3/23/09

New Yorker: Woody Allen's Lobster Characters Go After Bernie Madoff

Who doesn't want revenge on Bernie Madoff, the king-sized goniff? The lawyers have given the green light to all the victims to go out and about shouting and murmuring about their misfortunes. For what purpose, I cannot fathom. And even though Bernie is in jail now for the next 150 years, nobody seems satisfied that justice has prevailed.

In Woody Allen's universe, there is an exquisite form of divine justice, if not for each one of us in this life, then in our next incarnations.

Recently deceased characters Moscowitz and Silverman come back to life observing, “Lobsters? This is how I wind up after leading a just life? In a tank on Third Avenue?”

Who cannot visualize the long-gone Oscar's Salt of the Sea Restaurant on Third Avenue between sixty-seventh and sixty-eighth streets? As a kid I used to stand outside (never inside) the restaurant and watch the absolutely not kosher lobsters in the tank in the window clawing at each other in a serene sort of agony awaiting their inevitable fates.

Oh, the symbolism. That Woody Allen is a deep thinker with a true sensitivity both to religious meaning and to the question of theodicy, i. e., why all those bad things happen to such good people.

Woody's protagonist lobsters wreak their elegant vengeance on Bernie Madoff this week in Allen's tale of Manhattan in New Yorker's Shouts and Murmurs, "Tails of Manhattan." I am still laughing.

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