Archive for July 15th, 2021

From The Women's Desk on WBAI Radio: Clutter: A ...

In Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (winner of the 1977 Oscar Best Picture ), there is this scene, after Woody Allen has finished a stand-up set at a college (there are no longer any comedy performances at colleges and universities), and Allen has this exchange with a college reporter(?) who saw his act:

Allison (Carol Kane) : I’m in the midst of doing my thesis.

Alvy Singer (Allen) : On what?

Allison : Political commitment in twentieth century literature.

Alvy Singer : You, you, you’re like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y’know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.

Allison : No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.

Alvy Singer : Right, I’m a bigot, I know, but for the left.

“I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype”. Great sarcasm! We are living in a society that has become expert at reducing each other to cultural stereotypes. Allen probably had fun with this as he poked fun at himself, “Right, I’m a bigot, I know, but for the left”. That makes it “okay” but Allen seems to have known that it doesn’t, so the humor. Now it’s no longer fun. Reducing someone to a stereotype is prejudice and prejudice means to pre-judge, reducing a neighbor to stat, a type, a sociological category, a skin color. If a I call a brother a “fool”, I’ll be liable to the fire of hell, taught Jesus (St. Matthew 5: 22) because I have in a stereotyped him, judged him. Now we do it all the time and it is trans-racial and prejudice is not the prerogative of white people. No wonder it is so hot these days and it’s not getting hotter because it’s summer.

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