Woody on Farrow Island

Something must be spiritually amiss in the lower Hudson Valley this week. Philip Seymour Hoffman, of course. But also new stuff most days about the arm-twisting New Jersey governor. By all accounts the dullest Superbowl in years, and its mini-scandals: Is there or isn’t there such a thing as a Superbowl sex trade? How did Jersey screw up the transit so bad? Yesterday 350.org called an emergency protest about the Keystone XL pipeline in Union Square, and it snowed. (It’s hard to talk to people about average temperatures when they’re looking for a path through the slush.)

None of these, however, makes my stomach literally hurt the way the Woody Allen/Dylan Farrow accusations do. I don’t even want to look at social media. My friend Kera Bolonik at Dame Magazine summarizes it nicely. I can add my two cents, which is really one cent:

The return of the Woody Allen scandal is rocking our communities – as writers, as film people, as liberals, as New Yorkers – because now we have to grapple with an accusation in our own midst. It’s not the dumb Penn State football program, not the elitist B.B.C., not the wicked, repressed Catholic Church. It’s our own mentor, someone so close to the epicenter of our identities, when we talk, especially when we deliver a punchline, we are sometimes more or less just impersonating Woody.

And yet, we’re not surprised.  When I look at a photo of Jimmy Savile I think, “Who ever saw this guy and thought he wasn’t a pervert?” And that’s what people outside our scene wonder about us right now: “What were you thinking?”

Bergman on Fårö Island in 1969. Later his retirement home.

Bergman on Fårö Island in 1969. Later his retirement home.

It occurred to me walking home through the snow last night that if this finally ends Woody’s career then maybe, like his hero Ingmar Bergman, he’ll retire to a remote island. I’m guessing he’ll choose one with any name but Fårö.


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  1. […] on this blog inspired so many private messages of “Hold on now” as one I posted about Woody back in February. His fans, and the fans of due process, are correct to point out that he still deserves the […]

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