Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Minor Note On Being 1/2 Way Through Woody Allen’s A Propos Of Nothing

‪To a friend:

Reaching 1/2 way mark.‬

‪One thought: did you notice that he peppers his writing with scads of obscure references to a wide spectrum of things. Some are esoteric and I find myself often—I’m reading it on my Kindle—looking up what the word or reference means?‬

‪For examples, he uses the word “erg,” which is some kind of physics term for a unit of energy; or he mentions Mandlebrott as something to do with similarity, and this guy turns out to be some kind of mathematician or physicist or some such who has a complicated theory about similarity or something— nothing I grasped. ‬

‪So there’s a lot of that. And my thought about him doing it is that Allen’s in effect preening in a way that complements his continual humble brag about what a shallow schnook he is. With all these obscure references, I read him to be in effect saying, “Look how widely learned I actually am.” I think he tries too hard with that. All these references come across like a self conscious autodidact who’s insecure about not ever having gone to or finished university—-he got tossed out after his first year.‬

‪This goes to something more general I’m finding in his book: I feel he strains at times to project a particular persona, wise guy, wise cracking, street smart hustler, down to earth type guy, but one who can talk as easily about Schopenhauer or Sartre as he can about Roger Maris or Minnesota Fats. ‬

‪(Which isn’t to say that he’s not an accomplished, creative guy who’s lived a really interesting life. Commentary + Dissent= Dysentery.)‬

‪Ya’ think?‬

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