As you probably know, Woody Allen’s step-daughter Dylan Farrow accused him of abusing her back in the 1990s. With one of his movies up for several Oscars, she repeated her charges in the New York Times recently.
I’ll be reviewing one of his movies in the next post, so I’ll take a moment to say yes, I would assume he did it. I don’t know if the evidence is enough for me to vote guilty in a court of law (as Echidne puts it, the fact there are far more child-abuse cases than false accusations doesn’t prove anything about a specific charge) but as a private individual, my opinion is Yes.
Other than that I don’t have any deep insight, but one thing I strongly disagree with is the insistence that if you look at Allen’s history it’s screamingly obvious. He dated a 17-year-old when he was in his forties, ergo, child rapist!
Umm, no. Even if dating a 17-year-old in a consensual relationship presses the creepy button, it’s not somehow a logical companion to child abuse. In fact the whole idea that it’s somehow obvious in hindsight feels like the reverse of the “Woody Allen isn’t the child abuser type”—i.e., there must be signs that clearly show his true nature. As if the absence of signs would somehow be a point in his favor. I honestly don’t think so.
That said, given how often Allen’s films reflect his life, it’s hard not to look through them for signs of abuse. And as this Esquire story points out, there are jokes about child abuse in several Allen films.
Does that prove anything? I don’t think so (please note, that’s not to say the jokes are therefore acceptable). As the abuse survivor and writer Louise Armstrong has pointed out, for a long time father-daughter incest wasn’t considered such a bad thing. In the 1950s and 1960s, the prevailing psychiatric view was that it was really quite harmless (it was only the shame society inflicted on the children that made it so traumatic); I’ve read books written much later that explain it’s really rather beautiful, because the father and daughter are seeking comfort in each other’s arms when Mom is cold and bitchy and distant. I still see references to the “incest taboo”; as Armstrong says, taboo isn’t a word for something bad, it’s a word for something naughty. Something you’re not supposed to do but won’t hurt you if it does.
Allen’s certainly old enough to have absorbed that view. Not that it makes the jokes any more palatable, but it’s like the rape joke in Play It Again Sam, something lots of people would have found perfectly acceptable at the time he wrote it.
So maybe the sex abuse references mean nothing. Then again, maybe I’m wrong and it is Allen’s id coming out to play. I imagine I’ll be watching out for possible examples in future movies as I work through his films.
Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches
As you probably know, Woody Allen’s step-daughter Dylan Farrow accused him of abusing her back in the 1990s. With one of his movies up for several Oscars, she repeated her charges in the New York Times recently.
A passenger tells a female pilot she should be a mother, not an aviator.
•Just because Radio Shack is tanking and closing hundreds of stores doesn’t mean they can’t pay a $500,000 bonus to the CEO.
•Kentucky ain’t exactly a blue state, so I give Attorney General Jack Conway credit for refusing to keep fighting a court ruling granting gay couples from other states marital status in Kentucky. Conway says the judge’s ruling is sound and morally right, and the state’s not going to win. The governor, however, is ready to spend more money fighting to keep discriminating.
•Remember Marissa Alexander, the woman convicted of assault in Florida for firing warning shots at her abusive husband? An appeals court threw out her conviction, but a district attorney is now out to retry her with eyes on a 60-year sentence if Alexander loses.
•Some conservatives are horrified that 12 Years a Slave makes white slaveowners look like the bad guys.
•No, gun control is not the first step toward genocide.
•The Supreme Court will hear charges Amazon forces workers to put in unpaid time. I shop on Amazon, but it appears they treat their employees like utter shit.
•New York Mayor Bill deBlasio shuts down a charter school. Right-wingers compare it to Putin occupying the Crimea. And as noted at the link, why is it that so many right-wingers are fine with cutting off unemployment payments or drug-testing food stamps but insist charters have a right to government funding, and with no supervision. Jeb Bush, when he was governor of Florida, wanted public schools tested and measured but private ones getting voucher money? No, the free market will handle it! It later turned out his program was so poorly set up that a school that took $250,000 and didn’t enroll any more students (the money went to keep it afloat) hadn’t actually broken any of the rules.
Okay, poorly set up if your goal is education. If it’s to channel more private money to corporate welfare queens, hey, mission accomplished.
I have a new And column out, about the Kansas attempt to create Jim Crow laws for gays.
•Conservatives are shocked the Ohio National Guard would use right-wing terrorists as the premise for a counter-terrorism training exercise because Everyone Knows terrorists are all liberals. Counterpoints (William Krar, Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, Jim Adkisson) at the link. Digby puts this in historical perspective.
•Five things more likely to happen to you than a false rape accusation.
•South of the border censorship: Brazil wants to regulate hip-hop.
•To pay for pollution and oil fires—pizza!
•Paleofuture looks at how the vision of a self-driving car has gone from More Down Time For You to More Work Time. Joy, joy.
•The scariest thing to hear someone say is I’m From Capital One and I’m Here to Help.
•There’s a long-standing argument that if we’d just respect anti-abortion or anti-gay arguments and compromise a little everything would work out. I’m with Scott that it’s baloney.
•The NSA does not appreciate being mocked.
•FEMA is obligingly reclassifying high-risk flood insurance areas as low risk, saving condo towers and wealthy beachfront owners millions. And of course, starving flood insurance of premium income to cover losses.
•Last year, I wrote about Susan Patton, a Princeton grad who recommended Princeton women marry before graduating, preferably while they’re still freshmen. Given there’s always a market for antifeminism, she jumped from writing that in the Princeton alumni magazine to writing in the Wall Street Journal (h/t ladyrompp). Roy Edroso throws in some snark. Oh, in case you’re wondering, Patton knows that if you give away the milk, no honorable man will ever buy the cow!
•Sexual assault at Patrick Henry College does not exist. The college has assured us of this. Slacktivist throws in that the school is not known as God’s Harvard.
It’s cold out. So we’re not leaving the house for a bit yet. So blogging instead.
•War against South America’s indigenous tribes continues.
•Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas insists racism was not a problem when he was a kid in the 1960s.
•Consumerist looks at the potential power Comcast gains if it buys up Time-Warner. Related: Alaskans with data caps have to prioritize what they use the Internet for (past posts on the site have looked at evidence data caps are more for squeezing money out of consumers than because there’s actually a data drain). Some services apparently stream Netflix slower than others. And Internet companies do their best to limit municipal broadband alternatives.
•James Taranto, who thinks tackling sexual assaults in the military criminalizes masculinity, continues his career as a rape apologist. Defeating the Dragons responds.
•I don’t like Tetley’s, though it wouldn’t surprise me if worker exploitation was common in other brands too.
•One of the reasons airlines can’t find enough pilots is that they don’t pay enough. As I’ve mentioned before, if a company can’t or won’t pay enough to hire employees,the problem’s not with the employees.
•Robert Nielsen writes about the gender pay gap. Echidne of the Snakes dissects some arguments that the gap doesn’t exist.
•The federal government has issued rules for banks dealing with legal pot businesses.
•ProPublica looks at a former government regulator trying to avoid lobbying her former colleagues.
•Rheality Check notes how the anti-birth control mandate battle is trending: employers that insisted they should be able to opt out now say opting out compromises their religious freedom.
•Tennessee Republican politicians would sooner drive VW out of the state than let unions in. Although the workers’ rejection of the union may be due to other causes too.
•LGM looks at another pundit arguing that Obama should strike a deal with people who don’t exist.
•Good news! Michael Dunn, a Floridian who fired into an SUV holding three black teens (they’d refused to turn down their music) was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder (though no conviction for the kid he actually killed). The fact he could even attempt a Stand Your Ground defense (he felt threatened! He was sure he saw a gun in the car!) is scary as hell, though.
•As I mentioned recently, some people will probably quit their jobs now that the ACA means they don’t need an employer to afford health insurance. Unsurprisingly right-wingers freak out at the thought of people voluntarily quitting.
•Erick Erickson of Fox News insists nobody who accepts homosexuality is a real Christian. Slacktivist weighs in.
Meanwhile, a Christian expresses his indignation that a couple in his social circle actually wants a gay couple to hang with them. And in Kansas, the House passed a bill that allows businesses, employees and government employees to refuse to serve gay couples if it violates their faith (more here). Fortunately it didn’t fly in the Senate.
•Speaking of religion, Rachel Held Evans speculates on what it would be like if men were held to the same Biblical standards as women.
•A woman is amazed to discover US health care isn’t the world’s best.
•Digby looks at a time-honored political tradition, blaming Democratic defeats on candidates being Too Left Wing.
Sorry because you may be tired of it. But I kept reading blog posts about the SFWA petition today.
•SL Huang says that if you’re calling for reasoned debate, the initial criticism of Malzberg and Resnick wasn’t the problem, it was their response. I haven’t read enough of the initial criticism to judge it, but I agree about their response. Among other things, when I reread the article yesterday, I realized they were quoting Fox TV pundit Sean Hannity who told one of them that liberals are out to suppress free speech! I mean Sean Hannity! He’s on TV and shit! So that proves it!
•Rachael Acks expresses her view of being a member of an organization that puts boobs on the cover of its publication. Silveno Moreno-Garcia does an excellent post comparing SFWA’s articles and cover with covers of other writer magazines (I think there was more useful information in the issues I’ve read than Moreno-Garcia does, but yeah, the Malzberg/Resnick column wasn’t one of them).
•Radish Reviews rips into one writer who thinks everyone’s too angry and uncivil. She expresses some of my own views about “tone” arguments (you’re too angry! why can’t you discuss things reasonably). Some of David Gerrold’s commentary sounded like this to me: We should be open to frank, hard-hitting discussions of radical viewpoints but we should also discuss things calmly because calling someone a sexist or massively criticizing Resnick and Malzberg when they don’t deserve it is just off-putting to people and doesn’t get good results. As I said yesterday, I think Gerrold’s enthusiasm for never turning down material in the Bulletin no matter what its viewpoint risks bringing ideas into the mainstream. That’s even more so if there’s some unwritten rule on how much we can criticize said material. Seriously, if you call for a policy of embracing all material no matter how extreme and outrageous it is, you can’t turn around and then tell people not to react with outrage.
Now one final thought of my own (barring some radical new development): what if the idea is just plain stupid?
A few years ago, for instance, someone was demanding the Georgia legislature ban teaching of evolution because along with the round Earth it’s part of a Jewish conspiracy to discredit the Bible and destroy Christianity. I do not consider this a very logical or reasoned argument.
Or Jonah Goldberg’s argument that as a vegetarian, I should find veggie burgers evil.
Or Matt Forney’s declaration that women should not be self-confident because self-confident women give him a limp dick. He offers other reasons why women don’t deserve self-confidence, but that was his first pick.
I gather Gerrold’s general view is that we should meet with anyone of any persuasion and engage in them in reasoned debate, showing the flaws in their logic. And that’s fine on the Internet (this was a discussion on another FB post) where space is infinite.
Magazines, though, have finite space. It’s all very well to say that we should be open minded and not judge positions as unworthy, but some positions are (they’re barely worth of being called logic at all). The Bulletin should not have to publish a stupid, badly reasoned article just to prove there’s no censorship. No editorial page on Earth operates that way (I may disagree with the decisions on the New York Times page—hell, they publish David Brooks—but I’m sure decisions are being made).
And yes, obviously what constitutes a sensible reasoned work is going to be sometimes subjective. John C. Wright obviously thinks his views on good female characters (i.e., ones who don’t do Man Things like fight or take the lead) is sound; I disagree. If the Bulletin gets selective, I might disagree with the selection.
But you know what? I think it’s still the editor’s job to make that call. I’ll fight on the choices, maybe, but not on the fact there should be some.
Continuing the discussion of the current SFWA “censorship” flap, I’ve got to say I don’t think Truesdale has much of an argument.
As noted in Part One, he’s protesting about a supposed tyranny that hasn’t happened yet, and he’s proclaiming it a crisis of Political Correctness, which would be a honking red flag for me against ever signing that petition.
As I’ve written in the past, PC in the sense of dogma triumphing over reality is a good concept. Unfortunately it’s mutated into a useful tool for bigots, sexists and homophobes to pretend they’re some kind of heroic truth-teller. Think blacks are mentally inferior to white people? You’re not racist, you’re defying political correctness! Political incorrectness takes routine prejudices and holds them up as daring, pretending it’s the truth nobody dares to say, even though right-wing blogs, pols and news shows often parrot the same sentiments.
On top of that, although Truesdale talks about how vague the guidelines for the review board are, “PC” is pretty vague itself. Truesdale’s worry could apply to anything from “writers whose books don’t show gay characters in a positive way are shut out of the journal” to “the board shot down my article revealing how the feminist conspiracy has taken over the publishing industry” (I have actually read an article to that effect, though mercifully not in the Bulletin). There’s no specifics.
The original petition (you can find it through radish reviews) does discuss how feminists are hypocrites because they object to straight men objectifying women but not when gay men objectify men! Hmm, could that be because women suffer a lot of problems from being objectified (sexual harassment, stereotyping, etc.) that aren’t caused by gay men. Conversely, I’ve read multiple articles (some links here) quoting men on how it’s fine to discriminate against gays in the military or sports because OMG, they might look at me … like that! The same men do not, as far as I know, object to gazing on women the same way (as several pundits have put it, that’s the issue: being checked out makes them the woman). So I’ll fling the hypocrisy charge back.
Beyond that, Truesdale also throws around the usual cliches about oppression, tyranny, fascism (a lot of this got deleted from the final draft), free speech and First Amendment! As noted in Part One, this isn’t a free speech issue (it might become one at some point, but I don’t see it yet) and certainly not a First Amendment issue, which applies to the government. In this context, it’s simply a mantra to proclaim, like fascism.
David Gerrold’s FB post on the subject throws out a lot of cliches too, on writers being silenced and punished. He also makes valid points about having a variety of opinions, but I’m sorry, not being published in a magazine is not a form of punishment or silencing. I’ve had pieces with political themes turned down: even if it was for the politics and not the quality, that’s not silencing me, it’s refusing to publish me.
And while I agree with Gerrold that the answer to bad speech (however defined) is more good speech, I still don’t think that entitles everyone to a platform. And I definitely have no sympathy for his claim (which he admits is meant as exaggeration) that “the indignation junkies immediately whooped up an outrage posse to complain that the bulletin was a sexist rag” — as if, of course, the objectors couldn’t possibly have valid reasons to criticize. He comes off fairly indignant about the response to Malzberg and Resnick: why is his indignation somehow more genuine?
This partly reflects that I’ve spent the greater part of my life writing political columns, most of them left-wing in a very red area. I’ve never felt the appropriate response to criticism was to scream about oppression or about people trying to censor my rights (death threats, rape threats, insults to someone’s weight or age, etc. aside). You speak, you take the heat.
I doubt Truesdale will miss my nonentity signature on the petition, given the big names attached. But I still think not signing is the right decision.
Because we’re not supposed to feed political posts and this is one.
First, the background. Last year the Science Fiction Writers of America went into meltdown mode after a)the cover for the 200th issue of the Bulletin featured a bikini-clad woman on an alien world; b)Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg, in discussing famous editors, kept dwelling on one prominent woman editor being incredibly goodlooking; c)an article about rebranding seemed to hold up Barbie as a role model for women (because she always has quiet dignity and doesn’t complain about sexism); d)Malzberg and Resnick devoted another column to discussing how bad it would be to suppress them, invoking spectres of banning gay sex (?), Mao, Stalin and Hitler.
A lot of members objected to all this. The Bulletin suspended publication, but recently SFWA announced it was getting ready to start up the Bulletin again, with some sort of advisory board helping the editor review submissions and avoid anything offensive. Former member David Truesdale saw this as some form of PC censorship, questioned President Steven Gould about how it would work and predicted this was some tool for the forces of political correctness to censor everyone who disagreed. He got up a pension calling on SFWA to kill the review board and a number of heavy hitters, such as CJ Cherryh, Mercedes Lackey, David Brin and David Gerrold have signed. Gerrold makes his case here. CC Finlay weighs in on the other side, as does radishreview which includes a link to an earlier draft of the petition.
•I don’t doubt Gerrold that this sort of debate erupts regularly. As I observed in one FB discussion, there’s no group of any size that doesn’t have cliques, or get convulsed with internal conflict.
•It’s perfectly reasonable for members to raise questions about what the board will do, how it will be picked and what standards it uses. Asserting based on no data that it’s a form of censorship and that the “wrong” viewpoints will be excluded is baseless at this point.
•I can’t see the review board per se is the problem, but people are reacting as if it is. After all, if SFWA’s going to shut down people who want to see naked women on the cover, the editor can do it just as easily. As one friend of mine put it, they could just as easily recruit assistant editors for the same purpose.
And as Finlay points out, part of editing is deciding what goes in a magazine and what doesn’t. That’s not censorship and it’s not a suppression of the free press, it’s publishing. It’s fine to debate the standards but I find it unreasonable to suggest there should be none. If it’s a choice between “why sexual harassment rules at cons unfairly deny my freedom to hit on women” and “current trends in publishing,” I don’t think dropping option A is a sign we’re enslaved by the thought police.
According to my friend (who’s more involved in the group than me), a majority of members wanted change. Obviously the majority shouldn’t always rule, but dues-paying members of an industry group certainly have a right to have a say about the content of the organization’s house organ.
Case in point, the cover. The arguments defending it include that it’s a traditional image harking back to the pulps and hey, lots of book covers have scantily clad women. And women who object to men looking at scantily clad women are hypocrites, so there (I’ll get to this in Part Two).
At the risk of stating the obvious, the Bulletin isn’t a pulp magazine. It’s a trade journal for professional SF writers, many of whom are women. So yes, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to object to the presence of the cover image.
More in part two.
You may have heard that the Affordable Care Act will cost thousands of people their jobs. No, it will simply make it easier for people who can afford to stay home quit work, as they don’t depend on their job for insurance. As LGM notes, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post insists that reporting this as Bad News for Democrats is completely accurate—people think it’s going to cost jobs, so they’re reacting negatively so he’s just reporting public perception.
This reflects both media laziness about getting the facts, and the pose that they’re not really having any effect on public perception. As in, “the story stuck to [insert politician]” as opposed to “We kept talking about it and refused to let anyone forget it.” (see here).
Case in point: Astonishingly when politicians and pundits keep talking about the deficit as a terrible, terrible crisis, cutting the deficit doesn’t make the public feel better. Because there’s still deficit out there!
•Sen. Al Franken worries about the privacy risks of having face-recognition apps in Google Glass.
•Roy Edroso quotes from a fund-raising letter from the Public Advocate of the United States, begging for help in his fight against the homosexual agenda. The highpoint is his chilling story of how he found an army of gay men in a warehouse full of … petitions. According to some of the comments, the fund-raiser, Eugene Delgaudio, also thinks Obama staffs the TSA with gay agents so they can get off when they pat you down.
•Also from Edroso, a look at a proposal to split California into six states because big government bad, freedom, go team America! The article also links to a horrifying piece from Human Rights Watch about how for-profit probation services leech off the poor. They take the cost of probation off the taxpayers’ hands, then squeeze the poor for fees (like one man with a $200 fine who wound up in jail when his fees hit $1,000). Which seems a good lead-in to this piece from last year about the abuse of civil-forfeiture laws.
•”How to Survive Anything” books for boys and girls.” The boys’ book deals with earthquakes, shark attacks and plane crashes. The girls’ book deals with fights with your best friend, overcoming shyness and fashion disasters.
Back around 2005/2006, I noticed a couple of small, inconsequential right-wing blogs arguing that it was a terrible mistake to give women the vote. I noticed, but didn’t think it merited comment. After all, on the Internet, you can find someone proposing any conceivable theory, and these were hardly major players.
But just a few years later, the idea that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote had gone mainstream on the right.
Then a couple of years back, I read a right-wing minister’s screed (no links handy) about how God decreed that women should suffer in childbirth, ergo taking epidurals is against the will of God. This was worth commenting on (in a past blog post) because it fits into the religious right’s general distaste for women, but still I thought of it as a fringe view.
Not so much.
I suspect that as with Todd Akin‘s belief rape won’t get women pregnant, the apparent spread of these beliefs is illusory. It’s more likely that they were always there and they’re just coming more into view, a combination of the right wing’s surging ever rightwards and it’s desperate push-back against a world where male privilege is slowly shrinking (very slowly, but shrink it does).
Check out the slacktivist link, which asks the excellent question—if women have to endure childbirth in pain, why don’t the same Christians condemn men for not literally sweating to bring forth food from the soil.
•Right-wingers also freak out because Obama actually mentioned income inequality as a problem.
•I thought recent talk of the Post Office offering banking services was just a desperate way to improve its situation. But it sounds like it’s a good alternative to check-cashing stores and payday loans for people who can’t afford bank fees.
•A look at how Native Americans on one reservation think about the Washington Redskins team name.
•Apparently businesses that cater to the 1 percent are thriving. Businesses that cater to the little people? Doing poorer. There’s actually a book I read on this topic (but I forget the title) discussing how the middle ground between cheap crap and luxury goods is dwindling as retailer have to target either the very poor or the very rich.
•Gun advocate John Lott built an entire book around a survey he can’t prove he ever made. But in the world of punditry, he’s still taken seriously.
•The net neutrality battle continues. In other Internet news, Kansas legislators continue their fight against government-provided Internet services.
•Digby links to a great piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates on the meaning of the Obama presidency.
•A conservative explains “leftist culture” killed Philip Seymour Hoffman. Of course, this is standard fare; just recently I read a post explaining capitalism isn’t the reason Hollywood makes oversexed, overviolent movies, it’s liberalism! And a right-wing writer back in the late eighties once wrote that fraud and financial corruption on Wall Street was clearly the fault of liberalism for rejecting moral standards! So there. I’ll take the heat.