The Zen of Woody Allen

From a recent interview:

It’s just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don’t have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we’re just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it’s Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There’ll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.

Concerning contingency:

A guy will say,”Well, I make my luck.” And the same guy walks down the street and a piano that’s been hoisted drops on his head. The truth of the matter is your life is very much out of your control.


It’s been said about marriage “You have to know how to fight.” And I think there’s some wisdom to that. People who live together get into arguments. When you’re younger, those arguments tend to escalate, or there’s not any wisdom that overrides the argument to keep in perspective. It tends to get out of hand. When you’re older, you realize, “Well, this argument will pass. We don’t agree, but this is not the end of the world.” Experience comes into play.

On the original debut of Sophocles’ Oedipus:

We took a tour of the Acropolis late in the morning, and I looked down upon the theater and felt a connection. I mean, this is where Oedipus debuted. It’s amazing for someone who’s spent his life in show business or worked in dramatic art to look down at the theater where, thousands of years ago, guys like Mike Nichols and Stephen Sondheim and David Mamet were in togas, thinking, Gee, I can’t get this line to work. You know, I’ve been working on it all night. And that actor, he doesn’t know how to deliver it. Sophocles and Euripides and Aristophanes. The costumes are late, and we gotta go on!

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Zen of Woody Allen

  1. proximity1 says:

    “The best you can do to get through life is distraction.”

    Whether taken literally or figuratively, the above-cited amounts to a junk & bullshit philosophy which puts on one and the same level the most absurd trivialities and the most urgent imperatives of human life and, with it, all life taken together.

    Such moronic bullshit is precisely why for me, Woody Allen is no longer worth my time & consideration for any purpose other than to denouce as a spectacular asshole.

  2. Mikels Skele says:

    I wouldn’t call it distraction, necessarily, but, you’re right, our lives are pretty much meaningless in the cosmic perspective. But we are the creators of meaning, so from that perspective, we can mean anything that suits our fancy.

    • proximity1 says:

      Well, he called it distraction, didn’t he? And, further, unlike your perspective, which is quite right, his views don’t admit of any other than the grand–and, thus, meaningless–“cosmic perspective”.

      So, in the comments offered by Allen, your views are rejected out of hand. But you see that, right?

      Finally, I don’t need a nap or your suggestion to take one. It’s insulting and presumptuous of you and added exactly nothing to your points. But you know that, right?

  3. proximity1 says:


    My first comment was to the point. Your reply was insulting and impertinent when it wasn’t simply void of content and a failure to recognize how my own objections had agreed more with your stated view than did Woody Allen’s assinine views. So, no, I “got” less than I “gave.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s