HuffPo has been an orgy of degradation recently. The number of excuses people are willing to offer for a guy who raped a 13-year-old is staggering.

My favorite (for disgusted values of "favorite") was the director who declaimed that Polansky had made "one little mistake years ago." I like my computer too much to hit it really hard, but it was a near thing.

Raping a child is not "one little mistake."

He's an ass, and that's all I have to say.

A warning that the links might be triggering for some would probably be a good thing.

This whole thing is making me positively ill - not just at what he did, but at how willingly much of our society will excuse rape.

drugging and sodomizing raping

Fixed that for you. Sodomy can be consensual (and fun). This is something else entirely.

is that these people are making Polanski out to be the victim.

Yes, he'd been in a ghetto. His mother had been shipped off to a concentration camp. This is not a mitigating factor.

There is nothing that someone does/can do/did that should allow them to rape children and get away with it. Even if they cured the common cold and ended the heartbreak of psoriasis.


I still have resisted the impulse to see what Jordan thinks. But the urge is growing. Will he side with France and Hollyweird?

I've got a Roman Polanski's Heritage of Hastur post simmering on the backburner for shwi...

Oh, look, Woody Allen signed. What a shock.

You know who hasn't signed it? Nastassja Kinski.

I wrote to our local paper to protest their headline on this article:

Director Roman Polanski will fight Swiss extradition to the US in 1977 sex case

I suggested a reframe:

Fugitive pedophile rapist, 76, will fight Swiss extradition for 1977 child-rape

Somehow, I doubt they'll take it.

Also, if any of your readers don't already read Shakesville, they have a post up asking for names of any celebrities who are publicly not supporting Polanski, here.

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I'd suggest someone should read to the Honorable Minister the transcript of the description of Polanski's crimes, on video, and ask him which parts of the rape "didn't make much sense". :/

Guh, finger slipped, wrong icon, sorry.

Edited at 2009-09-30 03:16 pm (UTC)

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OH! I am so sad to see Wes Anderson on there. And his name is spelled wrong. Odd, that.

And Terry Gilliam. Damn.

And Michael Mann.

Still, nice of them to provide us a list of people who are okay with child rape.

I do not understand the "rape = mistake" thing. I make mistakes all the time. I do not rape children all the time. It seems to me to be easy to tell the difference, no?

And I do think Polanski is a great director. He's a great director who needs to serve his jail term. Being a great director does not make you a great person.

I'm suddenly reminded of Silverberg's The Second Trip. Great artist essentially brain-wiped and replaced with a nobody personality, for the crime of serial rape (no, in case anyone is wondering, Silverberg does not take the side of the rapist).

Hmm. Copyrighted 1972. Pre-dates Polanski and Breen. Interesting.

Polanski plead guilty as part of a plea-bargain agreement, which the judge then violated, right? That was in the initial stories I've seen, and I still find reference to it various places online. So that means he didn't present a defense, and was not in fact convicted of anything. He just took what seemed the best option at the time, and then was double-crossed. And hasn't been in trouble since that I've seen, and I imagine the news media is working VERY hard right now to find the slightest hint of a sex problem in the years since then.

Possibly he did do exactly what he's accused of. But the victim says she's prevailed, and doesn't need any more help from the criminal justice system.

I really don't like the lynch-mob mentality that seems to be running through the online commentary on this case.

No. A thousand times no.

1) Once you plead guilty, you don't get to claim you didn't do it. That's what pleading guilty _means_. That's why plea allocutions take up multiple pages of court transcripts.

(see also, Alford pleas)

2) The wishes of a victim, while relevant, are not paramount. For instance, they do not control the decision whether to prosecute violence between family members.

3) ETA: it further appears that the judge was not bound by the parties' expectations of the sentence. That is, the judge didn't "violate" the plea bargain.

He pled guilty to rape. And I am furious almost beyond words that pointing this out should be considered "a lynch-mob mentality."

Edited at 2009-09-30 04:04 pm (UTC)

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I should note that this is an issue that unites all parts of the political spectrum. For instance, neoconservative historian Anne Applebaum defended Polanski in the Washington Post.

Call me crazy, but I suspect that if one of Applebaum's sons had experienced what Ms. Geimer did, she'd obsess about it for thirty-one years.

For instance, neoconservative historian Anne Applebaum defended Polanski in the Washington Post.

In a very dishonest fashion, too, given that she's married to one of the Polish diplomats pushing against extradition. Then she claimed she wasn't aware of that when she wrote the article, even though one of the links she provided was to another article pointing out just that.

And she keeps digging.

The petition:

By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.

...implies that film festivals should be lawless zones of anarchy.

There's a story in this. Maybe even a movie.

Hmm. Hollywood as Thunderdome!

I love Kate Harding.

the French and English translations seem to be not in agreement.

Most particularly, the ending in the English document does not occur in the French document:
On September 16th, 2009, Mr. Charles Rivkin, the US Ambassador to France, received French artists and intellectuals at the embassy. He presented to them the new Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the embassy, Ms Judith Baroody. In perfect French she lauded the Franco-American friendship and recommended the development of cultural relations between our two countries.

If only in the name of this friendship between our two countries, we demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski.

I wonder if this is a copy-paste error, or if somebody is gaming the system to add harsher language to the version for English readers and news services?


Having said that, I'll state that my own feelings are that regardless of the (apparent) malfeasance on the part of the judge involved in the case, the correct thing to do is take the sentence as handed down and then appeal.

Fleeing was a further violation of the law and regardless of the outcome of the sentencing for the original charge, we can all look forward to a lively new trial on charges related to his fleeing and eluding justice.

I'd like to see him get a LOT more than just a few months in jail for what he did back then, but it is unlikely a different sentence will come from that. On the other hand, the charges dealing with his fleeing are likely to result in years in prison due to that being a felony that can be tried under current judicial and sentencing standards.


You're absolutely right that fleeing was a mistake. And it constitutes a crime in and of itself, which he will no doubt be prosecuted for now. In that regard at least, he's pretty much fucked himself.

I can see how his fear of unreasonable punishment would have been triggered by the judge doing something very unexpected, but that's not legally relevant (unless he wants to argue that it rises to the level of diminished capacity I suppose; I don't really buy it).

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Re: Another petition

Is it true that Europe has a statute of limitations that INCLUDES things like rape?

IIRC, here the statute doesn't cover murder, rape, and similarly personal heinous crimes. Am I wrong?

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Thanks for the link! I was wondering if Vachss, who's been a relentless advocate for children, would say anything about the case, although based on this page he seems to be contenting himself with being a clearinghouse of factual information about the proceedings of the case.

(Please, please don't tell me that he signed the Free Polanski petition?)

I think the Einhorn and Polanski cases both demonstrate that people are sometimes willing to make excuses for people that they 'like' for whatever reason. Polanski is mostly known as a filmmaker, so excuses for him tend to spring from that.

I like his movies, but I think he needs to man up and take responsibility for the crimes he committed, and that means returning to America to face justice. The fact that he has to face jail time as an old man is his own fault- if he hadn't fled he could have put this (mostly) behind him years ago.

It also looks like French support for Polanski is waning. It appears that after the initial rush of "we have to support his, he is an artiste" has waned, the pendulum is swinging back the other direction with a vengeance.

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A bit of projection from Polanski, back in 1979

In a 1979 Martin Amis interview in the Tatler (later reprinted in the book _Visiting Mrs. Nabokov: and Other Excursions_), Polanski had this to say:

"If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But . . . f***ing, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f*** young girls. Juries want to f*** young girls. Everyone wants to f*** young girls!"

Re: A bit of projection from Polanski, back in 1979

"If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But . . . f***ing, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f*** young girls. Juries want to f*** young girls. Everyone wants to f*** young girls!"

Interesting definition of "everyone", Mr. Polanski!

I knew, as soon as I saw comments in the triple digits, that there would be at least one train-wreck commenter her.


I think that the few European articles and bloggers I've seen who say that "only American prudes would think this was a crime" are the worst, in my personal opinion. Squicks me out for reasons I can't really explain clearly.

"only American prudes would think this was a crime" [...] Squicks me out for reasons I can't really explain clearly.

Allow me to propose four or five reasons why it might squick you (and many others) out: ...

(1) It's bigoted: it's a sweeping generalization about an entire class of persons that is meant to be insulting/degrading, and is made largely for reasons of self-aggrandizement;

(2) It's a gambit to change the subject: at issue, is the moral conduct and moral character of Polanski -- this gambit attempts to redirect the topic to the moral conduct and moral character of unspecified, abstract others in a way calculated to inflame anger (and thereby derail rational inquiry and clear moral reasoning), to preemptively obstruct awareness that the topic has, indeed been changed;

(3) It is implausible that this is not done consciously -- it is therefore vicious, sadistic even;

(4) It sneaks in two implied arguments, the first that objection to the rape of children is a ridiculous 'prudery', and secondly that 'prudery' is more morally objectionable than the rape of children;

(5) It is, therefore, a willful evasion of consciousness of disturbing facts, in the interest of a narcissistic entitlement and an incurious comfort that deliberately minimizes the suffering of others.

Squick away: that's your conscience and your human decency at work keeping you morally sane.


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The lawyer who said he coached the judge in the original 1977 sentencing has now said he lied about his interference in the trial, that it never happened:

I just thought I'd mention that because... well, because I can't wait to see the reactions of people who trot out that documentary as proof that Polanski is a victim.


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