Polanski: Althouse dares to ask…UPDATED

Honestly, you’d think that -of all issues in the world- the rape of a 13 year old by a 44 year old man would be one issue on which people on the left and the right could come together.

Apparently not.

For the record, let Kate Harding remind us what Roman Polanski did.

As the chronic moral arbiters of the world, who work out of Hollywood, rush to defend Roman Polanski by signing petitions, crying about how they can’t watch movies in Switzerland “knowing Roman Polanski is sitting in a cell 5km away,” and redefining “rape” to mean something other than what it is, Ann Althouse dares to ask aloud a question some may have wondered privately:

Are Hollywood types defending Roman Polanski because they love him as a fellow artist or because of their own pedophilia? . . .Is it just art, or is there a particular love in Hollywood film art of the forbidden love between the adult and child? . . .I thought I saw a pedophilia trend in the most honored films of 2008. I talked about that in this blog post…

I’m seeing all the well-reviewed year-end movies, and there’s an awful lot of wrong-age sex. “Doubt” is about a priest accused of molesting children. “Benjamin Button,” with its backwards aging character, had scenes of an old man in love with a young girl and an old woman in love with a toddler. “The Reader” had a 36-year-old woman seducing a 15-year-old boy. “Milk” had a man in his 40s pursuing relationships with much younger (and more fragile) men. “Slumdog Millionaire” shows a young teenage girl being sold for sex. I say that Hollywood is delivering pedophiliac titillation with the deniability of artistic pretension.

Althouse has a second Polanski post, here, although it’s really about the ineffectual posturing of Richard Cohen, who seems unable to match Eugene Robinson’s moral clarity on the issue. I can’t but imagine that she will have a worthwhile observation to make about Whoopi Goldberg’s careful and deeply intellectual distinctions between so-called “rape-rape” vs you know, giving a 13 year old girl champagne and drugs and -you know the rest.

Watching that clip from The View, one cannot help but notice that Joy Behar was conspicuous in her silence. Possibly she disagreed, but hadn’t the courage to say so. Or, perhaps the issue was striking home in a way she preferred not to discuss. In any case, for once I was interested in hearing her thoughts, and she chose not to butt-in with them.

I was wondering, though, if Hollywood (and Whoopi) would work to make such belabored distinctions if Polanski were, oh, I don’t know, Rush Limbaugh. Or, for that matter, even Mel Gibson. Who gets defended on this charge and who does not, anyway? I’d guess if the late Charlton Heston were in this situation, his age or the time-lapse since the event would make little difference to outraged Hollywood, who would be riding the gun-lovin.’ civil-rights-marching former Democrat out on the rails. On the other hand, well, there is Polanski, so “cool,” so “brilliant,” so “insider,” such Royalty from the Hollywood Boomer Heyday.

How dare they come after one of the elite?

Great and sophisticated artistes are apparently immune from such plebeian accountability as might be expected of the rest of the world.

“Art,” of course, belongs “to the world.” And the world belongs to the Prince of the Air, the Prince of Nothingness.

Snark and Boobs: channels Hollywood: “It’s not rape-rape, if someone we like does it”. Is it really that simple and ignorant?

Ed Morrissey:

I’m curious how other Hollywood feminists see this. Debra Winger defended Polanski yesterday and demanded that the US drop the charges, after many years of feminist complaints from Winger about the Hollywood system. She doesn’t appear to apply her standards and values to a male director who victimized a child trying to break into the business, but Winger will gas on for hours about how older women get mistreated by Hollywood. This seems to be a big credibility test for Hollywood, one which they are flunking — badly.

Jazz Shaw:

Winger and Ms. Goldberg are both prominent activists in the protection of females and children. Unless, of course, the female child in question crosses paths with the great Roman Polanski, in which case, well… you know… we understand they’re all kind of whores at that age, right?

Allahpundit:

If there was substantial misconduct, why not come back to LA and litigate the matter at an appellate level? Answer: Because Polanski and his cretinous supporters don’t care if he’s guilty or not. They want him to walk free, in the name of “art,” without another word spoken on the subject.

Volokh:

When Orwell says that even a reborn Shakespeare couldn’t get away with “raping little girls,” he was either reflecting the mores of the times (1944) — or he forgot about Hollywood.

Ed Driscoll: And that old “climate of timidity” and repression.

Fausta:

I don’t understand why anyone watches The View, anyway, but could someone explain to me why The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence lists Whoopie as a supporter

The list of outraged brilliant artistes grows by the hour. All so enlightened!

Ace: Woody Allen is outraged for Polanski. Ace has more here.

Patterico: Holding people to their words

Language Alert: A year after he went on the lam, Polanski discussed the case.

Harvey Weinstein, who purchased the rights to an HBO documentary about Polanski, is leading the charge in this dubious battle. I dearly do love Project Runway but I don’t mind tuning it out, as I’ve tuned out so much Entertainment swill, if I must.

A little O/T: Your tax dollars at work

UPDATE I: Althouse DOES post more on the story but I am taken with this part and her remarks:

Quoting from this moral-crusading piece at Huffpo:

Seventy-six years old, a survivor of Nazism and of Stalinist persecutions in Poland, Roman Polanski risks spending the rest of his life in jail for deeds which would be beyond the statute-of-limitations in Europe.

Althouse responds:

Yes, he’s that old because he fled and because he was protected in other countries that apparently did not take rape so seriously, at least not when it was committed by a great artist. . .If a life of suffering excuses crimes, many, maybe most, of our criminals would escape prison. Wouldn’t the Nazis themselves have cried about their own suffering in the years preceding their rise to power? Philosopher, do you approve — as a general rule to be applied to all — that those who have suffered earlier in their lives should not be punished for the serious, violent crimes that they commit?

Hey, you know who else survived Nazi and Communist persecutions in Poland? Pope John Paul II! And do you know what he did, back when he was Karol Wojtyla -slave laborer under Nazi’s and underground seminarian and newly ordained priest- and he encountered a 13 year old girl who was all alone? He carried her on his back because she was too weak to walk, then he covered her with his cloak and started a fire to keep her warm!

That seems to indicated that a life of cruel suffering and loss does not automatically translate into a life of deviancy. Transcendence is possible. Imagine that.

UPDATE II: I expand on that comparison here. And have more thoughts here

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • JuliB

    Cheerleader – yes some girls are having sex at that age. Did you see many at Planned Parenthood that were anally raped to prevent pregnancy?

    I didn’t think so. Evidently, after she told him to stop and that she wasn’t on the pill, he flipped her over. Whatta’ guy.

    Regardless of age, alcohol and ludes removes the notion of consent.

  • JuliB

    Bender – I actually think that crim defense lawyers have a special calling.

    Be that as it may, what would you recommend to someone who was considering fleeing?

    What would you argue once that person was caught, be it 6 months, 6 years, 6 decades? Indeed, you’d expect to be arguing SOMETHING before the court, I would think. And that’s all I want – him to stand before the court. If they wish to give a suspended sentence, well, I may not like it, but I will accept it.

  • That One Girl a.k.a Bender’s Cheerleader

    Okay – I’m going to repeat myself because I don’t know if my last post went through. Sorry if this is a rehash!

    JuliB – I didn’t mean to sound so flip by that comment. No matter what, the young lady was horribly used by a pig of a human. He should be made to come back and accept his just punishment.

    As for my time with PP – the majority of our clients were 16-17 and they came in for OC’s. The younger ones were typically incest victims and became sexually active with others afterwords.

    I keep waiting to hear from Bender on this – I can’t believe that he has less than justice at heart; I stand by my previous assessment of what I believe he meant.

  • JuliB

    Cheer – No – I knew you weren’t being flip! Nor was I in my reply. In one sense, I look at this from a different perspective. During my 25 years as a Prodigal Daughter, I was a tad bit on the wild side. As a teen, I mixed alcohol and risky situations. I was assaulted when I was 14 or 15.

    Did I ever report it? No. Have I forgiven them? Yes. Was justice served? Certainly not earthly justice – beyond that, I frankly do not care. God will take care of it, or has forgiven them. If I had reported it, I would prefer to see justice served, even if it was delayed and even if such justice didn’t meet my approval. I believe in due process, which is all I ask for with regard to Polanski.

    I think many are focusing on a philosophical definition of justice and mercy, whereas it is better to consider the earthly idea of justice.

  • ariadna

    Generous of Woody Allen to defend Polanski.
    After all, unlike him, Polanski did not bother to adopt the child and raise her first as a trustworthy father so, ahem, he wasn’t as ‘entitled” now, was he…. Nice that they stick for each other like members of a very select tribe indeed

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