Pale Wire (Popscene)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Silly (Eustace) Tilly

I gourged myself on Woody Allen's collected prose this week.

Brief and punchy, Allen's satires are mostly extended riffs. The thrill comes from seeing just how far he can carry his silliness before the grown-ups find out or he just plain runs out of material. He busts chops on the mafia, the government, the literary establishment, the young, the old, the Nazis, the Jews, business, academia and anybody else he can think of who take themselves seriously.

Allen is most successful when he stays on point. Too often, I felt, he gets carried away and takes it one absurdity too far.

The majority were first printed in The New Yorker.

Although it's not my particular brand of humor (I think it's a bit too showy. Sometimes I feel like his talent begs to be admired more than enjoyed.) I was struck by how much I'd read quoted or at least echoed elsewhere. I got here a little late.