Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski’s recent arrest in Switzerland for drugging and having sex with an underage model more than 30 years ago has generated a lot of buzz in the news.

Many people are outraged that Polanski, now 76, was arrested on the charges, which he fled to Europe in the 1970s to escape. After living abroad for decades he was picked up by Swiss authorities while attending a film festival where he was to receive an award.

Others contend it’s time to bring Polanski to justice for an act that, no matter how you look at it, is clearly reprehensible.

I fall more into the former group than the latter. I think arresting Polanski now, long after the crime and against the wishes of even the victim, serves little purpose. He’s an old man, not likely to repeat the offense, and there are certainly plenty of mitigating circumstances – he’s a genius filmmaker whose life at the time had already been marred by unbelievable tragedy. (He's a Holocaust survivor whose wife and unborn baby were murdered six years prior by the Manson family.)

Of course, those are also arguments that can be made to a judge. I can see how some would argue that’s the proper way to handle the case.

But really – don’t we have more important injustices to pursue?

(Photo: Bushwick, Brooklyn, Sept. 2009)


  1. hi,
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  3. Beyond the facts (as reported by the media), I know little about the initial charges brought against Polanski so I have nothing to say on that topic.

    What I find disturbing is the fact the Swiss police proceeded to this arrest. You have to wonder what criteria apply, knowing that other people with outstanding charges or condemnations against them - such as charges of genocide - have never been bothered during their long years in Switzerland. Bizarre, no?

  4. These comments aren't weird enough... so, Hemingway interlude!

    "I'm not wearing pants!" he barked.

    "What?" she asked, flipping her hair thoughtlessly. "Pants? Really"


    She looked befuddled. "So no pills then? I like the pills."

    "Hmmm" I replied.

    "What Rot!" she barked.

    She was work, too much work. Women shouldn't be work like that. Maybe I should have brought the pills. The pills kept them quiet.

    Quiet like the bull fights.

    And the wine.

    The bull fights and the wine in Pamplona.

  5. I think there is nothing to be served by locking the guy up at this point.

  6. The only thing is, he made a deal with the lady he raped and has never paid up, not to mention fleeing.

    No respect or pity for him in doing either.

    He needs to pay on both counts.

  7. I used the exact same arguments you did when talking to my 28-year-old son recently, including the fact that respectable parents would not have allowed their 13-year-old to be at that scene to begin with. He was adamant that Polanski should still be made to pay for what he did, saying, "But Mom, he raped her." Does it matter that the girl who is now in her 40's no longer cares that he be brought to justice?

  8. No matter who it is, it certainly isn't good for any women to realize that if this happens to them, that nothing will be done to the person perpetrating the rape.
    This has happened so many times in the past, should we still allow it to happen today? I think not.

  9. I don't think there is any such thing as a mitigating circumstance in cases of rape.

    Why they decided to nab him now is interesting. Allegedly they could have done it at any time, so why now?

    None of this is any of my business, but I'm following the story because his life has seemed to dramatically touched by fate, and because of the timing of his arrest.

  10. Reya: Apparently he spends most of his time in France, which would not extradite. He travels to Switzerland periodically, but this time his plans were publicized beforehand, so the authorities there were able to get their ducks in a row and nab him. That's the story as I understand it.

  11. I feel that the case needs to at least be resolved. From what I know about the incident it would have to be called rape and deserves to be brought up. It may not be the best use of resources and time, but I don't buy the argument that he's old, a great artist and an Oscar winner. And adding Woody Allen to the voices of those coming to his defense doesn't really help.