Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Woody Allen and Public Opinion

     Allegations that Woody Allen molested Mia Farrow’s seven year old daughter are being heatedly denied around the media this week. One wonders whether this is because of wishful thinking- that people would like to believe Mr. Allen is above these things, and that he is, in fact, reasonably presumed innocent. “He has not been convicted of anything” the defenders cry. Well I see some corollaries here: Notably, the cases of OJ Simpson and Barry Bonds.
   Presumption of innocence has never stopped the critics of either of them from holding a deep seated, near-instinctual, distrust and apprehension of either of them. Barry Bonds was never actually tested positive for use of steroids, although the federal government was convinced somehow that he lied as to his use of PED’s, enough so to heatedly prosecute and convict him. (Although no such prosecutions seem to be forthcoming against James Clapper, whose lies before Congress are indeed a matter of the public record). OJ Simpson has “never been convicted” of the murder of his girlfriend, but millions of Americans “just know” he is guilty, just because. Because something about it all “just didn’t fit.”
    However in Woody Allen’s case, like that of Barry Bonds, there are certain issues which beg the question of innocence, and these are  of the sort which are right before the eyes of the cynical. Barry’s hat size grew by some 2 or 3 sizes. His body bulked up beyond any reasonable expectations as may be explained from just plain “working out.” And like Barry, Woody Allen's seeming proclivities toward “not looking too far from home” for his sexual conquests are confirmed in his having taken the 19-year old daughter of his ex-girlfriend as his own wife. I think there is a little there that is grounds enough to cast doubts on his current claims of innocence.
     Almost as dubious as this, if not more, are Woody’s claims, in a recent interview I saw on YouTube, that somehow, despite his earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per picture as an actor and director, he’s just  “blue-collar” kind of guy. This was a remarkable instance of dissembling and re-assembling truth. If a man with that much earning power can straight-facedly call himself “blue collar” then perhaps he really is one of those sociopaths who have no ability to discern their own impression of themselves from that of other people’s, willing to believe the image they have created of themselves is the person they really are.
     I liked Woody Allen, for a long time, and gave him (already, some twenty years or so on) benefit of the doubt, although I always though that it was creepy he married a girl young enough to be his daughter. And that basically he robbed the cradle right out from under her mother. If that was not creepy enough. But I was long in the camp of those who claimed Allen’s status as an artist- for his first big film, Take the Money and Run, was an undeniable screamer, and I always loved What’s Up Tiger Lily (more for the Lovin’ Spoonful’s musical contribution, than the actual film) and laughed at the coke scene in Annie Hall, as did so many of my peers. But to have this current aspersion cast upon his character after so much suspension of judgment in his favor, I am afraid I would prefer to weigh in with the victim, this time.

     Because her story sounds sincere, and it’s being backed up by her brother, as “speaking for itself.” There had to have been a lot of anger pent up over the years as Dylan Farrow watched Woody get “the benefit of the doubt” and keep getting it, because people want to love the “lovable” public character, and dismiss as quirks any peccadilloes of the private man. But it seems to be resonant, for me, more of something which actually could have happened. Despite Dylan’s misjudgment as to things such as statutes of limitations, there is indeed something which rings true about it, and which asks individuals who presume to enjoy, and continue to enjoy, Allen’s cinematic work, to have a deeper look into it all in light of the “new” allegations. As for myself, I'm waiting for his version of Lolita.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Le Surrealist apprécie vos pensées, comments et suggestions. Continuez-les venir ! Doigts Heureux !