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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Free Roman

I can hardly believe the news that Roman Polanski has been arrested in Switzerland "at the request of the United States." Three decades ago, he pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl who had passed herself off as a legal adult in order to become a model. The judge in the case (now deceased) reneged on the agreed-upon plea agreement, instead imposing more jail time and deportation. Polanski fled the United States.

The victim won a settlement against Polanski and wants the case dropped. Nevertheless, the Justice Department renewed its efforts to pursue Polanski in 2005 (why?) and finally got its man - incarcerating a 76-year-old survivor of the Krakow ghetto for a thirty-year-old statutory rape. If he fights extradition - and I think he has every right to do so - he could sit in jail for months.

(Come on, people, this "girl" was and is my age. I don't take rape lightly. But why the hysteria? Do people think that she's still thirteen? Is this a case of "always a child" in the minds of those who are fanatical about "pedophiles"? Has Polanski really left a trail of raped children across Europe? I don't think so. This smells like a witch hunt.)

Why did the judge change his mind? And why has the U.S. pursued Polanski for so long, while allowing murderous former dictators to live in luxury in the United States (in Hawaii, yet)?

This is absurd. This smacks of the smear campaign against Fatty Arbuckle - who, despite being acquitted after three bogus trials was personally and financially ruined by a bunch of anti-Hollywood moralistic prudes who ultimately instituted the Hayes Office. (And we know what a boon that was for the aesthetic quality of films.) Someone is out to make an example of Roman Polanski.

It's also reminiscent of the chasing and cornering of Jack Johnson, the first black world heavyweight champion who was twice arrested for violating the Mann Act, because he crossed the state line with his white girlfriend (later his second wife). It didn't matter that this woman was an adult; she was white, he was black, and therefore he was committing the crime of "white slavery." However, what really motivated the vendetta against Johnson was the fact that he had just kicked the tar out of the undefeated (and white) James Jeffries, who had come out of retirement "for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro."*

What really motivates the vendetta against Polanski remains to be seen. (Head on over to YouTube to see the hideously racist, anti-Semitic, repugnant comments regarding Polanski, equating him with O.J. Simpson and the like.) Ironically, the message to rape victims in this case seems to be: once a victim, always a victim. Get "raped" by a celebrity, and you don't have the right to move on, not as long as someone can milk the story or use the perpetrator for political ends. You're going to still be that "thirteen-year-old" the rest of your life.

Well, that does not make me feel safe.
*Incidentally, was "Darwinism" or creationism the standard curriculum for public schools in 1910?
UPDATED: Oh my, now the California prison system is facing budget cuts and releasing as many as 40,000 inmates. What a great time to go after Roman Polanski. What a wonderful use of California's tax funds, second only to keeping that asshole Charles Manson, and his harem of born-again gooney birds, alive. It's nice to see that the state of California and our Justice Department has its priorities straight.

(On the other hand, maybe they'll end up releasing all the harmless potheads that they locked up in this bogus War on Drugs. Holy crap, this country is mixed up.)

SECOND UPDATE: More of the story of the original plea bargain is coming out: it seems that Polanski objected to having his trial televised. For pity's sake, this wasn't even a jury trial! Televised? People certainly wanted to make a name for themselves at Polanski's expense.

The case is now an international incident (no surprise there). And this is all for the good of the victim, right?

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Anonymous Emily said...

I don't understand. Are you saying that what he did wasn't rape, that rape isn't a crime that should be prosecuted, or that the victim of a crime's wishes outweigh the public interest in punishing crimes?

Weren't there details that you're omitting - something about him giving her qualuudes or something?

How is it a witch hunt if he committed a crime and was never punished for it?

September 27, 2009 7:08 PM  
Blogger Rev. Barking Nonsequitur said...

Emily, did you know that the victim received settlement money long ago and she doesn't wish for this to go on any further? The case has a number of twists that suggests that someone in the justice department wants to prove something. Not surprising after all the witch smellers were appointed to a very corrupt organization under the Bush regime. Maybe the house cleaning has a way to go.

September 28, 2009 12:47 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

It was statutory rape - thirty years ago - to which he plead guilty in exchange for time served - which the judge reneged on without explanation, mysteriously and suddenly choosing a more harsh sentence. And to what end?

I never heard that he gave her quaaludes. I did hear that she misrepresented her age. Where were her parents? What was she doing modeling at that age? For Pete's sake, I can't imagine going to L.A. at 13 - I was reading Chariots of the Gods and nursing a crush on Luke Skywalker.

All this while Charles Manson and his followers come up for parole every few years. What public interest is there in prosecuting Polanski at this point? The public interest would have been served to have him pay his debt to society and then pay the victim. Do you also agree with a letter-of-the-law prosecution of Jack Johnson for violation of the Mann Act?

It is a witch hunt, my dear, because none of the people going after Roman Polanski give two shakes about the rape or the victim. They are after something else. Are you so inflexible as to deny that the situation is more complicated than it is made out to be by radical anti-pedophiles?

Once upon a time I too was an angry feminist. But now I'm older and wiser, and I know that females are not Snow White and that men are not the big bad wolf.

September 28, 2009 12:49 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

If anything, they should prosecute Samantha Geimer's [the victim's] mother, who request a "private" shoot with Polanski for her daughter. Why wasn't the mother there? Why wasn't this girl chaperoned? They keep talking about the rape, but before then he was photographing her (thinking her an adult) in the nude. What is the crime, then? Why wasn't he prosecuted for child pornography? (After all, this country is losing its mind over that!)

This stinks. Was Polanski set up? Did this woman use her daughter in hopes of getting the settlement the daughter ultimately got?

This case reeks!

September 28, 2009 1:04 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Kristine, it seems like you have a big chip on your shoulder. I was confused and asking questions because I didn't understand what your point was or what you meant. Now you've brought up "angry feminists" and the idea that women are Snow White. I have no idea where that comes from. I was seeking information.

Rev, I do know that the victim doesn't wish for this to go on. That makes me feel like the lesson here is that if a rapist can just wait long enough, the child will grow up, forgive the rapist, and wish no harm come and no prison sentence set.

Kristine, statutory rape is still rape, isn't it? I'm not being facetious. I'm being sincere. Is it not rape under the law?

"Are you so inflexible as to deny that the situation is more complicated than it is made out to be by radical anti-pedophiles?"

No, I'm not inflexible at all. Again, that's you reading things into my questions.

Isn't the complicated nature of the situation what will happen when he is put on trial? I was under the impression that when he is extradited there would be some kind of a trial.

"Where were her parents?"

Well, that's the thing. If you'd like to charge her mother as an accomplice to rape, that is one thing. Her mother's complacency doesn't mean that what Polanski did wasn't wrong and wasn't illegal.

"Was Polanski set up?"

Wait, are you saying that the woman sent her daughter in to be raped and that that means that Polanski is the victim here?

If that is what you are saying, then fine. Brand me an angry feminist. I don't understand why there's something wrong with wanting the legal system to work and why people are so up in arms that someone who has fled the law for forty years is being brought to task to account for the crime he committed.

September 28, 2009 12:59 PM  
Blogger Rev. Barking Nonsequitur said...

Funny, I get as good look at Kristine's shoulders every day and trust me, there don't appear to be any chips there.

September 28, 2009 7:48 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Holy crap, I have a chip on my shoulder?

Jean Valjean committed a crime too, didn't he? So you sympathize with Javert pursuing him for twenty years and dragging his family through hell (Roman Polanski has a family too, no thanks to Charles Manson)? A crime is a crime, isn't it?

Any time the L.A. prosecutor wants to offer Polanski the original plea deal (sans the televised sentencing), they could have had their man.

Most rape victims (and yes, I know something of sexual violence myself--it interfered with my college education) prefer to have the perpetrator plead than to go through with a trial. Someone wants a trial here. Someone wants a big-ass show. And someone is going to have to subpoena this unwilling victim. Did you think of that?

As for the mother, ever hear of Paula Jones?

September 28, 2009 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Missouri said...

Squeaky Fromme is free and Polanski is in jail. It seems perverse.

September 28, 2009 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Emily, if Kristine has a "chip" on her shoulder, you have a slab!

September 29, 2009 8:27 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Victim: The Courts Did More Harm than Polanski. Unfortunately, this is still a common story among victims of sexual violence. But who cares? Let's do her a "good deed" whether she wants it or not. Let's put her through it once more, despite her protests. "Rape is rape!" (But who's doing the raping now?)

September 29, 2009 4:11 PM  
Blogger Rev. Barky said...

Jezuz, quite a lynch mob out there. Clam shell minds out to destroy Hollywood.

September 29, 2009 7:28 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Well, I bared my soul about my own experience to the lynch mob at the L.A. Times. My comment hasn't appeared yet. Let's see if anyone calls me a liar, or blats that I didn't pursue "justice" far enough. (I had to take the oath in this woman's office and all that, and when I asked the advocate if a man couldn't be prosecuted for a felony for crossing state lines to stalk me, she just stared at me. This was the early 1990s before such laws were passed. I did my best.)

My perpetrator is living in Wisconsin as a born-again Christian father of a gaggle of brats. He graduated from Holy Crap College or something like that and tells people how to live their lives.

More stuff about the original plea is coming out. It turns out that the presiding judge saw a photo of Polanski with his arms around two women, became offended, and considered sentencing Polanski to life in prison.

I have had friends who confessed to me that they were raped - and didn't manage to prevent or escape it as I did - and that they were wiser from the experience. But women can't say these things out loud, for fear of being castigated for "saying that you asked for it." We're not saying we asked for it. We're saying that we learned something about putting ourselves in dangerous situations.

It's weird; in a way, it's a mirror image of the "what-color-was-her-underwear" blame-the-victim mentality of the 1970s and earlier. As victims, now we're not allowed to learn. We're not allowed to grow. We're supposed to remain the same age we were when we were victimized (do people still think Polanski's victim is thirteen?), and admit no responsibility (response-ability) at all, ever.

September 29, 2009 7:45 PM  

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