When I was a teenager I idolized my best friend's parents. They were everything my mother was not -- tolerant, knowledgable, wise, with university educations. I was jealous. My friend and his sister were able to get what they wanted. To me they lived privileged lives.
I never had much of an allowance. I sought to be good and in doing so often denied myself things that were in my best interest. It was as if I was expecting to be rewarded for self-sacrifice.
That is not why I am writing tonight though. I am writing about Woody Allen.
I read The Kugelmass Episode as a teenager. I watched 'Love and Death' and thought it an awakening -- something new, something intelligent, something enlightening affecting my squalid life. Woody Allen wasn't a formative influence, but he was funny, ironic, influential,
... and apparently an abusive asshole.
I have learned over the years that idols are products of idolatry. I watched my friend's parents and family struggle with the same family problems everyone else had over the years. That was easy enough to accept. Other important figures in my life withered away and died. Death is part of life.
What bothers me tonight is that the same person who wrote this: "No, I want romance. I want music. I want love and beauty." is also responsible for this:
when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.Every day we read of similar events. Male and females in authority positions using their influence to coerce, to cajole, to rape.
For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like. I didn’t like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn’t like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out.
I think the misogyny of Woody Allen shows in his early writings now that I look again: "Daphne had promise. Who suspected she'd let herself go and swell up like a beach ball? Plus she had a few bucks, which is not in itself a healthy reason to marry a person, but it doesn't hurt, with the kind of operating nut I have. You see my point?"
I started this diary thinking I would write about the complexity of the human soul. But after rereading The Kugelmass Episode, I must now admit that I see a selfish jerk on the other side of the pen.
Sometimes the crystal is clear.