Between Time and Eternity:
Even those who have expressed shock and dismay over Woody Allen’s private behavior, or what they know of it from the scandal mongers, generally admit his films are worth taking seriously. It is common sense (which might or might not have any standing according to fashionable aesthetic theories) to recognize that a work of art should be evaluated primarily or even solely in terms of its own characteris tics, and not the biographical background of its creator. How else, after all, could anyone value the anonymous works of art that were once most common in our own society and still are in many others? But at this particular time—Mia Farrow’s version of her life with Allen is still being reviewed and sexual perversion is still the mainstay of almost every talk show—the point is worth making as a preface to any discussion of Allen’s work. Artists, like all human beings, are inconsistent. They are wise in some ways and foolish in others. They are wise at some times and foolish at other times. Richard Wagner was an arrogant snob and anti-Semite, for example, but he was also a musical genius. What he produced transcended, at least in some respects, what he was. Reality is complex and messy. And maybe it is just as well. Otherwise, we would have to banish, for one reason or another, virtually everything of value that has ever been created.
KeywordsHuman Existence Jewish History Alternative Order Moral Ambiguity Cultural Order
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