August 21, 2008

My new issue of Newsweek that came last Tuesday had the blurb “Summer Double Issue” on the cover. Goody — an extra helping of liberal wisdom! But, no. I hefted the magazine, even counted the pages. Same old size. An editor’s note explained: “. . . we will be back . . . on Aug. 25.” Aha. “Double” issue means it has to do double duty. They’re just taking a week off and being oh, so celver about how they tell us about it. No Newsweek for me this week! What a ripoff.

The most interesting thing in the issue is the piece on Woody Allen at 72 in which the author wonders stupidly if Woody has gotten “a rosier outlook” after 11 years of “a seemingly stable relationship.” Of course not! It’s Woody Allen:

At 72, he says he still lies awake at night, terrified of the void. He cannot reconcile his strident atheism with his superstition about the banana, but he knows why he makes movies: not because he has any grand statement to offer, but simply to take his mind off the existential horror of being alive. Movies are a great diversion, he says, “because it’s much more pleasant to be obsessed over how the hero gets out of his predicament than it is over how I get out of mine.”

That’s why his movies are so good when he’s trying to be funny and so awful when he’s not. Who wants to sit there for two hours being reminded of the existential terror of that yawning void?


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