Beating the Rap

The Governator must be breathing a sigh of relief. California will be spared a high-profile, expensive legal mess and Roman Polanski will stay in Europe– the Swiss refuse to extradite him.

I was not happy with the prospect of him coming back and straining our overloaded criminal justice system.

I would like to see some rational discussion of the abuses of power. Polanski, if he stays true to form, will be acting like he’s been vindicated, and exonerated, and his publicists will again be slandering his victim and her family. Or maybe he’ll just stop trying to get back in the US since he almost came here in cuffs.

He’s not a supercriminal. He’s ordinary. There’s people like him everywhere. Whenever we give power to an individual we risk making a tyrant, petty or large. It’s not as if children here were safe while this one perp was out of the country. It’s not as if adults don’t also suffer abuse.

Roman Polanski has not expressed remorse or even paid the compensation for damages he promised Samantha Geimer. But he did not completely escape justice.

The court of public opinion, that in the 1970’s convicted Geimer of being a ‘Lolita’ who inconvenienced a Great Man by telling the truth about what he did to her, has made a later judgment that the drug-facilitated rape of a child is a crime. We couldn’t even use words like that back then. It’s progress, of a bitter and ironic kind.

Today in the ACI there are people sitting in cells for smoking things or failing to pay fines. Law is law, and in this case Justice is God’s. Crimes against children are an assault on society, but this time the offender gets away. How do we repair the damage?

Parents want to know how to protect their children. America needs to create a society where our children can express their independence without such a high level of fear.

There’s a parallel here to the Catholic Church scandals. Polanski didn’t jump out of an alley, he won the trust of parents to get access to a child. He used prestige to get past the defenses that are intended to protect children. We can’t lock our children up, so the challenge is to find ways to identify abuse at the start, and to stop it.

Of course, teaching children early to question authority could have consequences later on. It’s an experiment I’d like to see. Maybe someone will make a film about the lies and bluffs and basic human frailty that induce us to give away power to people who are untrustworthy. Maybe that film has already been made. Seen any good movies lately?

SO MISUNDERSTOOD: Since some commenters may have mistaken my lack of faith in high-profile justice for an attempt to minimize an awful crime against a child, I offer my previous post from 2009, Fangirl and Fanboy,where I take on Hollywood apologists and link to some brave critics who tell it like it is. Myself, I’ve been on the press to tell the truth about Polanski for years, writing to the ProJo’s Michael Janusonis by snail mail before blogging was invented.

AND ANOTHER THING: A blast at Polanski from Salon.

THE WHOLE STORY: Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post sums it up, including a link to the victim’s testimony… (thanks to Daily Kos for the tip)

For Roman Polanski, the long, unspeakable nightmare of being confined to his three-story chalet in Gstaad, the luxury resort in the Swiss Alps, is finally over. The fugitive director is free once again to stroll into town, have a nice meal, maybe do a little shopping at the local Cartier, Hermes or Louis Vuitton boutiques.

Or he could just scurry like a rat into France or Poland, the two countries where he has citizenship — and where authorities have a long history of acting as if Polanski’s celebrity and talent somehow negate his sexual brutalization of a 13-year-old girl.

I’ve watched this case for over thirty years. For me the justice is in seeing a wilder and less timid press, aided by the Net, finally tell the truth. He did not ‘have sex with’ an underage girl. He raped a child. You can all thank the ‘feminazis’ and the ‘politically correct’ for the voice to say this. In the 70’s such words were not allowed in print, so all the media parroted the perp’s version. Like any other pitiful loser, Polanski made himself out to be the victim. He owes Samantha Geimer a settlement for the injury he inflicted, that he promised and never paid. He also owes her a public apology and to promise to stay out of her life. But he’ll die of old age before that happens.
California needs to put its money into getting active abusers tried and convicted. All fifty states need to put resources into prevention. If the Feds do scoop Polanski then let him face the judge like any other offender. Justice has already been greatly served by exposing his lies.

Terminator vs Predator

I’m wondering now, if Roman Polanski is extradited back to the USA will he face charges in California, the state he fled thirty years ago?

That would be fascinating to watch. He might appeal to Governor Schwarzenegger to grant clemency. The Arnold is a film guy. He fought allegations during his campaign of a pattern of sexual bullying and a relationship with an underage girl. They called him the Gropinator. But he’s a Republican now–zero tolerance, tough on crime. I imagine he would welcome the arrival of Roman Polanski in his state about as much as he would a shipment of toxic waste.

California has more prisoners than it can feed, and there’s nothing the Governor could do with the Polanski case that wouldn’t offend some constituency. There’s sure to be Total Recall of Schwarzenegger’s own past if he tries to get righteous, and allegations of favoritism if he doesn’t throw the book.

Polanski, on his part, will be arriving on another planet. When he left California women were chicks and men were playboys. It was easy for him to write a script where he was the victim of a conniving nymphet, just doing what any guy would do given the opportunity. Now he’s hearing words not fit to print in the 70’s, such as ‘drug-facilitated rape of a child’.

The film industry, like a priesthood, is rallying behind its own. Dear old Father Macgillicuddy, he was always so good to me. And anyway, he’s old. Too bad for Polanski that this role has already been played by scores of clergy, and juries found it hackneyed and contrived.

If the state of California does show Terminator vs Predator, be prepared for astounding transformations and amazing twists of logic, scandalous exposure of hypocrisy and enough blame to go around.