[In “Play It Again, Sam”], Allan is sometimes visited by the specter of Humphrey Bogart, in trench coat and fedora. He has hard-boiled advice about “dames” and other matters. I had only the vaguest idea of who this apparition was supposed to be, but before long what Bogey was to Allan Felix, Woody Allen was for me. A mentor. A culture hero. A masculine ideal.
He sparked my interest in foreign films and old movies, in jazz and Russian literature, in Franz Kafka and Marshall McLuhan. Whenever there was a revival of “Sleeper,” “Bananas” or “Love and Death” in those pre-home-video days, I was there. My paperback copies of his first two collections, “Getting Even” and “Without Feathers,” were dog-eared from endless rereading. No present was ever as keenly coveted or quickly devoured as the hardcover of his third, “Side Effects,” which my parents gave me one Christmas. Mr. Allen’s prose made an even stronger impression on me than his films. His characteristic deflationary swerve from the lofty to the absurd, from high seriousness to utter banality, struck me as the very definition of funny.
The man himself was a plausible definition of sexy. The achievement of his early movies, culminating in “Annie Hall” (his seventh feature as a director) was to turn a scrawny, bookish, self-conscious nebbish into a player. His subsequent achievement was to turn himself into a serious filmmaker without surrendering that initial cachet. The Allen character in his various incarnations might be insecure, childishly silly, socially hapless (or all of the above), but he was never single for long. The aspects of his temperament held up for mockery — the hyper-intellectualism, the snobbery, the irreducible Jewishness — doubled as weapons of seduction. His self-deprecation was a tactic, a feint, a rope-a-dope, and he was plagued less by the frustration of his desires than by their fulfillment. As soon as the heart got what it wanted, it wanted something else. What impressionable, heterosexual, unathletic adolescent boy would not want a piece of that action?
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But men ARE attracted to teenaged girls, or to women who look like an approximation of teenaged for obvious and immutable evolutionarily reasons. (Joe Rogan is being uncharacteristically disingenuous here.)
There would otherwise be no need for the age of consent laws that were put in place by, yes, men — maybe even the same men, except they were also blessed with a particular wisdom.