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Thread: Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

    So while browsing my ONTD site for gossip I came upon this post about Woody Allen. Now I know, he's been in the news with the child molestation accusations. But let's put that aside for now. This is about his career as a director. Woody Allen is know for movies based around the New York life. And if you've been to New York, you will notice something. It's all white people! Well according to Mr Allen, it is.

    See, he doesn't cast black people in his movies. Go on, google away. There's like less than a handful of back ground story actors that are black in his movies. I mean maybe 2. Because Woody Allen's New York is..white. I know. I've been to New York. Pst. It's not so!

    Earlier this year, in an effort to derail Ms. Blanchett’s Oscar campaign, a couple of anonymous complaints turned up in the tabloids about Mr. Allen not using black actors. He’s horrified when I bring up the subject. We talk about the new generation of wonderful black actors like Viola Davis and wonder if they’ll ever be cast in a Woody Allen film. He doesn't hesitate to respond: “Not unless I write a story that requires it. You don’t hire people based on race. You hire people based on who is correct for the part. The implication is that I’m deliberately not hiring black actors, which is stupid. I cast only what’s right for the part. Race, friendship means nothing to me except who is right for the part.”
    Any number of his movies could have been performed by any race. Because occupation isn't race related. I think this is silent racism. No New Yorker can be played by any other race because the defacto race, according to him, his white.

    Even in predominantly black directors there are numerous castings of all races. And not just in the background to move the story along either. But in predominant roles to the story.

    So what say you?

    This is about Woody Allen and not about the whole entire world and how racism is wrong and blah blah. Don't derail mah thread. It's a good one! Only YOU can prevent thread death!


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    Cannibal Rights Activist Ophidia's Avatar
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    Re: Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

    I think it's because all of Woody Allen's characters are Woody Allen. Even the women. They all dress alike because they all dress like Woody Allen.
    The forum member formerly known as perzephone. Or Perze. I've shed a skin.

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    Re: Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

    I generally get what Ophidia is saying. Woody Allen's characters would be based, in some way, on aspects of his own personality, but...

    If someone is a racist, would they ever create a character of colour? Would there ever be a person of colour "right for the part"?

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    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

    I truly can't think of that many Woody Allen films I've watched. That said I do know he creates many roles based upon his own life and experiences so to me it seems logical that those roles would be filled by people who reflect that life. I do find it interesting that say Spike Lee does a series of films with no white because its based upon some notion of life in his ghetto and no one says anything. Yet Woody does a similar film about his ghetto and its suddenly racist.

    People say or suggest they've been to his ghetto and its not how he portrays it but how can you go to the ghetto of his memory? Am I racist if I say I grew up in D.C. and lived in areas where there were no blacks at all, no minorities in fact that I can recall. So if I wrote and cast a movie of that place am I racist if I do not cast someone who was never there to create an impression upon me? Of course inversely am I racist if I create a character in some film that is reflective of some inter-racial situation I experienced and had skin color directly correlated to a given action? To me it wouldn't be but to other's perhaps it would be.

    i recall in my mid to late teens living across from a family that always referred to any black as a gorilla, baboon or monkey depending upon their age. When we went somewhere with them any person of African heritage was a joke target on a bike and they count "score" of how many monkeys, baboons or gorilla's they could take out driving down the road. Very much racist to me and propagating of that racism to their children as they passed it along. But again if that had never happened would it be racist not to include something like that so you could have a person of color in a film?

    I personally do not find Woody's stuff to be racist because he has no people of color in his films and does not re-create a role to include one. To me doing so would be very similar to the old black face movies where you portrayed a person of color but used a white actor / actress with black face.

    In many ways I think its not an issue of racism but an issue of implied privaledge. Even to the point that things should be re-written not to tell the story but to give roles that are more a result of being shamed into something vice writing about what you know and the story your trying to tell. I truly think such a character written into one of his films would be more jun-colored in his / her role than not having a person of color in it at all.
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    Re: Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

    Ok. Let's take that stance for a second and run with it. Woody uses his life experiences in his movies. I get it. How can you go through your life as a New Yorker and never ever ever..did I say ever because I mean ever..not come in contact with a person who is not white? Unless he's living on that little block where all the Hasidic jews live. I have a very hard time accepting this.
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    Cannibal Rights Activist Ophidia's Avatar
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    Re: Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    Ok. Let's take that stance for a second and run with it. Woody uses his life experiences in his movies. I get it. How can you go through your life as a New Yorker and never ever ever..did I say ever because I mean ever..not come in contact with a person who is not white? Unless he's living on that little block where all the Hasidic jews live. I have a very hard time accepting this.
    I get the impression that Woody Allen is self-centered & self-absorbed. People, be they other colors, sexes, etc. probably all sort of blend into background noise for him.

    I don't know. I don't particularly like the guy, and I've never been able to sit through one of his films, but I just don't think it's overt racism. The news & blogosphere seems to be reading too much into racial presence in the media these days. Of course, that could just be my own middle-class white privilege talking.
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    Re: Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    So what say you?
    I say, Woody Allen sucks as a director, as a writer and as an actor. I don't know that I've ever considered him any kind of racist, though. Just a very short-sighted, self-centered asshat. In his view of NYC, he doesn't *see* other people. He sees himself. He's aloof, eccentric and decidedly self-absorbed.

    OF COURSE he doesn't see blacks. He doesn't even see is neighbors, the mailman or the trash collector. I think he's a disgusting cretin that has miraculously impressed the pomp-and-circumstance dipshits of hollyweird. Oh, goody. Fantasy world has taken a liking to this git that creates his own fantasies. He is far too involved in his own mind to be aware that others actually prefer a sense, or at least a minimal semblance, of normalcy.


    I don't like him. I am definitely prejudiced against Woody Allen.




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    Re: Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

    If he were a guy living down the street, would we give him the license to be 'eccentric' over the word 'racist' though?
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    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    If he were a guy living down the street, would we give him the license to be 'eccentric' over the word 'racist' though?
    I wouldn't give him shit.

    Tho, by eccentric, I wasn't aiming for a euphemism for racism. I was aiming for a euphemism for his being a discourteous, intellectually obscene and utterly disconnected phobe. Does he have a right to be? As far as I'm concerned, he has a right to ASK to be buried in a place of his choosing. Not who gets to bury him. Or if they'll oblige.




    "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it." - Ayn Rand

    "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." - Marcus Aurelius

    "The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice." - Mark Twain

    "The only gossip I'm interested in is things from the Weekly World News - 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured'. That kind of thing." - Johnny Depp



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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Is this racist or creative license? (Woody Allen debate)

    Woody gets away with his racism the way Spike Lee gets away with his as well. If you have enough money and power, your racism goes POOF! And now it's just called He being He.
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