Free Woody, Imprison posers

I like liberalism. I am, at least voting-pattern wise, a liberal. And I definitely like humanism and the push for universal equality. After all, I am a human who would much rather write a poem than lets say, play a bullet-spraying video game. And I like feminism;  I have a well-educated mother, sisters and a wife, not to mention an army of females whom I admire from all walks of life, females who by the way make me look glaringly pedestrian

But my guard goes up when all three of the aforementioned movements crystallize or more aptly, degenerate, into hashtag friendly, sanctimonious expressions of moral “outrage”. And my skeptical gene kicks in when desperate pleas for social activist street cred try to pass themselves off as genuine calls for fairness,  and equal treatment under moral and criminal law. What’s worse is when a movement becomes a fad, when what goes on in private battles of “he said, she said” morphs into a gigantic game of sexual politics and instead of properly labeling culprits and victims, villains and bystanders, people who have absolutely no clue what the truth is, engage in hearsay-based attacks on men who are creative, famous and by almost any standard of decency, skeleton free. Then I must speak up.

Me too victim

Amiz Ansari has been linked to the #Metoo roll call when all he did was apparently disappoint a lover’s expectations

And no, speaking up does not make me a social activist but it does at least force me to express my opinion is something more substantial than a 140 character tweet, or in some case of certain public figures, several tweets.

And so I will use this blog to defend Woody Allen against the latest pedestal removing #Metoo accusations. And no I am not trying to belittle the movement. The movement is real, justified and long overdue. But when females with spurious claims against men of relatively high character and even higher achievement also try to use the movement’s popularity, both viral and otherwise, to their attention starved advantage, they may in fact be the ones belittling the movement.

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Woody Allen holds his alleged victim, his daughter

I am defending Woody because although I don’t know him nor do I know Dylan Farrow, 32, his biologiocal who has accused him of engaging in some form of molestation when she was seven, I do trust my instincts enough to sense when there is something rotten in Denmark. And to borrow a line from a Langston Hughes poem, these “allegations” stink like rotten meat.

Since no formal charges have ever against Allen concerning this incident, nor in his 55 plus years of filmmaking, has he even been accused of sexual impropriety by the hundreds of beautiful women with which he has worked, and since Woody’s ex-wife Mia Farrow and their daughter Dylan have about as much credibility as an un-medicated Trump on the campaign trail, I will not bore you with a bunch of facts.

But as someone who has very creatively parlayed the old adage of “life imitating art” into an odd but certainly not illegal private life (Woody married Soon-Yi Previn, Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter from a previous message), Allen lives in an unconventional but honesty way.  He has made neuroticism an art form, taken pretty much every fear and fascination Emily Dickinson turned into poetry and given it an Oscar-worthy cinematic storyline.

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I guess before I romanticize the genius of Woody Allen too much, I will simply say that people, even in the court of public opinion, especially ones with good track records, should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Unless of course you are someone who is either (a) an actor who is on the downside of his professional trajectory (b) an actress who was lucky enough to start in one of Allen’s films and is finding it hard to really make a name for herself or (c) someone in dire need of social activist service hours and therefore pretends to be a real agent for change by posting a bunch of catchy, holier-than-thou sentimentalisms on Twitter. Then just take the bait and run with whatever story is trending so you can enjoy your 15 minutes of fame.

It’s bad enough that we already live in an age of unprecedented fake news, but what is worse is when someone who appears to be well-educated but has an obvious grudge match to settle, is given free air time to spew her distorted tale of victimization and the major news networks and some of the more prominent young voices on social media start to run with the story, something is flagrantly wrong. Here is just a sampling of the tweets:

I need to get this off my chest:
– I worked on Woody Allen’s next movie.
– I believe he is guilty.
– I donated my entire salary to RAINN.

  • Griffin Newman

@mrDaveKrumholtz

I deeply regret working with Woody Allen on Wonder Wheel. It’s one of my most heartbreaking mistakes. We can no longer let these men represent us in entertainment, politics, or any other realm. They are beneath real men

Actually I am okay with the alleged accusations. The key word here is alleged and the alleged incident took place during a bitter custody divorce battle with Farrow’s mother Mia in the early 1990’s. Anyone can accuse anyone of anything any time even though such accusations have to meet a burden of legal proof to have sustainable merit.

But if the #Metoo movement, if the feminism movement, if the equality movement and the liberalism movement are to have any real long term value, then we must hold both victimizers and false accusers equally liable for their behavior. If any of these movements are to sustain the air time they deserve, then none of them should continue based on bandwagon appeal and all of them should properly separate those who can no longer bear to bury their unpleasant secrets and those who use a tall tale to feel better about their plight.

If Allen is guilty of anything, it is having an overactive subconscious mind and an even more active imagination. Both are fit for the kinds of movies he makes and the zealots like me who admire Allen and those like him for not being afraid to take risks, creative and otherwise.

allen quote

In the end, I suppose this blog is as much about what constitutes a social activist as it is an attempt to get the public off Allen’s back. Until some tangible proof of any wrongdoing, which based on all forensic tests taken at the time of the original allegation and subsequent examinations will never happen, then all real judgment should be suspended.

I don’t consider myself a social activist because I have never been at the forefront of any movement even though I have done years of service work in Ecuador. That just makes me, at best, a fairly decent citizen. But I will argue that being a social activist involves a hell of a lot more than just jumping on a trending social media bandwagon or attaching your name to a popular cause.

During a week in which Martin Luther King’s birthday was celebrated, this fact is all the more apparent.

So Free Woody Allen. And may the royal couch of Denmark no longer have to host such tall but slanderous tales.

 

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Beware of the Ides of January

One of my unwritten New Year’s resolutions is to write more compact blogs or in general, to be more succinct. For one, as I slog towards middle age, I am simply running out of time. Two, as much as I like to write long-form articles, especially when the alternative is purchasing battery-operated mobile paint can holders, length is not modern day attention span-friendly. In fact, I’m not sure anything longer than two paragraphs fits that bill.

So I have decided to take all the different Mexican jumping beans swimming around my head and consolidate them into a weekly”Week in Review”. It will be challenging as I’m holding myself to a strict 450 word count. Here we go.

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Just north of Tallahassee

For lack of a better word, I will call this week ugly. Well maybe even a “shithole”. More on that later. No not necessarily the weather  here in Miami, though the rest of the country had to load up on kindling wood, and in some cases make a Cannonball run out of their county. I’m talking about the news. And mind you, this was a week when Kim Jong-Un must have received a whole batch of Swedish Masseuses because he was actually diplomatic. But let’s start in California.

Last Sunday Night was the Golden Globes, a.k.a the night of #MenSuck and #HarveyWeinsteinshouldhaveto eatsushioffDonaldTrump’s unshoweredsweatybody as part of his redemption.

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We love Will Smith

Everyone was encouraged to wear black in honor of I think Will Smith, one of the few Hollywood stars who has yet to harass anyone. But the star of the show was Oprah Winfrey who gave what overzealous #AnyonebutTrumpincludingHarveyWeinstein journalists would like to think was a harbinger of a presidential run speech because she well, didn’t actually bash men while lauding the travails of most women. Not that Oprah seemed to use her platform as a stump speech but when she said the word President Trump, Oprah enthusiasts took that to mean “I am going to demolish President Trump in an election that is almost three years away.

Speaking of Oprah, the real shapeshifter in California were the mudslides which have been devastating most of Santa Barbara County and specifically the area most inhabited by billionaires like Oprah. In fact, her home was one of the several Central American country-sized estates which were “affected”. In response to the mudslides, Trump was quoted as saying: “Serves her right for thinking some other broad can challenge me to the presidency. Besides, all those tree hugging Californians were so caught up in bashing me about climate change since as we know, mud is cold as hell.”

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Can you feel the devastation?

Yet somehow the mudslides hopped over a few states and continued their deluge all the way to the White House, or more specifically into President Trump’s cranium. Forgetting that he was leading a bipartisan council at the White House on how to improve immigration policy instead of yukking it up on the golf course, Trump went public with some of his more “shitty” thoughts.

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Leading by example

Referring to three of the modern world’s most financially and politically ravaged countries, Haiti, El Salvador and Somalia as “shitholes”, Trump gave ample proof that one of his New Year’s Resolutions is to channel Don Imus and Charlie Sheen, not to mention, steal the spotlight back from Harvey Weinstein.

As a result, I’m starting a new slogan. Sometimes “a word is worth a thousand words”.

Happy MLK Day everyone!

And only 550 words. Progress, not perfection

 

I hereby resolve for ..you to…. Part 2-018

2017 has come and gone. Phew. We made it. And most of us were not mauled by protestors, the local super-iguana species or teenagers on a high-speed text and drive chase. Besides we can take solace in the fact that the past year was not as bad as 2016 unless you were one of the 65 percent of all adults who use Equifas (2) Your spouse likes, I mean really likes his/her iPhone or (3) You are Roy Moore or anyone who helped get Trump elected.

Every New Year, especially since it looks far more like the 4th of July than New Years around here in South Florida, I write out my resolutions. But I am just one person and I would like to think I’ve matured at least 1 percent over the last year. So what I do instead is write broader resolutions, changes I want you, the greater society to make. And I will tag along once I see that you have changed. (Note I’m married so this is a line I frequently use).

This is the last of my three parts of my annual “Look Back, Look Ahead” series or to continue my movies metaphor, the Dark Knight rises. As the year progresses, the metaphor may actually be more apt than we think. So here we go, ten resolutions, ten things that along with all those silly jokes, angry texts and parking tickets, we will try to leave behind. Speaking of parking tickets, I was going to include those in my resolutions but I already got one yesterday. Bienvenido a Miami, right?

(10) Emoticons:

It’s not that emoticons are bad. I like them and often use them. But there are way too many. And we invest large portions of our finite brainpower deciding which ones to use In my case, I can’t even figure out if one is a smiley, a frown or a wink. So my proposal is we don’t have to go cold turkey on emoticons, but we need to ration them. As in 12 a month, unless of course your team just won the BCS or Super Bowl. Then you get 16. Or your significant other is really really really pissed at you. Then send dozens along with the actual roses.

no emoticons

Courtesy of The Society to use actual words again

But let’s make 2018 as emoticon free as possible. Besides, we need to start learning how to use words again.

Speaking of words..

(9) The term “American People”:

Politicians now bandy about the term more often than they use the word “promise” or in the case of many representatives last year “penis”. But every time I hear one of our elected officials use the term “American People”, I one start screaming at the windshield and two, pose the question, Which American People? Certainly not me. Aside from the fact that most locals are not really Americans in the flag waving, NASCAR loving, hat wearing sense of the word”, I really don’t think the American people thought much about let’s say, imposing a travel ban on travelers from Somalia or Yemen. In fact, most Americans have no idea what those places are.

And speaking of speaking…

(8) Lets stop stopping radicals or bigoted whites from their public speaking invitations

Perhaps this is Trumpian of me to say but we draw significantly more attention to an outcast, hate-speech promoter by trying to deny him/her the podium than just letting them spew their nonsense and show to their audience of 37 or so inbreds and a few good-willed defenders of justice, just how ignorant they are. These are just sticks and stones and even though that White Supremacist Rally in Charlottesville turned violent, had we just let them had their “hate speech fueled, neo-Nazi, we watched too many episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard as a kid” circle jerk and sort of given them the silent treatment, it wouldn’t draw half the attention that it did. Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame unless we choose to give them more.

lets speakers speak

Courtesy of the Donald J. Trump Dialectical Society for Open and Healthy Discourse

(7) Kim Jong In, a.k.a Rocket Man.

We get it. You’re young and have a lot of power. And it’s not exactly glamorous to be a Communist these days, not to mention, live a life shrouded in informational secrecy. Plus you think Trump is a little bit of a bully. So do we. But in some cases Trump has the right to call someone out. And you are one of those someone’s. Technically calling you “Rocket Man” wasn’t even that much of a verbal sucker punch, but even if it was,  Trump actually paid his dues, well maybe not his tax dues, but he had a lunch pail attitude for many years and  had to defeat a few real opponents to “win” his election. Trump also has access to bigger weapons and believe it or not, more allies. So cut out all the bombast, get a Jenny Craig membership and do the rest of your depraved country a favor and pipe down.

kim vs trump

But if for some reason you are reading this blog, just know I’m being satirical. I would hate for you to hack my computer.

(6) Doubt:

Yes let’s leave doubt behind along with these other unwelcomed items. Sure I doubt the Titans will win the Super Bowl and sure I doubt that people will stop making love to their phones on an almost hourly basis, but who am I to be a doubter. So I draw a line between the terms doubt and skepticism. Skepticism is a healthy way of distrusting what we hear and see. Skepticism helps us spot some fake news like “Introduction of Viagra Trees in Costa Rica makes it likely to supplant India’s population in 20 years”.

But doubt, that’s the raven perched on the windowsill telling a distressed lover from doing what we love. Besides all of us doubted Trump would ever make it through half the primary and look what happened.

Speaking of annoyances,

(5) Texting:

Granted I have some doubt here, I mean skepticism. But harkening back to college, in an era long- long before texting made the rounds, I remember a term from my psychology class called “satiation theory”. The basis premise is that if we use things enough, enough to the point where we are satisfied with our level of consumption, we should need not continue to use it. So when it comes to texting, I’m satiated. And you should be too.

Don’t get me wrong. I like to write and love the thrill of an incoming message ping. But enough is enough. Lets also ration out texting, especially the group chats. And we can call or just hope to run into each other instead. Besides, if we over-text, our once communicative species may actually forget how to speak on the phone.

Speaking of communications…

(4) Rating various services

As a teacher, I am driven by an inherent insecurity not to look bad in front of others. Fortunately I am also a congenital people pleaser so I try to make my students look good.

But I don’t ask for ratings every class, day or even week. In fact, I am not sure I have ever asked for a rating or if my students rate me at all mainly because the dork meter doesn’t go high enough. My college students were asked to rate me at the end of last year and I don’t think anyone filled out the forms.

aribnb

Meanwhile nearly everybody else in the service industry expects a rating, and within minutes of services rendered. This includes escorts I think. Uber/Lyft drivers and passengers ask for ratings, as do Airbnb guests and that is before we have had a chance to meet them and see the condition in which they left the unit.

But it doesn’t stop here. Landscapers, AC repairmen, both of whom egregiously overcharge as well as mailmen, meter maids and debt collectors are all expected to be rated. This need could provide an exception to my emoji rationing but that’s about it. In fact that is a great idea, no I don’t have to feign some fawning appreciation for your services but I can give several emoji accolades.

Speaking of ratings….

(3) The term “best seller”, or for that matter super superlatives

best seller

The book I have been meaning to write

I always hear the term starving artists or authors who must pull Odyssean feats just to get the first fifty pages of their manuscripts approved, but ultimately suffer the slings and arrows of categorical rejection of the complete work. And then I see how ubiqutious the term “best-seller” is. Crappy books. One’s that the Kathy Miller 4th grade teachers of the world could write. So I no longer think the N.Y. Times should be able to use the term “best-seller”. Semantically, the Times already makes mistakes because there should just be one “best” seller at a time and yet there are twenty. At least. So the proper term should be “good seller” or “better seller” or “cash cow”. But best has to be reserved for one.

And speaking of trivialities, a most recent “best seller” – ‘Why Urologists should always be considered number 1 and Proctologists number 2″ only sold about 1211 copies but it was given the best seller label.

Speaking of misleading the customer, and I realize Bitcoin is giving my suggestion a run for its money, pun intended but

(2) Money needs a major overhaul

Yes I have a little pocket change but this money business is a real drag. Maybe we do need a heavy dose of socialism or a heavy dose of Bernie Sanders or at least Vermonters running the country because the most basic things are starting to cost a fortune and really rich people who want even more are driving this profit guzzling machine.

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If people would charge a normal wage, one that mathematically oriented people such as myself do not have to do mental gymnastics to rationalize ( such as not charging $1300 for a relatively routine 45 minute emergency room visit or $170 for a scalp massage, I think everyone’s life would be infinitely easier. Listen everyone needs to make a profit but not at the expense of basic decency. Enough said and finally speaking of irrational trends/norms

(1) A bunch of public annoyances:

These include among just a few of the ones I would really like to mention  the music other people play, especially during Lyft rides, the way people stare at their phones in the slouched position as if such digital devices are beaming livev naked pictures of Scarlett Johannsen and most important to me as I further channel some of my favorite social critics, please lets once and for all do away with the whole Latin tradition of kissing people who are casual acquaintances whenver we run into them on the streets or frankly everywhere.

I know what you’re thinking. After all these toxic substances, many of which truly must be left in 2017’s wake, what kind of Larry Davidesque , anti-kissing shmuck is this guy? If this is Elman’s biggest complaint about 2017, he must have one hell of a life.

And maybe I do… but… as we age, we tend to categorize things as either necessary or not, normal or abnormal, so frankly think all of this gratuitous kissing, as in kissing people during greeting or departure, especially people I hardly know is just bizarre. Frankly I don’t even like half of them and yet I am expected to offer a kiss. I know it is considered some type of cultural courtesy but frankly I think it would be a lot more courteous to the people I really love that I didn’t give passers by that kiss. I mean after awhile we barely kiss our spouses on the cheek and it still feels awkward to kiss mom and dad but I am expected to give a little peck on the cheek to Maria Antonella, a distant cousin of my wife’s brother’s ex girlfriend whom I see once every three years.

makes no sense

Assuming these people are just acquaintances, shouldn’t that imply we go for the full on make out session with people we really know

Obviously this is not really a big problem. Except to me it is a microcosm of a larger problem and that is copy-catting. We do things because we see so many other people doing them, like a global game of Simon Says.

Well I am a non-conformist, at least I would like to think I am so if I happen to run into you in 2018, don’t take it personally if I just shake your hand. Unless of course your name is Melania and you just came to do my landscaping. Then instead of a big tip and 5 star rating, I’ll just send some emojis and give you that customary hug and kiss

I hope that suffices 🙂 🙂 😉

Oh and please give me five stars. My blogging life depends on it