Movie 43

What’s more offensive?  A movie filled with bad jokes about incest, racism, sexism, bodily fluids and homosexuality?  Or the dozens of famous performers who agreed to be filmed saying those bad jokes out loud willingly for scale?

After suffering through Movie 43, I can’t decide.  Nevertheless, this laughless debacle is a strong candidate for Worst Movie Of All Time.  If you value your life, you’ll avoid this cinematic monstrosity at all costs.

Dennis Quaid plays a desperately psychotic screenwriter who manages to convince a wimpy movie executive (Greg Kinnear) to hear his pitch for a new movie.  With a straight face, he claims it will be smart and witty and have heart.  Like The Help.

But here’s the thing.  He doesn’t pitch a proper feature.  He pitches a series of bizarre shorts instead.  And they’re all terrible.

In the first one, Kate Winslet is fixed up with an overachieving New Yorker (Hugh Jackman) for a dinner date.  He’s on the cover of a local magazine.  The headline asks why is he still single.  It turns out he has a ball sack attached to his neck.  Mystery solved.

At the restaurant, however, Winslet appears to be the only one who notices his deformity.  She gingerly tries to find out what the deal is but Jackman always thinks she’s talking about something else.  She should’ve asked why they agreed to do this humiliating scene together.

If this sight gag sounds familiar, that’s because it was originally used in one of the Men In Black movies.  (Remember the Ballchinia alien?  Now that was funny.)  But Movie 43 isn’t interested in making you laugh.  Its real agenda is testing your endurance for gross stupidity.

And so, for many painful minutes, there are several shots of poor Jackman with that fake ball sack on his neck as poor Winslet tries not to dwell on it and vomit.

Then, mercifully and without resolution, it’s on to the next pitch from Quaid.  A couple (Liev Schreiber & Naomi Watts) entertains another couple (Julie Ann Emery & Alex Cranmer) who just moved into their neighbourhood.  We learn that Schreiber & Watts home school their teenage son Kevin (Jeremy Allen White) with a disturbing twist.  They live to humiliate him at every possible moment.

The idea is to simulate a real high school experience for him straight out of Welcome To The Dollhouse.  Kevin gets bad marks, hazed, bullied and sexually humiliated on a daily basis by both his parents.  How bad does it get?  He gets deflowered by his own mother.

Next pitch.  Chris Pratt from Parks & Recreation is about to propose to his girlfriend of 16 months (Anna Faris from Scary Movie) when she suggests he defecate on her.

And that’s when Greg Kinnear cries uncle.  He tries to throw Quaid out of his office but this nutjob has a gun and a grenade.  Kinnear pretends to not have the power to greenlight a movie.  Quaid is undeterred.  So Kinnear proposes they ask his boss (rapper Common, if you can believe it) for permission.  Common wonders why he’s interrupting his meeting with Seth MacFarlane.  (MacFarlane’s pitch is no better than anything Quaid proposes, by the way.)  He also wonders why Kinnear can’t just be a man and say yes to Quaid.  Then, he inexplicably announces that he had sex with his wife.

Suddenly tired of being emasculated, Kinnear entertains more of Quaid’s dopey ideas – the creepy couple in the grocery store;  the young girl who freaks out her makeout partner, her brother, their dad and her dad by having her first period at an inopportune moment; a pervy Batman ruining Robin’s speed dates; a kidnapped, tortured leprechaun; Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant (HBO’s Hello Ladies) trying to one-up each other with boring truths and obnoxious dares during a blind date – while plotting his revenge.

Quaid also suggests commercials in between these shorts:  a Tampax ad involving models and a ravenous shark; teary-eyed little kids hiding in ATMs, vending machines and photocopiers; the dangerous iBabe.

At no point do any of these segments produce a genuinely inspired laugh.  Not one.  You just sit there incredulous that all this major talent (some of whom have won Oscars) were perfectly ok subjecting themselves to such inanity.  Then you remember this is Hollywood where embarrassing actors is a treasured pastime.

The last two segments – a basketball coach (Terrance Howard) telling his insecure team they’ll beat the White Knights purely because they’re all black (it’s set in 1959); a perverted cartoon cat’s hate-filled jealousy towards his owner’s girlfriend – are just as gruesome.  (Another segment, one involving a guy fucking dead bodies, was wisely excised.  Even hacks have their standards.)

If there’s one recurring theme that’s more tired than the rest (and there are plenty to choose from), it’s the anti-gay material.  In the real world we’re finally starting to appreciate and accept the LGBT community for who they really are:  good and decent folk who just happen to be attracted to their own sex.  They are not a threat in any shape or form to us easily frightened, often misguided heteros.

And yet in this movie, man-on-man blowjob jokes, particularly in the context of coercion and humiliation, are so unbearably plentiful even a straight guy like me is offended.  (Don’t get me started on Stephen Merchant’s unfortunate tattoo.)

The fact that certain characters in this movie complain about some of these awful jokes without offering any biting satirical counterpoints of their own greatly increases your burgeoning depression.

There’s nothing more unpleasant than a humourless comedy.  Movie 43 might be the worst one ever made.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, April 20, 2014
2:41 p.m.

Published in: on April 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Shocking, Sudden Death Of The Ultimate Warrior

It had been almost 18 years since he last appeared on Monday Night Raw.  But there he was on the most recent edition of the program, his famous entrance music blasting away as he walked gingerly to the ring, greeting fans at ringside.  Once inside the squared circle, for old time’s sake, he shook the ropes.

The power was gone.  But it was great seeing him again.

Then, he cut a promo.  In the middle of it he put on a mask that resembled his famous war paint.  Suddenly, there was renewed intensity in his voice, something we hadn’t heard from him in a WWE ring in almost 20 years.

He wasn’t selling a feud or a pay-per-view.  He didn’t even pitch his new DVD.  He was only there for one reason:  to thank the fans for making him a legend in the business and for not forgetting him.  He even did his famous growl a couple of times (which always sounded like he was clearing his sinuses).

Then, he tried shaking the top rope again.  (The same result.  Still no power.)

Then, he climbed out of the ring, looking just as weak as he did upon entering it but beaming, nonetheless.  After walking back up the ramp, this grey-haired man was gone.

Little did anyone know, it would be the last time he would ever be seen on live TV.

Just a little while ago, Triple H broke the newsThe Ultimate Warrior is dead.

Jim Hellwig, the eccentric, polarizing conservative who played him, is no more.

Just like that.  Wow.

Before he entered the WWF in 1987, the former bodybuilder briefly worked for the short-lived UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation) where he was teamed with another ex-bodybuilder named Steve Borden.  (They actually trained together.)  First they were The Freedom Fighters.  Hellwig was Justice and Borden was Flash.  Then they were The Blade Runners (one of the many Road Warrior knock-offs of the time).  Warrior was Rock, Borden was Sting (yes, that Sting).  Dutch Mandell (Zeb Colter in today’s WWE) was their manager.

Apparently, Rock and Sting didn’t get along, which might explain why the team split very quickly.

Rock then arrived in World Class Championship Wrestling (the Von Erich territory in Texas with ties to the NWA) and was briefly repackaged as The Dingo Warrior.  Gary Hart managed him.  When he finally made the jump to the WWF, he grew out his hair, lost the moustache and would ultimately drop Dingo from his name-o.  (Before he debuted on TV, he was still using it at live house shows.)  He kept the make-up and the shoelaces tied around his arms, however.

Warrior was never going to be a stellar mat technician like a Bret Hart.  Brute strength and agility were all he needed to get over as a monster babyface.  And he was never going to be a great talker.  Incoherence mixed with over-the-top intensity made him the laughingstock of his peers but unintentionally added to his mystique.  (Remember, he was billed as being from Parts Unknown, and often looked to the heavens for strength and support.  He wasn’t supposed to be calm and rational.)

I only had the privilege of seeing the man wrestle twice in person, both times at Hamilton’s then-named Copps Coliseum.  He did not disappoint.  He squashed Steve Lombardi in a quick match in late December 1987 and was one of the participants in the Royal Rumble match at the first annual supercard held the following January.  (Hacksaw Jim Duggan won.)

He was just as fired up and frenetic as he appeared on TV.  While he has had his many critics, there was no mistaking his connection with the fans.  We embraced him wholeheartedly because his energy was just too contagious.  He was my last Halloween costume.  (I had his orange T-shirt.)

During a period where getting a title push was a really big deal, Warrior got three in the WWF.  He was a two-time InterContinental Champion as well as World Champion.  I’ll never forget watching SummerSlam 88 on closed circuit TV at Copps wondering who would replace the “injured” Brutus Beefcake in his IC title match with The Honky Tonk Man.

As soon as that famous music hit, we all knew.  In less than a minute, Warrior squashed Honky to win the strap.  Poor Honky didn’t even have time to climb out of his sparkly red jumpsuit.

Warrior got the push reportedly because he was disgruntled and threatening to leave the company if he wasn’t given a title run.  Beefcake, who got taken out of the match in the build-up to the show thanks to an attack by Outlaw Ron Bass, was actually supposed to win that night after working a program with Honky for almost a year.  He would never get a second chance.

It ended up working out in the end because Warrior would work an awesome program with Ravishing Rick Rude.  After Rude attacked him during their 1989 Royal Rumble posedown (which Warrior was winning), an IC title match was booked for WrestleMania V.  Thanks to Bobby Heenan’s quick thinking, Rude stole the title.  After coming up short in rematches on TV and house shows, Warrior would regain the title in their much superior SummerSlam 89 encounter, which might be the best match he ever wrestled.  (At the 1990 SummerSlam, they had a decent cage match for the world title.  Warrior won that one, too.)

After snagging back the InterContinental Championship, it was on to WWF Champion Hulk Hogan.  At the 1990 Royal Rumble, after both of them cleared everybody else out of the ring, the two champions stared each other down, much to the crowd’s delight.  It was a test to see if the crowd was up for a possible one-on-one match between the two.  Needless to say, it got everyone talking.

Three months later at WrestleMania VI, The Ultimate Challenge was on.  Both titles were on the line.  It was the first WrestleMania I wouldn’t see live (I would have to wait for the video) and I was convinced that Hogan would win.  In fact, he was my preference.  All my friends picked Warrior which led to passionate arguments.

They were right.  Hogan didn’t stand to gain anything from winning a mid-card title but Warrior stood to gain everything from the WWF Championship.  Sure enough, at the end of the match Hogan missed his patented leg drop and Warrior splashed him for the win.  (Hogan wanted some time off, reportedly.)

Because the WWF had two separate live show tours (one headlined by its world champion, the other featuring its IC titleholder in main events), Warrior had to vacate his secondary strap which I still think was stupid.  Nevertheless, the match with Hogan was both influential and suspenseful.  If I had seen it live, I would’ve been crushed, even more so than I was when I read about it on April 2.

I’m not sure how long Warrior’s world title reign was supposed to last but I was always amused by how it actually ended.  It was clear that the WWF wanted Sgt. Slaughter (during his Iraqi sympathizer period which, to this day, doesn’t make any sense) to go into WrestleMania VII with the belt so he could pass it on to Hogan for his third reign.

So Slaughter got the shot against Warrior at the ’91 Royal Rumble.  In the build-up to the match, both Macho King Randy Savage and Sensational Queen Sherri failed to convince the WWF Champion to put the title on the line against the former champion.  So, during the Rumble match with Slaughter, they did everything in their power to cost Warrior the championship.  Their antics were hilarious both then and now.

Thoroughly pissed off, Warrior challenged Savage to a retirement match at WrestleMania VII.  It was the only time I ever remembered him not running like a lunatic to the ring.

It was a spectacular encounter (far more engrossing than Hogan/Slaughter which remains one of the worst WM main events ever) filled with some memorable moments like Savage delivering five consecutive flying elbow drops and still not getting the victory.  After Warrior caught his second wind, The Macho King was temporarily retired.  (He would be reinstated later that summer to feud with Jake Roberts.)

More than a year later at the 1992 SummerSlam, Savage, now once again the WWF Champion, defended the title against his future tag team partner (they would be collectively known as The Ultimate Maniacs; Jesse Ventura often referred to Warrior by the singular version of that name).  Both were babyfaces at the time who also had to contend with the outside interference of Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair.  The original plan was for Warrior to align with the heels and become champion again but reportedly, he absolutely refused.  So, instead of paying off a storyline where one of the men in this match would become a villain (who would “sell out”?), there was a chaotic finish where the heels attacked Savage and Warrior.  Regardless, I still enjoyed it.

It would be the last memorable match in the Warrior’s career.  Although he would briefly return in 1996 (he squashed Triple H at WrestleMania 12) and even had a short run with WCW in 1998 (where he would put over Hulk Hogan in a belated, less-respected rematch), he was already past his prime.  He would officially retire in 1999 but did work an indie match with Orlando Jordan (JBL’s former crony) in 2008.

Before his recent reconciliation with Vince McMahon and the WWE (he had just been inducted into their Hall Of Fame on Saturday), Warrior was a longtime punching bag for various former colleagues like Ted DiBiase and Jake The Snake Roberts.  In 2005, he was reportedly buried on The Self-Destruction Of The Ultimate Warrior, a single-disc DVD that features relentless mocking and imitations of his crazy promos by legends like Ric Flair and Christian, among other notable complaints.

As he noted in his Hall of Fame speech, he was deeply hurt by the comments.  But thanks to making peace, the new three-disc DVD, Ultimate Warrior:  The Ultimate Collection, is now available.  It features a brand new interview with the man himself.

The coincidentally timed release of it will give much-needed solace to his many fans including famous ones like CM Punk (who Warrior had openly praised on more than one occasion) and Seth Rollins of The Shield who credits him for inspiring his interest in being a pro wrestler in the first place.

The legacy of The Ultimate Warrior is messy.  He was tough to get along with backstage.  Legends like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels dismiss him as a limited muscleman who lacked their considerable technical skills.  He could be clumsy in the ring.  (Not every Gorilla Press Slam went smoothly.)  He wasn’t a great talker.  He could be demanding.  And his political views were not exactly mainstream.

But by God, he was fun to watch.  And he had a killer theme song that’s held up remarkably well.

Seeing him tangle with the likes of Rude, Savage and Hogan in key, high profile matches at the height of my WWF fandom are among my most enduring memories as a young wrestling fan.  What he lacked in technique, he made up for in intensity.  He rarely made sense when he talked but I didn’t care.  His madness was funny, even if that wasn’t the intent.  I was a Warrior fan through and through (except when he fought Hogan) and truth be told, I still am.

If there’s any solace to be had from this sudden, shocking, devastating news (he leaves behind a second wife and two daughters), it’s that Warrior (his legal name since 1993) didn’t die bitter.  Whatever animosity existed between himself and various colleagues has now been extinguished.  Wrestlers on Twitter have nothing but kind things to say about him.  His final experience with the company this past weekend was uniformly positive.  (He even gamely posed for photos with fans the day he died.)

We don’t always get the ending we want in life.  There’s always that sense of unfinished business.  But 54-year-old Warrior was able to do what so many in the business never get a chance to experience.

He got a final victory lap.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
3:43 a.m.

UPDATE:  Warrior died of a massive heart attack.  According to those who saw him during WrestleMania weekend, he didn’t look well.  His widow, Dana, has issued a public statement thanking everyone for their support.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, April 17, 2014
2:10 a.m.

Published in: on April 9, 2014 at 3:44 am  Leave a Comment  

How The Real Suey Park Is Just As Ignorant As The Fake Stephen Colbert

It’s so easy to be ignorant.  All you have to do is act without reason or compassion.

Last week, Suey Park did just that.

The 23-year-old Korean-American activist ordered her more than 20000 Twitter followers to make her hashtag – #CancelColbert - a trending topic by including it in their own tweets.  As a result, the campaign attracted massive online media attention.  ( posted no less than seven articles about it on their site alone.)

Now why did Park want to cancel The Colbert Report?  Because of this joke posted on the show’s official Twitter account.  (Both were eventually deleted.)

She found it offensive, arguing that fighting racism with more racism is still racism.  (The joke was taken from a segment mocking Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder and his insultingly named charity, The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.  Native American groups have been trying unsuccessfully to convince him to change the name of the team.  His response has been to half-heartedly pander to them in the most insensitive manner imaginable.)

First of all, who made her the spokesman of what is and isn’t acceptable satire?  Second of all, if only her simple logic were so persuasive.

Throughout the last several decades, numerous comedians and actors have used the language of racists in order to discredit and make fun of their dangerously false ideologies.  It’s always a risky technique.  If your pointed barbs don’t get laughs, the audience can easily turn on you.  But when done effectively, they’re laughing and thinking simultaneously.  Comedic satire is always at its best when it clicks on multiple levels.  It’s not meant to be taken literally, obviously.  Ms. Park knows that despite struggling mightily to be successfully satirical herself.  (Choosing “Angry Asian Woman” as your Twitter name and then proceeding to be just that in interview after interview is clearly missing the point.)

Consider All In The Family.  Its lead character was Archie Bunker who regularly insulted his Polish-American son-in-law Michael by calling him a “dumb Polack” even though he was a thoughtful Liberal.  Archie made numerous remarks about various ethnicities that were often offensive (his reference to Latinos and African-Americans as “spics and spades” in the pilot, for instance).  But because the character was inarticulate and clueless (he frequently misused words and employed distorted reasoning without any self-awareness), and his terminal grumpiness (he was rarely kind to his long-suffering wife Edith), he was a hilarious self-parody, an artificial, uninformed object of deserved derision.  Not unlike Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Also consider stand-ups like Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Sarah Silverman, Dave Chappelle, Patton Oswalt and Chris Rock who’ve often used racially charged language to make broader points in their own comedic social commentaries.  Or how about Nigger Hatin’ Hat, a recurring song parody heard on The Howard Stern Show which knocks former rival Don Imus’ awful treatment of black people?  Or Throw The Jew Down The Well, the song Jewish-British performance artist Sasha Baron Cohen convinced unsuspecting white Americans in a bar to sing along with as Borat on his old Da Ali G Show?

Stephen Colbert is part of this rich anti-racist comic tradition.  The Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report, as Ms. Park also knows, is the satirical version, a know-nothing conservative pundit specifically designed to emulate the closed-minded, anti-science paranoia of Fox News Channel types like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity and longtime radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh.  He’s a carefully designed buffoon meant to savagely eviscerate all of their one-dimensional perspectives while being blissfully unaware that he’s even doing so in the first place.

Since the show’s inception in 2005, the fake Colbert has dove headfirst into race.  (The Ching Chong Ding Dong schtick that got him in trouble with Ms. Park and company was one of the first gags he did.  It was resurrected in 2011 when Limbaugh foolishly attempted a fake Chinese accent during his radio show while describing the then-Chinese leader Hu Jintao.)  It’s one of many complex subjects he and his writing staff have been fearlessly mining for material four days a week for almost a decade to much acclaim and popularity.

So when Ms. Park and her followers decided to take him on for one anti-racist joke they didn’t care for (out of probably many more they could’ve chosen from), it was a clear mismatch right from the start.  When Colbert dedicated an entire show to the controversy, he effectively killed off any momentum the misguided campaign had left at that point by cleverly and humourously mixing his real thoughts on Park herself (he wisely told her jerkiest critics to stop harassing and threatening her on Twitter and to let her speak her mind) with the fake Colbert’s obliviousness on his own undetected bigotry (“white American male is neutral”).

He also slyly noted that Michelle Malkin, the frequent Fox News contributor who once wrote a book defending the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War 2 (she is Filipino, by the way), has enthusiastically supported #CancelColbert, a rather uncomfortable fact Park’s supporters haven’t seemed too eager to mention.  Park herself has been silent on the subject.

Shortly after Colbert’s rebuttal, Park was interviewed by  Despite what the increasingly out-of-touch Bob Somerby over at The Daily Howler would love to believe, the young activist has no one to blame but herself for her pitiful performance.  That said, even he couldn’t deny the “rambling” nature of her often contradictory, nonsensical comments.

Late last year when Park’s #NotYourAsianSidekick Twitter campaign started to catch fire she told one interviewer how surprised she was that it ever became popular at all.  I suspect she is even more surprised by all the attention #CancelColbert received this year.  As a result, because she now claims she didn’t actually want the show to be cancelled (she says she’s a fan but it doesn’t sound like she’s a regular viewer), when the media asked her what the point of it all was, she hasn’t done a very good job of fully explaining her true motives.

If she didn’t want The Colbert Report yanked off the air, what did she want exactly?  Beyond her basic I-don’t-like-it-when-white-liberals-use-racist-language-to-knock-racism talking point, she won’t say.  In fact, at least two interviewers have been scolded for even trying to get more answers out of her, most notably Huffington Post Live’s Jeff Zepps.  (She told him it was a “loaded question” when he asked her why she singled out Colbert.)

In the Salon interview, she told Prachi Gupta that she was more interested in the “reaction and conversation” she “was trying to create” rather than having her (and us, for that matter) fully “understand my context” which doesn’t make any sense.  When someone launches a public campaign to cancel a TV show it’s clear they’re more interested in censorship than actual dialogue.  The fact that she couldn’t even be bothered to watch Colbert’s full-show response is very telling, as well.

Indeed, when it comes to this business of having a conservation, Ms. Park would prefer it to be completely one-sided.  Anyone who disagrees with her is part of the problem whether it’s those unnamed, evil “white liberals” she frequently rails against or fellow Asian Americans who either thought the joke was funny (in and/or out of context) or were also offended but disagreed with her cancellation campaign.  To her, the latter are those unacceptable “good Asians” who act more like “sidekicks” to us dreaded Caucasians rather than independent thinkers like her.  So, by that rather rigid logic, the only acceptable Asian-Americans to her are those who are always in line with stunts like this?  She’d make a hell of a dictator.

There’s a troubling, fascistic narcissism heavily sautéed with growing defensiveness to her public statements and actions that make you wonder how she attracts so many willing supporters who, for now, are standing by her rampant foolishness.  It’s clear that the sheer volume of attention the #CancelColbert campaign received overwhelmed her so much she has thus far been unable to articulate to a satisfying degree why it really matters and where we go from here.  (Or maybe she just doesn’t care.)

Nor is she interested in persuasion.  Her blatant hostility to white liberals in general (yet curiously, not white conservatives) and her startling inability to accept that not all Asian-Americans think exactly like her is so unbelievably hypocritical, not to mention deeply insulting, one wonders why she doesn’t immediately recognize this bogus double standard.  Is she as clueless about her own prejudices as the fake Stephen Colbert is about his own?  The evidence isn’t comforting.

On her Twitter account, she recently acknowledged the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest civil rights leaders in American history.  While King’s primary goal was to be a big, strong voice for Black Americans and to help improve & secure their rights and freedoms in a country that has a long history of denying them & their humanity, he didn’t do so at the expense of White America who he viewed as allies, not enemies.  The Civil Rights Act Of 1964, one of the most important pieces of domestic legislation ever passed, would not have happened without the support of hundreds of Caucasian Representatives and Senators, both Republican and Democrat.

But when Park was asked by Salon, “What is the best way to work with white people, to get them on our side?”, regarding her own causes, she responded, “I don’t want them on our side.”

Martin Luther King gave his life to bring the races together.  The divisive Suey Park would rather piss on that proud legacy.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, April 5, 2014
3:13 a.m.

Published in: on April 5, 2014 at 3:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Humourless Gesture

I raised my voice at an opportune time
By countering irony with some of my own
I whipped up a frenzy with a single thought
Yet never questioned my foolish compulsion

I angered the masses with a humourless gesture
Dismissed their outrage as proof of justification
Never once considering the strong possibility
That his satirical view isn’t prejudiced at all

I hijacked a movement that others began
Swallowing their protest with one of my own
Lost in the slander of an offensive name
Was my willful ignorance of a single joke

I never watched the sketch in question
I only cared about raising a fuss
And what did I get for my outspokenness?
Eternal grief and little progression

I wasn’t interested in a conversation
I refuse to answer legitimate questions
My haphazard stunt matters more than reason
So why don’t I get any respect?

I forgot an important principle
Only fight humour with some of your own
But I put no thought into my bogus campaign
Now even allies are deeply annoyed

There’s a noble purpose in being a pest
It can rightly threaten the status quo
Organized persuasion is a noble tactic
But only when you know all of the facts

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
4:19 p.m.

Published in: on April 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

The True Meaning Of Indecency

I wish you were an ally
Instead of a distant foe
I wish you’d embrace reason
Instead of always saying no
I wish you would listen
And not fly off the handle
You must realize that your arguments
Are so easy to dismantle

I wish you weren’t stubborn
And more amenable to change
I wish you weren’t a partisan
Your blind devotion is so strange
I wish you gave me a chance
Instead of acting so dismissive
He’s not worthy of your praise
So stop being so permissive

I wish you’d open your eyes
And acknowledge basic facts
I wish you’d stop pretending
He’s incapable of heinous acts
I wish you’d pay attention
To the state of your nation
You embarrass yourself
With this gross infatuation

I wish you weren’t a phony
Who refuses to be accountable
I wish the odds of you evolving
Weren’t so insurmountable
I wish you weren’t defensive
When I point out your flaws
I wish you weren’t so silent
When your President breaks laws

I wish you’d admit
It’s no big achievement
Endless assassinations
Only add to their bereavement
I wish you were disgusted
With all his needless secrecy
I wish you understood
The true meaning of indecency

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
7:54 p.m.

Published in: on March 25, 2014 at 7:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Forgotten Woody Allen Revelations From Mia Farrow’s 1997 Autobiography (Part Four)

26. Tam hated him.

Besides the unannounced visits to the bedroom she shared with Dylan, Allen “never ever spoke to her”, encouraged Satchel to “pull her hair” and never bought her a single gift.  Satchel and Dylan would get routinely spoiled and she would get nothing.

27. He wanted Farrow to lie to the public about their troubled, dying relationship.

By the mid-summer of 1992, several weeks before the release of Husbands And Wives, rumours were circulating in the press about Allen and Farrow’s deteriorating relationship “and that it had something to do with one of my daughters”.  The panic-stricken filmmaker had his “people” trying to deny the early reports.  He even went so far as to ask Farrow “to issue a joint press release” that painted as rosy a picture of their relationship as humanly possible.

Farrow wasn’t interested in saying anything about his moral failings, nor would she lie.

Allen then warned her if she didn’t cooperate, he was going to defend himself (“I told him his position was indefensible”) and publicly declare his love for Soon-Yi.  After making his desperate pitch for the press release and reminding her of their upcoming film shoot (Manhattan Murder Mystery which Farrow ultimately backed out of), he said with all seriousness, “If that can be done, there’s no limit to what we can have together…”

Farrow’s reply:  “I don’t feel very safe with you.”

28. Allen couldn’t defend himself when Farrow confronted him about Dylan’s accusations.

“Where were you when everybody looked all over the house?  If you weren’t in the attic [with Dylan], where were you?”  Allen “stumbled and stuttered, but he wouldn’t answer my question.”  She kept asking it over and over again.  “I asked him every which way, maybe twenty times:  ‘Woody, just tell me where you were.’  But he would not answer me.”

29. He made numerous false accusations in his fruitless child custody petition.

When he wasn’t erroneously accusing Farrow of physical abuse towards her kids and being “emotionally disturbed”, he also defended himself from a non-existent sexual abuse claim from Satchel (Allen did try to twist his leg in a furious rage once, however) whose birth month he got wrong.  (He said it was September when he was really born in December.)  He also wrongly claimed that Farrow was hoping to adopt two more blind children.  She wasn’t.

30. Faced with incriminating DNA evidence he reluctantly admitted to being up in Farrow’s attic.

Despite telling the media he was too “claustrophobic” to spend any time in Farrow’s summer home attic, after police found samples of his hair up there he gave a different explanation under oath during the custody trial:

“Mia showed me the crawl space up there.  I’m not saying I didn’t pop in and say it’s a very nice place and search it.  By the way, I may have reached in.”

31. Farrow’s lawyer warned her about Allen’s nosey private investigators.

Farrow and her family were told “to be wary of new friends.  The house might be bugged…and the car; the phone could be tapped, and there might be a transmitter near the house.” And forget about accepting flowers.

While it’s not certain whether any of that actually happened, Allen’s team did get in touch with Farrow’s babysitters and even interviewed members of his own film crew, hoping to get useable dirt.  They even bothered Farrow’s brother in Vermont.

A mysterious voice on the phone ominously warned about a possible vehicular accident.  (“Watch out for yourself on the road.”) And for three straight Sundays, their garbage was confiscated by somebody in a “grey car”.

32. He was an unapologetic jerk during his last phone conversation with Farrow.

“When I begged him for the children’s sake to stop the publicity circus, he told me he hadn’t even begun…”  Allen went on to absurdly claim that she had become “the laughing stock of the country” and “by the time I’m finished with you, there will be nothing left.”  After Farrow reminded him that he wouldn’t get away with any of his lies in court, he arrogantly replied, “It doesn’t matter what’s true; all that matters is what’s believed.”

Curiously, in an earlier conversation, he said, “Is there any way out?  I just want to be friends.”

Farrow’s appropriate reply:  “You’re crazy, Woody.”

33. He wouldn’t agree to a supervised visit with Satchel unless he could also see Dylan.

The New York State Supreme Court granted him the right to see his biological son with proper supervision but not his daughter for obvious reasons.  Allen was so upset about this he refused to visit Satchel unless he could be with Dylan as well.  The court refused to give him what he wanted.  As a result, Allen didn’t want to any spend time with either of them.  He wanted to see both or neither.  The incredulous NY State Justice presiding over the case remarked, “I find that bizarre.”

34. During the custody battle he falsely attributed a submitted drawing he made to Satchel.

In a pathetic attempt to paint Farrow in an unmotherly light Allen claimed under oath his biological son drew a picture “of a heart with five faces inside and names beneath them:  Satchel, Dylan, Moses, Mommy, and Daddy, drawn with glasses.”

It turns out he made the drawing himself, a fact that came out when Farrow’s attorney cross-examined him.  Allen confessed that Satchel only “blackened my face out…drew a heart…drew a line through it and wrote the word no, and crossed out my name.”

35. He repeatedly appealed the child custody decision.

“I have lost count of how many times Woody has brought me back into court to challenge the custody decision or to dispute its visitation restrictions.”  He lost every one.  In losing the first appeal, the court noted Allen’s “tendency to place inappropriate emphasis on his own wants and needs and to minimize and even ignore those of his children.”  Although “the five judges stated that the allegations of sexual abuse of Dylan were inconclusive, they also stated that the testimony at the trial suggested that abuse did occur.”

Even his needlessly petty legal attempt to prevent Farrow from moving her family permanently out of the city was a flop.

36. Farrow’s family hoped to avoid encountering Allen & Soon-Yi as much as humanly possible.

As Farrow and her children worried about running into her ex and their estranged sister in person, they couldn’t avoid their presence on their own Television set.  “When the older kids settled in to watch a Knicks game…and the camera suddenly cut to Woody and Soon-Yi, Moses got up and silently left the room.  Minutes later the others switched off the set.”

When Fletcher worked a Christmas job “in the packing room at a chic Manhattan clothing store” in late 1993, he was asked to deliver a package to someone in a limousine.  When he found out it was intended for Soon-Yi, “Fletcher declined.”

37. His celebrity may have helped end the ongoing New York investigation into his abuse of Dylan.

According to Paul Williams, “the Child Welfare caseworker”, based on his previous “experience…interviewing hundreds of children who had been abused, I concluded that abuse did occur and that there was a prima facie cause to commence family-court proceedings against Woody Allen.”

Indeed, regarding the attic incident alone, Dylan told Farrow herself, “He was kissing me…I got soaked all over the whole body…I had to do what he said.  I’m a kid, I have to do whatever the grown-ups say…It hurt, it hurt when he pushed his finger in [my vagina]…He just kept poking it in…”  Throughout the ordeal, Allen told her, “Don’t move…I have to do this.  If you stay still, we can go to Paris.  Don’t tell.”  (Not uncoincidentally, the filmmaker had previously suggested to the whole family that they move to Paris.)

Unfortunately, Williams noted, “[M]y superior said that Woody Allen is ‘an influential person’, she talked about his films and his ‘position’.”  After “insist[ing] that the case should have been filed”, “[m]anagers at the Child Welfare Agency responded that ‘pressure’ [to drop the case] is coming all the way from the mayor’s office.’”  They denied it but Farrow, quite understandably, wasn’t buying it.

The case was dropped and Allen was never charged in New York.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
5:27 p.m.

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 5:27 pm  Comments (2)  

Forgotten Woody Allen Revelations From Mia Farrow’s 1997 Autobiography (Part Three)

19. He hates Christmas.

According to Farrow, the Jewish comedian never celebrated it on his own “(except for one year, when he put up a bare tree for us in his apartment with a black bat at the top).”  On one Christmas Day, Allen showed up as he always did at Farrow’s apartment, this time handing out 50 dollar cheques for each of the kids.  When his girlfriend tried to tell him about the family’s experience at Mass (“how beautiful the carols had been and what a fine voice [son] Matthew has”), he responded, “Pardon me while I puke.”

For some inexplicable reason, he then decided to use Farrow’s juicer for the very first time in his life.  After roping Lark into cutting up some apples for him, he made apple juice.  When no one accepted his repeated offers to taste it (they already had plenty of egg nog and punch on the dinner table), instead of drinking it himself, “he poured the juice into the sink.  Then, he took Dylan out of her chair and went to another room.”

20. After Farrow found those naked Polaroids he took of Soon-Yi he still wouldn’t leave his angry girlfriend alone.

The day she discovered them on a mantel at his place she yelled at him over the phone.  He then proceeded to spend several consecutive hours talking and pleading and apologizing and reassuring an increasingly irritated and thoroughly distraught Farrow in her apartment.  (“Let’s use this as a springboard into a deeper relationship,” he told her at one point.)

He said he was in love with Soon-Yi and wanted to marry her, then quickly took it back saying he really didn’t.  He kept repeating his love for Farrow, even half-heartedly offering to marry her.  (“It’s conceivable that somewhere down the line we might even get married.”)  Previously, he was completely dismissive of the idea saying marriage was just “a piece of paper”.  He promised it was over with Soon-Yi (“Look, it was just a tepid little affair that probably wouldn’t have lasted more than a few weeks longer anyway.”) and he would never slip up like that again.  He only left when Farrow escorted him to her apartment building elevator.  (He was still talking as the doors closed.)

Then, he came back for dinner, pretending everything was ok.  (He still had the key to her apartment.)  One by one, her kids took their food, left the table and went to their rooms making sure the doors were closed behind them.  Farrow ended up exiting her own building when she really just wanted to have a relaxing bath.

He called her 10-20 times a day begging for forgiveness and understanding, then returned to her apartment again and again hoping to salvage their withering relationship with more endless yammering, hoping to once again wear her down.  He brought her flowers.  Two weeks after she saw the Soon-Yi photos, she sent one of her babysitters over to Woody’s personal screening room to finally retrieve his key to her place, something she never had the courage to do on her own because of his awful temper.

Contact would be limited to supervised child visits and occasional, teary-eyed dinners from that point on.  Farrow’s older kids made sure they weren’t around when he was.

21. He failed to convince Farrow to return the naked Soon-Yi Polaroids.

Allen “was terrified that the public would find out” about his affair with Soon-Yi and was “desperate to get the Polaroids back.”  He had no reason to worry.  Farrow wisely kept them safe in her bedroom until she discretely handed them over to a lawyer “who put them in a vault”.   Furthermore, she advised her kids to not say anything to anyone outside the family about what had happened.

But Allen wouldn’t give up.  He suggested they burn the photos together.  Farrow refused.  He “promised to leave Soon-Yi alone, if you will give me the pictures.” Farrow rejected that proposal, as well.  “…I told him they would stay in the vault for the rest of my life.  I would never take them out, but I wouldn’t destroy them either”.  She instinctively realized that if she gave in to Allen’s demand, “he would deny they ever existed”.

22. He thought his relationship with Soon-Yi was good for her.

“I thought this would be just a pleasant little footnote in Soon-Yi’s history,” he told Farrow.  “I think it was good for Soon-Yi.  I think it gave her a little confidence.”

23. His antics greatly angered two of Farrow’s protective sons.

During an argument with Farrow in her apartment the “entirely unrepentant” Allen “threatened to put me in a mental hospital and have the children taken away” whenever she expressed her completely justifiable rage or sorrow.  As he refused to leave at Farrow’s insistent request, after repeatedly screaming, “I’m going to take these kids out of here,” Fletcher confronted him.  “Get out now.  Get out and leave Mom alone.”

As Farrow recalls, “Woody fled.”

Moses gave Allen an letter that left no doubt where the man stood with him:

“All you want is the trust and relationships you had in the beginning…You can’t have those worthy things because you have done a horrible, unforgivable, needy, ugly, stupid thing, which I hope you will not forgive yourself for doing…I hope you get so humiliated that you commit suicide…You brought these things to yourself, we didn’t do anything wrong.  Everyone knows you’re not supposed to have an affair with your son’s sister including that sister [Soon-Yi], but you have a special way to get that sister to think that it’s OK…I just want you to know that I don’t consider you my father anymore.”

Shockingly, more than 20 years later, Moses has now turned against his own family to side with the man who tried to destroy it.

24. He didn’t want to tell Dylan about his affair with Soon-Yi.

According to Farrow, the filmmaker “wanted the little girl to be told that somehow I misinterpreted a joke between him and Soon-Yi.”  Unfortunately, Dylan had already witnessed them having sex at Allen’s apartment.  Farrow ended up telling her in the presence of a therapist.  (“I would have preferred to cut my legs off.”)

25. He freaked out Farrow’s blind daughter Tam when he snuck in her bedroom to see Dylan.

Before Allen was forever banned from family sleepovers, in the middle of the night he would sneak out of the guest room to sleep on the floor next to Dylan’s bed in her room, despite Farrow’s constant, preemptive protestations.  Unfortunately, when her roommate, Tam, who is blind, needed to use the bathroom, she would accidentally step on him and scream her head off, awakening everyone from their deep slumbers.

One time when Tam realized Allen was reading Dylan a bedtime story, she freaked out once again.  A coldly indifferent Allen kept on reading aloud even though “nobody could hear anything but screams”.  When Farrow pushed him to “hurry the story a little…he glared at me” and kept going until he was done.  Then, he left the room threatening to fire Farrow from their next movie if she didn’t “shape up”.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
3:35 p.m.

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Forgotten Woody Allen Revelations From Mia Farrow’s 1997 Autobiography (Part Two)

10. He didn’t look after Fletcher during a shoot.

Allen hired Farrow’s 11-year-old son to act in Radio Days.  During an all-day roof-top shoot on a cold, windy afternoon, because the film was a period piece set in the 1940s Fletcher was wearing clothing more suitable for the camera than the weather.  “Instead of breaking for lunch, cups of hot soup had been handed out to the crew, but nobody gave anything to Fletcher.”  Meanwhile, Allen was wearing his “Eddie Bauer arctic gear, drinking hot soup, without any thought or feeling or sense of responsibility for Fletcher.”  The poor kid returned home freezing and “beyond hunger”.

11. Soon-Yi hated him as a child and he wanted nothing to do with her.

Long before their notorious affair, Allen’s future third wife reacted badly to Farrow’s pregnancy (“she burst into angry, uncomprehending tears”) and declared “he was nasty and ugly, and the baby [Satchel] would be ugly like him.”  When Farrow would ask Allen to do fatherly stuff with her like going for walks or buying her ice cream, he always refused.

12. Despite breaking up with him, he kept seeing Farrow until she gave him another chance.

Realizing her scary dependency on a cold, abusive artist was greatly interfering with her own happiness and self-identity, not to mention putting her kids at risk, a fearful Farrow dumped Allen in his dressing room.  (“He was surprised and angry.”)  But because she didn’t ask him to return the key to her apartment (which he wanted so he could show up whenever he desired) he kept coming over unannounced and uninvited “every single day”.  Despite “politely ignor[ing] each other” during his unwelcome visits, she broke down and took him back.

13. He hated his own biological child.

After the birth of his son, Allen was more interested in pursuing a terrified Dylan than bonding with the boy he personally named after the famous ballplayer Satchel Paige.  Farrow recalls, “He rarely came in to see me and he hardly glanced at the new baby.  He never held or touched him, and he didn’t seem to like me nursing him.  He seemed stern – or was it angry?  It made me cry.”  Allen also referred to him as “the little bastard” and “the completely superfluous little bastard”, awful comments made “[n]ot entirely in jest”.  Ultimately, Farrow “realized that he was not withholding his affection:  it simply did not exist for Satchel, or Moses, or any of the other children.”

No wonder the kid changed his name to Ronan.

14. He once thought he had the AIDS virus.

In the fall of 1991, a greatly fatigued Allen was readying his next film, Husbands And Wives, under less than ideal physical conditions.  Uncertain about what was ailing him he told a perplexed Farrow he needed to get an HIV test.  Why, she wondered. “He answered that there was a long incubation period for HIV.”  After convincing the neurotic filmmaker to get the damn test already Allen was relieved when it came back negative.  Unless he was secretly cheating during their dozen years together (Farrow was worried that an unnamed actress was getting a little too cozy with him on sets in the mid-to-late 80s), he was ultimately obsessing over nothing.

15. Dylan was traumatized by his constant attention.

“He whispered her awake, he caressed her, and entwined his body around her as she watched television, as she played on the floor, as she ate, as she slept.”  Farrow writes that “there was a wooing quality to his approaches:  a neediness, an aggressive intensity that was relentless and overpowering.”  Young Dylan was so repulsed by him that whenever she heard “the sound of the doorbell and the slam of the front door”, she looked for any place to hide as he entered Farrow’s apartment.  On three separate occasions, the bathroom became her sanctuary.  (She once locked herself in there for four straight hours.)  Later, she developed headaches and stomach aches from all the stress of his pursuits.  After he molested her in August 1992, she started wetting the bed again, “something she hadn’t done since she was three years old.”

When he wasn’t around, she “was a bright, chatty little girl, brimming with opinions and observations.”  But when he was constantly hounding her, “she withdrew, her talk became sketchy and hard to follow, and instead of answering his questions, she looked around the room.”  She tried imitating animals, singing, baby talk, “anything to deflect his attentions; and this only made him more insistent.”

When he was putting her to bed one night he wouldn’t let her be until she said “good night”.  As she avoided his gaze, “he pinned her shoulders to the bed and demanded a response while her head thrashed back and forth.”  Farrow ultimately pulled him away.

On another occasion, while they were in bed together “he had been wrapped around her like a python in Jockey underpants.”  As Farrow pulled Dylan away from his relentless grasp he called his girlfriend a “spoilsport” in an explosion of anger, a typical Allen response.

It was only after several therapy sessions that Allen appeared to have stopped “putting his hands under Dylan’s covers…putting his face in her lap…the constant caressing” and having her suck his thumb.  (Whenever Farrow caught him doing the latter she yelled at him to stop.)  Unfortunately, his indecent behaviour would continue.

At the family’s summer retreat in Massachusetts, Allen decided to put suntan lotion on his naked 5-year-old daughter while she was playing with her cousin, Farrow’s sister’s two-year-old daughter, who was also nude.  According to Tisa Farrow (Mia’s aforementioned sibling), “It was buggy and sunny.  Woody started rubbing some sunscreen on Dylan’s shoulders.  Then he got to her bottom, and there he took his time.  It was a momentary thing, but it was so glaringly inappropriate.  Just not something a grown man does to a child…This was such a classic example of ‘bad touching’.”  Their mother, actress Maureen O’Sullivan, was also disturbed by Allen’s actions.

16. He tried to have inappropriate sex chats with Farrow’s teenage daughter Daisy.

When she was between the ages of 14 and 17, “Woody had tried to initiate four intimate conversations with her.  He had asked her how old her friends were when they began doing things with boys, and how old she was when she started fooling around, and what sorts of things she’d done.”  He once told Farrow’s daughter, “Tell me everything you’ve done that you wouldn’t tell your mother.  I promise I won’t tell her.”  Needless to say, Daisy “was uncomfortable with his line of questioning”, especially since “Woody had never talked to Daisy privately before”.  “She didn’t have anything to tell him anyway, and she didn’t stick around.”

17. He was caught on four different occasions in compromising positions with Soon-Yi.

Daughter Lark and her boyfriend Jesse were in a limousine with Allen and Soon-Yi one summer day.  As he awoke from a nap, Jesse “saw Woody place his hand on Soon-Yi’s thigh and caress it.”

Fletcher walked in on Allen and Soon-Yi in the middle of something (Farrow doesn’t offer specifics) as he “walked into the laundry room” in their building.  (“…Woody had spun away from Soon-Yi.”)

Another time, Moses went over to sit on the family sofa with Allen and Soon-Yi to watch a sports event on TV.  As Woody made room for him, “he dipped his head for a very long second and looked between Soon-Yi’s bare legs.”  She was wearing a mini-skirt.

Dylan and Satchel were watching TV in Allen’s apartment when the filmmaker and Soon-Yi “disappeared”.  Dylan found them “out on the terrace with their arms around each other.”  When the little girl tried to get their attention, “they told her to ‘go away,’ they wanted ‘a little private time.’”  Instead of listening, “she hid on the staircase next to the bedroom door, facing the glass doors to the terrace.”  As they left the terrace for the bedroom (“the door was left partially open”), Dylan observed them having intercourse.  “…he was putting his penis into Soon-Yi’s vagina,” she said later.

18. He took advantage of a troubled, inexperienced Soon-Yi.

Allen’s wrongful relationship with Farrow’s teenage daughter began during her last year of high school.  (He actually attended her graduation, an unexpected gesture on his part.  It was the only one he showed up for.)  According to Farrow, “Soon-Yi was quiet, reserved, and cautious.”  Her tutor of six years (grades 6-12), Dr. Audrey Sieger, “whose doctorate is in learning and reading disabilities”, describes her as “a very typical learning-disabled kid, very socially inappropriate, very, very naïve…She has trouble understanding language on an inferential level.  She’s very literal and flat in how she interprets what she sees and how she interprets things socially.  She misinterprets situations…”

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
3:03 p.m.

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Forgotten Woody Allen Revelations From Mia Farrow’s 1997 Autobiography (Part One)

In 1997, Mia Farrow released her autobiography.  Named after a line in the 1953 Theodore Roethke poem, The Waking, What Falls Away vividly documents her topsy turvy life up to that point.  Her mostly happy Catholic tomboy childhood, her scary bout with polio at age 9, her high-profile acting career, her misdiagnosed stomach ailment that had future repercussions, her remarkable parenting skills, her world travels and her famous friends & loves are all reviewed through a kaleidoscope of emotional memories, some of which are guilt-ridden.

By Chapter 8, Woody Allen enters the picture, thanks to a personal introduction from Farrow’s pal, Michael Caine.

With renewed interest in Allen’s past sexual misconduct this year, thanks to a devastatingly written testimonial from estranged daughter Dylan Farrow, here are the most interesting albeit forgotten revelations about the filmmaker almost 20 years after they were first published:

1. He hated Siskel & Ebert.

According to Farrow, Allen “reserved special contempt for film critics on television. ‘The Chicago morons’ was his label for one high-profile pair.”  He was more concerned with what The New York Times thought of his work.  He checked out their latest review “the minute it hit the stands.”  Along with Farrow, he “had dinner with the major critics of Time and Newsweek.”  But while working on set, “everyone around us knew not to mention reviews in our presence.”

2. He has a weird relationship with his sister.

Despite having “shared an unusually close childhood” and “help[ing] her financially” as an adult, Allen mostly interacts with his sibling on the phone and rarely in person.  The reason?  “He described her as ‘pushy,’ and as an example told me about her unwelcome and futile efforts to involve him with her children when they were younger.” Farrow says Allen and herself had exactly one meal with her in the twelve years they were a couple.  Furthermore, he never allows her to visit him while he’s working on set, either.

3. He’s paranoid about his health. 

Farrow notes, “…he had a doctor for every single part of his body.  He carried around his doctors’ home numbers, he rushed to the doctor before a twinge could reach symptom status.  If he felt the least bit unwell, he would take his temperature at ten-minute intervals.  He kept his own thermometer at my apartment.  In his pocket he carried a silver box full of pills for any conceivable ailment.  Whenever one of his movies came out, he’d have a screening for his doctors and their wives.  It was called ‘the doctors’ screening,’ and the room was always full.”

4. He’s fussy about the location of a shower drain.

To try to make him feel most comfortable in the family’s new summer home in Massachusetts, Farrow had “a fine tile shower built just for him” because he doesn’t take baths.  But after taking his “white rubber shower mat (for germs)” with him to the bathroom he immediately returned disgruntled.  (“The drain is in the middle.”)  Why was this a problem?  No reason was ever given.  Amazingly, Farrow had a second bathroom installed “with a shower that had a drain in the corner”.  (“It was called ‘Woody’s bathroom.’”)  Allen never used it.

5. He barely made an effort to be a father to Moses.

According to Farrow, Allen went out of his way to limit the time he spent with the first child she adopted when they first started dating.  “…he sometimes played chess with Moses, or basketball, or catch, but never for longer than five or ten minutes.  Fifteen tops.”  The reason?  “He didn’t want to break a sweat, he said.”  Plus, “he still wouldn’t take a shower at our house, not even with the new bathroom, and his own shower mat, and his special shower shoes.”  He also hated his original name, Misha.  He claimed it was a “wimp’s name”, so they changed it to Moses.

6. He has a nasty temper.

Farrow recounts the time Allen showed her where a famous right-wing intellectual resided as they went on one of their typical walks around Manhattan.  Unfortunately, during a later traipse in the same East Side area, she forgot which house was his, so “I asked in passing whether a familiar-looking house might be William Buckley’s.”  (It wasn’t.)  Although she doesn’t quote Allen’s response, she notes that the angry “attack that followed…was more stunningly awful that I had ever weathered in my life, and it did not cease until I was sobbing on the sidewalk…”

Allen also freaked out when she “didn’t know the name of a certain kind of pasta”, when she was “off in my estimate of the weather by only four degrees; and when I asked about a dream he’d had the previous night, when he had mumbled the words ‘Dolly Parton.’”  Insincere apologies always followed each incident.  After a heart-to-heart, he even promised her “it would never happen again.  Ever.”  But the scary flip-outs continued.

When Farrow asked him if he would attend her son Fletcher’s sixth-grade graduation, he harshly responded, “I’ll have to think about whether you have any right to ask me that.”  Needless to say, he was a no-show.

When she tried to address his smothering behaviour towards Dylan “he got so angry” that the subject was immediately dropped, a routine occurrence.  His increasingly inappropriate conduct continued unabated despite Farrow’s growing anxieties.  Allen’s frequently cruel comments towards his terrified girlfriend “made me feel stupid and worthless.”

He referred to her children as “little bastards”.  He once “push[ed] Dylan’s face into a plate of hot spaghetti – an incident witnessed by most of our family.”  He even threatened to do it again but thankfully, never did.

7. He’s a very controlling, manipulative boyfriend.

He would call Farrow “four or five times a day, minimum.”  When they’d eat out, he picked the venue, their companions for the meal, when they would show up, what they would talk about, and when they would exit.  He always paid the bill.  In general, “[h]is opinions were the final word.  And he could cut you quicker than you could open your mouth.”  As a result, Farrow and the kids were very afraid of him.

One time when she was checking out of a hospital (following the birth of her son Satchel), Allen told her nurse the wheelchair Farrow was going to be using to “take her downstairs” was not needed.  “I was all stooped over, and I couldn’t straighten up, my stomach hurt so much.” She ended up “cr[ying] all the way up First Avenue” in their car as she “begged the driver”, not Allen, to “go slow”.

8. He hated his parents.

Farrow writes that “every encounter” the couple had with them was “awkward” and “awful”.  Whenever they would visit the elderly couple, “Woody would ring their doorbell and then cover the peephole.  They always opened it anyway.”  During their 30-minute stays, “he did not address them directly, or sit down or stop moving.”  During one visit, Allen openly accused his mom of beating him every day he lived with her.  A regretful Mrs. Konigsberg (Allen’s real last name) claims the filmmaker was a handful as a child and needed more discipline than his more agreeable sister.  Allen then instructed his daughter Dylan to “[t]wist her nose off…She’s the wicked witch.  Go on, twist it off.”  Fortunately, his mom couldn’t make out what he was saying.  She was hard of hearing.

9. He’s extremely dependent on his therapist.

“There were three of us in the relationship:  Woody, his shrink and me.  No decisions were ever made without her.  He didn’t even buy sheets without talking to her.  I know that part of several sessions went into his switch from polyester-satin to cotton.”  At the time, according to Farrow, Allen had been seeking professional help “two or three times a week for about thirty years”.  (He should demand a complete refund.)

After Farrow discovered his affair with Soon-Yi, she actually asked his shrink “for his help in protecting my family” to which she was informed, “it’s not a therapist’s job to moralize.”  No wonder she’s so skeptical of psychoanalysis.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
2:28 p.m.

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Switching Off The Darkness

Imagine being trapped in a one-room shack
Where nothing can be seen, it’s completely black
Time doesn’t exist and you don’t care
Your only companion is your own despair

You can move around in this confined space
But your limitations are so hard to embrace
You’ve tuned out the oblivious world outside
How to escape is up to you to decide

Helping yourself is absolutely key
Take your first step on the road to being free
Instead of hopelessly fumbling around in the dark
Think one positive truth, it will ignite a spark

You’ll realize in time that this isn’t real
And self-denigration is a lopsided deal
Torturing your senses with dishonest crap
Is how you stay docile in a cold-hearted snap

But renewing your spirit is a colossal task
It requires the removal of your protective mask
Emotionally naked and fearful to act
It’s time to develop a brand new pact

One that will release you from the shackles of hate
One that reminds you of the joy of debate
Despising yourself can be such a bitch
Brighten the darkness by flicking the switch

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
4:25 p.m.

Published in: on March 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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