Dave Phillips has published an interesting essay on Polanski on his blog The Tenant of Chinatown. Phillips is one of the few analysts (possibly the only analyst) who has gone into a microanalysis of the sexual encounter between Polanski and Geimer in attempting to determine whether said encounter represents rape beyond “statutory” rape.
Phillip’s analysis is heavily based on the grand jury testimony of Polanski and Geimer. Of course, relying on said testimony is problematic since there is no cross examination of witnesses testifying before a grand jury. Given that the allegations against Polanski never reached the adversarial stage since a plea bargain was reached due to the request of the Geimer’s family that she not be subjected to cross examination at a trial, it is likely that the specifics of this case will continue to remain clouded.
In his analyis, Phillips is concerned about the “real” motives of Geimer and her mother. Given his skepticism and critical acumen, the dankprofessor finds it somewhat surprising that he never speculates why Geimer has repeatedly insisted that she wants no part of a Polanski trial and has called for the charges against Polanski be dropped. Possibly, said insistence may be due to a fear that if she is subjected to cross examination loopholes in her original grand jury testimony may be discovered.
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.
I am not sure if I got it right in the headline. So with a few more words I hope to do a better job.
Princeton coed Margaret Sullivan, class of 2012, posed nude in DIAMOND, a “Harvard” magazine, and she assumed that if she only used her first name no one would uncover her real identity, she couldn’t be googled. She said she posed because she is a poor Princeton student and needed the money.
Maybe she didn’t know she would be on the cover of DIAMOND and it is damn hard for any cover girl to remain undercover.
Now the Diamond text just above the picture reads- “Who knew smart people could be so sexy?”
Well who knew that a Harvard magazine could be so stupid to assume that any smart woman would pose on their cover? Or who at Harvard would asume that a sexy woman couldn’t be smart? And how could any woman assume that after being on a cover of a “sex” magazine she could still remain undercover?
Or, of course, this could be all hype. If not, the Diamond editor could be just another undercover agent for the blues.
The Jewish Journal reports on the University of Bristol prostitute Belle de Jour who has revealed her identity as a UK cancer researcher, Brooke Magnanti. But why should such be reported in the Jewish Journal? Well, it turns out that Magnanti is Jewish.
The Jewish Journal found the following quote from Magnanti from the Daily Mail as being particularly tasteless-
‘My mother’s family are Jewish; there’s this hoarding thing, saving, being prepared – if you’re in debt, somebody could come and knock on your door and take it all away tomorrow.’
That explanation sent columnists in a stammering outrage. Where to take umbrage first: at the ethnic stereotype? At the leap from debt to paid sex? At the idea of a smart woman taking life-threatening risks?
Leaving the stereotypical reference to Jewish people aside, it is outrageous by implication to liken herself – an educated woman waiting to get her PhD – to the kind of pitifully poverty-stricken and powerless female who, the world over, becomes a prostitute because of need.
The Jewish Journal then reports:
Dr Magnanti, who studied anthropology and math in Florida, was completing a PhD at Sheffield University’s department of forensic pathology when she became a call girl. Realising she had no objection to having sex for money, she contacted an agency and worked as a prostitute from 2003 to late 2004, which she said was ‘so much more enjoyable’ than her shifts in another job as a computer programmer.
The Belle du Jour blog became a hot media property, spurring speculation about the true author, a lucrative book deal. The book was serialized on UK prime time television in 2007’s “Secret Diary of a Call Girl,” starring actress of Billie Piper, and eventually played on pay cable in the US…
The blog made no secret of Belle du Jour’s Jewish background. But in a recent post, though, Magnanti provided a slightly different explanation of why she turned to a life of $600 hour sex rather than the workaday grind:
Once upon a (very long) time ago, after being a student and before moving to London, I had a year of working several jobs at the same time. They were, in case you wondered, at an art gallery, a bookshop, a map/travel store, and an internship for the professional employment I later returned to. I put two thirds of my earnings into savings… savings that didn’t last half as long as I needed them to, or thought they would, and were long gone by the time I moved to London.
It was a busy time of my life. So busy, in fact, there were days I literally had to choose between having time enough to eat and getting enough sleep. I lost weight to the point at which my father, all ten stone of him, was concerned for my health. And once out the other side I promised – no, I swore – I would never do that again.
Which is not, incidentally, the reason I became a call girl a couple of years later – though certainly it was an experience informing that decision.
So was it boredom, or a “Jewish” aversion to debt that led Magnanti into her secret life as a hooker with a heart of…Goldstein? Her father, a plumber who lives in Holiday, Florida, told the Daily Mail it’s all his fault: after his divorce from Magnanti’s mother, he visited as many as 150 prostitutes, and introduced his daughter to many of them.
‘Of those, four or five were deep emotional relationships, and Brooke met those women. She saw that prostitutes were human. They were women.
‘Brooke did not approve of me seeing the prostitutes, not because they were selling their bodies for sex but because of their drug use.
‘We had a very big falling out. Brooke said some harsh things that she hoped would help me – but which had the opposite effect.’
But the former plumber said he was proud of his daughter, saying: ‘She has not done anything wrong. Brooke is a very independent woman, and I support whatever she has done.’
He added: ‘I am glad that she is no longer a prostitute. In my experience prostitution is wrong and corrupts people. I know that from my own experience.
So what does Judaism teach about prostitution? Rabbi Shmuely Boteach, jewishjournal.com’s resident expert on sex and Jewish law, put it this way:
“Don’t believe any balderdash that says Jews can visit prostitutes. Judaism demands that all men and women experience sex the best way. And that is, where they can have really uninhibited sex because they are devoted to each other. They are not ashamed to be around one another because they are totally committed. They are not afraid of exposing their soft underbelly. Many people today have sex with full body armor, with all their inhibitions intact, with their defenses up.”
Judaism condemns prostitution. Then again, it has some pretty harsh things to say about eating shrimp, and plenty of Jews enjoy that too. So are we shocked, shocked that a bright Jewish woman would turn to tricks to make a living? No—just that she’d somehow ascribe “a pathological aversion to being in debt” as a Jewish trait. Way to shatter one stereotype and spread another.
The dankprofessor feels that the Jewish Journal goes beyond the fringe when it asserts that somehow Magnanti shatters one stereotype and spreads another. I did not even know that there was a stereotype of a Jewish prostitute or of Jews suffering a pathological aversion to being in debt.
In any case, if people are so prone to engage in stereotypical thinking as reported by the Jewish Journal, maybe people will start stereotyping sex workers as cancer researchers. OK, not as cancer researchers but as British cancer researchers. This sort of thing simply can’t happen in the United States.
The identity of the Belle de Jour blogger has been revealed. She is Brooks Magnanti a child health researcher at the University of Bristol.
Belle de Jour portrayed the life of Dr. Magnanti as a call girl and her stories were eventually turned into three books and a TV series, “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” . She told the Sunday Times that she got into sex work to support her finishing her Ph.D.
On her Belle de Jour blog, Magnanti stated:
Anonymity had a purpose then – it will always have a reason to exist, for writers whose work is too damaging or too controversial to put their names on. But for me, it became important to acknowledge that aspect of my life and my personality to the world at large.
I am a woman. I lived in London. I was a call girl.
The people, the places, the actions and feelings are as true now as they were then, and I stand behind every word with pride. Thank you for reading and following my adventures.
Magnanti also reported that her university colleagues have been “amazingly kind and supportive”. And the University of Bristol said her past was of no relevance to her university position.
Wow! Supportive colleagues and a supportive university administration. Such would be a pipedream in the United States.
This article originally published in the LA Times in 1977 was picked up by the wire presses and published in papers throughout the United States. Depending on ones perspective, I either became quite famous or infamous as a result of the publication of this article.
I became subjected to reams of hate mail and almost daily bomb threats on campus. Of course, such was to be expected if I what I wrote in the commentary was correct. On the plus side, I also received much positive feedback; Harvey Milk in some of his speeches employed my perspective and the Briggs initiative was
defeated. Actually, the Times used one whole page here; first having Briggs state his position and then having my essay.
Bryant’s Brigade Uses Hitler’s Tactics
BARRY M DANK
Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Oct23, 1977;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 – 1986)
Bryant’s Brigade Uses Hitler’s Tactics
BY BARRY M. DANK
In recent months, two of the sociology courses I teach have seemed to merge into one. They are titled “The Holocaust” and “So¬cial Psychology of Homosexuality.”
What has made them come together in my mind is the parallel between the rise of Na¬zism in prewar Germany, which ultimately brought about the extermination of 6 million Jews, and the current antihomosexual move¬ment in America, led by singer Anita Bryant and supported by State Sen. John V. Briggs, who wrote the article above.
Although contemporary political figures are often labeled as modern-day Hitlers, the designation usually comes from persons whose knowledge of Hitler and Nazism is rather meager, and so I discount the comparison. In the case of Anita Bryant and her followers, however, such an analogy should not be light¬ly dismissed. As David Lehrer, Western states counsel for the Anti-Defamation League, has noted: “There’s a whole new cadre . .. around who are smart enough not to wear swastikas. They join the Klan now or create churches. . .but they’re Nazis just the same.”
Just as Hitler viewed the Jews as a power¬ful force that was polluting and destroying so¬ciety, so do Bryant and her followers view ho¬mosexuals as social defilers. Hitler reduced the Jews to vermin who were infecting the master Aryan race. The Bryant brigade talks as though homosexuals are alien perverts bent on destroying the fabric of Christian America.
A powerful motivating factor in anti-Semi¬tism throughout the ages has been the myth that Jews engage in ritual murder of Christian children. Playing on fear of this bizarre beha¬vior, Hitler had Jewish teachers fired as one of his first anti-Semitic actions.
Bryant and her supporters invoke a differ¬ent, but similar, idea—that homosexuals subtly recruit children to homosexuality through exposure to their “life-style.” Predictably, the initial goal of their campaign is to prohibit ho¬mosexual schoolteachers from the classroom— a ban that Briggs advocates on this page.
Hitler maintained that being a good German entailed being anti-Jewish, while Bryant preaches that to be a good Christian requires being antihomosexual. But, many Jews were assimilated into the mainstream of prewar Germany and therefore were hard to identify, just as many homosexuals are now integrated into the dominant heterosexual culture in America. In order to avoid being mistaken for Jews, Germans tended to keep their dis¬tance from known Jews and from groups sym¬pathetic to them. Likewise, most heterosexual Americans who do not wish to be mistakenly identified as gay shun known homosexuals and prohomosexual organizations.
Committed to the idea that Germans in par¬ticular, and Aryans in general, were a master race ordained by nature to rule the world, the Fuehrer saw the “subhuman” Jews as the ma¬jor stumbling block. Although they existed as a relatively powerless and vulnerable minori¬ty in every European country, Hitler insisted that the Jews constituted a powerful interna¬tional conspiracy.
Leaders of the present antihomosexual movement do not directly invoke the concept of a divinely ordained master race, and yet they speak as though they are acting as the agents of God. In fact, they diminish their own personal responsibility by appealing to the au¬thority of God’s will.
At the same time that they overlook the re¬latively weak position that homosexuals as a group occupy in this country and throughout the world, they capitalize on a long tradition of antihomosexual sentiment in Western civi¬lization.
Initially I was reluctant to extend this anal¬ogy beyond these few significant similarities. After all, Bryant and her followers do not call for the physical elimination of homosexuals. But then I remembered that neither did the original recruits to Nazism contemplate geno¬cide as the ultimate consequence of their fer¬vid anti-Semitism. Even most German Jews at first refused to recognize the danger signals, just as some homosexuals today still regard the antihomosexual crusade as a bad joke that will fade away. But Hitler proved he was in¬deed to be taken seriously, and in recent months the vast majority of homosexuals have come to realize that Anita Bryant’s crusade is no laughing matter.
We know all too well the outcome of Hit¬ler’s campaign: In the late ’30s German Jews found their fate sealed by a ruling cadre of fanatics determined to “purify” the Father¬land. Ultimately, most Germans acquiesced in this goal, only later claiming they lacked the power to thwart Nazi intentions,
Anita Bryant’s crusade is committed to purging American society of homosexuals to “Save Our Children,” and it is here that the analogy with Nazism breaks down, though the movement hardly becomes less ominous. The difference has been expressed many times be¬fore, but it deserves underlining once more: While Germans of the Hitler era attempted to root out their Jewish neighbors, the current target of antihomosexuals in America live not next door but under our own roofs. They are our own children.
It remains to be seen whether we as parents will stand by and watch our children sacri¬ficed in the very name of Christianity and the American family.
Barry M. Dank is an associate professor of sociology at Cal State-Long Beach.
This is a comment from Grant on the blog Thoughtleader–
“I have run out of ways to say the same thing. I suspect that you may be a person for whom the law has always worked and worked well and hence you have great faith in it. I agree that it is the best system we have for handling crimes and disputes and in most cases it works very well indeed. However, when the fallability of the law presents itself, the law is outdated or the law is under the control of people who do not have its fair and logical elements foremost in their minds, the law becomes a very scary thing indeed. Where you once had justice you now have a system with massive power to abuse. I suggest you look north to the Zimbabwean trial of Roy Bennet for terrorism for a great example. There seems to be a widely held belief that this personal abuse side of the law was in evidence at the Polanski trial. As such I understand why he fled. You do not consider this to even be an option because for you the law is absolute, untaintable, especially in the free, democratic USA. I wish it were so. The possibility exists that Polanski fled because he raped a young girl and the judge was onto him. The possibility also exists that he fled because the legal system became a kangaroo court and he knew the signs better than most…”
I think that he understand the dilemmas that Polanski has faced re justice in LA. But I would hesitate in embracing his belief that the criminal justice system works in most cases.
The Emma Thompson scenario re Roman Polanski is getting more and more bizarre. As I indicated in a previous post, a number of feminist blogs and then the media in general reported that Thompson was to withdraw her name from a petition in support of Roman Polanski. Apparently Thompson indicated to a student at Exeter College where she was lecturing that her name would be withdrawn from the petition.
What the dankprofessor found to be strange was that there was no public statement by Thompson announcing said withdrawal. And to add to this strangeness, yesterday Thompson appeared on THE VIEW with an audience of a couple of million and said absolutely nothing about Polanski.
Such must have been disheartening to those avowed feminists who were very excited about Emma’s apparent withdrawal. But as the dankprofessor has previously stated such is contradictory with feminism since these people are looking up to a power figure for validation, and, in this particular case, looking up to a celebrity.
And what also disturbs the dankprofessor is not that Emma Thompson signed or not signed or changed her mind about signing a petition, but rather that she finds signing to be sufficent. Is it too much to expect the Emma Thompson make a public statement indicating her reasons for signing or not signing? Signing a petition is easy, explaining why one signed is not so easy. Are the anit-Polanski crusaders going to give a pass to Thomspson because she is a celebrity?
The sensational Sharon Tate blog reports on a Polanski 1974 Rolling Stone interview, “The Restoration of Roman Polanski” by Tom Burke, July 18, 1974.
Polanski’s recollections of SharonTate and his life with her merits the attention of any person who wishes to have an accurate understanding of Roman Polanski.
Later, when he does talk about Sharon this is what he says: “Meeting Sharon? When I hired her for ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’, of course. We got married in 1968. By the summer of ’69 she was very pregnant and I was very busy, working on a film script in London. It seemed best she went back to the house we rented in LA and I could stay on and finish the film and get back to LA as soon as I could. Everyday we would talk on the phone. When it rang one day, I thought it was her but it was my agent in LA. He was crying. My reaction first was, naturally, no reaction, stunned disbelief, I suppose you call it. Friends came to me quickly, I think we went out for a long walk, they called a doctor who gave me something, a shot and I slept. Then I took a plane to LA. You must understand, there is much which now I cannot recall, which I have blocked out of recollection. After the funeral, I stayed on in LA because I had the ludicrous notion that finding the murderer would somehow ease my grief. I worked very close with the police for a long time, who, I have got to tell you, were quite human and wonderful. I had no idea cops could be like this. Sharon’s parents worked with them too. Yes, I am still in touch with the Tates, naturally. What a question! I don’t think this is known: that just before the police found Manson and all of them, I offered a reward, $20,000 for public information leading to the arrest of the killers. It wasn’t collected, no. As soon as the police discovered Manson, I get the hell out of LA immediately, I could take no more, there was no more point to staying. I had begun then to accept Sharon’s death, which I’d never really done before, which is really all that matters to me about it all anymore, that she is gone. The worst started: I went to Switzerland and tried to ski and become very jet-set, the idea of work was impossible. Everybody kept saying to me, get to work immediately. Idiotic. Only Stanley Kubrick understood, he told me, ‘You cannot and must not work now.’ “
The reporter then writes: “It is clear he wishes to get up, to pace the room, break it up perhaps. but he remains quietly seated and purposefully motionless.”
Roman goes on to say: “See I attempted for awhile there, before starting ‘Macbeth’, to become a hedonist, as the papers said we all were. Jesus, I hated the press for a long time after it, because, I swear this, although I already knew how the press exaggerates, especially in sensational matters, I could not believe what was being printed about Sharon! My God, ‘The Sharon Tate Orgies.’ Interviews given by people that Sharon and I never met! I swear I could not find one word of truth in any story printed about us anywhere, and I would not and could not lie about this fact! If there had been anything to any of that shit, I would admit it to you now. My God, it was, is, unbelievable. The murder was all a horrible mistake, you know. Manson’s people were after somebody else entirely, who’d been renting the house before us! What was actually going on there was this: Gibby Folger and Voyteck were staying in the house to keep Sharon company, we’d agreed on this, they were good friends and the place was big and it seemed a good idea since she was eight and half months pregnant. Gibby was working very hard as a social worker, getting up at dawn everyday to go to work in Watts and studying speed-reading at night. I was planning a film involving dolphins–‘The Day of the Dolphin’–and Voyteck wanted very much to work in movies and was devoting lots of time to research on dolphins for me. Jay Sebring was another friend who came up often, but never stayed all night one night at the house. I was dying to finish work and get there; the last time I talked to Sharon, only hours before her murder, I told her I’d get there the following Monday even if work wasn’t finished. Things had been so perfect between us: we’d had some nice times in that LA house. Sharon would cook dinner for friends and after we’d all sit outside and look at the sky, the constellations, and talk about everything. Just quiet, pleasant evenings. Sharon and I would make plans, we had a wonderful future extensively mapped …”
The reporter closes this part of the interview adding: “Still he sits perfectly calm, though his eyes are such that it is uncomfortable to meet them.”
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.
In one of my recent posts, on The Polanski Danger, I took the LA Times to task for claiming that Polanski remains a danger to others and therefore he should extradited and be sentenced for his crime.
What I failed to note is if Polanski is returned to the LA County jail system or to a California prison, he will be in a state of danger. He will become a target for those inmates who want to make a name for themselves by killing a celebrity or a target of many inmates who hate child molesters since they had been molested as a child. Of course, in an attempt to avoid this Polanski in effect would be put in solitary confinement.
Bringing Polanski back in will cause more suffering, including more suffering by Polanski’s victim. I guess somebody must win if Polanski returns. Who might that be other than Steve Cooley? Well, the dankprofessor knows that justice will not be the winner.
Sean Beaudoin in his ON POLANSKI post gets it right when he states-
What does matter, and what I hear almost no one mentioning, is Polanski’s background. Not his artistic background, but his background as a human being. Geraldine Ferraro ignorantly and self-righteously claimed in her recent NY Times polemic that “he’s rich and continues to lead a charmed life.” Ms. Ferraro, apparently not having done an ounce of research since vetting Walter Mondale’s chances of winning more than one state against Ronald Reagan, could not be more wrong. Polanski lived through a horrific childhood, a childhood of truly cinematic brutality and deprivation in the woods of Europe as a Jewish orphan riding out the end of World War Two. His pregnant mother was killed at Auschwitz. Jerzey Kozinski, in fact, based his epic and disturbing work, The Painted Bird, on Polanski’s early experiences. If even a tenth of Kozinski’s book is true, it’s astonishing that Polanski managed to make what he did of his life, let alone expressing a creative vision that wasn’t entirely one of dissolution and madness. Twenty years later, in a quintessentially American example of brutal irony, Polanski’s pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was also horribly murdered. Her death, at the hands of the Manson Family, was one of the most sensationalized and bizarre episodes in a decade ridden with war, massive cultural upheaval, and narcotic self-abasement. Should we not at least take into account these factors when determining whether Polanski is a dangerous pedophile or a thoroughly flawed person who may, due to those experiences, have lost a certain degree of rationality and judgment at the time of his crime? This is the problem with adjudicating thirty years after the fact. It is simply unfair, if not unjust, to take any behavior out of the context of its era. Is it morally relativist to think we may not be entirely capable of judging decisions made under the moral yoke of Spiro Agnew, napalm, Owsley, and monthly political assassinations? Certainly any judge or jury or editorial could have then. And they did. A deal was reached, likely in some part because of Polanski’s celebrity, that seems ludicrously lenient now. But there were also unanswered questions that made the prosecution more difficult. Like, for instance, why was this girl made up to look like an adult and then dropped off at Jack Nicholson’s house at night by her mother, who without question knew her daughter would be alone with a notorious director? We can never know the answer, just as we can never know Polanski’s mindset, but what is certain is that we were very different people then. There were no missing child photos on milk cartons. There were no gossip websites or instantaneous cellphone photography to curb public behavior. In the drug-and-libertine haze of early seventies Hollywood there were few limits on debauchery, let alone documentaries about the Jon Benet-style sexualization of young girls, or the very public Lohan and Spears censure of stage mothers who thrust their daughters into inexcusable situations in exchange for potential careers. If Polanski is to be brought to justice, why are there no similar calls for charges to be filed against the girl’s astonishingly and criminally negligent mother?
Yes, yes and yes again Polanski’s background as a human being is relevant but somehow so many people either deny that his background is relevant or simply avoid looking at his background. Of course, not fully looking at Polanski’s humanity is a form of dehumanization.
And Beaudoin believes that Polanski’s survival experience in Poland was the source material for Jerzy Kosinki’s novel, THE PAINTED BIRD. Whether or not Polanski was Kosinki’s painted bird is beside the point. The dankprofessor’s concluding point is that in today’s world Polanski is the painted bird.
The LA Times in its editorial of October 31, “Polanski’s Victim is not Judge and Jury” presents various arguments as to why Polanski’s victim’s call for the case to be dropped against Polanski be ignored.
However, the Times editorial does go beyond the fringe in terms of their following statement-
“Even if Geimer no longer holds a grudge against Polanski, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t pose a continuing danger to others.”
Polanski representing a continuing danger to others! There is not a scintilla of evidence that Polanski over the last 31 years has done anything of a dangerous nature.
Now if the LA TIMES takes its editorial function seriously and really considers Polanski dangerous, why do they support his forcible return to the United States? Shouldn’t they be arguing that Polanski be able to return to France? And if it turns out that he becomes a danger in France then it would be a French problem, not an American problem.
Also see follow-up post- Targeting Polanski in jail or prison.
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