if you’re not with me, then you must be against me (the character assassination of woody allen part 2)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 7 min­utes.

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.



Sleazy innuendo

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
why mariel hem­ing­way’s new rev­e­la­tion doesn’t matter


VickyCristinaBarcelona Cruz 1000

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.





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