Essay:The Roman Polanski Circus
This essay is devoted to an analysis of the several articles that were written by a number of different authors on the liberal/progressive news site Salon.com regarding the belated 2009 arrest of hebephile celebrity Roman Polanski. After reading these articles, I was so incensed due to, once again, seeing those who consider themselves progressives and liberals attacking Polanski for having sex with a girl under the Magic Age in such a mindless and ignorant manner, without even once deviating from the morally absolutist script that Western culture has dictated to our society about this uber-controversial subject.
As usual, the progressives were doing their part to add to the sex abuse hysteria pervading our society, which includes the single-minded condemnation of intergenerational sex as part of its component, and with as little reasoned thought as any writer who deems themselves a social conservative. And some of the authors of these articles were progressives that I usually respect, until I see them writing mindless drivel like this to join in on the sex hysteria bandwagon. And to think these progressives frequently assail the liberal politicians for caving into support for the neocons' endless wars of aggression and failing to challenge or even think critically about the neocon conventional wisdom regarding the need for presidents to be warmongers. Hence, this refutation of their specious claims about the Polanski media circus.
Let's begin with the article from one of my favorite and most respected bloggers, Gene Lyons. His article on this topic carried the title "There's A Special Place In Hell For Roman Polanski," so right away you see how free of bias it's going to be. Let's look at some quotes from Lyons, followed by my responses.
- Lyons: "Everybody's least favorite character is French/Polish film director Roman Polanski. Except for a few Hollywood fools and European intellectuals who express the perverse belief that art excuses all crimes, hardly anybody would be upset to see Polanski go to prison. (In polls, ordinary Poles and Frenchmen reject the art alibi by large majorities.) As one who thinks his film 'Chinatown' a masterpiece, I don't much care what happens to him."
I will start by saying that I agree with Lyons that just because someone is a renowned and talented artist (in Polanski's case, a filmmaker) doesn't mean they should be given special license to commit crimes. What I am questioning here, however, is whether or not we should possibly question the perceived wisdom of certain laws. Lyons says that Polanski is "everyone's least favorite character." That's a rather odd thing for a progressive to conclude, because I would imagine that any "neocon" politician who wage preemptive wars of aggression that kill numerous innocent civilians and erode our civil liberties at home, as well as genuine terrorists who attempt to blow up innocent people along with themselves, would rank higher on such a person's list of "least favorite characters" in the world. But instead, a progressive concludes that a man who had sex with a girl who was under the Magic Age and never actually killed anyone nor waged a preemptive war that killed thousands of innocent civilians is worse than any of them on the villain meter. I would expect someone who considers themselves a social conservative to say such a thing (after all, such moralism fixated people have said that the issue of preventing the legitimization of gay marriage is the most important issue in America) but to hear a progressive utter such words is beyond belief. Or, rather, should be beyond belief if it wasn't for the extreme PC interpretation of this issue all too often seen from anyone of any belief system in the present day sex abuse hysteria and moral panic. And anyone who does question the dubious wisdom described above is, according to Lyons, a "fool." And this is someone who routinely complains about how anyone who questions the sacred wisdom of the neocons that the American government is always right no matter what it does are "unAmerican" and "traitors."
- Next up, Lyons says: "Polanski's a one-dimensional villain to almost everybody except his 1977 victim, now a 45-year-old mother of three who's forgiven him. She thinks even the seven weeks he served undergoing psychiatric evaluation were excessive. Samantha Geimer has long argued that charges should be dropped."
An adult who has sex with someone under the Magic Age, regardless of how the younger participant in question says she felt about it, even after more than 30 years to reflect on the incident and is thus no longer considered a helpless and incompetent "kid" in the eyes of society, says she wasn't damaged beyond measure by the tryst, is always a "one dimensional villain." No shades of gray or ambiguity in such a situation at all. Conventional wisdom tells us so, hence one is a "fool" to believe otherwise no matter what the evidence tells us. Is it that unbelievable that perhaps Geimer doesn't think Polanski has anything to be forgiven for, and that it's society that is demanding an apology for breach of one of its most precious customs?
- Lyons: "Should her wishes be honored? Not necessarily. However, it also shouldn't be forbidden to wonder why she thinks that way. Wasn't her life irretrievably ruined by the famous director's crime? Evidently, Geimer doesn't think so."
And since Geimer's assertion that her life wasn't "irretrievably ruined" simply by having sex with an adult man when she was "only" 13, even though our culture's conventional wisdom refuses to allow us to consider any other possible outcome of such trysts, we must wonder and question why she thinks this way. There must be an ulterior motive to her claims, because conventional wisdom tells us that there can be only one outcome to a young teen girl having sex with an adult man, and that is for her to be emotionally scarred for life and to view herself as "damaged goods" forever.
- Lyons: "It's also important to call things by their right names. Yes, it's illegal for an adult man to have sex with a 13-year-old girl; the slang term is 'jailbait.' (Remember Louisiana rock 'n' roller Jerry Lee Lewis and his 13-year-old wife being expelled from England?) But that doesn't make Polanski a 'pedophile,' i.e. a deeply disturbed person obsessed with pre-pubescent children. If I had my way, there'd be no need for a 'Megan's Law' tracking paroled pedophiles, because there wouldn't be any parole. Ever."
The above quote is full of so many incorrect cultural biases that it's almost beyond belief. First of all, Lyons contends that pedophiles (and Polanski is not a true pedophile, but a hebephile, so I don't understand why he is picking on pedophiles here) are "deeply disturbed" due to their attraction to pre-pubescents, and they aren't merely attracted to pre-pubescents but "obsessed." If Lyons had bothered to dispense with these crude stereotypical assumptions in favor of doing some actual research, he could have found out how untrue all of those assertions are, even if doing so would come at the risk of forcing him to think critically about these assumptions he spouts as mindlessly as any social conservative. Many quotes from this research can be found throughout the various pages of the B4U-ACT website, and all are backed up by citations. And it's nice that he doesn't bother to question the wisdom of Megan's Law, despite the fact that several people who actually care about civil liberties and who actually decry the police state mentality that progressives like Lyons are supposed to be ardent opponents of are doing this very thing.
- Lyons: "Anyway, here's what the now-deceased judge who accepted Polanski's guilty plea said at the hearing: 'The probation report discloses that although just short of her 14th birthday at the time of the offense, the (victim) was a well-developed young girl who looked older than her years; and regrettably not unschooled in sexual matters. She has a 17-year-old boyfriend, with whom she had sexual intercourse at least twice prior to the offense involved. The probation report further reveals that the (victim) was not unfamiliar with the drug Quaalude, she having experimented with it as early as her 10th or 11th year.'"
Okay, let's take a close look at what the judge said here, because Lyons didn't bother to make a single critical evaluation of these words whatsoever, choosing to just mindlessly condemn them instead. Samantha Geimer was not sexually inexperienced when Polanski had sex with her, so she had no "innocence" (as defined by our society) to be "stolen" at the time (endeavoring to make himself sound as PC as possible, the judge made sure to make the value judgment of Geimer that it was "regrettable" that she wasn't a virgin at her age). Further, Geimer's then boyfriend was 17 years old, and was thus almost a legal adult. So she did have experience with older guys and seemed to have a liking for them, even though Polanski may have been much older than her steady boyfriend at the time. And we all know how obsessed our society is with arbitrary numbers when it comes to gauging whether or not a sexual experience would reduce a young girl to "damaged goods" for life.
Now, onto the matter of the drug use. A while back, I made a post on GirlChat entitled My Thoughts On the Polanski Situation Reconsidered, where I basically renounced my previous support of Polanski because of info given to me by a youth liberationist friend of mine from off the board who is supportive of mutually consensual relationships between adults and minors, and this info pointed out that Geimer's consent to Polanski's advances was in question because of the quaalude he gave her. Some people on the board agreed with my renouncement of support for Polanski for this reason and posted links to the court records where Geimer made statements that suggested she didn't really want the contact with Polanski. Others vehemently defended Polanski, so the board was a bit divided over this. However, I must concede that my source did not know about the fact that Geimer was apparently already familiar with quaaludes going back a few years, and hence she may have been willing to take the pill that Polanski gave her while knowing full well what effect it would have on her. This, along with the fact that Geimer insists in retrospect that she wasn't a "victim" of Polanski in any way, forces me to question my renouncement of my initial defense of him. It should be noted that Polanski has never been accused of displaying violent behavior of any kind, was never arrested for any crime not related to this one since it occurred (at least not that I know of), and there is effectively zero evidence that he ever threatened Geimer a few decades after the fact into stating that she thinks he should not be charged. There are definite shades of gray in this situation, and this should be considered. Though I do not agree with Polanski giving Geimer the drug, there is good evidence that she was no rookie at drug use and thus may have known how it would affect her.
- Lyons: "The child also apparently had the Stage Mother from Hell, a film industry tradition. In short, there may have been excellent reasons why both sides wanted to avoid a highly publicized Hollywood trial, and no reason to treat the grand jury testimony of a 14-year-old girl pressed by her mother and the prosecutor as holy writ. She may have interpreted Polanski's pleading guilty to a reduced charge as a kindness."
Of course, Lyons insists that we should ascribe ulterior motives on the part of Geimer and her mother for not pushing for charges against Polanski because the idea that she may not have considered her life "irretrievably ruined" after sex with him is inconceivable to someone in Western society. And again, progressives like Lyons routinely denounce the neocons for never challenging the strict orthodoxy of their pro-war and pro-business mindset.
- Lyons: "That said, Polanski's 1979 interview with novelist Martin Amis ought to earn him a special place in hell, if not a California penitentiary. 'If I had killed somebody, it wouldn't have had so much appeal to the press, you see?' he said. 'But ... judges want to (bleep) young girls. Juries want to (bleep) young girls. Everyone wants to (bleep) young girls!'"
Polanski's crude statements add further credence to my oft- stated contention that a poor choice of words on the part of MAAs to make a point can come back to haunt us in a major way (and Polanski is far from inarticulate, so that particular justification wouldn't work for him). We can't expect people like Lyons to see beyond the use of Polanski's words to understand the essence of what he was trying to say at this point in time, which is that attraction to young girls by adults is hardly uncommon despite its taboo nature to acknowledge or act upon, and this may have been recognized by the judge and jury in his case. Nevertheless, as much as many may be tempted to dismiss those particular words of Polanski due to their crudeness, one cannot so easily dismiss the first statement he made to Amis during the interview, where he said the press wouldn't have been nearly as interested in his case if it involved something as "minor" in comparison as cold-blooded murder. Murder may be universally regarded as wrong in our society, but it doesn't pack nearly as much of an emotional punch in the gut as the idea of "stealing" the "innocence" of a young girl. The idea of taking someone's life needlessly is certainly bad enough, but taking a young girl's chastity and innocence from her --that is totally unacceptable!
- Lyons: "Actually, no they don't. But a culture that tolerates beauty pageants for heavily made-up little girls, promotes teen bombshells like Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus and a million 'Barely Legal' porn films ought to consider where Polanski got the idea. The law may demand that a fleeing felon be brought to justice, but we Americans should probably be a bit less smug about it."
And Lyons knows for a fact that judges, juries, and most adults in society outside of "pervs" like Polanski have no sexual attraction to teen girls? Gotcha. The fact that people are so much in the closet about it for obvious reasons is a comfy indication to him that adult attraction to people who are basically young adults who simply happen to be below the legal age of majority is a rare phenomenon confined to a small handful of deviants, despite the fact that art and literature throughout human history easily refute this popular claim. And he feels society should not tolerate beauty pageants for "heavily made-up little girls" despite the fact that the majority of true pedos I know do not find it attractive when little girls are made up to look as "adult" as possible, nor should we tolerate the promotion of teen girl celebrities who express themselves sexually in the most modest ways possible, because these things may convince a few deviants like Polanski that girls under 18 can have sexual appeal to adults when any sane and rational person knows this cannot possibly be the case (after all, our infallible conventional wisdom tells us so, and that is far more believable than the evidence to the contrary that Lyons points out). And he also criticizes the proliferation of the "Barely Legal" porn films even though the women in those films are young though not underage because that also gives a few deviants the idea that young women who are almost below the Magic Age actually have sex appeal, and this could lead these few dangerous deviants to conclude that even younger girls might have sex appeal too. Never mind the fact that the "Barely Legal" videos weren't around in the late '70s when Polanski crossed the legal line with Geimer. Could it be that the proliferation of such videos, and their great popularity, may indicate that adult attraction to younger girls (who will settle for as young as they can legally get on these videos since girls younger than that cannot appear in them) is common and widespread? Of course not. Lyons the progressive cannot possibly fathom such an idea, and he says our society shouldn't tolerate these things, which suggests that he may support the suppression of all instances--or even hints at--the idea that young girls can be sexually attractive to adult men. Maybe he should reinstate the Meese Commission to deal with this "problem."
Next up is the article from columnist Tracy Clark-Florey. "The director sends warm wishes to his many, many supporters," she sarcastically says about Polanski. I guess this means he shouldn't be expected to show appreciation for those who dared to support him rather than just mindlessly condemn him without considering any of the factors I pointed out up above.
- Clark-Florey: "That's right -- Polanski's first public words after being imprisoned didn't express remorse or beg for forgiveness. Instead, he gave a shout-out to all of the strangers out there who have had his back this whole time -- despite his having raped a 13 -year-old girl."
So every adult who has sex with a minor should feel remorse for doing so. For those who think this attitude is totally unreasonable for someone who has committed such an unthinkably horrible crime despite the fact that progressives like Clark-Foley routinely grapple with war-mongering neocons who support wars that kill thousands of innocent people, please consider. No comparison, eh? Polanski's crime sticks out in comparison to the war-mongering politicos who have devastated the world in a way that adults who fancy young girls never could like the proverbial elephant in a small room.
Now, as for Clark- Foley's claim that Polanski "raped" Geimer, that is a default claim made towards any adult who had sex with someone under 18, regardless of whether the girl insists she was not a "victim" 30+ years after the incident in question. Heaven forbid should anyone (i.e., Polanski's supporters) question these attitudes that Clark-Foley mindlessly champions.
- Clark-Foley: "The entire stomach-churning communique can be found on the Huffington Post, where it was published Monday by the letter's recipient, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy. Thanks to 'the generous access provided by Arianna Huffington and her staff,' Levy has used the site for months now as a dumping ground for his Polanski apologism -- or, as he likes to call it, a point of view that 'contrasts with the howling of the pack.'"
As I said above, heaven forbid should some progressives actually live up to the standards they espouse and question conventional wisdom. And how dare fools like Levy critique the point of view of those who cling to the caveats of conventional wisdom like lint to a rug and refer to such mindless herd mentality as "the howling of the pack." And damn The Huffington Post for having progressive columnists who lack the "profound wisdom" of those on Salon who weighed in on this issue without bothering to do the slightest degree of open-minded analysis of all the issues Polanski's situation forces us to confront. And if the press can't get enough satisfaction by deriding Polanski for being a monster, then they attack Geimer for refusing to see herself as a "victim" and suggest she must have less than sincere motives for taking a stance that doesn't coincide to what most of society insists is always the case when an underage girl has sex with an adult man. Then again, I wouldn't blame Arianna Huffington for this, since I have heard her make such ignorant comments about MAAs on one of her appearances on Bill Maher's show. However, it's to her credit that she allows writers who have views contrasting with the herd to post them on her blog.
- Clark-Foley: "The truth, though, is that early on a significant share of 'the pack' was howling about Polanski's victimhood just like Levy [emphasis in original] -- but sanity finally prevailed. Unfortunately, despite popular opinion turning against the world- renowned director, his letter sadly suggests that Levy is still far from alone."
Yup, it's a horrible shame that not everyone has turned on Polanski like Clark-Foley and the rest of "the pack" had hoped, though since enough have bowed down to media pressure to do so she sees that as a case of "sanity" prevailing. Let's all note the fact that Clark-Foley, like Lyons before her, didn't bother to put a shred of critical evaluation into any aspect of Polanski's situation, which is supposed to be the job of a progressive blogger to do. All they did was go along with the herd (or, as Levy calls them, "the pack") and express outrage that Polanski was treated by some in any way remotely to the contrary of what our conventional wisdom insists upon. And I must ask, is it really the matter that Polanski is given special treatment for breaking the law because of the value several people feel he has towards the world of cinematography, or can it possibly be the fact that when a renowned celebrity gets in trouble for breaking laws of dubious wisdom people are more likely to question the nature of the law and its supposed infallible absolutist wisdom than they are if Joe Schmoe gets arrested for the same type of crime? Progressives can accept shades of gray in almost anything, such as war, love, and most forms of crimes-- except for the idea of sex between adults and those we today label 'minors.' When it comes to that, moral absolutism reigns.
Now we move onto the article by Kate Harding.
- Harding: "The good news: California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Roman Polanski's most recent request for dismissal of all that unpleasant business about his raping a kid and fleeing sentencing."
Yup, no gray area whatsoever when it comes to sex between adults and minors...it's always "rape." And let's all continue to ignore what Samantha Geimer has to say about this, okay? Nice to hear this from a progressive, but I won't belabor that point again since I already got into it up above. I will say here that it can be construed, as is likely the case by several of Polanski's supporters, that his fleeing the U.S. when faced with his conviction can be the equivalent of someone seeking political asylum in another nation to escape being imprisoned for an unjust law in the same manner as those American citizens who fled to Canada to escape being drafted during the Vietnam War. The progressives see many shades of gray in the situation of the draft-dodgers, even though their opponents on the Right believe those individuals should be thrown in prison to rot for life. It should be noted that the nation Polanski fled to would likely have extradited him to America to face the charges there if he had committed something like murder or even rape where there was no doubt or ambiguity that consent wasn't present with a woman of any age. I guess Harding and her cohorts in "the pack" would never consider the fact that maybe these other nations have a more enlightened view of the subject than America does.
- Harding: "The justices seem particularly concerned, says Harriet Ryan in the L.A. Times, with sorting out 'Polanski's allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in the original handling of the case' -- memorably conveyed to the public in the 2008 documentary 'Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired' -- 'enough so that they took the unusual step of injecting themselves into the details of a specific case.' They wrote: 'We exhort all participants in this extended drama to place the integrity of the criminal justice system above the desire to punish any one individual, whether for his offense or for his flight.' I guess a justice system that punishes both crooked judges and fugitive child rapists is too much to hope for?"
Why don't you insist that the courts go after the draft-dodgers who fled America during the Vietnam War, Kate? Weren't they all fugitives in the eyes of the law? Not even the conservatives argue for pursuing the case against them after all this time! And I guess that any judge who doesn't have a one-track mind in this situation, and who dared to listen to what the supposed "victim" in the situation felt about her societally-imposed status, are "crooked" in your eyes. And if you happen to see this essau and want to debate with me that the situation of the draft-dodgers during the Vietnam era is not comparable to Polanski's situation, it would be my pleasure to do so.
Now onto an article on Salon.com that was not credited to any particular author but was instead included as part of the site's "Bogus Stories of the Year 2009."
- Article: "The 13-year-old girl wasn't the true victim. Such was the shockingly popular response to Roman Polanski's September arrest in Switzerland. He was the real injured party, the bogus argument went, despite the fact he had pleaded guilty and fled the country before sentencing. The world-renowned director had already paid steep legal fees, faced professional stigma and spent 30 years in European exile. He wasn't even able to pick up his Oscar in person -- poor guy. The 76-year-old Holocaust survivor had suffered enough."
I think Geimer actually was a victim, but more of the society she lives in than of Polanski. Polanski pled guilty because he did indeed commit the crime of having sex with an underage girl--he fled to Europe because (reportedly) he believed that the judge was likely to get pressured into violating the plea bargain he made with Polanski. Also, attitudes about this subject were much more liberal in Polanski's native Europe during the days before the official start of the global "pedophile panic." That is the point many of his supporters are trying to make, but none of the Salon authors seem willing to examine their points or to question this law.
- Article: "Many also reasoned that his creative brilliance ultimately outweighed his criminal misdeeds. More than 100 artists -- including Hollywood heavyweights Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar and Wes Anderson -- signed a petition calling for Polanski's release. France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was similarly appalled: 'A man of such talent, recognized in the entire world, recognized especially in the country that arrested him -- all this just isn't nice.' It just wasn't nice. How often is that said about the punishment of an admitted child rapist? Of course, Whoopi Goldberg infamously argued on 'The View' that what Polanski did with that little girl wasn't actually, you know, 'rape-rape.' Some contended that Polanski hadn't known the girl's real age and that he had been taken advantage of by her fame-seeking stage mom."
Heaven forbid should celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg suggest that the legal concept of statutory rape isn't actual rape. And questioning this idea is seen as outrageous on a progressive blog? And Geimer--a "little girl"? *Sigh*
- Article: "This was a mainstream, accepted response until Salon's Kate Harding stated a simple, no-nonsense fact: 'Roman Polanski raped a child,' she wrote in Broadsheet."
Ah yes, Harding the great open-minded, critically thinking progressive. Let's take a look at what she said. Geimer being a "child" was a "no-nonsense fact." The idea that a teen is less than a young adult because of her legal status sure is a progressive idea and most certainly a "fact." And the idea that statutory rape is identical to actual rape as the word is correctly defined, without even bothering to distinguish the two, is also entirely factual. Let's look at more of Harding's quote.
- Harding: "Let's keep in mind that [he] gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she'd rather not see him prosecuted because she can't stand the media attention."
Never mind the fact that a judge acknowledged how Geimer was experienced with using quaaludes (though I would never recommend giving a drug to anyone of any age for recreational purposes and I do condemn Polanski for doing this). The judge was simply "crooked" for this acknowledgment. As for Geimer being criticized because she didn't want the media pushing for her into embracing the "victim" card and telling them how severely damaged for life this mother of three was when she feels otherwise (and never even considering that she may be the best judge of this than anyone else) and thus entering this media circus and having her family pulled into it also...need I say more?
- Harding: "Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let's take a moment to recall that according to the victim's grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, 'No,' then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm."
Okay, we are now back to the controversy of Geimer's grand jury testimony. It would seem to be damning evidence against Polanski, and this was cited as such by his detractors in the MAA community as well as my much respected youth liberationist friend who told me that I should renounce my support for Polanski based on that testimony. I agreed to do so, hence my post "My Support For Roman Polanski Reconsidered." But...there may be more to consider here than I realized at the time.
I cannot pretend to know what Geimer's thoughts were back then. However, based on much evidence that we have seen since the era of Polanski's original crime, has it not been the case that cops and social workers have compelled minors who had mutually consensual sex with adults into saying what they wanted to hear? Why hasn't Polanski ever been accused of forcing himself on anyone else? Why just this one isolated incident? And if Geimer's grand jury testimony was entirely her own and had nothing to do with pressure from the cops and social workers (this was before the practice came into vogue with the beginning of the sex abuse hysteria that started just a few years after the Polanski case, but I doubt it didn't happen before), then why her later 'change of heart'? Now before anyone accuses me of being insensitive to the victim, why didn't Geimer and her mom say the same things after the grand jury hearing that Samantha was recorded as saying during that hearing? Why wouldn't Geimer come out in force against Polanski today, when he is at a vulnerable point and where she could easily sway public opinion against him and make fools out of his supporters? Can Harding and her cohorts honestly say that it's all about the ambitions of Geimer's stage mom at this point in time? Is Geimer's mother still a 'Stage Mom from Hell' even now? Could a mere desire to stay out of the media be the motivation for her to support Polanski if her grand jury allegations were entirely unmotivated by the pressure of the cops and social workers, and he really did drug her out and then force himself on her? I admit the high degree of ambiguity in the above situation, and I welcome feedback from everyone on both sides of the issue, though I do think what I said up above should be considered in light of Geimer's statements outside of the grand jury hearing.
- Article: "Throughout her exceedingly rational piece, Harding offered the crucial reminder that he had raped a child. It was a call to arms -- and a hugely successful one at that. Her post landed her an appearance on the 'Today' show, Time magazine called it 'the best, most comprehensive rebuttal' of Polanski's supporters, and Newsweek highlighted her post as the most notable of the 'smart and convincing' responses to his arrest. It restored sanity to the national conversation."
And once again, questioning conventional wisdom is against "sanity" and "rationality." Gotcha.
Next comes the article by Mary Elizabeth Williams, which was much more reasonable than the others on Salon in many ways:
- Williams: "The woman at the heart of the Roman Polanski rape case has spoken, and once again, she's explicitly asked for the charges against the director to be dropped.
- "In the statement filed by her attorney Lawrence Silver on Friday, the woman said that she has received 'close to 500 phone calls from media as far as Germany, Israel and Japan.' She's received invitations to appear on Oprah and Larry King, and photographers have camped outside her home and offered gifts to her kids in exchange for information."
Hmmmm...and to think people are actually questioning why she may have asked to be left alone. And I'm sure she doesn't feel the least bit concerned about being swayed into claiming she was a "victim," as she may have been in the past. Oprah asked her to come on her show? If Geimer is the least bit familiar with Oprah's reputation for objectivity and open-mindedness regarding this particular subject, is it any wonder she was concerned about going on the Big O's show? I am glad Williams had the stones to confront this matter in a way that was the pinnacle of open-mindedness in comparison to what was said in the previous articles on Salon about the Polanski situation.
The rest of Williams' article, though not in any way questioning the situation regarding Polanski's guilt, nevertheless further described emphatically why Geimer's wishes to be left alone should be honored. And that, at least, is commendable.
- Williams: "It would be great if it were possible to mete out justice for a sex abuser while honoring the privacy of his victim, but in this case it's not. The on and off attention she's lived with for the past 30 years are nothing compared to the deluge of reporters who have been chasing her and her family over the past weeks. In addition, she's had to contend with the very public and high-profile support her rapist has received from the entertainment industry, and a fair measure of subsequent disparagement of her own character. In an interview this week in the Atlantic's online edition, author Gore Vidal sniffed, 'Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she's been taken advantage of? The idea that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko -- that's what people were calling him -- well, the story is totally different now from what it was then.'
Okay, I would like to point out that Polanski has just as many detractors as supporters in this situation, and probably much more so. He has been subjected to at least as many character attacks as Geimer has. Geimer could easily have gotten enough media sympathy and support to insure Polanski's downfall. For instance, I am sure that if she went on Oprah's show the Big O would have done as much as anyone possibly could to defame Polanski and make Geimer look like a true victim. Would anyone argue that Oprah lacks sufficient influence to do this?
As for Vidal's words, he is an idiot to say something like that. There was no call for him to come off like attacking Geimer in that way and to suggest that she was a "hooker," especially not considering how she hasn't attacked Polanski in all the years since the incident. Give the woman some respect. He should have made it more clear that he was attacking the perception of the younger Geimer and other girls her age as "little angels all in white" and living paragons of innocence as crafted by American culture via following the Victorian model, rather than seeming to attack Geimer specifically, even though I understand that he was actually attempting to do the former. Of course, Williams and other enlightened progressive members of "the pack" are not going to see it this way.
- Williams: "Her request for dismissal is a tough one for many to fathom."
For many in this society and period of time, at least.
- Williams: "The Los Angeles Times scolded this weekend that 'Polanski's victim is not judge and jury.' In brushing aside her wishes, the paper said that 'We empathize with [the victim], who has received about 500 media calls in recent weeks, but the case against Polanski was not brought to satisfy her desire for justice or her need for closure.' Yeah, who does she think she is anyway, with her desires and needs?"
Thank you, Mary Elizabeth.
The URL to the page on Salon.com where all of the Polanski articles can be seen is here:
Here is the URL to my October 2nd, 2009 post on GirlChat entitled, "My Thoughts On the Polanski Situation Reconsidered," an opinion I repudiated in the above essay/analysis due to my further study of Samantha Geimer's grand jury testimony. This further study took into consideration all the evidence regarding its possible validity, including the fact that Geimer's subsequent actions, including her refusal to help indict Polanski in more recent years and her request that the charges be dropped even when she could have easily swayed public sentiment to her side if she did so--as well as statements she made on other occasions years after the incident--just didn't match up with that of someone who was actually forced to engage in sex without her consent. As a possible explanation as to why she made that testimony at the grand jury hearing if it wasn't actually true, one must consider the well acknowledged tendency of law enforcement officers and social workers to attempt to coax alleged victims of sexual abuse who had actually consented to the activity into fabricating details to make a better case against the accused, a tendency that became crystal clear to the public with the notorious McMartin pre-school incident. The URL to that post is here:
Below is the URL to my October 1st, 2009 post on GirlChat where I defended Roman Polanski from an attack by New York Times columnist Jonathan Rosenbaum prior to my reading Samantha Geimer's grand jury testimony: