Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Lynch mobs love Polanski

It took Gloria Allred, the queen of muckraking lawyers, to effectively bring the media and legal lynch mobs together in Los Angeles.  It occurred in the context of  her hosting former actress Charlotte Lewis at a Hollywood news conference so that Lewis could announce that she had been sexually assaulted by Roman Polanski in France in the 1980s.  Why such was announced at  this time was not made clear?  And Gloria Allred would not allow her to entertain any questions so clarity could not be pursued.  Of course, why Allred would not allow her to take questions was also not clear?  And even why Allred was there representing Lewis was also not clear?  And why Lewis ended up in Los Angeles and not in Paris to make her announcement was also not clear?  If she was interested in pursuing justice in terms of what Polanski supposedly did to her, shouldn’t she be in Paris talking to the relevant French authorities.  But instead she ends up talking to LA District attorney Steve Cooley who is spending much of his time attempting to prosecute and persecute Roman Polanski while running for the Attorney General of California.

But Allred and Lewis and possibly Cooley apparently accomplished their goal of having the media in tens of thousands of news sources repeat Lewis’s unsupported assertions over and over again that Polanski is a recividistic sexual predator.   As for Cooley’s goals, such a media circus might help to persuade the Swiss authorities to send Polanski back to Hollywood with a Hollywood ending orchestrated by Cooley.

Even though Lewis’s staged performance in LA is now over and Lewis’s drama coach Allred is temporarily on the sidelines, there is little doubt that  their beat will go on; the court of public opinion continues to be open for the unrestrained trashing of Polanski.  However, if one looks carefully enough one can find voices of temperance and sanity in this deluge, check out an article in the Guardian by Robert Harris and a blog post by Novalis Lore.  They are not of the Allred genre but they are of the genre that will not contribute to the feeding frenzies and public degradation ceremonies that are so predominant in today’s mediated world.

May 19, 2010 Posted by | celebrities, rape, Roman Polanski, sex, sexual politics, Uncategorized | 1,027 Comments

On defending Roman Polanski

The blog Shakesville periodically publishes material on the plight of Roman Polanski by guest bloggers or by one of their regular bloggers.  No matter who the blogger is on Shakesville you can be assured that Polanski always represents for them the ultimate societal enemy.  Anyone who deviates from their anti-Polanski party line is considered to be scum, to be a rape apologist.

So it is not surprising that their most recent anti-Polanski rant focuses on Johnny Depp who recently made some very public comments calling for the freeing of Roman Polanski.  And emerging out of the Shakesville closet is a blogger going under the name mschicklet.

mschicklet states-

Johnny Depp wants us all to know that Roman Polanski is no longer a threat. You see, Mr. Depp seems to think that Polanski is no longer capable of raping someone, because he is in his 70s and has a wife and children. So, there you go, nothing to worry about. We can all sit back, relax, and join the “Free Polanski” crowd.

Depp doesn’t say that Polanski is incapable of rape but for some 20 plus years he has been living a pretty sedate life- married with children and engaging in filmmaking and more filmmaking.  Such is the gist of Depp’s comments- that Polanski’s freedom does not represent a risk to society.

mschicklet continues-

Except, wait a minute. The second man who raped me had a wife and children. Every single day, I am blindsided by anxiety attacks brought on by the memory of his scent, his voice, even the sound of his name. Memory is a fickle thing, but I remember what he did to me. He raped me. While he was married. While his two young daughters were sleeping in the next bedroom.

But, Mr. Depp says there’s no way a man with a wife and children would do such a thing. No way someone who’s married for 20+ years, who kisses his daughters goodnight and tucks them into bed, could possibly rape anyone. So, does that mean my experience means nothing? Does that mean it really didn’t happen?

He doesn’t say that no married man with children could do such a thing, but dealing with Roman Polanski in a marital context, Depp says Roman Polanski has not done such a thing.

mschicklet continues-

I take issue with the fact that Johnny Depp is using his privilege to minimize and even deny the horrific events that so many victims have been forced to endure. And, after reading the Survivor Thread and listening to the stories of other rape victims in tear-filled counseling groups, I know my story isn’t all that rare.

Depp is using his privilege?  What privilege?  Speaking out for or against Polanski is not a privilege, it is a right.  He is no more privileged than the dankprofessor, and as far as I know my privileges are quite pesdestrian.  And Johnny Depp has not attempted to deny or minimize the horrors experienced by many victims of rape.

She continues-

Because, as we’ve learned, that’s the thing about rapists. They rape people. A wedding band doesn’t stop them, nor does the fact that they have children. Nor does their age. Denying this, as Mr. Depp is doing, silences rape victims. And, really, haven’t victims already been silenced enough?

Well, mschicklet attributes a whole lot of power to Depp.  He’s just an actor, mschicklet, he has the power to silence no one.  Now, maybe I am missing something, but mschicklet says that Depp is silencing rape victims and mschicklet is a rape victim and she has not been silenced.  OK, I know that victims of violence, rape or otherwise, respond differently to their victimage, but her prior paragraph she indicates that all rape victims respond in the same manner.  Note that I was more restrained, I said “many” rape victims.  But mschicklet stereotypes rape victims.  For example, not all rape victims want Polanski to be imprisoned.

She continues-

In addition to trying to be the final word on what a rapist is or is not, Johnny Depp also wants to know why Polanski was arrested. “Why now?” he asks. Why is this coming up now? Because Polanski fled the country for 30 years and refused to serve his time. By asking “Why now?” Mr. Depp is focusing responsibility on the wrong people – the people who want our justice system to do its job. Instead, he should be holding Polanski accountable. Mr. Depp’s words absolutely scream, “Poor him! Poor guy! Let him go! Leave him alone!” What sort of a society do we live in if so many people feel the need to defend and protect a rapist? If this isn’t rape culture, then I don’t know what is.

I do not believe that for a second that people who are defending Polanski are defending him because they have a need to protect a rapist.  I defend Polanski not out of some psychological need relating to rape but rather the belief that Polanski has been treated unfairly and he has been punished enough.  Whatever the circumstances were with with Samantha Geimer, Polanski cannot just be reduced to a rapist.  The complexities of this man are immense.  Few people in this world have gone thru the sort of horrific events that Roman Polanski has gone thru- a survivor of the Holocaust whose mother was gassed to death and a survivor of his wife’s mutilation and murder by the Manson gang.  mschicklet is distressed that people cannot open themselves to the horror associated with rape while at the same time she seems clueless as to the horrors experienced by Polanski.

And she continues-

And ever since the arrest of Polanski, that’s what I’ve seen from such a large portion of Hollywood and society in general. I’ve seen some of the most respected actors and filmmakers in Hollywood defend someone who doesn’t deserve it. Either they deny that he is a rapist, deny that he ever was a rapist, or blame us for not letting the rapist go. I wish Johnny Depp realized that by adding his name to the long list of rape apologists, he not helping the situation – he is hurting so many people who are now faced with the cold truth that one less person is on their side.

It must be nice to live in the fantasy world that Johnny Depp lives in. In fact, I remember when I had similar beliefs. Men with children are safe, I would think to myself, in large part because that’s what my mother taught me. It wasn’t until I was raped that I finally realized how wrong I had been. But it shouldn’t take something like that to “wake us up.” We shouldn’t have to wake up in the first place.

Unfortunately, mischicklet lives in a kind of fantasy world.  She rants on about rape victims, but if rape victims are so important to her she engages in a giant psychological feat when she never mentions Polanski’s so-called rape victim.  She must know that Samantha Geimer wants Polanski to go free; she must know at the latest judicial hearing Geimer was represented by an attorney who argued for Polanski’s freedom.  mschicklet chooses not to ACKNOWLEDGE a person she considers to be a rape victim.  What utter callousness!

And as for concern for safety which mschicklet mentions, I share her concern.  But my concern for safety entails being protected from persons such as mschicklet, persons who seem to embrace a form of vigilante justice, persons who give full vent to their anger, persons whose self-righteousness seem to know no limit.  And as for safety and Roman Polanski, I personally believe that those people who believe that Polanski represents a clear and present danger to society are in a state of delusion.

And as for her comment about our culture being a rape culture, such a notion has some merit.  But support for a rape culture has nothing to do with defending or opposing Roman Polanski.  Evidence that we are living in a rape culture is that “we” support sending persons to prison in which rape is often supported not only by inmates but also by prison guards.  The fact we can’t protect persons from rape who we send away to prison so we can be protected from being raped is quite damning!!

As for rape victims, speaking up in support of Polanski, click here and for a detailed account of the circumstances involved in the Geimer statutory rape, click here.

February 5, 2010 Posted by | celebrities, rape, Roman Polanski, sex, sexual politics, victimization, violence | 10 Comments

Emma Thompson remains mute on Polanski

The actress Emma Thompson has made no public statement regarding her alleged withdrawal of her support for Roman Polanski. 

Yes, a student has reported that Emma has told her that she would take her name off a petition supporting Polanski, but she has told no one else and she has released no statement indicating said withdrawal. 

The Shakesville blog which had first reported on the student comment has had nothing to say on this since November 4.

Personally, the dankprofessor does not care what Thompson’s position is on Polanski.  I am not into the celebrity cult.  But hardcore left feminists apparently are into said cult.  They care about what Thompson says or not says on Polanski and they care about Polanski because he is a male and a celebrity.

I know the retort would be that they care about Polanski because they believe he is a rapist in the most ideal form.  Now if they really cared about bringing rapists to justice they would be picketing the city hall in Los Angeles and other major cities because DA’s do little or nothing about rape.  They leave the rape kits in storage unexamined.

And there is little or no emphasis on rapists at large.  Of course, the LA Times says that Roman Polanski is still a danger.  They must know something that we don’t know. Or maybe they have seen too many Polanski movies.  Maybe they and others really believe that it was Polanski who slammed the kid in the face in THE TENANT.

Here is what the dankprofessor knows.  The LA DA, the talking and writing heads all want to be on the Larry King Show which means they are “real” celebrities.  As Celebrity Paris Hilton said on the Larry King Show, “you (Larry ) are a legend”.

Now there are two people I know of who definitely don’t want to be on that show- Roman Polanski and Sarah Geimer.  They just want to be left alone.  Ironic isn’t it!

Enough said, at least for now.

November 23, 2009 Posted by | celebrities, Emma Thompson, public sex, Roman Polanski, sex, sexual politics | 1 Comment

Emma Thompson and Roman Polanski

Although I support the efforts of Roman Polanski not to be extradited to the United Sates, I am also generally sympathetic to those who speak out against any differential treatment  of  celebrities.  

Celebrityhood should not make celebrities qualified for any kind of special treatment.
But we all very well know that such is not the case in America.  Too many Americans worship their stars.  Some do so to such a degree that if anything bad happens to one of their heavenly bodies they become psychologically unglued.    Such was recently demonstrated when Michael Jackson died; there was massive mourning throughout the United States, and a media frenzy that even surpassed the trials and tribulations of OJ Simpson.

And now we have Emma Thompson, an accomplished actress and humanitarian, who has caused many people on the feminist left to go into seizures of despair and heartbreak, particularly see the Jezebel and Shakesville blogs.

And what did Emma Thompson do that caused such distress- she signed the Bernard Henri Levy petition in support of  freedom for Polanski.  Here we have one actress and one signatory of the petition.  But what we also have is too many feminists treating Thompson as being the Ultimate one.  She is treated with adoration  just as all “true” celebrities are treated.  Her falling from her scared superior position has caused much suffering by her worshipers.
But according to the Shakseville blog, all has not been in vain- 

Last week, a reader named Caitlin e-mailed Shakesville blogmistress Melissa McEwan — who had written about being heartbroken by Thompson’s decision to sign — with a proposal. Caitlin is a student at Exeter University, where Thompson was scheduled to speak last night, and knew she’d have the opportunity to meet the actor. In her e-mail, Caitlin wrote: “I have set up a petition online, in the hopes that I can hand her a list of names and comments next week from the online community (and my own university, hopefully) showing our dismay at her decision to sign the Roman Polanski petition.”
The petition got 410 signatures and numerous comments, which Caitlin brought to her meeting with Thompson last night. In a follow-up e-mail to Shakesville, Caitlin writes:
Emma did not have much time between meetings, but she gave me all of the time that she had. I asked her why she had signed the petition, and she explained about how well she knows Polanski, how terrible his life has been, and how forgiving the survivor of the rape all those years ago now is. She said she thought the intentions of the judge were unclear, as were the intentions of those who arrested him recently. She told me that a lot of her friends had rung her up asking her to sign the petition, so there had been a certain amount of pressure. She said that she had already been thinking a lot about the petition, as others had expressed their dismay at her signing it.
I handed her our petition and the comments. She read them both through thoroughly, and came back to me. She said, while she supported Polanski as a friend, a crime is a crime. I don’t know whether she had realised the extent of Polanski’s crime, but she is now fully aware. She will remove her name from the petition – in fact, she said she would call today and sort it out. Even though, she stressed, Polanski has had some truly terrible experiences in his lifetime, experiences that we couldn’t even imagine and which should not be taken out of the equation, she agreed that she could not put her name to a petition asking for his release.
Assuming that she will be true to her word, her name will be removed in the very near future. Hopefully the press will pick up on it.
She left me with this, to pass on to everyone who has signed the petition/raised awareness of this issue: “Know that I will remove my name because of you, and all of the good work that you have been doing. I have read your petition. I have heard you. And I will listen.”
If she follows through, hooray for Thompson — and either way, hooray for Caitlin, who had the guts to use a brief meeting with a celebrity to do what many of us have wanted to over the last month: Ask what the fuck went through her head before she signed. And it sounds like the usual — he’s suffered, he’s charming, the victim wants it dropped, judicial shenanigans, all the cool kids are signing — minus any thought of what he actually did to the victim in 1977, before fleeing the country. Lévy conveniently left any mention about that out of his petition, but Caitlin did not. And that information is rather crucial to making a decision about whether to call for leaving poor old Polanski alone. I’ve been wondering the whole time how many of his supporters have taken a good look at it, and how many just got a phone call saying, “It’s a witch hunt — sign this” and agreed.
Here’s hoping not only that Thompson makes that call, but that her change of heart gets enough real media attention for other celebrity signatories of the Free Polanski petition to think twice about who and what, exactly, they agreed to stand up for.

Of course the Jezebel blogger comes out patronizing both Emma Thompson and all other signatories.  They just couldn’t know what they actually signed.  I signed the petition and I knew just about all aspects of the Polanski case that have become public.  And I assume that such was also the case for many of the other signatories.
What I find so terribly depressing is that apparently so many, (see the comments on the Shakesville blog )are so dependent on any power figure.  Doesn’t such dependency represent the antithesis of what feminism is all about?

Speaking only for myself, if Harrison Ford decided to remove his name from the petition I would be unfazed.  What does Harrison Ford have to do with me? I speak for myself; Harrison Ford speaks for himself.  Why should I or any body else petition Harrison Ford? If such petitioning would occur as it has occurred in reference to Emma Thompson, it just demonstrates the dependency and vulnerability of the petitioners.

NOTE: EMMA THOMPSON HAS NOT PUBLICLY CONFIRMED THAT SHE HAS WITHDRAWN HER SUPPORT OF POLANSKI. IF SHE DOES SO, I WILL WITHDRAW THIS NOTE.

November 4, 2009 Posted by | celebrities, Emma Thompson, feminism, rape, Roman Polanski, sex, sexual politics, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

   

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