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Woody the Factual; Woody the Fictional

woody

Call me a crazy stalker with no life (I do), but all this recent revisionist Hubbub about the Woody Allen child molestation case can’t help but make me think about the meaning of some of his movies, his on screen persona and why people were so devastated when what happened, happened.

I’ll never forget turning on the news to see Woody giving a press conference saying that the child molestation charges against him were untrue, but he was “guilty of falling in love with Mia Farrow’s 21-year-old daughter.” He went on to say what a great actress and beautiful woman Mia was, at first, I thought it was a joke.

I was shocked and appalled, so was the nation. No one could believe that the loveable, nebbishy intellectual, who always seemed to have a case of extreme Jew guilt, could possibly have done something so insensitive. It seemed like something a hillbilly in a wifebeater would do, not a respected filmmaker.

I’d loved Woody ever since I was little. I’ll never forget the first time I saw him. I was eight years old, there he was dressed as a sperm, in “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex (but were afraid to ask). Something about his small head, large thick glasses and nervous attitude comforted me. Even though I didn’t understand half of the jokes in the movie I could relate to his fear and feeling of ineptitude. I decided then and there that I was going to marry Woody (I didn’t know I was too old for him).

When I got older I discovered his short stories. I loved Without Feathers. Woody Always said that even though he wasn’t an intellectual he was often mistaken for one because of the way he looked. I wasn’t an intellectual either, but I grew up around a few of them. Woody had a way of taking classic works of literature and retelling them in their most plebian form. I must have read Notes from the Overfed a million times I could relate to the overfed man much more than the underground one.

When the scandal broke I was 26. Appalled as I was by the whole thing, I had to know everything. I bought my first ever copy of “People”(sorry trees, sorry western civilization, sorry mom and dad) I couldn’t help it. It said Mia discovered the affair when she found naked pictures of Soon Yi in Woody’s dresser.

Woody later came out to defend himself in several interviews. He acted as if he didn’t understand why anyone was upset, even Mia. He gave some story about how he and Mia hadn’t slept together in years and their relationship was platonic. He said he hadn’t really known Soon Yi very well until she was an  adult.

The story got weirder when he produced a creepy Valentine given to him by Mia along with several crazy sounding correspondence. I felt sorry for her and at first I believed the story about the molestation. The guy who would sleep with his girlfriend’s  daughter seemed so different then the Woody Allen character in the movies that it seemed he was capable of anything.

The only thing that made me doubt it a little bit was and experience I’d had with a “therapist” of sorts. She wasn’t a real therapist she had some sort of counselor certificate from a Jesus college, my insurance didn’t cover mental health, care so I ended up going through a charity and getting her. I told her my mother was so complacent that I was lucky my father wasn’t one of those pedophiles and she tried to convince me that my father was, in fact, a pedophile. I didn’t believe her of course, but I could see how someone might if they had been through a very traumatic experience. There was a lot of that sort of thing going around in the nineties. It seemed that you weren’t anybody if you hadn’t been sexually abused as a child. I volunteered on a rape crisis line and some people would call in who hadn’t been raped at all they wanted someone to talk to and there wasn’t a hotline for other kinds of crisis in the area.

Facts in the molestation case began to emerge and it really sounded made up (I’m not saying it was, I’m saying it sounded that way). It was alleged to be an isolated incident that took place on a single  afternoon during the custody hearings. Woody was alleged to have taken Dylan into a room at Mia’s house and molested her and then never did it again. He said himself it would be an odd moment to decide to become a child molester and I have to agree.  The charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence, he lost custody of his kids as well he should have. Even if he wasn’t a child molester, he should know better then to schtup his kid’s stepsister.

After reading about the scandal I was reminded of The Purple Rose of Cairo in which Mia portrayed a battered woman and ineffectual waitress whose one comfort in life is going to the movies by herself in the afternoon. She see the same movie over and over again because she is in love with (or thinks she is in love with) the lead actor. The character he plays in the movie comes down off the screen and romances her, he is a classic movie hero honest faithful and trust worthy, with a firm belief in the screenwriter. “He’s fictional, but nobody’s perfect”, Mia quips. When the actor who plays the character finds out what has happened he comes to town to romance Mia and take her away from the fictional version of himself. The actor is of course an insincere boar who only cares about himself.

After the scandal broke, I couldn’t help but think that Woody was actually writing about himself, we all saw him as a lovable and  neurotic, self-deprecating intellectual, when in actuality he was a pompous sleaze who didn’t give a fuck about anything but his own enjoyment.

Most recently Woody wrote and directed Blue Jasmine which has been nominated for an Oscar just as it should have been. The movie is about a Blanche Dubois like character who comes to live in her sister’s dumpy San Francisco apartment after her Bernie Madoff like husband had killed himself in jail.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SPOILER ALERT! STOP READING I YOU HAVEN”T SEEN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It turns out the only reason he was ever caught is because he was cheating on her with several younger woman and a good friend of hers. She got mad and in an irrational moment turned him into the feds.

In other words the character is an upper-class New York woman who has been cheated on and humiliate, sort of like Mia.

I can only imagine what Mia must have thought when she heard the plot, first he cheats on her with her adopted daughter, acts like it doesn’t matter and then he marries the daughter, He goes on to make a movie a year and gets nominated for many an Oscar while her career stagnates. Then he writes a movie which arguable mirrors some of her story and he gets all kinds of accolades for it. If I were her I’d be pissed all over again.

A lot of his movies deal with luck like Crimes and Misdemeanors and Matchpoint. If those movies a single piece of luck saves the hero’s from the consequences of their actions. I can’t help but wonder, if Mia hadn’t found those pictures of Soon-Yi, what would have happened?

At the end of the day, he is as much of a bastard as he is a talent. No one is like Woody in terms of talent and proliferation. Anyone can see what an amazing writer and director he is and it turned out he was a pretty good actor too. His work and his humor are deeply inbeded in our culture. He has influenced many, many writers and comedians including Lena Dunham, Louis C.K. and Todd Solandz to name a few.

None of us will ever know what happened, but we can try to read between the lines.

The Reality Show in Tad’s Head (The End)

dallas

The show began with a montage of Caroline’s past relationships and crushes; including what she thought was a particularly telling infatuation she had with Matthew Perry who she always thought Tad resembled. Camera man got a few shots of women in the audience nodding their heads in sympathy.
They cut to her narrating their meeting at the party. She said she’d never seen eyes so blue. Tad came on and began narrating as well. He said she seemed sweet and shy.
“How did you do that”, she whispered to director.
“We just pulled an image of him from you memory bands and extracted various sound bites and visual clips. After he has his dream where he sees the show his memory of what he was thinking and feeling at the time will be forever changed”.
Caroline had the strong urge to kiss director.
The audience roared with laughter at Caroline’s comments about the first time they had sex. They laughed harder when Tad said he got the impression she was not very experienced and he had taught her a thing or two.
Camera man took a few shots off men in the audience looking angry when he betrayed her in front of her father. He got a shot or two of Dora laughing at him attempting to shave the hair off his back and clipping his toenails right in front of Caroline.
The show ended with Caroline crying over their break up at work a month after it happened. Director yelled cut and the panel members turned their seats around and faced the audience. There was an empty seat right next to Caroline. They took a volunteer from the audience to read Tad’s lines off a teleprompter. Director assured Caroline that they would CG in an image of Tad over the audience member.
“Do I get a SAG Voucher for this”? The audience member inquired.
“Of course, old sport”, director said planning to make a fake voucher on his computer.

Director handed Dan rather the microphone and Mr. Rather took quite naturally to his hosting duties.

“Were back”, he said, “and we have a panel of Tad experts here on our panel please welcome Tad’s dream girl, Dora” The audience screamed and wolf whistled.
Tad’s bedwetting psychiatrist Dr. Applewood!” the audience clapped and laughed.
“Crystal, Tad’s “next” girlfriend who dumped him, The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, Professor Dansworth and The Brothers of Alpha Gamma Gamma”, there were polite applause.
“Miss Caroline”, the audience went wild.
“And of course, Tad, the audience was dead silent.
The panel members took turns berating Tad.
Dora said she was disgusted with Tad’s terrible behavior. She said she was seriously thinking of becoming a lesbian after seeing his back hair and asked one off the cheerleaders if she’d like to go out for coffee.
Crystal and Caroline laughed over Tad’s sexual shortcomings and discussed whether or not is insecurity came from the fact that is penis was so small. They argued about whether or not his mother had been the one to ruin his ability to learn and rely on himself or if he actually suffered from some sort of mental deficiency.
The cheerleaders laughed and whispered amongst themselves.
Dr. Applewood said Tad’s childhood drawings indicated a burgeoning psychosis.
“I wasn’t too worried about it; he wouldn’t have been smart enough to get away with it.”
The audience roared with laughter and applause.
When it came Tad’s turn to defend himself, the atmosphere grew chilly and serious.
“I loved Caroline, I did. But, after a while it seemed like we were just fighting all the time.”
“Oh, come on Tad, weren’t you picking fights with her so she would leave you and you wouldn’t have to admit you were cheating on her “, an audience member asked.
‘”Caroline just seemed lazy. I wanted to be with someone who works as hard as I do .”
“What, you’re unemployed!” Caroline said. The audience roared with laughter.
The show ended with Dr. Applewood stating that Tad was exactly the same as the pathetic Eight-year-old who couldn’t stop wetting the bed, Caroline saying she was happy to be rid of him. The cheerleaders doing a step routine in Caroline’s honor.
Editor and director quickly put the finishing touches on the show. As Tad closed his eyes to go to sleep, the crew slipped the tiny computer with the DVD inside right behind Tad’s eyes so he would be sure to see it in his R.E.M sleep.
Caroline and the crew exited through Tad’s left ear. They ran out of his bedroom and into the street where they returned to their normal sizes. The panelist returned to their respective places in Tad’s memory.
The audience members stayed in Tad’s head and waited to be paid. They waited and waited. A few of them began to worry because they were told the M& M’s were only good for one days. None of the audience members complained about how long it was taking because they didn’t want to be blacklisted by the company that hired them.
Tad’s dreamt the show that night. He wolk up with a start. It sounded like a gun had gone off. He didn’t know it, but the audience had exploded in is brain.

“A researcher from Bullitt Marketing sat in the comfy armchair in Match in Mind’s.waiting room. The woman sat across from him looking quite satisfied with herself.
“I don’t get it” he said. “There were cookies in the candies. Like cookie flavored M&M?”
“No, not that kind of cookie. Like in a computer, sort of. When the object carrying the cookie destructs the cookie is left in the subjects head and Blasé voilà, our client has a brand ambassador, saboteur and assassin all rolled into one.”
“Brilliant.” The researcher said. We would love to invest”.
The woman and the researcher walked into her office and closed the door.

The Reality Show in Tad’s Head (part. 8)

 pillow-fight

Dan Rather and Director traveled down the narrow path of Tad’s memory .Director was attempting to find Tad’s imagination on the map.

“Sorry, mate, this blasted thing is impossible to read.  He said.

“This meeting is for what exactly”, Dan Rather asked, somewhat impatiently.

“Oh, we need your opinion as to whether or not we should produce this writer’s show. We need you to tell us if the characters are sympathetic and so on and so forth. We were thinking you could host a panel discussion”.

“So were just walking around in his brain, have you ever heard of a spec script?”

“Well, the spec was great but we want to know what future episodes will be like.”

“I see and you don’t want to actually have to pay him to write them until you see if it works.”

“Yes”, Director said realizing he had stumbled on to something diabolically brilliant.

“Well, okay I supposes, it does sound interesting. Is there a payphone in this head? I want to call my wife and tell her I’ll be late for dinner”.

“You mean you don’t have a cellphone?”

“A what”?

“Oh That’s right your from 1980”. Um, we’ll see that your wife gets word.”

“Where is the meeting room?”

“It’s near the eyes. We need to stop by the imagination on the way. Another panel member is coming from there.”

“The panel members are coming from inside the writers head”, Dan Rather said becoming quite confused.

“Um, Well, yes sir un fortunately, the technology is quite new and it’s the only real way to get it done.”

“Won’t they be biased?”

“Well, um… Director thought for a moment.

“We’re trying to get all of his very harshest critics and the people whose opinion he values most together to judge the show”. Director admitted.

The two men made their way to a very small room which was strewn with candy wrappers and pornographic magazines. Naked women roamed about randomly touching one another’s breasts. In the center of everything there sat a tall thin brunette woman who resembled Elizabeth Hurley. She was reading Cosmopolitan and doing some sort of mouth exercises. She was sitting on a bed surrounded by basketball trophies.

“Can I help you with something” she said when she saw the two men enter the room.

“Yes, I’m looking for Tad’s dream girl. I take it that’s you?

“Why yes I’m Dora”, she said extending a hand.

“She’s a fraud,” one of the women screamed. I’m Tad’s dream girl.”

“I am ,  said another.

What can only be described as an extremely violent pillow fight broke out. Two of the women began wrestling and two began having what appeared to be a breast fight.

“Dora, Tad’s thought up a television show and he needs your opinion”, Director said.

“”Okay, let me just get dressed. She put on a G-string and a red lacy bra. She slipped into a form fitting nurse’s outfit.

The three of them snuck out of the room in the middle of the commotion.

“He’ll fit right in in Hollywood,” Dan Rather commented as they left the small imagination and headed for repressed memories.

The trio headed towards the back of the head to locate an authority figure from Tad’s early childhood. There was some artistic disagreement between Director and Dan Rather as to whether a cool kid or a teacher would be in order.

Director couldn’t take his eyes off Dora. He tried to concentrate on what Dan Rather was saying but he was distracted by the perfect ebb and flow of her behind.

They arrived at the subconscious to be greeted by a tall thin bearded man of about forty five.

“Hi, I’m doctor Applewood.  Are you new? Don’t tell me, he said to Dora, “ I bet your from that bar where they had trivia night and he was trying to impress you? I’ve never seen  a man play trivia so poorly.

“No, mate we’ve actually come for something else” Director interrupted. “We’re putting together a focus group about a TV show taking place in the brain. We need an authority figure. Do you know of anyone here?”

“Well, I might be a pretty good choice. I was Tad’s child Psychiatrist. Dr. Applewood said.

“What was wrong with him?” Dan Rather asked.

“What wasn’t” Dr. Applewood joked. “Bed wetting is what brought him in. “

“Yes, do join us. Caroline will be thrilled”, Director exclaimed.

They all headed to the intellect for a college professor.

The Reality Show in Tad’s Head (part. 7)

dan r
Caroline and the crew worked swiftly to gather footage from Tad’s memory Caroline sifted through memories of the Christmas party where Tad got roaring drunk. She selected the memory of his calling her fat in front of her father.
She rolled the dolly to that fateful day in mid-September when he was supposed to come pick her up to go on the boat ride and he never did. She got angrier and angrier as she watched him chatting with a woman on Facebook who lived in a neighboring city. He asked her out for coffee. Caroline cringed when the beautiful blonde showed up at Starbuck’s. She cried at his memory of the phone call that she made to him a week later where he told her that he thought they should “give things some time”. She realized she wasn’t surprised at all to learn the blonde had been in the room with him when he had taken the call. She closed her eyes when he carried the blonde into the bedroom saying “I’m free at last”. She rode the dolly far into the future in the hopes of finding a break up.
“Love”, she heard Director say.
“Yes”?
“We’ve got to hurry we only have a day left”.
The crew sat on an eardrum eating some very tasty sandwiches Cameraman had procured from Tad’s memory off a family trip to Paris.
Director told editor where to make the cuts.

He left them to work while he went about the business of procuring audience members for the show. He headed far back into the narrow reaches of Tad’s memory to find the people whose opinion would be of the most importance.
He walked for what seemed like miles I until he came upon a memory of chubby hands fling out in front of Tad’s eyes. He seemed to be moving towards a rather chubby set of ankles that were attached to an equally chubby woman. All of a sudden, Tad’s line of vision got higher and higher. The woman gasped and screamed, “oh my God.”
Director realized this was Tad’s memory of his first steps. At first he thought Tad was walking toward his mother, but he quickly realize that he was walking toward the television set where Dan Rather was doing the news. He stared at the anchorman with great love and fascination.
‘He admires Dan Rather’, Director thought.
This presented a unique problem. Tad’s childhood memory of Dan Rather was a completely one sided one. Mr. Rather was simply an image on screen. It would be very hard to cut him, and edit him into an angry audience member, especially in the limited time that they had. Still though, Tad was so enthralled by him that he felt the show wouldn’t be complete without him.
Although he wasn’t sure if it was allowed director stepped onto the memory band and into the memory. Tad’s mother screamed and fainted. Tad began to cry. Director shook his head, walked over to the television set and knocked on it.
Mr. Rather.?”
“Yes”, said Dan Rather annoyed at having his broadcast interrupted.”
“ I was wondering if you could come out here for a minute” , director said in an apologetic tone.
“What for”?
“Well sir, I’m here on behalf of CBS. They want you to take a look at a new show”.
“Oh well. I’ll be done in a few minutes can it wait?”
Director heard Tad’s mother coming to behind him.
“No, sir we have to go right now.”
“Oh very well, but this is very irregular” Rather said stepping out of the television.
Director grabbed his hand and led him back to the pat that was just outside of the band. Tad’s mother fainted again.
“Where are we”, Dan Rather asked.
“We’re in the head of a writer, very advanced stuff”, Director said thinking fast.

SA Meeting

My Name is Eliza G and I am a cyber stalker. There I said it.  What a load off. If you are reading this via the link I posted on Facebook you may be one of my “victims.”

I never stalked before the internet as I was afraid that if I called the call could be traced, or  if I drove by a house I would been seen.  If I just happened to be somewhere my mark happened to be I felt that I would be figured out. Plus, any of those forms of stalking would be very costly and time consuming and I’m very lazy. But,  I’ve always had an unhealthy curiosity about the lives of others.  I couldn’t sleep the night I saw The Conversation for the first time. I realized I was exactly like the Gene Hackman character. My habit started two years ago  and was enabled by  Facebook, a tool that makes stalking convenient, affordable and safe.

My first stalkey was another writer who I considered the competition.  She was someone I knew casually and had spoken to a few times. I monitored her progress quit closely. I actually know the number of paid writing jobs she had (12) verses the number of paid jobs I’ve had (2). The couple of time we talked we discussed what qualities make someone a good writer: the ability to play the role of the observer,( Herman Mellville) having iconoclastic sensibilities,(Sinclair Lewis)  having a sense of adventure(Jack Kerouac) and being totally screwed up (Dorothy Parker) . Every time I saw one of her articles I couldn’t  help but feel jealous.  It also offended my sense of justice. I mean, what did she have that I didn’t have. I have  way fewer friends than she does,  I’m far more bitter and sarcastic then she’ll ever be. I’m much more impulsive and slutty.  I’m infinitely more screwed up then she was. It just didn’t seem fair. I kept checking her Facebook page waiting for her to fail. When-ever I had a little writing triumph I would  be sure to post it on my page in the hopes that she would see it. I didn’t so much care if anyone else saw it; just her. I am guessing (hoping ) that she is completely unaware of all of this.

The next person I stalked was a boy I liked. I’m not being cute, he was actually a boy. Or at least a boy compared to me. He was no less than 15 years younger then me. I’d met him all of twice. It started out very innocently. I has a small flash crush.  I just checked out his profile; likes and interest that sort of thing. It turned out we had every single thing in common. Every single solitary thing. We liked all the same movies and all the same books. We had the same favorite quote (really, universe? Really?)  I looked at his profile every day . I kept wanting him to say something that would piss me off. Recently he had a picture of himself at a concert I wanted to go to with some girl his own age who was beautiful. Thank you Facebook.

The most recent person I stalked was a former boss of mine who I could not stand. She fancied herself an actress and  was the phoniest person I ever met. After college she had gone to New York to attempt a Broadway career  and failed miserably. Instead of being humble her failing had made her more arrogant. She would constantly tell us how superior she was to us because she had a degree in theater (blow off class). She had returned to Denver to be a phone room manager. She got a few very small rolls in local theater including the dinner theater production of the play Clue at a theater in a rural area and bragged anbout it like she was Meryl Streep. She quit the job to pursue a career in Denver live theater which is like having a career as a bartender in Utah.

I cyber stalked her waiting for her demise ; a bad review instead there were several good coments, but they seemed odd. They were all reviews of plays she was in, she always had the smallest part in the play, yet they always mentioned her.  I realized that she had hired a publicist. So I left comments under every review saying, “Oh Look Heather, you hired a publicist.” She never responded, but the reviews stopped suddenly.

So that’s my story. This his my first day of stalker sobriety. Anyone want to sponsor me? Just send me a friend request.

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