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Fallen Idol

Woody Allen and the culture of celebrity.

Feb 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 22 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
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Yes, Allen was even admired as a father. Later, when people accused him of pseudo-incest in his dalliances with Mia’s daughter Soon-Yi, his defenders would say he had barely known the girl, hadn’t spent any time with her, had had nothing to do with her. But that was not the impression Lax’s article, and other mythologizing portraits of prescandal Allen, gave off. No, the sense of this and other portraits-without-blemish was that Allen was practically perfect, a fully rounded human being with wit and gravitas, a moral sense, and deeply bourgeois values.

In retrospect, Allen’s response to the scandal was pitch perfect. He put his head down. He married Soon-Yi. He just kept working. He made movie after movie. What he had done was not exactly forgotten, but his unflagging industry eventually paid off with a reputational renaissance over the past decade. He was again becoming an idol—as was indicated by his decision to accept (though not in person) the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes in January. Big mistake, for that is what triggered the Farrow family’s wrath and has sunk his reputation yet again.

The heart wants what it wants, as Allen said. Well, Dylan Farrow has a heart too, and her heart wants Allen destroyed. Her heart’s desire will not be fulfilled. But she has done us all a favor by reminding us that idol worship is what it has ever been: a means of making excuses for evil.

John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, is The Weekly Standard’s movie critic.

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