Schrodinger’s cat Experiment: Woody Allen
As I read about Dylan Allen and her description of events from her childhood – there seems to be a palpable backlash on both sides of what she’s said, and Woody Allen’s reaction to it. For those whom may not be aware, Dylan has accused her adoptive father of molestation, beginning when she was 7; He was investigated twice for this in Connecticut, with both investigations ending with an inability to charge him due to lack of evidence. With this, the Woody Allen side of the project has called the allegations “untrue and disgraceful”, stating when the initial charges were made, that Mia Farrow (Dylan’s adoptive mother) was coaching Dylan on how to lie.
There seems to be 3 distinct lines of thought on this; Either Dylan has lied about the incidents from over 20 years ago, or Woody Allen is lying about his involvement with her, or those whom chalk this up to a “He Said, She Said” incident, where no fault can be placed. It’s the 3rd line of thought that makes me uneasy.
It is Schrodinger’s cat.
I will come back to Schrodinger, and his possibly alive or dead cat in a moment. Before that, I will need to explain a few things that help associate this situation to Schrodinger’s legendary experiment.
Our society is based on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” – outside of the court of public opinion, when we have to approach the guilt or innocence of a person to be un-objective, we must assume they are innocent beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words – even though he sounds despicable in the accusations, we must assume Woody Allen to be innocent.
Here in America, we have a tendency to presume guilt based off accusations; we read about and watch news on terrible things, and formulate our own opinions of the events in question. We question the morality of the person’s decisions and apply them to the current accusations, assuming the two are linked irrevocably. This is extremely common – to the point where if someone isn’t charged, or found guilty of crimes in which they are accused, there is public outcry, as if we know more from the media then the jury presiding over the case (Please see Simpson, O.J., and Zimmerman, George).
With the uptick of the 24 hour news cycle informing us about the presumed guilt or innocence of subjects, we have a somewhat new phenomenon occurring – victim blaming. In this, the victim of a crime is reported to be less than a victim for reporting or accusing another of a crime, and instead the aggressor for standing up for themselves. The guilt of innocence becomes the crime towards the victim, as they not only bear the crime perpetuated on them, but the burden of proof to show they are not only a victim, but that the accused is actually guilty.
With this in mind, there are many whom have sided with Woody Allen and defend that he was never charged with a crime. That this was perpetrated by a vengeful, scorned ex-wife using their daughter as a pawn in divorce proceedings. That if he wasn’t innocent, the evidence would have proved this long ago – therefore, innocent until proven guilty.
But the same can be said for the victim – are they not innocent until the evidence proves them to be wrong, untruthful, or both? While the burden of proof in court lies with the prosecution, does the victim not also carry this burden? And if they have been wronged – especially as a child – isn’t this burden much greater?
This leads us back to the aforementioned correlation to Schrodinger’ cat. At some point – no matter your feelings on this situation – have to assume both parties are innocent at the same time. Why would someone lie about being abused for 20 years? We have to assume innocence there. And with the burden of proof – wouldn’t the accused be innocent until proven guilty? This created quite the paradox with a situation that has become far more public and long lasting that anyone could have ever predicted.
Any backlash that has been sent Dylan’s way has to deal with the timing of this event; however, her letter explains that since Woody is a perennial award show nominee, combined with her living in fear, she has decided to try and take back this time without fear. While commendable, it is also curious. Why now? Why this year?
As with Schrodinger’s Cat, we cannot know which state this is in until someone opens the box. Either Woody or Dylan has been lying for over 20 years. Until that time (which might never come) we must assume the paradox – both of them are innocent and neither is lying about this. And with this, we will probably never know the complete truth.