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Tony Grist

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Plate Sin With Gold..... [May. 20th, 2010|12:17 pm]
Tony Grist
One of the weirdest things about the whole Polanski affair is how this guy who'd been convicted of drugging and raping a thirteen year old girl (then ran away) got welcomed by the European glitterati like a returning prodigal. You'd think his crime would have made him untouchable, but it didn't- and for thirty years his career flourished-  in all which time- so far as I'm aware- no-one famous ever said, "Ugh, I don't want to be in the same room as that creep". When he finally got overconfident and put himself in a position where the police could swoop, a huge number of his dear friends rallied round and protested his arrest- and Whoopi Goldberg- of all people- said on a talk show that it wasn't as if his crime was "rape-rape"- by which I suppose she meant he didn't use a knife. Now Robert Harris, author of the book on which Polanski based his most recent movie, has written an article rubbishing Charlotte Lewis- who recently came forward to say that Polanski assaulted her too.

Where were Harris and Goldberg and all those other dwellers above the clouds when Gary Glitter and Chris Langham came a cropper? 

Clearly culpability in matters relating to the sexual abuse of children depends on how cool you are. If you're only slightly well known- like Langham- or actually a bit naff-  like Glitter- you're paedo-scum. If you're wonderfully famous and powerful-  like Polanski, Bill Wyman, Michael Jackson or Pete Townsend- you're an artist with a troubled soul.  I was going to say that at least the entertainment industry- unlike the Catholic Church- doesn't preach at us while sheltering kiddy-fiddlers,  but then I thought about it some more and realised that, of course, in it's own way, it does. 

[User Picture]From: michaleen
2010-05-23 03:00 pm (UTC)
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.
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