Separating the Woody from the trees

Feb 09, 2014, 06:37 IST | Rahul da Cunha

Social media found a new victim to slay last week. Woody Allen is "a paedophile, a predator", "The guy's a dirty old man, he married his adopted daughter when she was still a child", "He shouldn't get the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oscars!" the Twitterati tattled.

Rahul da CunhaSocial media found a new victim to slay last week. Woody Allen is “a paedophile, a predator”, “The guy’s a dirty old man, he married his adopted daughter when she was still a child”, “He shouldn’t get the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oscars!” the Twitterati tattled.

In 140 characters they buried a man who’s created characters as immortal as Annie Hall, Danny Rose and Alvy Singer. The small blue screen dished out accusations against a master, who’s lit up the silver screen with 70 films in as many years.

Illustration/Amit Bandre

Twitter is like the Taliban of social media. Except it slaughters with half information.

The actual truth is that Soon-yi is not Woody’s adopted daughter and she was 21 when they married.

But who researches anymore when there’s outrage at stake. When judgment needs to be expressed and gossip and innuendo is everything.

Point that out to one of the self- righteous, sanctimonious sermonisers on Twitter and they’ll have a counter. “But he fondled Dylan Farrow, so he is sick”.

And you can argue, “But the son’s denied it, right?” But is anyone listening?

We’ve put Allen Konigsberg in ‘virtual’ prison and thrown away the key.

Twitter works on a piranha system of nibbling away, with slander, supposition, self-righteousness and often half fact.

Look no one’s saying the man’s a saint. Woody is definitely no goody- goody.

But I think we need to get off a high horse of morality when it comes to the truly talented.

Here’s what I think — geniuses are rarely nice people. In order to create great work, some darkness in one’s soul has to be explored. (Okay not necessarily in a dark attic) but a dark space. And dark souls usually reside in troubled craftsmen.

Michael Jackson is debatably our most popular showman. Agreed? But boy oh boy, he liked little boys. So he was bad, real bad in our eyes.

Are you going to take Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown away from the annals of classic cinema, because the man liked underage girls?

Where do you think those masterpieces came from?

To be truly cutting edge you need a chink. The truly gifted are very rarely great people. They’re mostly self- absorbed, holed up in a tormented private world of their own.

Woody Allen’s a recluse. So don’t expect a nice homely warm person.

You can’t have it both ways.

Maverick and mellow don’t go hand in hand.

Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Michael Jackson are flawed. Maybe even twisted in some ways.

But Blue Jasmine and Bad didn’t come from a safe comfortable place.

They were created from pain and perhaps some psychoses.

Now deal with that.

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller.

Reach him at rahuldacunha62

The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.

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