When the Polanski case flared up again I was immediately struck by the contrast with William Mayne
. A lot of the excuses peddled by Polanski's supporters - it wasn't rape-rape, it was a long time ago, mores
were different then, his talent gives him special privileges - also applied to Mayne. Yet there was no fuss when Mayne (rightly, imo) went to jail. Thereafter he was never published again, and all his backlist (sadly, imo) was allowed to go out of print, even as Polanski was assembling his young cast for Oliver Twist
. The contrast certainly shows up Hollywood and European hypocrisy - but actually, I think most people find that fairly apparent anyway.
I haven't read Mayne, but the obituary makes him sound like a very interesting writer.
I have similar feelings about Chris Langham- a very fine comedy actor who has now disappeared- along with all his work. His crime- downloading child pornography- strikes me as considerably less heinous than what Polanski did.
So,so true. Thank you for expressing it how I never could.
The poedophile,who lived in our road,is out of prison.
We saw him,swaggering along the High St in Canterbury.A man who said he wanted to rape a baby and then kill it.
I hope his troubled soul rots steadily while he's alive.
How is Ailz today?
I hope the police are keeping tabs on that man.
Ailz is tired (she didn't get much sleep in hospital) and still hurting, but she's happy to be home.
And he bragged in a Playboy interview, and said "EVERYBODY wants to f--- young girls."
He wasn't even all that good a director. He made a film -- The Ninth Gate -- that not even Johnny Depp could save.
I came across that article when I was researching this post. He's a vile man.
I don't like his work. I saw most of his earlier films as they came out- and they made me feel sick. After a while I learned to avoid anything with his name attached.
I can't explain it rationally, and the Precious knows I've tried, because I rather like to make sense of the world in which I live. But the closest thing I can think of, is how folks like tigers better than stoats; both are pitiless killers that prey on things weaker than themselves, but there's some kind of gravitas to the bigger, badder animal that somehow makes it 'cool', rather than creepy.
Either that, or there was a Deal made somewhere, for thirty years of freedom before the bill came due. But that's where things get into the unprovable range of karma and payback and bad guys eventually getting their comeuppance, and while I may choose to believe in such things, I'm not fool enough to trade on them in a rational conversation...
I think you're onto something there with the stoats and the tigers.
I believe in karma. I think you have to pay for what you take- maybe not now- maybe a long way down the line- but sooner or later things will get evened out.
Rape is rape, and the rape of children is even more dispicable than the rape of an adult.
I don't believe Michael Jackson raped or molested anyone; at least one of his accusers has recanted, saying his father pressured him into making the false accusations. And to his credit, Jackson stood trial and was acquitted. Polanski, on the other hand, ran from a conviction rather than do the time he deserved. I was profoundly disappointed with Whoopi for defending him. What the hell was she thinking?!?
As you know, I'm not particularly fond of Michael Jackson, but you're right- he was aquitted- and his friends stood by him because they believed in his innocence. Polanski's friends, on the other hand, have stood by him even though he was convicted of child rape and has never hidden his predilection for very young girls.
As for Whoopi, I guess she had a brainstorm. I can't believe she's proud of that remark.
2010-05-20 04:57 pm (UTC)
I believe some women will allow their partners to molest their children because they are afraid they will leave them. Who is worse?
I suppose the Polanski thing is on the same level, that which we fear or reverence we are likely to excuse, no matter how much we know it's wrong.
Not much to choose between them, I'd say.
I guess in Polanski's case money had something to do with it too- by which I mean his ability to make money for producers by directing highly successful films.
Some folks will excuse all kinds of execrable behavior if the perp had himself been victimized. And here we have Holocaust survivor whose pregnant wife was brutally murdered by the Manson gang. Doesn't wash for me -- plenty of Holocaust survivors managed to live their entire lives, including subsequent traumas, without drugging and raping young girls.
2010-05-21 09:37 pm (UTC)
Well, actors are good and acting, just as bankers are good at banking...
...but neither ability makes them particularly good at being good.
But--I suppose it's human nature--people attribute all sorts of gravitas to those who are very good at what they do.
The problem's compounded when what they do is produce narratives, images and personae that affect us deeply. We don't want to believe people who can do that, can be evil. It makes us feel like dupes, but more importantly it makes us feel like something dear has been taken from us.
Which perhaps explains a lot of revisionist criticism: Auden going "Yeats-was-a-FAAAAAAAscist, neener-neener-NEEE-nerrrrr!" Nobody goes after Ezra Pound, though, despite his producing propaganda broadcasts for the Fascists while said Fascists were still killing American and British soldiers. Perhaps that's because fewer people like Pound's work than Yeats', and so "doing him down" doesn't take away the affection and good memories from as many people.
And it's taking things from other monkeys that proves the stronger monkey stronger.
Tony, I don't much care for this topic.
For starters, I am relatively free of Puritanism, so I find the tendency of some to go looking for the taint of sin in Polanski's art appalling.
A name that springs immediately to mind in the context of this discussion is that of Egon Schiele, qv. Had he lived, one is tempted to assume that his questionable relationships with teens would have ended his career instead of influenza. Had he been born in these latter days, and subjected to such clucking as I see here, then this is a virtual certainty and my world would be poorer for it.
Which is the greater ideal, art or justice? Polanski's apologists seem to hold art to be the higher of the two. Since they are mostly artists themselves, that should hardly surprise us. The aristocracy that once protected and nurtured the arts is long gone, so these days it is our cultural aristocrats, Polanski's peers, that must do what they can to protect their own. I wish them well.
We live in an age when it is easy to whip up a mob against a man like Polanski, while the real monsters walking among us, men like Cheney and Blair and Netanyahu, are untouchable, often loudly defended by constituent members of that very same mob.
In such a world, I am so glad that I don't need to take a stand on the Polanski case, one way or the other.