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Roman’s Holidays

I don’t recall seeing one of Polanski’s films. I guess they’re quite “arty”. I tend to prefer movies in which Bruce Willis wears a dirty vest and blows things up.

Because the girl in question (now a middle-aged woman of course) doesn’t want to press charges then charges should not be pressed.

But… I also do find it outrageous that Polanksi is now seen as the victim by so many. The front page of today’s Indy heralds a “Great Polanski debate”. Apparently there is a petition to get him released amongst the stars of the red-carpet. Monica Bellucci and Fanny Ardant are amongst the signatories. Now I have no idea who Fanny Ardent is though she sounds like a minor porn star but Bellucci! Great T & A but clearly nothing upstairs. This is partly predicated upon the “it was a long time ago” argument which I must admit has legs but only because the victim thinks the same. I suspect she doesn’t want to drag all that stuff back up. Fair enough. Her call but not Ms Bellucci’s call or Heavens forfend the readers of The Independent.

But there is also an idea that Great People are somehow above the law. That Genius, like Prometheus should be unbound. It begs a question. Should a genius be able to do things the rest of us can’t?

Yes. Obviously. They have the power to compose symphonies which will live until evolution deprives us of ears. They have the power to reformulate Quantum Mechanics or do a little decorating in the Sistine Chapel. That’s what genius is really about and what it allows. It does not allow anyone to drug and anally rape a 13 year old girl. Which frankly is not an act that requires a genius – just a teenager and a pervert of the first water. For that very fact Polanski’s alleged greatness as a film-maker is no excuse whatsoever and is in fact a very silly excuse.

What really bugs me though is the willingness of the great and the good and the studios and the stars to not just grant Polanski a bye on this one but to actively support him and to have actively supported him for years after they knew what he had done. I mean he’s not the kinda guy I’d hire or hang-out with at premieres. I’d be over trying to get Bruce’s hancock.

I can’t help but compare Polanski’s treatment by his cohort to that of Mel Gibson. OK, getting pissed senseless and driving and then launching into a bizarre tirade against the arresting officer is bad but it’s hardly the same ballpark is it? To put it bluntly it shows Gibson up as a first-class twat. Polanski’s actions show him up as utterly depraved. But whilst Gibson is rightly a pariah around Hollywood, Polanski is a flawed genius. It’s just wrong. It seems to be a weird form of snobbery. If you do stuff posh folks like you can get away with murder but if you entertain the peanut munching masses then they’ll crucify you. I mean that half-wit Barrymore hasn’t had a gig since his one-off show Only Pools and Corpses bombed.

I apologise to American readers for that. They probably won’t really get that sentence.

PS. “Holidays” is British lag slang for doing time in the big house.

14 Comments

  1. JuliaM says:

    “Because the girl in question (now a middle-aged woman of course) doesn’t want to press charges then charges should not be pressed.”

    It isn’t up to her, though.

    A system of justice which prevents people like Polanski buying or bribing their way out of trouble is far preferable to this.

  2. NickM says:

    Julia,
    I disagree. If the woman doesn’t want to go through it all over again then that is her call. It is up to her. The decision to prosecute over a crime against a person should be in the hands of the person injured or violated. Practically speaking I suspect a rape trial where the rapee doesn’t want to press charges to be a farce.

    The fact Polanski is a scumbag is a different matter. And he should not have got a gig in the film business for the last thrity years beyond cleaning the portaloos.

  3. RAB says:

    Dont apologise for

    Only Pools and Corpses

    Nick.
    It is a work of genius. Wish I’d thought of it!
    Should be quote of the year.

    Now then, Polanski. I disagree. The reason we have the Rule of Law is to stop vigilanteeism. If it is down soley to the person injured to say what should and should not be prosecuted, then we may as well let her big brothers go round and sort out the nasty little perv as they see fit.

    In this case the lady in question is not going to be troubled by a trial, because polanski has confessed to the crime.Then the gutless little punk fled to Europe to avoid the consequences. It is now just a matter of sentencing.

    It is the same area as Nazi War criminals, just because they have evaded the law for a fuck of a long time, doesn’t mean we should not bother to bring them to justice now does it? You just cant say oh it was such a long time ago, let’s forget it shall we?
    And the drugging and anal rape of a 13 year old, is hardly the same as a bit of shoplifting in Tescos now is it?

  4. alison says:

    It’s not her call. He was effectively prosecuted and escaped sentencing. Added to which we either abide by the rule of law or we don’t. The idea is to remove criminals not give them a free pass when victims are either paid to shut up or decide it is all increasingly too ugly to bear. The rest of your post I agree with.

  5. Infidel753 says:

    But there is also an idea that Great People are somehow above the law.

    I think Dostoyevski pretty much covered that one.

  6. Sunfish says:

    She isn’t going to go through much of anything this time around.

    Polanski pled out the first time around. The court accepted his plea. He then fled the jurisdiction after conviction but before sentencing.

    He offered the justification that he feared the judge would not approve the sentencing concessions that the DA offered as part of the plea bargain. I suspect that this claim is 80% self-serving crap and 20% possible. Although, if the sentence agreed upon was one that would have been allowed by law had it been imposed by the judge after conviction at trial, then I don’t see how a judge could reject it.

    On paper I agree with Julia. In practice…

    Practically speaking I suspect a rape trial where the rapee doesn’t want to press charges to be a farce.

    More than a farce. In the US it’s effectively impossible. I don’t deal with rapes much, but this is a factor in domestic violence all the time. And while in theory the prosecutorial discretion is out of the victim’s hands (and God knows it’s out of mine) in practice, a recanting victim means that there’s no case.

  7. Pa Annoyed says:

    Do we apply justice only for the benefit of the victim?
    If the victim was dead, for example, and had no grieving relatives, would there be any point in prosecuting? If the victim, like any witness, was scared of retribution for testifying, would it be ‘just’ to let the Mafioso off?

    I know there is an argument for giving consent retrospectively, (would that apply in this case?) but that’s like retrospective laws – if you can’t know when you do it that it’s a crime, then it can’t be, so if you can’t know when you do it that it won’t always be a crime, then maybe it is anyway?

  8. Ryan Roberts says:

    I imagine some of the reason for the perceived hypocrisy is that everybody who was anybody in Hollywood in the 1970s was banging jailbait in Jack Nicholson’s mansion.

  9. NickM says:

    Sunfish,
    Exactly my point. Or one of them at least.

    PA,
    In the case of rape yes we do. It is by it’s very nature a crime against a specific person. If the rapee doesn’t want a prosecution then the state should not either. My essential point was this though… My disgust at the gliteratti and not the ins and outs of the actual case.

    Ryan,
    You might just have a very sound point.

  10. JuliaM says:

    “In the case of rape yes we do. It is by it’s very nature a crime against a specific person. If the rapee doesn’t want a prosecution then the state should not either.”

    There are lots of crimes against ‘a specific person’ – kidnap, for instance. We can’t allow the rich and powerful to settle their crimes with money or political influence.

    The law is for all, or it’s for none.

  11. Nick M says:

    Good point Julia, hmmm… Let me think.

    That shall take some time.

  12. RAB says:

    Well I am solidly with JuliaM on this one.
    It the the first principal I was taught in Law school.
    The law should treat all persons equally.

    And the way the Hollywood hysteria is going, I hope he get’s 30 years. just to give the haughty elite a bloody nose!

    When did Whoopie Goldburg and that pillar of moral rectitude, Woody Allen graduate Law school, I wonder?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/roman-polanski/6245219/Roman-Polanski-backlash-as-Whoopi-Goldberg-says-director-didnt-commit-rape-rape.html

  13. NickM says:

    RAB,
    You is not going to believe this but I thought on the basis of Julia’s comments and I read that Telegraph piece and it wasn’t from your link there. Great minds think alike! And small-wits do the same. I have posted on Ms Goldberg’s idiocy above.

  14. David Gillies says:

    Statutory rape is a strict liability offence in most jurisdictions meaning that guilt is not predicated on mens rea but merely actus reus. Even if the girl had been a willing and enthusiastic participant, as the law stands she was not deemed capable of giving consent, whether contemporaneously or retrospectively. The law does not take into consideration her willingness or otherwise for the matter to proceed.

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