Thursday, March 13, 2014


Okay, a little late here at Real Art, but back in early February, when the Dylan Farrow versus Woody Allen dueling New York Times editorial page wars were going on, I found it almost impossible to discuss the whole thing with lots of liberals online.  I mean, sure, some were cool and dignified about the discussion, but many were just being MAJOR dicks about my defending Woody Allen.  Indeed, you could see this attitude all over the left side of the blogosphere: if you support Woody Allen, you're supporting a pedophile.  Now, we can argue about whether he's guilty or not, but going after people, the people themselves, simply because you don't like their opinion, that's total bullshit.

So I wrote this, put it on facebook, and argued for days and days.  And yes, some of the dissenting commenters were total dicks, which makes me think I was totally right.  Check it out:

This is NOT about the recent reemergence of twenty year old allegations of child molestation against Woody Allen. Which means I'm going to do my best to avoid being pulled into debating that topic down in comments. Rather, I want to make a few observations about the discussion itself regarding this issue. Aspects of this discussion, both in my own experience, and what I've been reading around the internet, have been deeply disturbing to me.

Apparently, simply defending Woody Allen is in some way insensitive to his ostensible victim, as well as to all victims of sexual abuse. It is, of course, entirely possible that I've misunderstood what I've been reading. It's entirely possible that there is, in fact, something about offering a defense of Allen that is insensitive. But I'm still not sure exactly what that is, leaving me to assume that the actual problem is nothing more than defending someone who is perceived by many as a child molester. There seems to be an endless stream of essays online asserting that to defend Woody Allen against these allegations is tantamount to dismissing ALL allegations of sexual abuse.

For that matter, I get the sense that if I, in response, were to ask for sensitivity to the issue of false accusation, which is a real issue, and happens all the time, often resulting in unjust incarceration, that I would be ridiculed and lambasted, maybe even lectured at on topics about which I am already knowledgeable, such as how there is a massive and continuing history of sexual abuse victims not being taken seriously by the criminal justice system. But I haven't asked for counter-sensitivity, myself; people are entitled to their opinions, and I don't think they should be required to show their sensitivity by keeping quiet about what they believe. This doesn't appear to work in both directions, though. It seems that the only way to be sensitive to sexual abuse victims, in this current scandal re-visitation, is to keep your mouth shut about Woody Allen, unless, of course, you're going to condemn him.

I've also read in more than a few places that the only reason one would defend Allen is because one really likes his movies. It doesn't matter if one honestly believes Allen is innocent, and hates the injustice of running an innocent man's reputation through the mud in public discussion. It's because one is a Woody Allen fan. It also doesn't matter if one offers reasonable arguments and evidence. It's just because one likes his movies. Needless to say, well, needless to me, anyway, psychoanalyzing Allen's defenders in this way characterizes them, for all intents and purposes, as being mindless and without the ability as individual human beings to formulate informed opinions, which makes anything they say not worth hearing out. That is, the whole "you're only doing this because you're a fan" thing isn't an argument; rather, it's an attempt to silence dissent through a rhetorical process of dehumanizing minimization: you're not capable of commenting on this because you're a fanatic.

Put all this together and the inescapable conclusion is that none of this reborn brouhaha about Allen's alleged sex crimes has anything to do with actual discussion or discourse. Instead, it's a mob dynamic, driven by anger, aimed at finding surrogates, that is, Allen's defenders, as targets for rage-venting. I mean, okay, there is some good commentary, too. At the very least, the whole thing might be bringing some attention to the overall issue of sexual abuse, and that's a good thing. But I'm talking specifically about the blanket summary dismissal of any and all defenses offered on behalf of Woody Allen.

I've said this before, and it's definitely worth repeating now. There is, and always has been, a totalitarian strain on the left, one that is fueled by a sense of moral certainty and absolutism, one that instantly disregards all nuance, while also identifying enemies, and equating sympathizers with the perceived crimes of those enemies. I mean, I'm a little nervous about posting this, actually. Because that's how it works. You have to weigh expressing your opinion against possible massive backlash having nothing to do with exchanging ideas and everything to do with enforcement of orthodoxy. You'd think liberals would value discussion and free speech more than this, and often they do, but some issues are all emotion, bile, and vinegar.

It's no wonder so many conservatives hate our guts.
'Nuff said.