I live in New York City. Oh, it’s freezing today. I thought you’d like to know.
Anyway, Woody Allen has a music residency in Manhattan, where he performs with his jazz band. Maybe I’ll check them out one day.
In a recent conversation with mates (I’m very British today), the topic of Woody Allen came up. And it got me thinking about how much of a tremendously polarizing figure he is. You have here one of the most respected filmmakers and writers in the history of celluloid, but he went and, uh, married Mia Farrow’s (his former wife) adopted daughter. So there’s that. If you’re on social media at all, you know how much his son and ex-wife regularly pummel him for this. It’s pretty awkward, but funny in that cringeworthy type of way. To recap, he married the adopted daughter of his former wife, which means he had a hand in raising her. Woody has said several times that he never had a father-daughter relationship with her when she has a kid, but i’m not sure that makes it any better.
Or even if I necessarily believe him.
But that’s not all. Dylan Farrow, his and Mia’s adopted daughter, to this day maintains that Woody sexually abused her as a child.
So it’s bad. Really bad.
So why do I bring Woody Allen up? Well, the question is this — should we separate the art from the personal lives of artists we admire or is it impossible to? Is there value in separating the art from the artist?
The name that most comes to mind about this is Michael Jackson. We will never have another artist like Michael Jackson. He transcended popularity in a way that no artist ever has, with the exception of maybe The Beatles, but unlike The Beatles, Michael was a worldwide phenomenon. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, you could walk to any corner of the planet and everyone knew who Michael Jackson was.
You ever see the videos of people fainting at MJ’s concerts? It happened at every concert of his and I’ve yet to see anything else like it. He was the very definition of music superstardom. There is no artist alive or dead like him. But then, of course, came all of the sexual allegations. All from minors. And the allegations were bad — really bad.
Admittedly, I’m a huge MJ fan. I’m a kid from the ’80s, so how I could not be? And yet I can certainly understand why people may be completely put off by him as a person, and consequently, as an artist. As for me, I have to separate his music from his alleged criminal activity. I compartmentalize, because for me that makes the most sense.
Not everyone does and that is okay, too.