Archive for February, 2014

It’s February already

I think I may be one of the world’s worst bloggers. I keep hoping that will change, but it never seems to. I must have awful time management skills. Well, that, and two kids.

No new story news to report, I’m sorry to say. One thing writing takes, besides time, is focus, and I haven’t had a whole lot of that (or time, either). As always, there are ideas that are just waiting for me to focus on them. And I hope once I do, a little momentum builds.

Current events are whizzing by so fast these days it’s hard to get a grip on them. In my part of the US, we’re reeling under what may be the most severe winter I can recall in my lifetime. I haven’t seen my front lawn in over two weeks from all the snow, and after our last snowfall, I had to go buy two more snow shovels. Kids are having partial or full snow days right and left – which they love now, but will regret come June, even if they don’t realize it yet. And according to some weather predictions, more snow may come next week.

The Olympics are here and I’m almost scared to watch. I studied the USSR/Russia in college and grad school. I think like so many places, there are good people, but their history at the moment works against them. I fear for the LGBT athletes and spectators from all countries, in terms of Russia’s horrid anti-gay laws and national sentiment. That said, I fear for pretty much everyone there, because an terrorist attack from some front seems likely. We can only hope not.

The Dylan Farrow/Woody Allen ongoing accusations are also pretty horrible. I’m disturbed by the allegations, and disturbed by reactions to both Farrow and Allen. We shouldn’t dismiss her claims simply because she was young when it initially happened, or because he’s a famous movie director. On the other hand, we can’t assume he’s innocent, either. Charges were not brought in 1992, when the allegations were first made, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it. But perhaps he didn’t.

This brings us back to what I think is often a dilemma — do you separate the artist from the art, or not? And if so, how?

I’m fairly neutral in the case of Allen. I haven’t seen many of his movies, and recall paying to see only one, Mighty Aphrodite, about which I remember nothing except Mira Sorvino was in it. So I will not join those who now say they won’t watch any more of his movies, because it’s not like I did anyway. If people want to do that, no problem. We all need to draw our lines and act accordingly. Nor will I dismiss it all, and say I’ll watch his movies in some sort of anti-anti-protest, because that makes no difference.

It may also be the case that one can be a total asshole, male or female, and still create good, lasting art. Or sport. Pete Rose gambled on baseball, but that didn’t make him any less of a great player. Ty Cobb (according to Wikipedia) got in a lot of fights, and was racist in his views before he retired, but that doesn’t make him any less of a great player, either.

The list goes on with actors, musicians, and plenty of other professions. Horrid and/or illegal behavior is hardly relegated to one group.

The one name that of course is always brought up in conjunction with Allen is Roman Polanski, another famous movie director. The situation there is different; Polanski (you probably already know) was found guilty of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, and then fled the US. Accounts differ as to exactly why he did that. One reason I’ve seen is that some kind of plea deal had been worked out, and Polanski was going to accept it, but the judge revoked it at the last minute and so Polanski escaped to Europe.

The difference there is that Polanski was charged and found guilty of a crime, then ran away. This leads to a lot of other questions, like whether rich and/or famous people are treated differently in the justice system, etc., but where Polanski was found guilty, Allen was never charged. Is that better or worse? Did the system work back then? Probably to the best of its ability.

Many people say, and I think with justification, that celebrities get off in cases like this because no one wants to fight their popularity or influence or deal with the bad PR. However, I think it’s almost equal that people love to see a celebrity taken down. If there had been solid evidence to charge Allen in 1992, I think it would have happened. This is not to say he would have been found guilty, because a charge and then a verdict are two different things. And perhaps today they would have had that evidence, because such incidents are investigated differently.

In both cases, however, two men — and you can’t ignore the fact that they are famous, straight, white males in an industry still dominated to a large extent by straight, white men — with huge clouds over them still make movies. And make them with A-list stars. Or make them with actors who then climb on up to the A-list. Adrian Brody starred in Polanski’s The Pianist (the only, or one of the only, Polanski movies I’ve seen), and won an Oscar. Never heard of him before that.

What does that mean, exactly? You’d probably have to ask everyone who’s been in one of those movies. It would be interesting to ask someone, and I’m sure it’s been done, how they could work with Roman Polanski, who not only had sex with a 13yo girl, which is statutory rape by about any definition, but was found guilty of it and fled the punishment. (I know, btw, that Polanski’s victim was long since forgiven him and wishes the whole thing would just be dropped. I’m pleased for her, but to me, he broke an altogether different rule by fleeing the US, and so that must be dealt with separately.)

No doubt there would be a ton of different answers from anyone who’s been in an Allen or Polanski film. I admit that I have a more instant and visceral reaction to seeing Polanski’s films; mostly, I don’t want to. I don’t like the idea that I’d be lending some support, however minimal, to a criminal. And many people feel that way about Woody Allen, and I don’t fault them.

Sorry, I’m rambling. I think that’s what happens when you’re in the middle. You look at things and try to get somewhere but end up circling back a bit.

Hopefully this year I will circle back to some writing. 🙂

Keep warm and safe, everyone.

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