28 September 2009

The renegade who had it made / Retrieved for a bounty

Joan Z Shore | Polanski's Arrest: Shame on the Swiss

Arresting Roman Polanski the other day in Zurich, where he was to receive an honorary award at a film festival, was disgraceful and unjustifiable. Polanski, now 76, has been living in France for over thirty years, and has been traveling and working in Europe unhindered, but the Swiss acted on an old extradition treaty with the U.S. and seized him! The Swiss Justice Ministry will decide whether to extradite him to the United States.
I've been hearing versions of that argument all over, and they're all bullshit. You can shove that "He was being honored and besides he's an ARTIST!" right up your a**. Polanski drugged and raped a girl. End of story. I don't care if he was a butcher, or a baker, or the living reincarnation of Michelangelo Buonarroti, Claude Monet and Federico Fellini rolled into one.

"He was to receive an honorary award." That's the excuse? An award? I'm sure a goddamned statuette would cancel out someone abusing your daughter or sister or wife. "He may have forced himself on my little girl, but I'd hate to disrupt his award ceremony, so let's let him go." Screw you two times.
The 13-year old model 'seduced' by Polanski had been thrust onto him by her mother, who wanted her in the movies. The girl was just a few weeks short of her 14th birthday, which was the age of consent in California.
You know what's even more despicable of an excuse than she was asking for it? Her mother was asking for it for her. Let's put aside the fact that Polanski plied her with booze and ludes and that she objected to being violated anally and vaginally because her mother was desperate for her to be a star. Surely children of overbearing parents forfeit the right to refuse sex, right? Oh, and also ignore Polanski's own admission that he knew she was underage.
I met Polanski shortly after he fled America and was filming Tess in Normandy. I was working in the CBS News bureau in Paris, and I accompanied Mike Wallace for a Sixty Minutes interview with Polanski on the set. Mike thought he would be meeting the devil incarnate, but was utterly charmed by Roman's sobriety and intelligence.
In that case drop the charges forthwith. Intelligent rapists are fine by me. Really, Joan Z Shore? You call yourself a feminist and you're letting Polanski off the hook because he was sober and smart? That's how it's going to be? I am in awe of your principles. (Perhaps this explains why the Left was okay with all the Kennedeys' womanizing. Oh, wait. I forgot about the "sobriety" thing. Never mind.)

Hang the son of a bitch.

Actually, scratch that. Prison would be worse for this jackass. People in prisons, both guards and inmates, don't like child rapists. That's just one way prisons are more civilized societies than the Huffington Post.

(Via Nick Gillespie, who comments:
There are arguments against continuing to pursue Polanski, not least of which is the fact that he made a civil settlement with his now-middle-aged victim who has publicly forgiven him. So some measure of restitution has been acheived.
Actually, I think that's a terrible reason. The point of making statutory rape distinct from rape generally is to protect all minors who may become victims, not just the particular victim of the act being prosecuted. Statutory rape means we ignore the mindset of the victim. It's irrelevant. It doesn't suddenly become relevant thirty years later. The law doesn't care what Samantha Gailey thought about it when she was 13, and it shouldn't care now. Additionally, the criminal justice system is not about the personal retribution or restitution for the victim. What Polasnki did was not just an affront to Gailey, but to order, nature, childhood and innocence.

(Also, note well that even putting aside the matter of Gailey's age, she objected vigorously to his advances even after he drugged her. This would be rape no matter how old she was at the time.))

(Subject line)

PS I don't have the patience for this anymore, but every single argument I've come across defending Polanski is a goddamned abortion of rationality. I'll turn you over to Jim at Porch Dog, who absolutely planes Anne Applebaum's Washington Post Op-Ed. Ken at Popehat razes the Polanski apologists in general, as well as providing some links to similar efforts. Here's a short excerpt from Popehat, summarizing the basic flavors of Polanski defender arguments:
1. That it is morally acceptable to gloat over the fact that a rape victim does not want the perpetrator tried, even when she specifically says it is because she can’t bear for her family to be dragged through the mud.
2. That the victim’s mother fed her to Polanski to promote her career — as if this is a morally significant mitigating factor, as if it in any way excuses the conduct.
3. That the victim — who, in her grand jury testimony, referred to the act performing cunnilingus as “performing cuddliness” — was a sophisticated seductress.
4. That it is irrational or vengeful to pursue a child-rapist for 32 years, because moral responsibility for rape has a shelf-life.
5. That it is irrational or vengeful to fail to forgive a child-rapist, and excuse him from legal consequences, when he previously experienced great hardship.
6. That living a life of luxury in France is a great hardship. (For people with normal moral sensibilities, to whom rape is not properly classified as “sexual liberation,” I grant you it might be.)
7. That Great Men of letters exist on a different plane, and that right-thinking people overlook their peccadilloes.
8. That opposition to drugging and having sex with 13-year-olds — let alone raping them — is a sign of Puritanism.
9. That the Fugitive Disentitlement Doctrine, which generally prevents fugitives from litigating their cases in the forum they fled, is somehow unfair.
10. That a trial judge is bound by the deal a defendant cuts with the prosecution.
PPS Polanski isn't even that damn good of a director. Rosemary's Baby was some intense stuff; I'll give him credit for that one. His version of Macbeth was average at best, and The Ninth Gate shat all over PĂ©rez-Reverte's excellent source material, The Club Dumas. That was such a cock-up of such a great book that I honestly can't consider the guy to be that good.


  1. Couldn't agree with you more. Well said. Moreover, very nicely done on the criminal law analysis vis a vis retributive justice theory. I could swear you were a law student.

  2. Thanks, buddy. I actually felt like I was out on a limb with that part of the post, so it's nice to hear my instinct isn't completely out of whack.