0 0 Colin McGinn Colin McGinn2020-05-29 13:15:062020-05-29 13:17:01Woody Allen’s Memoir
Woody Allen’s Memoir
I had the pleasure of reading A Propos of Nothing recently and greatly enjoyed it. If you are interested in Woody’s personal history and his many films, this book will sate your appetite: funny, impressive, and endearing. As to the allegations made against him, he convincingly refutes them, thereby demonstrating the absurdity and corruption of the world, especially the American part of it. When I first moved to New York in 1990 I happened to see him in Central Park walking with a woman, which was itself such a New York experience.
, Favorite Allen moment in one of his films—it might have been from, “Bananas”: He’s driving an old style Volkswagon, “bug”, having an earnest philosophical soliloquy about the enduring dignity of mankind and all that. He parks the car, opens the door, gets out and immediatetly plunges down an open sewer-hole. Second favorite, from, “Annie Hall”: Allen walking down a Manhattan street, again in earnest conversation with himself, this time about what makes for an enduring sexual relationship. He encounters an elderly gentleman, and asks him, off-the-cuff-wise, if he and his wife had discovered an answer to that question. The old boy responds: “Yes, we use a large vibrating egg.”
Interestingly, it turns out that Noam Chomsky knows Woody Allen, as he recently informed me.
Maybe a common interest in vibrating eggs? Hmm, ” Allen and Chomsky”—worthy of a Vegas lounge act No disrespect to either.
I’d like to have been there for that meeting.
I was a disaffected, refractory young man in high school when I encountered lectures and public appearances of Chomsky on the internet. His matchless eloquence, critical spirit, humanity and sheer cogency of thought (to mention only those of his good attributes that struck my juvenile mind) roused me from my apathetic slumber, awakened my desire for knowledge, and imbued my life with a sense of overarching purpose that up until that point had been absent from it. He’s a personal hero of mine. What’s it like to talk to him?
Again, I completely agree: he is a very rare flower. We mainly talk by email and have only physically met once after a lecture he gave in New York. An indication: he replied within 10 minutes to an article I recently sent him (the one on whether evolution has any mysteries). His comments are always probing and sympathetic. He has also been very supportive of me personally.
Joseph K.,— years back I had a one-off e-mail exchange with Chomsky. He was wondrously decent with an awkward interlocutor such as myself. I can’t say as much for a certain French philosopher, who responded to my query with this: “How dare you propose to me such an idiotic question”. Something to be said however for a good cutting remark.
I think his decency owes in part to a respect for human nature.
I’m curious: which French philosopher said that? My guess: Derrida.
That’s a good guess. But I won’t confirm it–well, what the hell, it was Dan Sperber. Kind of reminds me though of Voltaire’s response to an overly inquisitive Boswell (1764).