There’s something uncanny about a lawsuit in which Woody Allen pillories the defendant as “sleazy” and “infantile,” prompting said defendant to argue “that it can’t have damaged his reputation by using his image because the film director has already ruined it himself.” But here we are: two aggressively disenchanting and disenchanted secularized Jews in a $10 million prize fight for the title of least respectable schmuck in the business. Woody only wants to retire comfortably from the deconstructing culture of his public-meets-private professional heyday. But Dov Charney, just in his smutty publicity, is the reasonable-enough deconstruction of Woody himself into Annie Hall ‘s avuncular Rob: “Twins, Max. Sixteen-year-olds. Can you imagine the mathematical possibilities?” Charney is an imaginative virtuoso of the economic possibilities.

Of Charney’s associates, only a lawyer could withstand the irony involved in claiming that “after the various sex scandals that Woody Allen has been associated with, corporate America’s desire to have Woody Allen endorse their product is not what he may believe it is” — in mounting a legal defense of a billboard that plasters the words American Apparel over an image from Annie Hall wherein Woody is “dressed as a Hasidic Jew with a long beard and black hat[.]” American Apparel’s corporate recourse to parodying and subverting the Jewish faith as a time-out from hawking wantons comes as no surprise at all.

Articles by James Poulos

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