Glorious Sunday. We woke up early. Six in the morning. Curled up under the blankets, chatting quietly in the dark, we eventually fell asleep, waking up sometime round 10:30am.
The intention was to enjoy the great outdoors. Go sledding. Perhaps go to a Super Bowl party. Attend a yoga class. Visit friends. Instead I am lying on the bed, wrapped up like a blanket burrito, drinking earl grey tea with heaps of honey and baking vanilla, and watching “Sex and the City”.
Our only public appearance this Groundhog Day was a triumvirate of errands: going out to a thrift store to look for a teapot. We skimmed the shelves, found nothing of interest, then got a latte at Starbucks as a consolation prize. Before heading home we stopped by someone’s house. Benjamin occasionally buys tools on an online trading site; he had met this woman before, so he stepped inside the house and closed the door. I didn’t think much of it, in reality he could have been carrying on a torrid affair with a spicy middle aged woman, and he could have used my utter disinterest in tools to cover his tracks. He eventually was gone for long enough that I thought that maybe…just maybe that he had been murdered. Or maybe they’re just lost in the endlessly fascinating topic of carpentry. I figured I’d give it another minute, and continued to scroll through my phone, reading news about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sudden death.
Philip Seymour Hoffman dies on Super Bowl Sunday by overdosing on heroin in the Year of the Horse. That can’t be a good omen on Groundhog Day.
What do you think that means? Going beyond six more weeks of winter, and entering into a new arctic Armageddon.
Here’s a lesson in word origin history. Heroin got the nickname ‘horse’ due to the unlikely relationship between the two (As explored in Dorothy Ours’ “Man O’ War”).
In the wild, pursued by predators, a horse runs as fast as he can or dies. Given narcotics, a horse feels unnatural sleepiness creeping into his nervous system–sleepiness like the shock caused by the fatal bite of a carnivore. So the hopped up horse runs without reserve. If kept in his stall, he trots in circles until the dose finally ebbs. Let loose on a racetrack, he outruns any normal inhibition. In the United States, cocaine, heroin and morphine were legal for anyone with a doctor’s prescription to buy from a drugstore, until prohibited by the Harrison Act of 1914, and could be bribed from pharmacists long after that. But using those mixtures was a fine art. Prudent trainers experimented during morning workouts, discovering the right dope and dose for each horse.
Imagine a time when there was so much legal heroin just lying around that people were like…”It’s just going to go bad if we don’t use it, lets just give it to the horses!”
Ugh, it makes me sad, the waste of human life. That addiction overshadows talent, status, fortune and prestige. The tragic detail about Hoffman being found in his New York City bathroom with a needle in his arm will take precedence over a proud legacy. I think about all the things I want in this life, things that other people already have…and for a some that sum still doesn’t fill this eternal gap inside of their soul. I wonder how melancholia breeds madness, when everything went wrong because everything had gone right. There are wars inside of ourselves that are often losing battles.
The night before, I caught the open letter Dylan Farrow wrote to the New York Post rehashing her sexual abuse allegations towards Woody Allen. This too bummed me out. The letter started with “What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?”, then describing the molestation in disturbing detail, pleading to Diane Keaton and other actors known for working with Allen to acknowledge the crime…and then concluding with “So what was your favorite Woody Allen again?” Man. Way to take the fun out of Annie Hall.
When Benjamin and I finally crawled out of the bed, we curled up the living room with our coffees. I told him all about the ballad of Woody and Mia.
Around 1980, Allen began a relationship with actress Mia Farrow, who had leading roles in most of his movies from 1982 to 1992. Farrow and Allen never married and kept separate homes.. They jointly adopted two children, Dylan Farrow (who changed her name to Eliza and later to Malone) and Moshe Farrow (known as Moses); they also had one biological child, Satchel Farrow (known as Ronan Seamus Farrow).
However, in a 2013 interview with Vanity Fair, Farrow stated that Ronan could “possibly” be the biological child of her first husband Frank Sinatra, whom she married at 21 in 1966, and with whom she claims to have “never really split up.” Who can blame her. You can take the girl out of Sinatra, but you can never take Sinatra out of the girl.
In 1968, Frank Sinatra had blindsided Farrow by having divorce papers delivered to the set of “Rosemary’s Baby”. The film was going over-schedule, and she had to back out of her next acting commitment–in Sinatra’s upcoming feature. In that same year, André Previn, married film composer and symphony conductor, met a newly single, 23-year-old Farrow in London. They began an affair, and she was was pregnant within a year. Previn divorced Dory, his wife of eleven years, and married Farrow.
Poor old Dory Previn. The humiliation and betrayal caused Previn to snap like a twig. She was subsequently institutionalized and subjected to electroconvulsive therapy. According to sources, it led to more introspective songwriting…and did wonders for her hair.
She subsequently expressed her feelings toward Farrow and the end of her marriage in the song “Beware of Young Girls” on her 1970 album. ‘Beware/ Of young girls/Who come to the door/Wistful and pale/Of twenty and four/Delivering daisies/With delicate hands…taking my own sweet man’. The lyrics are thinly veiled, basically calls Farrow out for rolling up to the Previn compound with flowers and silver. She could have just called it “”Fuck You Mia Farrow” and called it a day. A dainty little china Trojan horse; admiring her home, her ring, her unmade bed, and meanwhile is infiltrating her marital home.
Dory Previn really laid the blueprint for Jennifer Aniston, trumped by younger and newer. Mia Farrow, humanitarian and mother of thirteen children is the OG Angelina Jolie.
Previn was clearly the Brad Pitt of this time–this gorgeous hunk of scarf and side swept bangs has been married five times. Who can blame the ladies for fighting over this prime piece of real estate.
The fact that there were ever two women quarreling over Woody Allen…I find slightly more difficult to imagine.
Long story short–(this is the bit you’ve probably already heard), one of the children adopted by Previn and Farrow was Soon-Yi Farrow Previn. About twelve years into Woody and Mia’s relationship–Farrow was in Allen’s apartment (with the famous view of Farrow’s home across the park), and discovered nude photographs of a twenty-year-old Soon-Yi just lying around, waiting to be discovered. Beware of young girls indeed. Hurts don’t it? If this proves anything though–you certainly can’t help who you’re attracted to.
Around twenty years ago–in the same neighborhood as the Soon-Yi scandal, Allen was accused of molesting one of their adopted children. He was never tried and convicted, but that stain was never properly washed away. Now that this accusation has been given new life, it feels as though Allen is a hard man to defend. When you write it all down on paper it looks rather…hinky. As for their “biological” son Ronan–though who are we kidding here? I’m no doctor, but even Helen Keller could be able to see that Ronan is a Sinatra. My god, look at that bone structure. Regardless, neither are fans of dear old Woody, and they are not ashamed to say it.
Not cool Ronan. If you weren’t so cute, smart and dreamy; and if your tweets weren’t so funny I would really hate you. As for Woody Allen, I don’t want for that to have happened. I love Woody Allen, I love his films, his sense of humor. The image of him molesting a child while she focuses numbly on an electric toy choo-choo train really hurts my heart. Yes, he is a little creepy and yes, his past behavior is questionable. The letter describes some pretty horrific things, and if I were to let it into my psyche, it really would taint “Annie Hall” forever. I’ve been through enough in my life. I just can’t get creeped out by “I lurve, you I loave you, I luff you”.
On the other hand, I feel for Dylan Farrow. Those are tough things to live with. Whether it happened, or it was a scenario that was fabricated; over time the fact and fiction has blended together. And let me state: not wanting it to be true, is not accusing her to lying. Still, one must wonder the motivation of such a public spectacle. What is Dylan Farrow seeking–absolution, revenge, forgiveness, attention? Does she want to destroy him? Does she want to spoil his chances at an Oscar? Or is this her way to heal? Either way, there are no winners in this scenario, just an awful lot of broken people.
It does makes you wonder…what lurks inside of people. How someone could molest a child or rape a woman, commit a violent crime and then just get right back to the business of living as per usual. How we masquerade addictions, and convince others of our health and sanity. Waltzing into the City of Troy with enemies inside the Trojan Horse. La de da. The question is–is it possible to separate the art from the actions? Then you wonder…has this whole time he’s been charming audiences with neurotic intellectual comedies and dramas, he’s harbored these terribly dark secrets. What is driving Dylan Farrow mad two decades later is the continued success of a talented filmmaker. I wonder how those justify their actions and move forward in their lives. As Philip Seymour Hoffman was once quoted:
I think that’s pretty much the human condition, you know, waking up and trying to live your day in a way that you can go to sleep and feel OK about yourself”.
And here we are, back again to Philip Seymour Hoffman. Good ole Lester Bangs from “Almost Famous”. Dead at 46 from a perfectly preventable death. Another one bites the dust.
We could talk about this all night, until our voices were raw and hoarse. Death cannot be undone, tragedies cannot be unlaced like a Christmas ribbon. Feeling chilled to the bone, exhausted and feeling perfectly existential, that was when I crawled back into bed to watch some classic “SATC”. Season three–when Carrie had big hair, and before she broke Aidan with her affair with Big. Poor Sarah Jessica Parker, she catches so much grief about the shape of her face. I don’t mean to drag her into my horse motif, but things have gotten entirely too serious and I’ve really got to lighten things up around here.
With all the additions and accusations, wars inward and outward, the world seems to be teeming with misery. The internet brings all that to your door if you let it. Once in a while, you’ve just got to laugh–despite the odds against us. That’s all we have really, that fleeting moment when you are free to horse around.
Images Courtesy of Google