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I WROTE a standalone piece on this bit of media/internet brouhaha concerning the neverending accusations-without-evidence against Woody Allen on January 18, 2014. I titled it “the character assassination of woody allen in the media continues as ignorance and opinion trump facts.” And, no, I do not consider the worldwide web a part of the “media,” and that word can be read as synonymous with “mainstream media”: the major television and radio shows and newspapers and magazines.
The title of my piece (and it is “character assassination of woody allen part 2”) should tell you all you need to know on my stance. Despite the staggering amount of attention that Dylan Farrow’s recent “open letter” to Woody Allen has accumulated, nothing has changed in more than twenty years!
There are NO new facts, meaning NO facts at all supporting the claims of either Mia or Dylan Farrow.
While researching print-on-demand publishing almost ten years ago, I discovered Clea Saal’s Books and Tales website. There she had the most informative and useful set of pages devoted to POD that I had come across. (And more on this in a later post.)
She has made many changes on her site since then, including adding a fairly personal blog, Message in a Bottle. To which I recently subscribed. I therefore received her latest entry, “In defense of Woody Allen . . . sort of.” Here is her opening paragraph of her ruminations of Dylan Farrow’s accusation:
“I have to admit that my first response upon reading Dylan Farrow’s open letter was a rather inappropriate one: I found myself thinking, ‘Who does she think she is? Bush?’ As I said, not the most appropriate, or charitable, of responses under the circumstances, but the thing is that while I have no way of knowing whether or not her allegations are true, I found her attitude of ‘if you are not with me you are against me,’ and her assumption that the fact that one of the most influential filmmakers of the past half century—a man who is fast approaching eighty, and who was never charged with a crime, let alone convicted—was being presented with a lifetime achievement award was all about her (emphasis added) to be more than a little jarring.”
Equally nutty comments
I sent a link to Ms. Saal’s posting to my friend Brian, who thought it sad that a comparison to Dubya “seems the most reasonable” response to the brouhaha. Both Brian and I had been reading some of the insane op/ed pieces finding their way onto ever-more “respectable” sites that we agree should know better. We are also burned out by the equally nutty comments by people who actually appear not to have read the articles upon which they are commenting!
BRIAN: “I got through a few comments before I was beginning to feel homicidal towards illiterate cretins. I think I said it before: scariest words in the English language are ‘jury of my peers.’ What a bunch of idiots.”
Due to Ms. Farrow’s ongoing accusations, a juggernaut of vitriol-fueled opinion against Woody Allen in particular and men in general was running amok on the worldwideweb. Sources that should have been providing a buffer of “objectivity” were jumping on the runaway train. (Can a runaway train and a juggernaut running amok be considered synonymous or am I mixing metaphors?)
Note that Brian has lived on and off again in Mexico; this may assist you in understanding some of his remarks below. Brian highly recommends that everyone read author Morris Berman’s blog Dark Ages America and his leaving the stressed-out and increasingly ruder US for the much more civil, much more polite society of Mexico. So, here is our back-and-forth via email:
BRIAN: “It’s basically more Bizarro-land: a guy points out that Mia Farrow engaged in the same (slutty?) behavior she accuses Allen and Soon-Yi of doing, and he’s being misogynistic, sleazy, etc. This is the kind of double-standard we’ve been calling these high-minded creeps on for 20+ years—and that makes us the bad guys!
Up is down good is bad perversion is okay and normal is perverse. Basically, we live in a nation of dipshits with their heads up their arses. I won’t even engage with them anymore—and as soon as I can, I’m leaving.
NEAL: May I post this on my site with or without your name?
BRIAN: Sure, but I wish I’d worked in how preponderant this type of behavior is amongst self-identified liberals. I find most of them anything-but-liberal—it’s a fashion to them, at best. As if finding their voice meant not having to listen to anyone else anymore. Asking how you feel, and then telling you why you’re wrong
The people who champion tolerance the loudest are often the least tolerant! All points I’ve made over and over for years and years. Like the line from Annie Hall (of all places): “Right, I’m a bigot, I know—but for the left, fortunately.”
NEAL: Okay, now what do you mean by the last line with the quote from Annie Hall ? I viewed the line on film (below) and I hear Alvy Singer being ironic and somewhat self-deprecating. But that’s not necessarily the way your use of it above reads . . .
BRIAN: What I mean is bigotry and intolerance are perfectly acceptable now as long as you’re intolerant of the ‘right’ things: men, heterosexuals, the establishment, etc. It’s fashion, nothing more. There used to be a term for these people, umm . . . hypocrite—that’s it. I thought Allen/Singer was taking a jab at that kind of phoniness in Annie Hall.
NEAL: With the “men, heterosexuals, the establishment” comment, you sound cranky, like you’re developing early-onset AWMS (Angry White Man’s Syndrome, called “oms” by those in the field who treat those of us so inflicted). Do you want to elucidate?
BRIAN: AWMS must be similar to PMS, i.e., it only exists in the US. I’m not sure who ‘those in the field’ are, but I’m pretty sure I’m qualified as an MA-level psychotherapist to be ‘one.’
NEAL: As an abbreviation/acronym, AWMS was something that I that I made up. I figured the pronunciation (“Oms”) being the same as that of the Buddhist chant (“Ommmmmmmm”) was a giveaway. It’s great that it sounds acceptably hip and modern and actually believable in our current culture of pop psychology and the acceptance of the blame-anybody-but-me attitude (syndrome?).
BRIAN: Beyond that, I’m not the slightest bit angry, but I’ve been fortunate to escape the so-called ‘culture’ of the US. My statement means exactly what it says: it’s currently acceptable to denigrate, bully, and otherwise mistreat men, heterosexuals, ‘the man’, and a host of other groups that, were you to substitute ‘women,’ ‘homosexuals’, etc., you’d never get away with—and rightly so.
NEAL: My use of the term angry was meant to be somewhat ironic but, as the Bern so often tells me, irony is lost on the internet. Actually, the inability of ‘get’ irony has long been a trait ascribed to Americans by European writers and chatters. (As I have discovered both here and on Facebook.) It is an all but lost form for we here in the US—especially with the past few generations of young Americans.
Brian’s use of the word “reasonable” led me to send him to what I have found to be the most reasonable account of this turmoil: “The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast” by Robert R. Weide, the man responsible for the documentary on Allen. Mr. Weide’s piece deals with the FACTS in the case as we know them that are nevermentioned in the anti-Allen articles (although few qualify as more than opinion pieces) that continue the assault.
Needless to say, Mr. Weide is now having his integrity called into question for mentioning these facts that are—alas, for the Allen-haters—actually factual. (I know, I know: they just get in the way of one’s opinions.)
Jessica Winter, writing for Slate (a site I used to admire), called Reide’s piece “full of sleazy innuendo, bad-faith posturing, and passive-aggressive self-promotion”—not a whit of which I read in that piece. I have included the link to his piece above; if this anti-Allen horror show interests you, please read Weide, do some research into his statements of alleged “sleazy innuendo,” and make up your own mind.
Finally, I was discussing this offnet and asked my conversation partner if she remembered the Valentine’s Day card that Mia Farrow had presented to Allen decades ago. She did not recall the incident so I explained as best memory served. Now the card is back in the news, but there is a BIG difference between Allen’s accusation and Farrow’s: Allen has actual evidence—the card.
Ho hum and it won’t get any better and Mia and Dylan ain’t never gonna drop this—like, not EVER—and, unfortunately, I already have most of a third part prepared for posting on this topic.
The character assassination of Woody Allen
This article is the second in a series of articles lumped together as “the character assassination of woody allen.” Here are the parts so far:
1. the character assassination of woody allen in the media continues as ignorance and opinion trump facts
2. if you’re not with me, then you must be against me
3. the mia-dylan and the neverending story
4. why mariel hemingway’s new revelation doesn’t matter
HEADER: The gorgeous photo at the top of this page is of the gorgeous Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, perhaps the least effective title Allen has ever given a film. This gem of a movie co-stars Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem, and Rebecca Hall.