“A. She was a whooore.”
A friend asked me, a few months back, whether I’d seen Woody Allen’s speech at the American Film Institute tribute to Diane Keaton in June, when she was awarded the AFI Life Achievement Award.
I hadn’t. I’d seen most of the event. It was shown on TCM, and I often have TCM on in the background. But I’d turned the sound down when Allen made his surprise appearance at the end.
I don’t like Woody Allen and haven’t for a while — since around 1979, when he made a movie about a self-involved, middle-aged comedy writer dating and dicking around a 17-year-old. I thought Manhattan was creepy, but not half as creepy as the way Allen got lionized for basically filming his own life in black-and-white and giving it a Gershwin soundtrack. So I missed the part of the AFI tribute when Allen proved, yet again, that being him means you can do almost anything and get people to shower you with praise.
“He did what?” I asked my friend.
“He called her a ‘fellatrix.’ I think that’s what he said.” She was sounding a little less sure now.
She warned me that the video clip of the speech on YouTube, while short, was hard to take, but said I should watch it through to the end.
Much of what I’ve accomplished in my life I owe, for sure, to her. She’s really astonishing. This is a woman who is great at everything she does — actress, writer, photographer, fellatrix, director. Diane Keaton, winner of the 45th annual AFI Life Achievement Award.
I called my friend back.
“Is that what he said?” she asked.
“That’s what he said,” I said.
Allen’s speech at the AFI tribute to Diane Keaton was an example of stealth misogyny. He engineered things so that at the climax of the award ceremony, when everyone thought they were applauding Keaton, they were actually applauding him for demeaning her. Allen was the very last speaker; he was to present the award in the next moment. So he knew that, no matter what he said, at the end of his speech everyone would jump up and cheer. By dropping the word fellatrix into the list of Keaton’s professional accomplishments, though, Allen completely undercut everything he seemed to be saying. And by giving it an unconventional pronunciation, he made it unlikely that anyone would understand or be sure what he’d said.
Wait, Mr. Tarantino is on the line, and he would like Mr. Allen to hold his beer:
That Tarantino’s apologia is disingenuous in the era of #MeToo could come as a surprise if you’re unfamiliar with the director’s love of depicting women having the shit kicked out of them on camera or if you’re unfamiliar with interviews he’s done in the past. Like, for example, this 2003 Howard Stern interview submitted to us by a reader in which he adamantly defends Roman Polanski’s sexual assault of a 13-year-old in 1977.
Asked by Stern why Hollywood embraces “this mad man, this director who raped a 13-year-old,” Tarantino replied:
“He didn’t rape a 13-year-old. It was statutory rape…he had sex with a minor. That’s not rape. [sic] To me, when you use the word rape, you’re talking about violent, throwing them down—it’s like one of the most violent crimes in the world. You can’t throw the word rape around. It’s like throwing the word ‘racist’ around. [eyeroll emoji] It doesn’t apply to everything people use it for.”
Reminded by Robin Quivers that Polanski’s victim—who had been plied with quaaludes and alcohol before her assault—did not want to have sex with Polanski, Tarantino became riled up.
Tarantino: No, that was not the case AT ALL. She wanted to have it [sic] and dated the guy [sic] and—
Quivers: She was 13!
Tarantino: And by the way, we’re talking about America’s morals, not talking about the morals in Europe and everything. [sic]
Stern: Wait a minute. If you have sex with a 13-year-old girl and you’re a grown man, you know that that’s wrong.
Quivers: …giving her booze and pills…
Tarantino: Look, she was down with this. [sic]
Well, this certainly makes his lack of concern for the women he works with more explicable. It doesn’t make The Hateful Eight more watchable, though.