Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to Get Banned by the BBC Website

(1) You don't have to write !@#$%^&!!!  or even &*()_______++++{}:"|M<>‰ˇ›fifl‡!!

(2) You don't have to write a single four-letter word.  

(3) You don't have to pose threats.   Or even say so-in-so ought to be dealt with by the likes of Tony Soprano.

(4) You do, apparently, have to say that somebody did something bad.  Even if you were under the bed watching that person do the bad thing, but it has not yet been proven in court  that the bad deed was accomplished, the English can take you to court.  Even if the criminal is now dead, his family can claim defamation.

So I'm actually not sure whether my remark that Woody Allen incriminates himself every time he breathes did it, or my remark that Oscar Wilde had sex with underage boys and gave his wife syphilis.  Possibly both.  Now, Oscar Wilde died in 1900, but his grandson lives on, and once upon a time he wanted to sue me for libel--not because I said in my book that Oscar Wilde had sex with men, but because I said in my book that Oscar Wilde had syphilis, and gave it to other people, including his wife.  Folks have been fighting over that finding for more than a decade--check out the controversy on Googlescholar.

In any case, I received an e-mail from DoNotReply at the BBC thanking me for contributing to their web site, and saying that my posting contravened one of their House Rules.  My comment was "considered to have broken"  the house rule about "defamatory" statements.  I was invited to go to a link explaining the rules, where I found a photograph of Caroline Langrishe as the barrister Georgina Channing in the third series of 'Judge John Deed'--she is wearing one of those white curly wigs, with her own blond locks and cute diamond earrings peeking out.  

I got it!  Women can be censors too.  What an accomplishment.

My comment had been appended to an article entitled, "Did Woody Allen Times opinion article change any minds?"

So here's the post that they deleted.  I find that it did, after all, contain a hint of violence:

 Allen incriminates himself every time he breathes. Farrow is straightforward. Allen dodges, shrugs, and marries his girlfriend's daughter. He's a terrible man, a great artist. I laugh at The Importance of Being Earnest although Oscar preferred underage boys and gave his wife syphilis. I love Allen's films, but if he ever comes within ten feet of my daughter, he's dead.
Now, I wonder whether one of the following would have allowed my post to remain on the Beeb's website:

(1) Reportedly,
(2) In my opinion . . . 

These terms are generally resorted to by American academic publishers, but seldom bothered with by American newspapers.  Or blogs.  Which brings me to my next question:  is my blog going to be prosecuted under 

(a) German law

(b) American law

(c) international law

(d) No law, 'cause I'm nobody (who are you?) and nobody reads this and I don't make enough money to keep a student alive, although I'm 57.

Let's suppose somebody, like maybe even Woody Allen, reads my blog and doesn't like my remark that I believe Dylan Farrow and that his attempt to refute her story does the reverse.  I'll go one further.  Reader, go through his stories and his screenplays; watch interviews with him on the topic of whether he molested Farrow, watch every film he's made.  

Then try to find the stomach to say she's lying, or "deluded."  I bet you can't do it.

But I would also like for Woody Allen to avoid the fate of Oscar Wilde, whose best play folded soon after he was arrested.  The Importance of Being Earnest premiered at the St. James Theatre in London on Valentine's Day, 1895. When on 5 April 1895, Wilde was arrested on a charge of "gross indecency" (that was the legal term for any kind of gay sex not involving anal penetration) his his name was removed from the program and from all advertising for the play. The box office collapsed immediately and the play closed on 8 May, having run for 83 performances.  The New York production on Broadway folded after twelve performances.  The play was not revived in the English language until years after Wilde's death.  Only the Germans translated and performed Wilde when his name was still considered unmentionable in the English-speaking world.
A great work of art is still a great work of art, no matter what.  And I speak as one whose grandfather, a painter still known for his lyrical busts and portraits of Anaïs Nin, molested her mother, and whose father, a not untalented pianist and teacher, got drunk and molested her.  And I still say, reject the man and embrace the artist.  The name constantly associated with Allen now on blogs is Roman Polanski; let's try another for a change.  Go to posts on and find the question "What has James Levine (the brilliant director of the Metropolitan Opera) done that was so bad?" answered with: "I wouldn't leave my kid alone with him."  Other posts implied an omnivorous sexual appetite involving harassment of any female crossing his path--along with young boys.  Arthur Fiedler's daughter, whom I knew, lowered her eyes when talking about Levine's interest in young boys--a topic not included in Molto Agitato, her book about the Metropolitan Opera.  She got into plenty of trouble with her own family for spilling the beans on Dad in her book, Papa,the Pops, and Me, also because people don't like to separate the man from the artist.  You don't have to live with Allen, or Polanski, or Levine.  But still, you don't want to be deprived of the ability to admire them. Forget it.  Admire the art: it stands by itself.

Now, Wilde's "crime" was not being gay, but forcing a population devoted to repressing a number of sexual desires to face them.  His boyfriend, irked because the British public discreetly looked away as he held hands with Oscar in a popular watering hole, fired a pistol at the ceiling.  Forced to look at what they absolutely did not want to see, the British public took revenge. Allen's crime can't be compared to Wilde's, because Allen in secret took advantage of a child, and harmed her.  He severely damaged another life.  Oh, in my opinion, ye who judge.  That goes for every word in this, and all other posts. If Wilde was a crusader for gay rights, from whose early advocacy has come genuine civil rights, we don't want to go down the same road with Allen.  He's in any case not campaigning for the "rights" of the pedophile.  He's denying all, and saying the charges are "ludicrous" (his word).  Even he knows he's supposed to think what he did was bad.  What I'm hearing as I watch him is "I don't remember anyway and it wasn't so bad and jeez, the kid didn't mind in fact the kid seemed to like it and probably the time she didn't she forgot about it and oh, she's such a great little kid and why is this such a problem anyway it all happened a long time ago and only once and anyway it doesn't matter."  You're never going to get any answer other than that out of him; he will never see it any other way.  He will never be moral.  But we can be moral.  We can watch and learn and warn children, and we can have not sympathy for the devil but understanding for a pathetic person with zero impulse control.  Let him make movies--they are terrific movies!--and parents, watch your kids.

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