Monday, October 5, 2009

On Poor Roman Polanski

Well, I was going to write a post about Roman Polanski, but since others have already done it quite well, I've mostly compiled quotations and links here.

For some background, in 1977 Roman Polanski pled guilty to "unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor" for, according to the then-13-year-old victim, drugging her and raping her in an LA home. Polanski fled to France before he could be sentenced and has been avoiding the US and other countries with extradition laws ever since. Recently, he was arrested in Switzerland on an international arrest warrant.

Regarding his arrest, Historiann laments that, in media accounts of this situation, the word "rape" has seemingly been disappeared from the English language. She writes:

"I keep hearing about how he was arrested in Switzerland this weekend on a 32-year old charge of 'having sex with' a then-13 year old girl. (This New York Times story will stand as representative of the chicken$hit coverage.) Funny–he was actually charged with rape in 1977 (aggravated with the use of drugs and alcohol to incapacitate the girl), but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of statutory rape."

Legally, an adult cannot "have sex with" a minor. Legally, a 13-year-old is a minor (even under California law in 1977). Legally then, Roman Polanski could not have "had sex with" a 13-year-old girl. There is a word for that and that word is rape. (If you still aren't convinced, read the girl's grand jury testimony re: Polanski drugging her with Champagne and a Quaalude).

We shouldn't not say the word rape just because it might tarnish the image of some dude who admitted to it. A little advice? If you don't want your image tarnished, then don't rape somebody.

Related links

France's minister of culture said that Polanski's arrest demonstrates "a certain kind of America which is frightening." Melissa McEwan nails it in her response:

"We have long prioritised men's art over women's safety, because there is a belief that a talented man, an auteur with a vision, might change the world, and to truncate that grand possibility with something as bourgeois as justice would be devastating."

Jeff Fecke, "Rape Apologists: Roman Polanski's Rape of a Child Not That Bad"

Dorothy Snarker on the disappointment that so many in Hollywood have come to Polanski's defense:

"[T]he silence from the rest of Hollywood is almost as perplexing. This, people, is what makes liberals look bad – their refusal to condemn one of their own. The thing is, lots of progressive men and women abhor Polanski’s actions and applaud his arrest. So many brilliant, eloquent women have spoken out against the Free Polanski nonsense like Eve Ensler, Allison Anders, Carrie Brownstein, Kate Harding, Melissa Silverstein. But we need more and more powerful allies."

Me on "Superstars and Sexual Assault"

Some other actor dude says that There Are More Important Things To Worry About than the arrest of Polanski. That sounds familiar. Apparently, until Osama bin Laden is caught and Muslim dudes stop mistreating women, no one is allowed to put their energies, resources, or concern toward any other issue.

Many more have written about this, feel free to include links to yourself and others in the comment section below.

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