May 29, 2020

WOODY ALLEN’S DISAPPOINTMENTS: Although elite liberalism suddenly hates him very publicly, Allen had no idea the knives would come out for him.

Liberal piety requires sentimentality about victims and Allen is only too aware he’s lived one of those stories of miscarried justice that, as a liberal, he loves. He’s finally the victim-hero so central to liberal storytelling, but it turns out he’d much rather have avoided this story, as his fellow liberals all think he’s the villain. To him, it’s some kind of cosmic accident, or the revenge of love—had he not loved Farrow, he’d have seen what he calls the red warning flags miles away. But even in his memoir, he fails to contemplate how his liberalism made him arrogant and eventually the resentment and hatred he aroused caught up with him, however unjustly. To hear him tell it, although elite liberalism suddenly hates him very publicly, it all came as a surprise, he had no idea the knives would come out for him!

Nor should we blame him for his lack of self-reflection. Like a tyrant, liberalism elevated him to a position of American nobility, but then capriciously humiliated him. He’s upset that The New York Times calls him a monster, since he has always appreciated their rational journalism. Well, what can a lifelong believer in their polished mediocrity do? Were he to give up liberalism, he’d have nothing left. Despite his vaunted nihilism, he dare not face life without those delusions. This would seem ultimately to be the problem with the liberal as comic—he lacks prudence, both politically and artistically, being too sure of quick and easy victories, of Progress, of universal approval, or at least providential protection from malice and misfortune. And had they lacked prudence, Aristophanes in his day or Shakespeare in his would have been forgotten. We must look forward to some comic talent that can rise to comparable heights, but perhaps it will be useful to understand the hopes and disappointments of Allen’s mid-century liberalism before we make a new attempt.

In December of 2017, Mark Hemingway explored  “Why Liberals Have Such A Hard Time With ‘Monstrous Men’ And Their Art:”

Frankly acknowledging this might suggest that the liberals have endorsed ideas — e.g. oxymoronic notions of “sexual liberation” — that have been deeply harmful to women, all for the sake of knocking down obstacles to political power. I wonder how much betrayal [Woody] Allen must feel now. He did his part to push a liberal sexual and political agenda, was celebrated for it, and now he’s being drummed out of polite society for enjoying the fruits of these efforts?

As Steve wrote linking to Hemingway’s piece, “I’d just add that perhaps the saddest part about Woody Allen et al. is that they never understood they’d become disposable once they were no longer useful to the cause.” Or that having starred in the 1976 anti-Blacklist film The Front (one of his few films strictly as an actor, not a writer-director), the new Blacklist would come from the crybully left.

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