Thursday, March 26, 2009

Woody Allen on lobster existentialism

You may have to brush up some of your Yiddish, but here is a cathartic piece by Woody Allen in this week's New Yorker. Just to give you a taste (ha!):
Why should a decent citizen like himself, a dentist, a mensch who deserved to relive life as a soaring eagle or ensconced in the lap of some sexy socialite getting his fur stroked, come back ignominiously as an entrĂ©e on a menu? It was his cruel fate to be delicious, to turn up as Today’s Special, along with a baked potato and dessert. This led to a discussion by the two lobsters of the mysteries of existence, of religion, and how capricious the universe was, when someone like Sol Drazin, a schlemiel they knew from the catering business, came back after a fatal stroke as a stud horse impregnating cute little thoroughbred fillies for high fees.
Read the full article here (its a short piece). How much money do you think Woody Allen lost with Bernie Madoff?


Anonymous said...

"How much money do you think Woody Allen lost with Bernie Madoff?"

Gee I don't know ... how many of the 9/11 terrorists did you know personally?

To think all Jews invested with Madoff is about as ignorant as thinking all those with Arabic sounding names consort with bin laden.

Salman Hameed said...

To think all Jews invested with Madoff is about as ignorant as thinking all those with Arabic sounding names consort with bin laden.

Intriguing accusation. I actually was not thinking about his Jewish connection - but rather as a writer explicitly talking about Madoff in the story. Did you actually read the New Yorker article? With shaded glasses, perhaps you are seeing a shaded world. My apologies for your confusion.

Anonymous said...

hmmm ... i apologize for choosing to comment publicly rather than finding an email ... and I apologize for the needlessly harsh language- undoubtedly there are better ways to make the point.
that said, I stand by the original point, I just wish I had made it more gently.

it is impossible to see how you could be
not thinking about his Jewish connection.
The piece is positively steeped in a Jewish context and you even refer to it in the 'intro' by acknowledging one may need to brush up on one's Yiddish.

Finally, i did reread the piece and I still don't see the connection between Woody Allen's investments and Madoff. Allen is simply writing about something that impacted: A) the Jewish community and B) the country as a whole - as he often does ... there is no reason to assume Allen invested with Madoff other than the fact that Allen is Jewish and many Jews invested with Madoff. The question 'how much money do you think Allen
lost with Madoff?' simply rubbed me the wrong way.

OK, all that said, it's not the same kind of ignorance that leads to hatred and mistrust - its more of a presumptive ignorance that leads to generalizations ... hardly on par with terrorists and true bigotry. for making the correlation, i do apologize (and perhaps it's obvious, but i read that particular post only because i frequent the blog ... thanks for compiling).

Salman Hameed said...

That's fine and thanks for the posting another comment. I have very close Jewish friends and we often joke about improving my Yiddish fluency (hence the beginning was part of an inside joke). Perhaps, it is because of this (you can call it PC complacency) that I did not even imagine that my joking comments about "improving Yiddish" or about Woody Allen would be taken in any ethnically offensive way. I know we have a disagreement about Allen's piece. But from my perspective - I put in a tongue-in-cheek comment at the end in response to a very funny tongue-in-cheek article by Woody Allen (whose movies and writings I love). I apologize if I my comment offended you. But let me be very clear again: My comment was directed at Woody Allen and NOT because of his Jewish heritage. I see him more as a film-maker and a writer - who happens to be Jewish.

Thanks again.

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