John, you call it flattery, I call it Allen's invitation to the less informed to enter into his fantasy without too much difficulty. How could someone less in the know enjoy the film if it contained too many obscure references? Yet, the portrayals are not so dumbed down as to be insulting. So, the fantasy is convincing. And I did go into it blind, so I was delighted when I figured out what was going on.
Gregory Beyer (Huffington Post) says a little differently what I was trying to express about Allen's accessibility in earlier posts: "...Allen has been the focus of much positive attention in academia, and it's been said this is due to his mix of high and low culture (beavers that take over Carnegie Hall, Kafka references alongside men who long only to sit waist high in gravy)..."
The pedantic guy was not disdained because he had knowledge, he was disdained because he was not humble in his knowledge. But that said, I don't feel that he was meant to be portrayed in an entirely negative way. Some of what I read leads me to believe that Allen may have been pointing a finger at himself in that role, while Wilson represents the doe-eyed, awed person that he either used to be or wishes he could be. A few writers have commented on the lack of darkness in this film, relative to Allen's usual cynical edge. It's a part of what I love about the film.
I'm not criticizing your desire for moral truth in films, John, but I do wonder why it's so important as to trump ordinary truth. I mean, is not the film's message about learning to be satisfied with and make the best of what you have not moral enough? Does moral truth in films justify more for you the western privilege and expense of the film industry? I could be convinced by that argument more than any other probably. I find movies that ring of truth to me more appealing than ones that don't. But I can still sit back and enjoy a crappy Transformers movie because I love watching %$#@! robots fighting. Ultimately you're right, though--when it comes to feelings and art, there's no accounting for taste.