For some reason, while reading this slice of a New York interview with Woody Allen ...

NY: Do you have a theory about why the culture keeps getting coarser?

WA: The country has, over the years, moved to the right. And it's possible that accompanying that move to the right, you also get a lessening of taste. But I don't know if what I'm saying is true, because I have shown some very good films--Bergman, Fellini--to kids from good schools like Yale. Bright kids. And they were not impressed. You know, it wasn't as though I picked out some kid from the Midwest who's a churchgoing barbarian. Those same kids that you see in the movie house doubled over with laughter over fraternity toilet jokes are very often kids from Columbia and Yale. We might also still be feeling the fallout from the sexual revolution, when everybody just ran amok talking dirty and doing things that were forbidden and it became the mark of drama and comedy to be simply outrageous. Not necessarily dramatically interesting or particularly comic, but just outrageous.

... I had a sudden vision of a group of Midwestern monks lovingly preserving the last surviving copies of Manhattan and Annie Hall through a long Dark Age, while wolves howl in Morningside Heights and owls nest in the ruins of Branford College.

I know, I know: Very Crunchy Con. I think I'll have a stiff drink.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to