I will preface this by saying I like Roman Polanski’s movies, at least the ones I’ve seen–Rosemary’s Baby, Frantic, The Pianist, and especially Chinatown; I saw a restored print of it ten years ago that was almost a religious experience.
His sudden arrest in Switzerland over the weekend has stunned the world’s artistic community. A true cinematic artist, one who’s long-suffered and even been forgiven by his victim, opinion seems to be that…the man is a rapist and why the fuck are we having this conversation?
Yeah. Rapist. He didn’t “have sex” with a 13-year old girl. He raped her. Well, first he got her drunk and high on quaaludes. Then he raped her.
Don’t believe me? Check out the Smoking Gun’s transcript of her testimony. I looked at it for the first time on Sunday. It made me ill.
Predictably, the comments at the New York Times website were full of fail. A lot of people seem to feel that he’s “suffered enough.” They base this, I guess, because he hasn’t been allowed to re-enter the United States since he fled in 1977. Instead, he’s had to content himself with making lots of money directing movies in Europe and living in France.
Ya know, I just got back from France. That’s really not a hardship assignment.
The latest bit of doucheoisie posturing is this:
Nearly 100 entertainment industry professionals, including the movie directors Pedro Almodovar, Wong Kar Wai and Wim Wenders urged in a petition that Mr. Polanski be release, saying: “Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision.”
Ronald Harwood, who won an Oscar as screenwriter of “The Pianist,” which Mr. Polanski directed, said: “It’s really disgraceful. Both the Americans and the Swiss have miscalculated.”
Jack Lang, a former French culture minister, said that for Europeans the development showed that the American system of justice had run amok.
“Sometimes, the American justice system shows an excess of formalism,” Mr. Lang said, “like an infernal machine that advances inexorably and blindly.”
One wonders, however, if Wong Kar Wei, Wim Wenders, or Pedro Almodovar would feel comfortable leaving a prepubescent female relative unattended around Roman Polanski. Or if they’d be arguing about the “great artist” exemption for a shocking act of rape if it were their 13-year old daughter.
Liss McEwan, as usual, hits it right on the head:
Very few, if any, of the people who have publicly defended Polanski, or who have worked with him, make it their business to champion or associate themselves with admitted child rapists. They make an exception for Polanski for the same reason exceptions have been for other famous, artistic men – directors, writers, actors, comedians, singers, musicians, dancers, choreographers, painters, sculptors, photographers – who have been known to sexually assault women and/or children: Because geniuses get special dispensation.
Because there’s only one Roman Polanski.
So goes the breathless defense of the artiste, while the flipside of that particular coin, because thirteen-year-old girls are a dime a dozen, goes unspoken.
So yeah. Overaggressive prosecution! Of a child molester! Who admitted to it! That’s overzealousness, all right! Just remember, as long as you can paint a nice picture or make a good movie, you get to rape young girls!
But not boys. That would be sick.