Dear Dirty America


Time To Take Down the Woody Allen Poster In the Bathroom, or Is It?

Time To Take Down the Woody Allen Poster In the Bathroom, or Is It?
February 06
23:45 2014


Let’s be honest. Dylan Farrow tore open a festering wound on the flank of the Great American Entertainment beast. Woody Allen, she alleged once again, took her into a closet, made her play with a train set, and then diddled her while she did. The allegation is horrendous. Dylan can no longer take pleasure in model trains. And the decision that all Woody Allen fans have to make is almost as treacherous.

I wasn’t going to touch this one. I am a fairly big Woody Allen fan. I couldn’t list to you all his movies by heart, but I’ve spent many hours delighted in his mannerisms and creative cinematography. I’ve enjoyed his plots, his dialogue, and the characters and cast of nearly every Allen film.

A selfish part of me quietly says, How dare that woman say those horrendous things about Woody. The other part of me says, How dare you not believe that poor woman. When Hollywood ignores her allegations, or unflinchingly says she’s lying, it’s hard to not feel pity for that small, traumatized girl in the closet. The entertainment industry is famous for sexually abusing children. It’s what they do. They would protect Allen on this one.

And yet. And yet! To take either side is to possibly make a grave mistake. If Allen is indeed innocent of the charges, as Dylan’s brother Moses says he is, then all those who jump on the child molester side of the fence are doing a horrendous deed. Helping to label an innocent man with the monstrous MOLESTER tag is unforgivable.

“Of course Woody did not molest my sister,” Moses said from the Entertainment Weekly mountaintop. With a name like Moses, it’s hard not to at least be attentive to what he’s saying.

I don’t want it to come down between a game of which name is more prominent. Would I rather take the word of a Dylan? Or a Moses. Dylan. Or…

Yet, if Allen is guilty, as Dylan insists he is, then those who ignore her, or denounce her, are guilty of protecting a major entertainment figure from the punishment he would deserve. Of course there is no room in a just society for allowing those who taint the innocence of children to roam free.

But I’ve got to make a decision. I’ve received emails asking what Dear Dirty America’s stance is on the Woody Allen sex abuse almost-scandal. How can we move on to watching the Sochi Olympics with this unfinished story hanging over our heads? they ask. Probably because you’re still buzzing from the Super Bowl, I write back.

Being the curator of a blog in our modern world requires I make bold statements. Yet I can provide no genuine answers. Only my personal inclinations.

All I know is that the Woody Allen poster in my bathroom is feeling less friendly. It’s the “Take the Money and Run” jail photo. It’s aimed right at me. Plastered to the wall two feet in front of the toilet. I know it made the maintenance man who unclogged my sink last week nervous. He barely set down his tools, and he wouldn’t fully turn his back on the legendary filmmaker.

Woody_Allen_CaricatureAllen stares at me with a cocky glance while I do the most precarious of human deeds. I’ve written about bathroom manners before. How the moments on the toilet deserve the utmost attention — anything less is a shame, and is irreverent to one of the most important life functions on the planet.

But now I blush. Wondering about the possible activities of that man. Behind closed doors. In bathrooms. In closets. I’m complicit, somehow. Guilty by association.

“I can go without ejaculating forever if I have to,” Charles Bukowski once said, “but if I don’t shit or piss for a week, I’m dead.” I cannot find the exact quote, but I am sure Buk had expressed that sentiment. I also know it somehow ties into these ugly rumors about Woody Allen.

It is that level of respect I am interested in maintaining in the bathroom. And Woody’s stare does not help. Is it the stare of a child molester? Someone who would take advantage of the body of a seven-year old girl? Or is it the inspiring stare of a brilliant, neurotic film icon? A true artist’s prophetic gaze that gives me the added boost to pop off the toilet in the morning and hit life with more zest than I otherwise would? Or are those eyes windows into a depraved soul that serve as a backdoor to interests that could only be categorized as demonic?

Dear Lord, I can’t tell. I’ve lost all peace of mind, and that poster may soon have to be ripped down and donated to Goodwill. Somebody else and their children can deal with it.

But it’s always been there, hanging in my bathroom. Slightly worn around the edges. It’s been through a lot. It knows most of my secrets. It has never criticized me. It’s been a friend. It’s been companionable. And that’s how I feel about Allen.

Those allegations are so damned inconvenient.

UPDATE: My lawyer sent me a frantic message to say I’d gotten the Bukowski quote wrong. “You mangled it, you fool!” she wrote in a late-night email.

The proper quote I’d meant to write is from Notes of a Dirty Old Man: “Sex is interesting but not totally important. I mean, it’s not even as important (physically) as excretion. A man can go 70 years without a piece of ass but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.”

If you don’t have a good lawyer, get one.

[Woody Allen caricature by Strassengalerie; main photo of Woody’s face by Colin Swan; Allen playing in band by Joseph Zigmont]

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