WOODY WEDNESDAY Open Letter to Woody Allen on T.S. Eliot Part 8

Woody Allen On Bergman

Woody Allen On Bergman

Woody Allen Show

Essay on Woody Allen films

Match point Trailer

Match point

Crimes and misdemeanors

Part 2

Part 3

Woody commenting on Midnight in Paris

Valerie Eliot and TS Eliot after their marriage in January 1957

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T. S. Eliot in the 1920’s

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_____Actor David Lowe and poet T.S. Eliot.

________December 22, 2015

Letty Aronson, c/o New York, New York 10001

Dear Mrs. Aronson,I have enclosed a Christmas Card from my family and I hope you enjoy it. I have also broke down a Christmas related poem by T.S.Eliot. Did you know that Eliot converted to Christinity about 38 years before he died? I wrote you a couple months ago about my new blog series  ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” As you know Solomon took a nihilistic look at life UNDER THE SUN (life without God in the picture). I noticed that concerning Woody’s latest movie IRRATIONAL MAN Woody commented:

The only thing you can do in life is distract yourself so you have moments that are not reality...I go to a movie and watch Fred Astaire dance so I’m not thinking about death and the decaying of my body. And then you come out and the problems hit you in the face….What distracts me is I try to get [actors] to do a scene right…I’ll solve [an acting problem]. If I don’t solve it it will be a bad movie but i won’t die. Film making is to distract me. It’s like how they give the inmates basket weaving.”

In the movie IRRATIONAL MAN Abe Lucas is happiest when he distracts himself with a project of killing someone he considers evil. Just like Woody, Lucas has a hard time finding a lasting meaning for his life and is settling for distractions. (As a Christian I reject this view and I wish Woody would reconsider just trying to distract himself AND instead take a look into the path Eliot decided on.)

Several times man’s nihilistic situation  is alluded to in Woody’s films and in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS this scene below with T.S.ELIOT is a perfect example.  Gil Pender has this short encounter with T.S. Eliot and he tells Eliot of his admiration for the poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and Gil  also comments on Californians inclination to take drugs with his mention of COKE (Cocaine) SPOONS. 

GIL PENDER WHILE GETTING INTO CAR: Gil Pender.-

T.S.EILIOT: Tom Eliot.

GIL PENDER: Tom Eliot? Tom Stearns Eliot? T.S Eliot?  T.S. Eliot?

T.S.EILIOT: – Pender.-

GIL PENDER: PRUFROCK’S like my mantra! OK. Sorry. Sorry. Listen. Where I come from, people measure out their lives with COKE SPOONS. 

Is that all there is left to life just measuring the length of it? Ironically, after penning THE LOVE SONG OF J. ALFRED PRUFROCK and THE WASTELAND, T.S.Eliot wrote THE JOURNEY OF THE MAGI after becoming a Christian.

From the book ART AND THE BIBLE by Francis Schaeffer:

In our own day, men like Picasso and T. S. Eliot developed new styles in order to speak a new message…. Think, for example, of T. S. Eliot’s form of poetry in The Waste Land. The fragmented form matches the vision of fragmented man. But it is intriguing that after T. S. Eliot became a Christian — for example, in The Journey of the Magi — he did not use quite this same form. Rather, he adapted it for the message he was now giving — a message with a Christian character. But he didn’t entirely give up the form; he didn’t go back to Tennyson. Rather, he adapted the form that he used in The Waste Land, changing it to fit the message that he was now giving. In other words, T. S. Eliot the Christian wrote somewhat differently than T. S. Eliot the “modern man.” Therefore, while we must use twentieth-century styles, we must not use them in such a way as to be dominated by the world-views out of which they have arisen.

On You Tube I watched some videos called THE COMMON ROOM from Biola University and in those videos were these comments.

Matt Jenson, Biola Assoc Prof of Theology:

When we look at T.S. Eliot’s poetry he goes through a number of phases maybe marked most significantly by his conversion to Christianity. HE FOUND THE ANSWER in Jesus but he still was asking the same questions that centered around the real threat of profound meaninglessness. 

Janelle Aijian, Assoc Prof Torrey Honors Institute:

The existentialist’s point is actually there is nothing I can do to create meaning out of this world if that has not been imbued by it’s author and that is what SARTRE is saying just as loudly as DOSTOEVSKY, that the creator has to be the one who is imbuing meaning. So the question with existentialists is “Are you an atheist existentialist or a Christian one?” If you are an atheist you are saying this meaning making is impossible. The world doesn’t have meaning. Deal with it because there is no source of meaning coming from outside that is coming from the author that is actually creating the coherence of the whole. 

Joe Henderson, Asst Prof, Torrey Honors Institute:

T.S.Eliot with Christianity began to look outside himself, outside the modern experience for something that could come and bring salvation or grace or some kind of sense of meaning. 

In the article “Advent as a Season for Conversion: TS Eliot and “The Journey of the Magi,” 12-14-12,  Holly Ordway observed:

T.S. Eliot, arguably the finest poet of the 20th century, converted to Christianity as an adult. The poem “The Journey of the Magi” was written shortly after his conversion; an imaginative extrapolation of what the magi experienced on their journey to see the infant Christ, it is also an extended metaphor for the journey to faith in Christ.

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The poem finishes up like this:

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

There are many possible interpretations here but some have speculated that after becoming a follower of Christ these three kings went back to their kingdoms and were surrounded by unbelievers and the three kings knew that the ultimate price would have to be paid for the sin of the world when the sinless Christ went to the cross to die for sinners.

It seems tragic to me that T.S.Eliot’s work prior to his conversion was chosen by WOODY when over half of Eliot’s life was after he left his earlier secular outlook of despair behind.

I want to thank you and Woody for tackling the big issues in life and I wish you a very Merry Christmas. Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

Midnight in Paris trailer

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The mass media turned Picasso into a celebrity, and the public deprived him of privacy and wanted to know his every step, but his later art was given very little attention and was regarded as no more than the hobby of an aging genius who could do nothing but talk about himself in his pictures. Picasso’s late works are an expression of his final refusal to fit into categories. He did whatever he wanted in art and did not arouse a word of criticism.

With his adaptation of “Las Meninas” by Velászquez and his experiments with Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, was Picasso still trying to discover something new, or was he just laughing at the public, its stupidity and its inability to see the obvious.

A number of elements had become characteristic in his art of this period: Picasso’s use of simplified imagery, the way he let the unpainted canvas shine through, his emphatic use of lines, and the vagueness of the subject. In 1956, the artist would comment, referring to some schoolchildren: “When I was as old as these children, I could draw like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to learn to draw like them.”

In the last years of his life, painting became an obsession with Picasso, and he would date each picture with absolute precision, thus creating a vast amount of similar paintings — as if attempting to crystallize individual moments of time, but knowing that, in the end, everything would be in vain.

The movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS offers many of the same themes we see in Ecclesiastes. The second post looked at the question: WAS THERE EVER A GOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT?

In the third post in this series we discover in Ecclesiastes that man UNDER THE SUN finds himself caught in the never ending cycle of birth and death. The SURREALISTS make a leap into the area of nonreason in order to get out of this cycle and that is why the scene in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel works so well!!!! These surrealists look to the area of their dreams to find a meaning for their lives and their break with reality is  only because they know that they can’t find a rational meaning in life without God in the picture.

The fourth post looks at the solution of WINE, WOMEN AND SONG and the fifth and sixth posts look at the solution T.S.Eliotfound in the Christian Faith and how he left his fragmented message of pessimism behind. In the seventh post the SURREALISTS say that time and chance is all we have but how can that explain love or art and the hunger for God? The eighth  post looks at the subject of DEATH both in Ecclesiastes and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. In the ninth post we look at the nihilistic worldview of Woody Allen and why he keeps putting suicides into his films.

In the tenth post I show how Woody Allen pokes fun at the brilliant thinkers of this world and how King Solomon did the same thing 3000 years ago. In the eleventh post I point out how many of Woody Allen’s liberal political views come a lack of understanding of the sinful nature of man and where it originated. In the twelfth post I look at the mannishness of man and vacuum in his heart that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God.

In the thirteenth post we look at the life of Ernest Hemingway as pictured in MIDNIGHT AND PARIS and relate it to the change of outlook he had on life as the years passed. In the fourteenth post we look at Hemingway’s idea of Paris being a movable  feast. The fifteenth and sixteenth posts both compare Hemingway’s statement, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know…”  with Ecclesiastes 2:18 “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” The seventeenth post looks at these words Woody Allen put into Hemingway’s mouth,  “We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all.”

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Hemingway and Gil Pender talk about their literary idol Mark Twain and the eighteenth post is summed up nicely by Kris Hemphill‘swords, “Both Twain and [King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes] voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it? The nineteenth post looks at the tension felt both in the life of Gil Pender (written by Woody Allen) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and in Mark Twain’s life and that is when an atheist says he wants to scoff at the idea THAT WE WERE PUT HERE FOR A PURPOSE but he must stay face the reality of  Ecclesiastes 3:11 that says “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” and  THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING! Therefore, the secular view that there is no such thing as love or purpose looks implausible. The twentieth post examines how Mark Twain discovered just like King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is no explanation  for the suffering and injustice that occurs in life UNDER THE SUN. Solomon actually brought God back into the picture in the last chapter and he looked  ABOVE THE SUN for the books to be balanced and for the tears to be wiped away.

The twenty-first post looks at the words of King Solomon, Woody Allen and Mark Twain that without God in the picture our lives UNDER THE SUN will accomplish nothing that lasts. Thetwenty-second post looks at King Solomon’s experiment 3000 years that proved that luxuries can’t bring satisfaction to one’s life but we have seen this proven over and over through the ages. Mark Twain lampooned the rich in his book “The Gilded Age” and he discussed  get rich quick fever, but Sam Clemens loved money and the comfort and luxuries it could buy. Likewise Scott Fitzgerald  was very successful in the 1920’s after his publication of THE GREAT GATSBY and lived a lavish lifestyle until his death in 1940 as a result of alcoholism.

In the twenty-third post we look at Mark Twain’s statement that people should either commit suicide or stay drunk if they are “demonstrably wise” and want to “keep their reasoning faculties.” We actually see this play out in the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with the character Zelda Fitzgerald. In the twenty-fourthtwenty-fifth and twenty-sixth posts I look at Mark Twain and the issue of racism. In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS we see the difference between the attitudes concerning race in 1925 Paris and the rest of the world.

The twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth posts are summing up Mark Twain. In the 29th post we ask did MIDNIGHT IN PARIS accurately portray Hemingway’s personality and outlook on life? and in the 30th post the life and views of Hemingway are summed up.

In the 31st post we will observe that just like Solomon Picasso slept with many women. Solomon actually slept with  over 1000 women ( Eccl 2:8, I Kings 11:3), and both men ended their lives bitter against all women and in the 32nd post we look at what happened to these former lovers of Picasso. In the 33rd post we see that Picasso  deliberately painted his secular  worldview of fragmentation on his canvas but he could not live with the loss of humanness and he reverted back at crucial points and painted those he loved with all his genius and with all their humanness!!! In the 34th post  we notice that both Solomon in Ecclesiastes and Picasso in his painting had an obsession with the issue of their impending death!!!

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Related posts:

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 7 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part F, SURREALISTS AND THE IDEA OF ABSURDITY AND CHANCE)

December 23, 2015 – 4:15 am

Woody Allen believes that we live in a cold, violent and meaningless universe and it seems that his main character (Gil Pender, played by Owen Wilson) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS shares that view. Pender’s meeting with the Surrealists is by far the best scene in the movie because they are ones who can […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 6 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part E, A FURTHER LOOK AT T.S. Eliot’s DESPAIR AND THEN HIS SOLUTION)

December 16, 2015 – 4:56 am

In the last post I pointed out how King Solomon in Ecclesiastes painted a dismal situation for modern man in life UNDER THE SUN  and that Bertrand Russell, and T.S. Eliot and  other modern writers had agreed with Solomon’s view. However, T.S. Eliot had found a solution to this problem and put his faith in […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 5 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part D, A LOOK AT T.S. Eliot’s DESPAIR AND THEN HIS SOLUTION)

December 9, 2015 – 4:41 am

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Gil Pender ponders the advice he gets from his literary heroes from the 1920’s. King Solomon in Ecclesiastes painted a dismal situation for modern man in life UNDER THE SUN  and many modern artists, poets, and philosophers have agreed. In the 1920’s T.S.Eliot and his  house guest Bertrand Russell were two of […]

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