So clapping is no longer offensive in the Covid-19 era – are we now un-woke enough for a Woody Allen movie?
It is difficult to know how a country that shared the rationalist dream and whose Declaration of Independence includes the sentiment ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’ can have regressed to the stage where values are relative, justice is meted out by social (usually keyboard) warriors and the notion of good and evil has been capsized by wokeness – political correctness on steroids.
I was looking forward to going to NYC to see A Rainy Day in New York but the Woke Police in the guise of #MeToo pressured Amazon to refuse to distribute Woody Allen’s latest movie in the United States.Also on rt.com Cancel culture setback: 'Toxic pariah' and 'menace to society' Woody Allen finds a publisher for memoir
In my books the only time one should say ‘me too’ is when asked at a dinner party who would like a glass of champagne. I have always viewed the #MeToo movement with a degree of suspicion. I am with the French Impressionist Auguste Renoir who considered that ‘Women who are authors, lawyers and politicians are monsters.’
Back in 1992, it emerged that Allen was having an affair with Mia Farrow’s then 22-year-old daughter and college student, Soon-Yi Previn. Farrow lashed back by accusing him of molesting their adopted seven-year-old daughter, Dylan. The Allen/Farrow saga was always as messy as a cat’s sandbox. Like Bayreuth, it goes on and on.
Allen was never charged with any crime. Investigations concluded that he had not abused Dylan.
The #MeToo movement has taken over a starring role in the near-thirty-year long trial by media of Woody Allen.
Believe all women, not really
A good part –and definitely the most fun part– of being a feminist is frightening men, Julie Burchill once said.
#MeToo emerged because many women have lost faith in the justice system. But the mantra “Believe all women” is nonsense.
If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place?
Woke Culture, that’s what.
According to Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, ‘In times of extremes, extremists win. Their ideology becomes a religion, anyone who doesn’t puppet their views is seen as an apostate, a heretic or a traitor. Moderates in the middle are annihilated.’
The aim of ideology is to eliminate ambiguity – there is a constant search for slogans in order to bulldoze nuance. There is, it seems, no psychological balm in this Gilead. There is no forgiveness or wish to heal. Those who refuse to release resentment remain puppets of the past.
The randomness with which #MeToo and the Woke Police decide on who is in their crosshairs is deeply selective.
President Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh were obviously prime targets.
Former staffer Tara Reade has recently recounted an alleged assault by Presidential Candidate Joe Biden in 1993.
Biden’s inappropriate behavior has, thus far, not snagged the attention of the mainstream media. Why, Alyssa Milano, one of the noisiest of protagonists in the #MeToo movement is endorsing him!Also on rt.com #MeToo was good while it lasted: From outing abusers to political bickering, the movement has run its course
After Dylan Farrow publicly shamed actors for supporting #MeToo while also working with Woody Allen, several stars of Rainy Day, including Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Hall, publicly donated their salaries to charities like Time’s Up, the Hollywood campaign against harassment and assault.
Disingenuously. Have they only now heard about these allegations from almost thirty years ago? Perhaps Timothée Chalamet could be granted immunity because he wasn’t even born until 1995, but cowardice seems as catching as Covid-19.
From genius to pariah, but never back?
I recall interviewing Goldie Hawn, the American actress, some years ago. She gushed about Allen’s genius.
We spoke about listening to Allen’s comedy stand-up album ‘The Nightclub Years.’ We could both practically recite the sketch about the moose on the top of his car in the Holland Tunnel.
Goldie was as enthusiastic as a sommelier rhapsodising about a fine red.
“His comedy is anarchic, counter-cultural. He is so unpredictable! He’s like a modern day anti-establishment SJ Perelman.”
But that was then. The public response has altered with the times. It was Napoleon Bonaparte who first said ‘Treason is a matter of dates.’
Woke culture is a kind of showing off of one’s emotions: “Look at what high moral standards I have. Look how compassionate I am. I am far more compassionate than you. I am far more liberal than you!”
#MeToo was once a much-needed movement. Now it is dangerously close to being a bigoted bully pulpit. Those who refuse to release resentment remain puppets of the past.
Bitterness is the hallmark of Woke Culture.
In Allen’s Apropos of Nothing (2020) he writes that he had “envisioned a little more peer support, nothing overwhelming, perhaps a few organized protests, maybe some irate colleagues marching arms linked, a little rioting, perhaps a few burned cars. After all, I had been a member in good standing of the creative community and was certain my predicament would infuriate my union brethren and fellow artists.”Also on rt.com ‘A problematic white savior flick’: Starved & desperate woke mobs target Netflix’s ‘Extraction’ starring Chris Hemsworth
Blake Lively, whom Allen cast in Café Society (2016) was castigated when she opined that the filmmaker is “very empowering for women.” Allen’s muse, Scarlett Johansson faced backlash after saying that she “believed” in the director’s innocence. Cate Blanchett, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Allen’s Blue Jasmine (2013) dared to advance that social media is not the “judge and jury” of the Brooklyn native.
There is a prescient nature about Allen’s former characters that bind them to his modern detractors. In his 1996 musical comedy film, Everyone Says I Love You, Goldie Hawn’s character, Steffi, is a Hampstead thinker whose pet cause is prison reform. Her fault lines are exposed when she is horrified about a romance between her daughter, Skylar (Drew Barrymore) and the jailbird, Charles Ferry (Tim Roth). Skylar’s sister DJ (Natasha Lyonne) disqualifies their privileged mother as a “guilty liberal democrat.”
I fervently hope that Covid-19 might give us pause. What do we really value as a society? We have become a tribe of malignant narcissists, greedy and brutal. Is it time to repent?
Of this I am certain: we should all have the right to see A Rainy Day in New York when we emerge from this pandemic.
What we really need is a vaccine for Wokeness.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.