Monday, October 05, 2009

Dear Hollywood, you're dumber than you think I think you are

I've refrained from commenting about the Roman Polanski controversy for a few reasons.  Firstly, every other asshole with an opinion has already done so, so there isn't much left to say.  Secondly, I didn't care all that much; so some director (a talented one, I admit) finally got arrested for a thirty-year-old indiscretion.  Big deal.

Unfortunately, the shocking response of the so-called Hollywood elite has forced my hand.  As Paulo Freire (allegedly) said, "Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."

I won't rehash any of the details, but to recap: in 1977 Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl champagne and quaalude (known as Mandrax in South Africa), then proceeded to anally rape her despite her begging him to stop.  Fearing arrest, Polanski fled authorities and has been on the run ever since, but was finally arrested recently in Switzerland.  Let me explain something to you, Polanski.  This business requires a certain amount of finesse.

This seems in order, right?  A child rapist is arrested and it appears justice is finally served.  Sadly, most of Hollywood doesn't see it that way.  Following Polanski's arrest, many of the big hitters have come out in support of Polanski.  What the fuck?  People like Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, David Lynch, Ethan Coen, Harvey Weinstein and Jonathan Demme have signed a petition demanding his release, and other big names have vocally supported him.  Whoopi Goldberg has sparked a shitstorm by publicly claiming that it wasn't "rape-rape".  I see you like publicity, Ms. Goldberg.  Well, you're going to get it.

So how is it that otherwise intelligent and talented people (and Whoopi Goldberg) suddenly become psychotic?  Granted, Polanski is a respectable filmmaker.  'Course he's respectable.  He's old.  Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.

First of all there's the very valid point that the victim, Samantha Gailey (now Geimer, left) wants to avoid reliving those events to the point where she even stated that she doesn't want Polanski to be arrested.  I can understand her sentiment, and the controversy will doubtlessly stir up old wounds, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way.  If rapists were spared punishment to protect the dignity of the victim, the prisons would be empty and rape would be the world's number one pastime.  The Hollywood crusaders, however, don't seem to give two shits about the victim.

Some sympathetic folks say that, being a Holocaust survivor and having suffered his pregnant wife Sharon Tate being slaughtered by Charles Manson's followers, he's endured enough hardship in his life.  What can I tell you, kid? You're right. When you're right, you're right, and you're right.  I agree that his life has been filled with tragedy, which is something he should've thought about carefully before he raped a child.

The best arguments in defence of Polanski centre around alleged judicial abuse of the case.  Polanski claims that he had no idea she was thirteen at the time, and to have pleaded guilty as part of a deal that was then reneged upon, which was why he fled in the first place.  You may think you know what you're dealing with, but, believe me, you don't.  You see, these arguments are bullshit.  As the actual plea bargain transcript points out, he swore before a judge, under oath, that he knew she was only thirteen, and it was made clear to him that he may be sentenced to anything up to twenty years and that the plea bargain guarantees nothing.

The truth is that the Hollywood folks are rallying around Roman Polanski for no other reason than that he is "one of them."  He's rich! Do you understand? He thinks he can get away with anything.  Do you think that if a nobody like me raped a child, Harvey Weinstein would put my poster up on his wall?  Or that Whoopi Goldberg would march the streets in my defence, claiming the kid was asking for it?

Forget it, Jake.  It's Hollywood.


Geoff (Chicago, IL) said...

Couldn't have said it better. Thanks!

David said...

I think this sentiment sums up the hypocrisy nicely:

Rapists, Sex Offenders, Even Regular Perverts, March For Polanski

(ACPA-Paris) Hundreds of rapists, sex offenders, even ordinary everyday perverts took part in demonstrations across France and Switzerland in a show of support for recently arrested Hollywood director, Roman Polanski. The marches were organized by the French Society for the Advancement of Humanity and took place in Paris, Cannes and Zurich.

Slogans such as 'Abolish the Age of Consent' and 'Support the real Victims' adorned placards and marchers demanded that the Swiss government release the celebrity filmmaker immediately.

Jacques Bois, a Parisian pervert, who likes to expose himself to schoolgirls at bus stops, told a reporter, "Roman has had a hard life, I mean, if my family died in Auschwitz I would definitely rape someone."

Another marcher, who refused to be identified for fear of reprisals, said that he was marching to make a statement about the unjust harassment of Polanski. "It's time to let bygones be bygones, he hasn't raped anyone for years."

Fr. Joseph Devine, an Irish priest accused of molesting a teenage boy at a religious seminar, said he had come out of hiding to take part in the Zurich march. "If they extradite him, next it's going to be religious persecution, I have to take a stand."

However, there were dissenting views among the marchers. One man acknowledged that raping a teenage boy was "totally disgusting, bastards should be castrated," but countered that "if it's a girl, it's not the same thing, everyone knows that."

A written message of support from imprisoned Max Factor cosmetics heir Andrew Luster was read out to the marchers. Luster, who drugged and raped several women before fleeing to Mexico where he was cornered by Dog the Bounty Hunter, wrote, "Roman, don't be afraid to be unconventional. Stay strong and help us set a new legal standard."

Meanwhile in Hollywood, a group of Pornographic Movie Directors have started a petition to have Polanski expelled from the Director's Guild of America. A spokesman for the group explained, "He's giving movie-makers everywhere a bad name."

calharding said...

David, I think that article pretty much nails it.

The line "...if my family died in Auschwitz I would definitely rape someone," is solid gold.