!)
The Moment: The predator’s tactics
“If you know anything about me, you’re like, ‘Huh, that’s that kind of weirdo,’” the actress and activist Rose McGowan says, speaking into the camera as if it’s her lover. “Do you ever wonder why you think that? Who’s telling you that? Who’s paying them to tell you that?”
Later, McGowan meets up with the actress Asia Argento. Both women have accused disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. “I was open to more hurt,” Argento says. “I was perfect prey. They recognize those that are more hurt. They’re very good at that. We have a wound they recognize, like evil spirits.”
Say what you will about McGowan’s frailties, eccentricities and self-obsessions, all of which are evident in this docu-series — so evident that you sometimes feel her own show is belittling her. But she and Argento speak truth: Predators do recognize emotional damage (McGowan grew up in a cult) and spin doctors do a lot of maligning.
If you watch this show cynically, you’ll see one Rose: A melodramatic limelight-lover who released this first episode early to coincide with the launch of her autobiography, Brave (more episodes will follow in a few months), and to focus the energy of the #MeToo movement on herself and the group she’s created, Rose Army. She doesn’t seem like an easy hang, to put it mildly.
But if you watch more empathetically, you’ll see what can happen to a person who leads with her emotions after she’s been dismissed for decades as “crazy” — especially when she’s saying things that are hard to hear.
Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseur who zeroes in on pop-culture moments.
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