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American Ayatollahs. On the Moral Necessity of Defending Woody Allen.

“I don’t like when we’re passionate about something and we don’t have all the facts”

— Whoopi Goldberg*

 

You hear the stories. They usually take place in China or the Soviet Union; Cambodia or Iraq. Or Salem. Or under the baleful eyes of Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn.

All that was required was a denunciation.There was no trial, no sifting of evidence. At least not genuine evidence.The accused, having been accused, is found guilty.The righteous declare they believe the accuser and that the criminal must surely have spoken with the devil.

In America of course the punishment will be monetary. That is the perfect American form of fascism. To deny the accused the ability to make money. In other countries the accused is tortured and usually executed. But in America the accused will be tortured through isolation and censorship. That in turn will prevent them from turning a profit.

But it is still censorship and it is still fascism and it is an assault, a hysterical attack on due process and free speech. It is also utterly, inevitably, self-defeating and self-destructive.

In every case, where due process and the rule of law and the delicate sifting of evidence have been replaced by opinion, and hysteria, the results are a circular firing squad.

Today it’s Woody Allen. Tomorrow it will be the people calling for his being turned into an unperson. To erase him from the culture is to inevitably invite the same fate for those who want to make him disappear.

Woody Allen was investigated by the police, two state’s attorney offices, the courts, teams of lawyers, psychologists and the media (sic!).

Either there was no evidence against him or there was insufficient evidence to warrant charging him and bringing him to trial and as to the attorney who claims that he wanted to spare the accuser the trauma of a trial, he must now answer to the fact that the accuser has gone on national television to recount in detail the allegations against Allen.

Margaret Atwood was right. All revolutions, all social movements, eventually, inevitably consume themselves and eat their young. She is not alone. It has been a truism of debates for decades that in every case of revolt against a decadent, senile, corrupt and oppressive system, inevitably, the rebellion turns inward and in a blind fury rages against not just those it condemns but against the sinews of justice.

This will lead to catastrophe unless it is checked and stopped. If it is not stopped it will spread and grow and we will, if we manage to survive, look back and call this America’s Cultural Revolution. If it is not stopped we will be committing cultural suicide. If it is not stopped it will turn into a bonfire of the vanities and it will set fire to everything and leave in its wake a smoldering ruin.

We do not know what Woody Allen did or did not do. We do know that the furies who denounce him do not know either and declaring that they believe one thing and not another is their right but they have no right to shout fire in a crowded theater, lock the doors and congratulate themselves while the theatre and everyone inside it burns. There is no difference between calling for Allen to be excommunicated and calling for books to be banned, songs to be taken off the radio or the internet, and for anyone about whom the ayatollahs feel disgusted to be banished. It may be actors and actresses in chic clothes making the call but, they are in effect wearing black robes. They could just as easily be waving little red books, or a bible or a Koran or wearing a brown shirt. Everyone, everyone, is innocent until proven guilty and until they are found guilty in a court of law, calls to boycott them and prevent them from speaking or making a film or writing a book, or singing a song, based on opinion and hearsay, are the actions of thugs who pose a clear and present danger to our freedom.

 

For a thorough and balanced examination of the Allen/Farrow saga see the article below:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-woody-allen-allegations-not-so-fast

For a look at the tabloid press stoking the witch hunt see the article below:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jan/19/woody-allen-dylan-farrow-allegations

Update: 1/28/17

A hint of the new McCarthyism:

https://pagesix.com/2018/01/27/woody-allens-rainy-day-in-new-york-might-not-get-released/

Update: 1/30/17

Goldberg made the comment during an episode of The View in which she claimed that Roman Polanski was only guilty of rape but not, rape-rape.

Read about it here:

https://jezebel.com/5369395/whoopi-on-roman-polanski-it-wasnt-rape-rape

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