Woody Allen Telling Us Who He Is

A post by Raya Sarkar got me thinking about Louis CK again, and how comedians often let us know what their preoccupations are, who they are, via their jokes. Been thinking about Woody Allen’s two famous quotes that I remember (about his favorite organ and about sex without love). So I went to Goodreads quotes section to review the extensive library of Mr. Allens’s quotes. There were rather more than two that I find relevant to the current discussion. They are mostly pretty funny. But, in retrospect, nothing we have learned about him should have been a surprise. (For further study: interview with his son, and Why I Stopped Watching Woody Allen Movies by Olivia Collette for observations about “asshole geniuses” in general, and What Is to Be Done With the Art of Monstrous Men by Claire Referer in The Paris Review).

WOODY ALLEN TELLING US WHO HE IS

“What people who don’t write don’t understand is that they think you make up the line consciously—but you don’t. It proceeds from your unconscious. So it’s the same surprise to you when it emerges as it is to the audience when the comic says it. I don’t think of the joke and then say it. I say it and then realize what I’ve said. And I laugh at it, because I’m hearing it for the first time myself.”

TOP QUOTES

“My brain? That’s my second favorite organ.”
“You rely too much on brain. The brain is the most overrated organ.”

“Sex without love is a meaningless experience, but as far as meaningless experiences go its pretty damn good.” // for whom?

WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND, WOODY ?

“I don’t know the question, but sex is definitely the answer.”

“The difference between sex and love is that sex relieves tension and love causes it.”

“Is sex dirty? Only when it’s being done right.” // How could you even know it’s being done right if you can’t pay attention to a living human person and gain a clue about what anything means?

“Men learn to love the woman they are attracted to. Women learn to become attracted to the man they fall in love with.”

“Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions.”

“Sex is the most fun you can have without laughing.”

‘He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat.’

“She wore a short skirt and a tight sweater and her figure described a set of parabolas that could cause cardiac arrest in a yak.”

“So then, what do you believe in?
Sex and death. Two things that come once in my lifetime. But at least
after death you’re not nauseous.”

“The most expensive sex is free sex”

“If she were lying on a plate with a herring, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”

“The only time that my wife and I had a simultaneous orgasm was when the judge signed the divorce papers.”

“To be loved, certainly, is different from being admired, as one can be admired from afar but to really love someone it is essential to be in the same room with the person, crouching behind the drapes.”

SELLING YOUR BRAIN FOR SEX / MY TYPE OF WOMAN

“No, no, because she’s a mental adolescent, and being romantic,
she has a death wish. So, for a brief moment of passion,she completely abandons all responsibilities.”

“Pale, nervous girls with black-rimmed glasses and blunt-cut hair lolled around on sofas, riffling Penguin Classics provocatively… But it wasn’t just intellectual experiences. They were peddling emotional ones, too. For fifty bucks, I learned, you could ‘relate without getting close.’ For a hundred, a girl would lend you her Bartok records, have dinner, and then let you watch while she had an anxiety attack.”

“Beautiful, funny, smart, sexual, and also neurotic? It’s like filling an inside straight.”

WHAT’S UP WITH THE STATUE OF LIBERTY ?

“The last woman I was in was the Statue of Liberty.”

“I took a puff of the wrong cigarette at a fraternity dance once, and the cops had to get me, y’know. I broke two teeth trying to give a hickie to the Statue of Liberty.”

===== POSSIBLE SIGNS OF MENTAL HEALTH =====

MASTURBATION

“I’m such a good lover because I practice a lot on my own.”

“The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.”

“Having sex is like bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.”

NON-BINARY SEXUALITY

“Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.” // should be chances for rejection

“Sex between a man and a woman can be wonderful, provided you can get between the right man and the right woman.”

“There’s a snake in my butt!”

SIGNS OF A NASCENT MORAL COMPASS

“I want to tell you a terrific story about oral contraception. I asked this girl to sleep with me and she said ‘No.”

“We’re all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions, moral choices. Some are on a grand scale, most of these choices are on lesser points. But we define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are, in fact, the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly, human happiness does not seem to be included in the design of creation. It is only we, with our capacity to love, that give meaning to the indifferent universe. And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying and even try to find joy from simple things, like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more.”

“Honey, you’re the one who stopped sleeping with me, OK? It’ll be a year come April 20th. I remember the date exactly, because it was Hitler’s birthday”

“In my next life I want to live backwards. Start out dead and finish off as an orgasm.”

“You’re so good looking I can barely keep my eyes on the meter.”

“Arlene and I have to get a divorce. She thinks I’m a pervert because I drank our water bed.”

Hue and Cry

There is a current controversy in India around The List which concerns a public list of sexual aggressors in Academia. There are similar events underway elsewhere, and one can view much of what has taken place since the revival of #metoo as a type of global “list.” Part of the Indian discussion is an argument against the list on the grounds that it does not respect “due process” [statement]. A detailed and sophisticated discussion of these arguments is in another Kafila article. There are certainly many valid criticisms of this list, of any mechanism of anonymous accusation, with or without accompanying evidence. But put very simply and generally, as I see it, calls for due process may conflate the final step with the first step of a certain process . There is a concept in Common Law of “Hue and Cry” [Wikipedia]. The first person to see a crime in progress raises the hue and cry and then “all able-bodied men are obliged” to assist in the pursuit and apprehension of the alleged perpetrator. The due process part comes later, when an unjustly accused person has the opportunity to prove his innocence. In this process there are also substantial penalties for raising a false alarm, for “crying wolf.”

This precursor to modern law I see as related to the idea of a Commons. The flaw with the “Tragedy of the Commons” argument so often used to justify the privatisation of just about everything is that it does not in fact describe a functional Commons, it describes what happens when a Commons is broken down, when the means a community has of protecting itself from thieves of various sorts is itself stolen. I recommend Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics as an excellent introduction to the Commons, besides being a complete re-invention of Economics. Just to be clear, the Commons I am discussing is emphatically not “Women” (that natural resource that men must learn to share and distribute fairly)! The Commons in question is our shared humanity, morality, ethics, that which permits us to have anything like a civilisation to begin with. When a pervasive silence is imposed on women, on men, then the Hue and Cry is never raised to begin with, and real criminals run free with impunity, which is of course the purpose of the silence. And, yes, there must always be some “false positives” in Hue and Cry, perhaps the unknown man seen driving off a herd of sheep from the pasture is in reality a relative of the owner of the herd, sent to move them to another location. Perhaps the accuser has a personal grudge or is just “crying wolf.” In this case (and, of course, assuming that the community is not so degraded as to resort to mob lynching) this fact will emerge in “due process.” That’s a risk. But the risk of permitting a far larger number of “missed positives,” real thieves, real sexual predators, to escape apprehension and punishment is a greater risk, and missing enough of them will itself destroy the Commons.

#methesedays

29 Oct 2017 So one wakes out of a fever and looks around. Where am I, what am I doing here, what is the situation? Evidently I am a man named Mark. OK, and it looks like we’re in some kind of a blog. That’s nice. Looks a bit hastily constructed. But friendly enough. Has a tagline “Uprooting internalized patriarchy since 2017.” Seems a little ambitious, though, I don’t know, “internalized” at least delimits the problem. Seems like the author just threw in the first thing he thought of to have a tagline at all. Saying the first thing that comes to mind is an excellent skill to have, so we’ll let the tagline stay for now at least. Also, doesn’t it seem a bit like what Tiffany H called “trying so hard to be seen as feminist that it seems like they’re trying to worm their way up from the friend zone!” One of Tom Cruise’s character’s “Search and Destroy” techniques in Magnolia! To which one can only reply, that, if so, it will eventually amount to one of the most elaborate and cost/benefit negative applications of the technique devised. Anyway, people can think what they want, doesn’t matter.

But…ambitious, yeah. Patriarchy is pretty big thing, yeah. Anybody who doesn’t see how it’s directly involved in the current mess of a world isn’t looking very hard. And the current mess is a crisis, a do-or-die moment. So, big yes. And as an approach to a big thing, tracing out connections from one little life to and then back from the big thing seems viable. Ok, we keep the tagline then.

Me these days. Picture a little yacht, started out fine, then got loaded down with a few tons of worthless dross—what *is* dross, exactly? Which pushes it down under the waterline, leaving just a bit of cockpit above the surface, sails working more or less, rudder completely submerged. Fortunately the yacht’s skipper is still formative, able to learn and adapt, manages to figure out the appropriate amount of over-steering to navigate in various directions. But the performance of the vessel is of course far out-of-spec, it was never built to be a semi-submarine, handles clumsily, could capsize any minute who knows. Then, one day, a hurricane comes along and blows all the dross off the deck. The boat shoots to the surface, WAY too fast. It then bobs around for a bit, trying to stabilize, to get some bearings. All of those over-controlled surfaces, mechanisms are now racing, swinging around wildly without any governor. (The last day I was in class I had my course notes in front of me and my #metoo folder off to the left and my writing hand was going back and forth like some demented robot.) After a few days, and only after actually creating the blog and getting one real post up, the boat settles down enough to rest. Now the skipper just needs to re-learn each and every control, that might take a while. But god damn does it move well! I love this boat!

So I’m doing a lot of backfilling gaps in my understanding of just about everything. Jung and anima seems an excellent point of departure. Also have to get up to speed on recent related developments in India. Lots of reading, but that has always been a pleasure. OK be back later (great, that’s one-half sheet of paper out of…)

Overture

This blog is for following threads from my recent #metoo #collateraldamage post. I ended that post with “this discussion is just getting started.” For me, that applies in spades. Among the immediate effects of the post, and the interactions that followed, was the removal of a lifetime of dampening baggage. This occurred over the course of two days, and I don’t recommend having that sort of thing happen that quickly, if you have a choice. All I could do was try to keep up with the dot-connecting my brain insisted on doing, it’s been a long time coming. Evidently, functioning with that much baggage cost a lot of psychic energy, which now needs a new function. Evidently, also, it likes to write. A lot. So that’s what we’re going to do. So far I think I have notes for 20–30 spin-off posts, most based on follow-on conversations I’ve had with family, local friends, and my rapidly expanding online family of friends. I’ll get one posted after I finish this. Then I’ll take (then I’ll be allowed to take!) another nap (mental work is still very much physical work, uses up your sugar, neurotransmitter, and hormone reserves). The site itself is still bare-bones, I’m sure I will have a lot of fun taking time off from dismantling the patriarchy and getting to know Real Mark to play with the graphics and layout.

Technical details

  1. Will find the Creative Commons license later, but everything is “freely redistribute with attribution” and a link back would be nice.
  2. It will be personal and general by turns. Usually the personal observations lead to something general and vice versa.
  3. It will welcome thoughtful comments of pretty much any variety, though anything I deem non-respectful, non-serious, or just plain offensively stupid will get removed as soon as I see it.
  4. I have no problem with obscene words describing obscene things. There may be rules about this sort of thing, we’ll find that out.
  5. I will avoid “marksplaining” to the extent I am aware of it. Someone tell me when I’m not aware of it. 

OK that’s all I can think of now. On to the first post.