View Full Version : Woody Allen on the attacks

Captain Lance Murdoch
10-26-2001, 11:43 AM
Does anyone out there know what piece Woody Allen read in the Beyond Words fund raiser sponsered by the New Yorker? It was the most moving thing I've heard since the attacks, but I cannot locate the title of the reading or the author.

Slithy Tove
10-26-2001, 02:17 PM
I only was listening with half an ear to NPR, but I remember that it was a note from Ring Lardner Sr. to his son.

(BTW, another good father-son missive is Lord Chesterfield's adivce to his son.)

10-26-2001, 02:31 PM
Here are the references from an NPR website. The links on the reader's names go to RealAudio excerpts.


Captain Lance Murdoch
10-26-2001, 03:47 PM

Captain Lance Murdoch
10-26-2001, 05:05 PM
For those interested, this is the peice I had in mind. It was written by Jimmy Cannon in 1943.

False Alarm

The voice talked about the city. It was the radio announcerís voice and I resented its clean diction and its wheedling salesmanship. The voice spoke to the people of the city as if it were trying to sell them a laxative, a tube of toothpaste, a cake of soap or a pack of cigarettes. It was a cold voice aloof and precise and I knew the announcer had spent a lot of time with vocal teachers. The voice told the people of the city to stay off the streets, to be calm, to remain in their homes until the all-clear sounded. The voice said unidentified planes had been spotted beading toward the city.

Those planes, I thought are coming to bomb my family and my friends, to try and destroy the city I love.

We sat there in the barracks waiting to go on guard and we cursed the planes and I felt angry and helpless.

I love the city beyond all places. Iím not a man for country places and the choir of the crickets annoys me late at night because I want to hear the roaring ebb and flow of Broadway. I like to hear the "L" trains in the distance and even after they tore down the structure, I used to listen for them and feel sad when I couldnít hear their rolling clatter. The noise a brook makes is not for me. I want the music in the stork club. I see more beauty in the lights of the city than I do in the stars of the sky. I want to see the sun rise in the windows of the Empire State building. All the hills in the world canít stir me the way the big buildings do.

It was a false alarm. The planes never came, but that polite announcerís voice made me hate the enemies of democracy more than anything else ever will.

I had always thought of war being fought in strange lands, in parched fields or in far away mud. I thought of it as something that happened in remote cities where other people lived. Although Iíve always thought our lives and our property were in jeopardy, I never imagined New York under fire. I do now.

I think of my family and my friends in the city I love every time I take a rifle in my hands and every time I fix my bayonet.

As the warning voice droned in Sam Levinsonís radio, I though of Mr. Durkin who lived in our house on Hudson Street when I was a child. He was a bricklayer, stooped from troweling mortar. I though of him on a thin ladder on the skeleton of a building. I thought of the ladder buckling and breaking and Mr. Durkin falling. I remembered him coming home mangled and bandaged and how difficult it was to get the stretcher up the narrow stairs. I thought how hard Mr. Durkin worked to build these edifices which are the symbol of our civilization. I thought of the pride he had in them. I remembered him on a Sunday afternoon taking me by the hand and showing me one. The white strips still showing across on the windows the dust from the bricks still in a fog about the foundation. I thought of the sweat and the blood Mr. Durkin had put into these buildings. I thought of the architectsí dreams.

A single plane coming out of the mists at Sandy Hook could destroy all that Mr. Durkin had worked for and had pride in. One bomb might fall and all the skill and strength, all the living and the dying, all the sweat and the beauty and the dream would vanish and the winter wind would carry the dust away.

I thought of that and I thought of those who snickered at the likes of me. They mocked the pieces I wrote about the army. They said I was a sucker because I stayed in even thought I was over twenty-eight and I could have gone out. There were the isolationists who said we were a people apart and we were immune to invasion and fire. What did they say then? What did they think? What was in their minds as the announcerís voice spoke the warning? Did they say these buildings would not fall, these people would not die, this city would not be bombed? Did they say we are a people apart then?

I hope they said we are wrong and we admit it. We are a united people now and we must make up for what we did. We were guilty. We will work for forgiveness.

In my outfit, most of the guys are from the city. They telephoned their families and they were angrily glad the warnings had been false. But on the field, as we went through a bayonet drill the non-coms didnít have to drive us. We grunted with pleased exertion as we made the long thrusts and the short thrusts and the jabs. The war had come to the city and we were part of the city.

10-26-2001, 06:20 PM
You know, I'm really glad I finally opened this thread. I'd only been half-glancing at it all day, wondering how Woody Allen could be so predatory (I thought the 's' was just superfluous).

TV time
10-26-2001, 07:19 PM
I am glad I tuned in too.

Thanks. Do you know who I can contact to get permission to run it in my paper?


10-26-2001, 09:34 PM
Jimmy Cannon was a NYC sportswriter who covered the war for "Stars & Stripes." I don't know where the item was published, but that'll give you a start on finding out where to go.