Media

10 Key Steps for Writing About the Woody Allen Scandal That Will Wow the Glitterati and Your Pretentious Editor

A public journalism service announcement.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

For would-be commentators struggling to keep up with the most explosive celebrity scandal in 2014, here are a few helpful hints.

1. Insist that you don't want to write about the scandal and agonize over the flood of useless and irresponsible commentary. Then write about it, preferably at great length.

2. Claim that you are not the sort of person who does armchair psychologizing and legalizing, then do it anyway. Bonus: mention the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders with great confidence.

3. Know your characters! Choose from a variety of cultural stereotypes: Allen the Creepy Lech, Mia the Unhinged, Dylan the Deluded, Ronan the Opportunist. Alternatively: Allen the Misunderstood Genius, Mia the Mother Bountiful, Dylan the Very Scarred Person, Ronan the Prodigy. Bonus: Draw on fictional examples of same (Lolita will show your literary chops).

3. Assert an upstanding moral attitude through use of words like "behoove" (It might behoove Mr. Allen…) and “decency” (if Mia had any...), etc.

4. Pretend objectivity with phrases like, “Of course, we really don’t know the facts in this story” and, “We’ll likely never know what happened.” Then deliver foregone conclusions in exhaustive detail.

5. Pretend insight into the minds of people you have never met. Compare them to your relatives. Remember: celebrities are just like us!

6. Do not, under any circumstances, suggest that social and legal attitudes shift over time. Cultural relativism is strictly verboten.

7. Establish credibility by citing your friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who worked/socialized/went to band camp with the parties in question. Make something up if necessary; no one will know.

8. Liberally sprinkle your article with generalizations: “All predators groom their victims,” “Women in acrimonious divorces always use children as leverage," “victims of child abuse unfailingly exhibit x/y/z behaviors.” And so on.

9. Hint that anyone who disagrees with your position is a moral leper. Or just say it outright.

10. Repeat the previous steps several times.

Finis! Your article is now ready for publication in everything from the tackiest tabloid website to the pages of the most august newspaper.

P.S. Don’t forget to tweet prolifically.

Lynn Parramore is contributing editor at AlterNet. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU, and she serves on the editorial board of Lapham's Quarterly. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.