Last night, on AC360 Later, we debated the accusations against Woody Allen:
Jessica Dawson identifies with Dylan Farrow:
When my parents left me at Oma’s every summer while they traveled for weeks on end to Paris, Lausanne, and London, my uncle’s daily visits to my bedroom didn’t strike anyone as strange. He must really love you, they said. But I got scared, and my little-girl self tried to tell my parents something was going on. Though it had been going on for years, I must have been five when I tried to tell them—just two years younger than Dylan Farrow’s age when she was allegedly molested. My parents told me I was making it up.
Well into my 20s, I believed them. Only when I entered the office of a Freudian analyst at age 24 did our first session end with me whispering the words: “I think something happened.”
Jessica Valenti examines the impulse to defend Woody Allen:
I believe, as Roxane Gay does, that people are skeptical of abuse victims because “the truth and pervasiveness of sexual violence around the world is overwhelming. Why would anyone want to face such truth?” I also believe that deep down people know that once we start to believe victims en masse—once we take their pain and experience seriously—that everything will have to change. Recognizing the truth about sexual assault and abuse will mean giving up too many sports and movies and songs and artists. It will mean rethinking institutions and families and power dynamics and the way we interact with each other every day. It will be a lot.
And we are lazy.
It’s easier to ignore what we know to be true, and focus on what we wish was. But the more we hold on to the things that make us comfortable and unthinking, the more people will be hurt—and the more growing room we’ll create for monsters.
Alyssa reonsiders Allen’s films in light of Dylan’s letter:
Setting himself up as a victim of his own hypochondria, sexual anxiety, mother issues, and assorted other neuroses is a clever trick for Allen, one that simultaneously anticipates nearly everything anyone could accuse him of, and renders him pathetic and sympathetic. See, so many of his movies say. Look how he suffers. But there are other people who are affected by the behavior of severely neurotic people, even if the impact on their lives doesn’t rise to the level of criminal trespass. Woody Allen’s just spent years training us to look past that damage, and to look at him instead. That’s a terrific insurance policy for the day it turns out you can’t preempt everything.