I haven't pissed off a whole bunch of readers in a while now. Time for this blog to get back to what it used to do best.
What do I think of Dylan Farrow's claim that she was abused by Woody Allen? The story has been taken as irrefutable by feminist writers on Salon, who follow a simple method for ascertaining truth: "Does the accused party have a penis? If so...GUILTY!" No need to weigh evidence or to hear both sides or to acknowledge grey areas. Females are holy, female are sacred, females are genetically incapable of lying or being mistaken on even the smallest of issues. Yada yada yada. We all know the drill by now.
Problem: Dylan's brother Moses
says it never happened. Moses says that Dylan has been continually harangued and quasi-brainwashed by her mother Mia.
Frankly, his story seems more believable.
Many feminists will, of course, argue that Moses was, is, the brainwashee. They will tell you that brainwashing is a 100 percent male thing. Females would never stoop to such tactics because females are holy, females are sacred, yada yada yada.
To which I say: Let's look at who we're dealing with here. Maureen O'Sullivan may have been a goddess (I've watched Tarzan and His Mate
quite a few times, and not because I wanted to see Johnny Weissmuller wrestle a crocodile), but let's be honest: Flakiness runs in that family.
I'm thinking of the Beatles in India. Remember...? It was an escapade in which O'Sullivan's daughters, Prudence and Mia Farrow, played key roles. One of the Beatles' best songs
came into being because Prudence refused to leave her hut unless John and Paul coaxed her out.
The India adventure ended when guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi allegedly tried to rape Mia -- or so we have long been told. Here's a typical telling of the original story
In an episode now etched in Beatle folklore, however, they, too, packed their bags in disgust after Mia Farrow fled the Maharishi's cave in tears, claiming that the supposedly celibate swami had grabbed her in his hairy arms and tried to make advances towards her.
"Boys! Boys! What's wrong? Why are you leaving?" the Maharishi is said to have shouted after them.
"If you're so f*****g cosmic, you'll know," came Lennon's withering reply.
That certainly sounds like something Lennon would say. But here's where things get all Rashomon
-y: A more recent revised version
of the story has the Maharishi kicking the boys out for drug usage. As for Mia: Another disciple, Deepak Chopra, had this to say about that...
Dr Chopra said of the rumour that the guru had misbehaved with Farrow, who was part of the entourage: "There was never any truth to stories about the maharishi's womanising. When he was sick in the UK, he wouldn't even allow any female nurses near him.
"As for the stuff about Mia Farrow, that was complete nonsense. I met her years later and she asked me to tell the maharishi that she still loved him," he said.
Oddly, Mia just recently went back to the first version
of the tale. This woman has a history of getting involved in Rashomon
situations. Maybe we should all be allowed only one major Rashomon
in our lives. After that, credibility suffers.
I don't believe that Maharishi "put the moves" on Mia Farrow. On the other hand, Lennon's "cosmic" comment seems genuine.
So how to reconcile the two conflicting stories? Well, the simplest explanation is that a woman intent on making herself the center of a grand drama made a false accusation against a religious teacher. The Beatles believed her because men always believe women who say such things. Besides, they were annoyed by their guru's "no dope" rules. If you were a young man in that time and place, whose side would you be likelier to take -- that of the pretty hippie chick, or that of the prudish old Hindu?
I realize that feminists of a certain stripe will refuse even to consider the possibility I've outlined here. Women are holy, women are sacred, and women never lie
Let's get back to this business of brainwashing children. That question is at the core of the Moses and Dylan story: One side will accuse Moses of being a brainwashee while the other will say the same about Dylan.
I prefer to look at this problem from a new direction. What's the difference between the Dylan Farrow case and the McMartin preschool molestation case?
As longtime readers may recall, I got to know one of the McMartin mothers. Not well, but not glancingly. She was a nice lady. Quite smart. Artistic. Despite what some people may prefer to believe, there was no hint of religious zealotry in anything she said or did. I talked to her boy some years after the case was over. He did not retract his claim. In fact, as far as I know, none
of the McMartin children have retracted their claims.
Nevertheless many of you would argue that those kids were brainwashed by their parents and counselors.
All I can say is, the mother I met obviously never brainwashed anyone. Her child (at the time I spoke to him) was a typical rebellious teen (or tween) who was hardly going to say or do anything just to please his mom. Quite the opposite, I should say.
Nevertheless, there are many of you who will insist that the McMartin molestation claims were always pure fantasy. You will arrogantly proclaim that you
can take me
to school on the matter, even though you never spoke to any of the parents or children personally and know what you know only through reading. (And believe me, you haven't read as much as I have.)
All right. Fine.
But let me ask you this: By what standard can we accept the Dylan Farrow accusation against Woody Allen while dismissing all
the claims against the people who ran the McMartin preschool? And you if you don't believe the McMartin kids, why do you believe Dylan?
I think that some people grant Dylan greater credibility not because her evidence is better but because her tale fits a larger narrative: All celebrities are fiends -- at least the male ones. The ones who seem lovable and funny are the ones most likely to be secretly fiendish
. We love
that narrative. That story got hard-wired into the American psyche back in the days of Fatty Arbuckle.
Similarly, some of us are convinced that all females are incapable of venal or capricious or just plain nutty behavior. To such people, it is Thoughtcrime Most Foul to suggest that there have always been women who cannot distinguish between hallucination and reality. It is Thoughtcrime Most Foul to suggest that -- on occasion, not always, not often, but from time to time -- such women have caused upheavals. And while it is not Thoughtcrime Most Foul to suggest that Woody brainwashed Moses, it is
Thoughtcrime Most Foul to suggest that Mia brainwashed Dylan.
Therefore, Woody Allen is a pedophile.
And Goody Proctor is a witch.
On a related note:
While doing some quick-n-dirty googling on the life of Mia Farrow just now, I ran across this
In 2000, her adopted daughter, Tam Farrow, died of a long protracted illness. In December of 2008, Farrow faced tragedy again when her adopted daughter, Lark Song Previn, died of undisclosed circumstances. On June 15, 2009, Farrow's brother, artist Patrick Farrow, was found dead in his New York art gallery. Suspicious circumstances surround his death, but police have not revealed details.
Woody Allen's response is here
. It's better than persuasive -- it's convincing. Particularly this part, which seems inarguable:
I pause here for a quick word on the Ronan situation. Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra’s? Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? Even if he is not Frank’s, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years. Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank’s son? Again, I want to call attention to the integrity and honesty of a person who conducts her life like that.
I'll say it again. We're all allowed one major Rashomon
episode in our lives; after that, credibility suffers. Mia Farrow has now appeared in at least three major Rashomon
conflicts, and it's getting hard to believe that it's always someone else's