Entertainment

Should people buy Woody Allen's autobiography?

 
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Apr 06 06:32 pm

Michelle (Yes they should)

Buying someone’s autobiography doesn’t mean that you endorse their character or agree with everything they’ve done. 

To this day, one of the most recommended autobiographies is Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf [1]. Though he is arguably the most-hated man of all time, his autobiography sold 85,000 copies in Germany in 2016 to readers “with a keen interest in historical events [2].” Many people involved in public scandal, from Lance Armstrong to Bill Clinton to Benito Mussolini, have written autobiographies that readers have purchased. No matter how cruel or unethical these public figures were, their life journeys still intrigue the public. 

Though the allegations against Woody Allen are horrific, they have not been proven to be true [3]. In order to take an informed stance on the subject, information should be gathered from all involved parties. Additionally, Allen’s life amounts to more than just the allegations against him, as he has had one of the most remarkable careers in American film. He grew up in Brooklyn and started writing jokes for money at age sixteen [4]. He’s ranked number four on Comedy Central’s list of 100 greatest stand-up comedians [5]. He dropped out of NYU because he failed his film classes [6]. He’s had more Academy Award nominations--16 in total-- than any other screenwriter [7].

Whether or not Allen is guilty of the allegations against him, his autobiography should not be a source of the public’s punishment. If a consumer is interested in Allen’s upbringing, career, and personal view of the allegations against him, they should feel free to purchase and read his book.


Nida (No they shouldn't)

We should not be buying Woody Allen’s autobiography, Apropos of Nothing, because of the sexual abuse allegations brought against him in August 1992. 

Because money covers a multitude of sins and Allen was able to hire the best lawyers, the allegations against him were unproven. But countless baby-sitters, counselors, in-laws and fellow parents have come forward with disturbing details: how he hovered around his adoptive daughter, Dylan; gave her preferential treatment; constantly stared at her [1].

What we know for a fact is that he took nude photos of Soon-Yi, his then-girlfriend’s daughter--19 at the time--with the promise of helping her launch her modeling career [2]. She is now his wife, a woman 35 years his junior. 

The artists we revere are our heroes. When they are out of line, we hit them where it hurts: their bank statements. By refusing to consume their art, whether it’s literature, cinema, music or paintings, we refuse to accept their abhorrent behavior. Art cannot be divorced from the artist because their behavior and problematic views will bleed into whatever they create. By continuing to consume the output of misogynists, pedophiles, racists, etc. we are complicit in their behavior and are condoning them by proxy. 

When art becomes public domain, such as books written by Joseph Conrad, a hardcore racist, they may be read with reservation, since the writer no longer benefits from the sale of said writing. But as long as an artist gains from royalties, we should exercise our power.

Fact Box

  • Apropos of Nothing was published by Arcade Publishing with a first print run of 75,000 copies [1]. 
  • Woody Allen was born Allen Stewart Konigsberg in Brooklyn, NY in 1935 [2]. 
  • Woody Allen’s directorial debut was in 1966 with the film What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, and he has gone on to direct at least 50 more [3].  
  • Woody Allen has been married to his wife, Soon-Yi, for over 20 years [4]. 

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