This week’s column is going to be a little bit different.
Everybody is talking about Woody Allen, but all the words don’t really mean that much to me anymore. I want to talk about him too, and feel as though I should, but I’m not sure what to say.
For the unaware, director Woody Allen’s estranged, adopted daughter Dylan Farrow recently dispatched an open letter renewing charges of his molesting her when she was 7 years old. Allen has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Now, the nation’s media finds itself in a reinvigorated debate over the disturbing personal life of one of its brightest stars. I don’t think it’s my place to comment on whether or not I believe Farrow’s story or Allen’s–mainly because I will never know what happened.
Furthermore, every other publication in this country has that speculation beat covered fairly thoroughly at the moment.
I’m here to ask a different question: am I still allowed to like him?
Allen’s work has always held a special place in my heart. His early characters still make me laugh and the world’s he’s been building in the latter half of his career transport me to a place that make me feel at-home.
The Woody Allen I’m reading about now is not the Woody Allen I love, but I’m worried that I’m not supposed to be making the differentiation. Can you love the art and hate the artist? I’m not sure. It doesn’t feel right, though. Allen’s movies were a tool for him to drag us into his mind… maybe I’m not supposed to like them as much as I do.
My computer wallpaper has been a portrait of a young Allen for months. I changed it last week as the charges were renewed, but only reluctantly and out of fear that I’d offend someone who happened to be walking behind me.
Allen used to oversee everything I wrote. It still feel’s strange writing without him peeking over the edge of my document. His implied criticism made my work better, or at least I like to think it did.
Larry David stands in his place now, but it’s not the same.
Am I allowed to look up to someone who is constantly accused of deplorable behavior? Does a person’s perversities necessarily negate the immensity of his or her art?
I wasn’t sure what the answer was, so I turned to Google: “am i still allowed to be a Woody Allen fan?”
Debate rages on, both camps have strong arguments, I’m more confused than ever.
Thinking about it now, I have serious doubts that I’ll be able to keep myself from revisiting some of those films, and enjoying them.
When I do, should I feel shame? If Blue Jasmine wins a pile of Oscars, should I be excited or outraged?
I don’t know what else I should say. My writing partner and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment.