Watching Woody Allen movies, for me, is a struggle between enjoying myself and forgetting the nagging _ of the horrifying depravities of that artist's life. (And the fact that I'm willing to sound like a suburban housewife by saying that is testament enough of the inappropriateness of Woody Allen's infamous (illegal) private life..)
But before I go off on the inevitable tangent on the ethics of art, I'm going to introduce my quote: a long favorite line from a long favorite movie (Annie Hall).
I'm not really a cynic nor a pessimist, but I do pledge by this quote in the least cynical/pessimist way.
I think, for once, Woody Allen doesn't mean his words in his neurotically morbid way - I think he means that there are two types of people in the world: people who are allowed to be sad -the blind, the deaf, and the dying- and people who are not. No matter what the circumstances.
If you really have a visible condition (heartbreak, terminal illness, a lack of a limb/sense etc.), you fall in the former category - People who can be sad. People whose lives Woody Allen calls "horrible." This lucky affiliation means that you have a right to be depressed, or cynical, or anti-ambitious (if you want to be), without having sharp daggers of judgemental looks thrown upon your back. No, your negative feelings seem to be understood, and even - dare I say it? - accepted by society as normal/expected.
(Un)Fortunately, if you don't fall into the above category, you - like me - are among the the large ranks of the "miserable"ones. People who can't express discontent without feeling just a little bit ungrateful. There's always going to be one more staving kid in a Third World Country, or one more kid with abusive/neglecting parents - one more kid who is infinitely worse off than you are, so being sad about your own relatively plushy life will make you and your problems (valid as they might be) trivial. There's a sort of dilemma between being relatively well-off (mostly monetarily because that is all that society can see) and having problems that make you miserable. You're lucky to be where you are, so, how -society asks- do you have a right to be sad?
So miserable people don't have just the honor of the tragedies of human life (that befall everybody, I'm told), but also those of the trivialization of these tragedies by others -and themselves- who think them lucky to have what they've got, and better off not complaining.
I came home crying one evening -pricked particularly deeply by some thorn of everyday life- to my mother's arms and her comforting words: "Be grateful fo what you've got baby, because there's a kid out there in Africa starving right now."
I'd basically been told that I wasn't allowed to be sad because a kid is starving in Africa.
I know my mother meant no harm, and I do care for starving children, but it is a burden indeed when you have to feel sad about whatever is making you sad in the first place, as well as wretched and ashamed at the percieved relative triviality of your problems.
So cheers to being miserable right?