well, i suppose this was inevitable: Roman Polanski was recently apprehended in Switzerland because of his aged 1978 arrest warrant, and then the bloggers out there in internet land (i am resisting using words like “blogosphere”) went absolutely CRAZY over this story. i think most of them were pro-arrest, as are most people, but it doesn’t really matter: they went crazy either way because it’s a nice salacious story involving a celebrity (and then a bunch of additional celebrities as a result). so now it’s time for the third-rate blogs like this one to weigh in, because everyone knows how valuable MY opinion on this matter is.
but frankly, we all know what i’m going to say about this (it was appropriate that he was arrested), we can probably guess my feelings on Polanski (he’s a gifted director, but still a criminal), and the arguments over the merits of the arrest have been repeated ad nauseum, so there’s really no need to repeat anything along those lines (whether or not there’s a need for anything on this site is a related matter best left untouched at this point). and i’m really more comfortable discussing things a) flippantly and b) in the context of a listicle, so why don’t we do something more like a list of what i consider the 13 most funny and/or ironic things about this whole mess?
note: well, let me just get this out of my system: Roman Polanski plead guilty to, basically, filling a 13-year-old girl with champagne and Quaaludes, luring her into a jacuzzi and then fucking her in the ass (and everywhere else, actually) while she repeatedly said “no.” sorry to be crude about this, but it helps people be less defensive of it when you use the phrase “he drugged an underage girl and then sodomized her,” so there it is. ANYWAY…
13 MOST FUNNY (OR AT LEAST IRONIC) THINGS ABOUT THIS WHOLE ROMAN POLANSKI ARREST BUSINESS
now really, does this look like the face of a man who could rape a child? because the answer is “yes, absolutely”
13. anyone, anywhere comparing this Polanski debate to a lynch mob
the link i am going to use, simply because it makes this claim directly, is this one from film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, which contains the quote: “American lynch mobs never die; they only become more self-righteous about their savagery.” the only things that i can take away from this are a) that people in the modern world apparently have no conception of what a lynch mob REALLY is, and b) that people supporting Polanski may be so out of touch that they are willing to make a comparison that’s insulting to everyone involved, as it’s clearly disrespectful to anyone who’s been unfairly persecuted by mob justice (i acknowledge it’s hyperbole to some extent, but it’s still a terrible comparison) while making Polanski look bad by virtue of having his supporters revealed as idiots.
12. janklow being forced to go against Monica Bellucci on this issue
you know i refrain from saying a negative word about Bellucci (i’ve been letting that whole “shacking up with a Frenchman” thing slide for years now, for example), but seeing that she’s signed on for his petition in support of Polanski is just very disappointing. i’m going to need to come up with an explanation that works; maybe something about how traumatic the creation of Irreversible was and how it’s damaged her judgment subsequently? well, okay, it’s not very convincing, so i’ll open the floor to suggestions.
11. Roman Polanski’s petition for house arrest
this notion itself is not entirely crazy, because it’s fair to push for what Polanski’s legal team has: bail or house arrest. i don’t dispute that. but beyond the notion of “that’s not right because the guy’s spent a couple of decades or so avoid incarceration, so giving him bail or house arrest misses the point,” have you seen the home he owns outside of Gstaad? here are some photographs of it, and i think i speak for all of us who don’t own luxury homes in Switzerland when i say “how the fuck would that be considered house arrest?”
10. Debra Winger is supposedly to be taken seriously
you know what i learned from this whole event? it wasn’t anything about the Polanski case, because i’d read about it before and i watched that documentary last year (which did make the point that the justice system was maybe acting a little shady, which doesn’t change the fact that Polanski fucked a child in the ass). it was that Debra Winger is a) supposedly head of the Zurich Film Festival jury and b) still active in the film world at all and c) not dead. seriously, Debra Winger’s in charge of this film festival’s jury? who made THAT decision? terrible.
seriously, Debra Winger? in charge of something serious? this still doesn’t make sense
09. this whole “Anne Applebaum conflict of interest” thing
okay, this might only be funny in the sense of embarrassing people who are defending Polanski, and not so much on the grounds of the actual arguments they make; still, Applebaum deserves it because she implied that not being able to receive an Oscar in person is an incredible debt to pay for raping a child. and it goes like this: Applebaum’s made a sad, sad defense of Polanski, and it turns out that her husband is the Polish foreign minister and has publicly indicated he’d lobby on behalf of Polanski. i don’t think this is a really scandal or shameful twist, but still, fuck Applebaum for defending Polanski.
08. the terrorism reference in Bernard-Henri LÃ©vy’s petition
so Bernard-Henri LÃ©vy is this French philosopher (seriously, this is a description of what he does for a living?) that started this whole petition on behalf of Polanski, and that’s pretty funny in a sad way itself. but more to the point is that it includes the following quote: “Apprehended like a common terrorist Saturday evening-“ …and we can just stop right there so that LÃ©vy can explain this one to me. for one, i doubt that Polanski is actually being treated in the way a terrorist is. he’s probably being pampered as far as people in custody go, and he’s certainly not being interrogated or water boarded. for two, when did we abandon the phrases “common thug” or “common criminal?” if the purpose is to compare the brilliant person in custody to some generic rogue, doesn’t “common criminal” work better than “common terrorist?”
07. Luc Besson being the voice of reason on this issue
this one’s weird, especially because of bunch of French politicians and celebrities have weighed in on this one with various demands for Polanski’s freedom. what did Besson say? “Our daughters are good friends. But there is one justice, and that should be the same for everyone.” okay, that’s pretty logical, so what’s the funny and/or ironic part?
–this is the guy who made the Fifth Element, which is absolutely insane, and this indicates that Besson is not the kind of guy i expect to be the one French director making logical remarks;
–this is the guy who helped create/produce the Transporter series, , and this indicates that Besson is not the kind of guy i expect to be making rational decisions;
–this is the guy who made LÃ©on, also known as the Professional. do i need to spell out what exactly about that film makes it weird he’d take a strong stance on this?
06. Peg Yorkin basically being dismissive of rape
you know, i like to kid the feminists, but i should admit that every so often, they do bring me some amusement. for example, when one of the founders of a group like the Feminist Majority Foundation, Peg Yorkin, gives us this pearl of wisdom: “My personal thoughts are let the guy go … It’s bad a person was raped. But that was so many years ago. The guy has been through so much in his life. It’s crazy to arrest him now. Let it go. The government could spend its money on other things.” you might never even guess that the FMF is supposedly about promoting legislation like the Violence Against Women Act that, among other things, is about addressing sexual assault against women. but perhaps they meant “sexual assault against women that took place recently?”
now really, does this look like the face of a man who could make a logical argument about the law? because the answer is “no, no, not at all”
05. Harvey Weinstein’s strong lack of critical thinking
frankly, this one can be boiled down to “shouldn’t Harvey be spending his time and energy trying to save his damaged and reeling movie business rather than crying about Polanski?” because his arguments prove terrible. “Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time,” he says. no, Harvey, if i think the CRIME was a serious one that Polanski didn’t get punished for, then i don’t agree that he has served his time. the “whatever you think” angle doesn’t work there! but then again, this is a man who also added: “Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion.” i don’t know where to even begin with that one. and that doesn’t even get us through “I hope the U.S. government acts swiftly because filmmakers are looking for justice to be properly served.” fuck those guys on Death Row with legitimate questions about their convictions, the FILMMAKERS are looking for justice!
04. Whoopi Goldberg’s “rape-rape” defense of Polanski
now, what basically happened here is that Goldberg stated: “I know it wasn’t rape-rape. It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape.” now, this comment that doesn’t make much sense to me. so there’s rape and then there’s turbo-rape? what constitutes this turbo-rape? i don’t know, but i bet it’s something like raping a child… wait… that happened in this case… so that would make it turbo-bad… yeah. she clarified later that she meant it was statutory rape instead of plain old rape, which seems bogus, but i guess it’s a claim? sort of?
03. Whoopi Goldberg’s defense of not serving a sentence
i’m sorry, but i just can’t leave her alone on this one. what you might have noticed, if you followed the above link, is that Whoopi Goldberg also stated: “He went to jail and and when they let him out he was like, ‘You know what, this guy’s going to give me a hundred years in jail. I’m not staying.’ So that’s why he left.” now, again, i suppose her base argument is something about Polanski being abused by the American justice system or something. but here’s the thing: she’s basically arguing that he’s paid his debt to society because he briefly went to jail and then skipped out on the rest of a sentence because it was too much. this is ridiculous! i am not sure i could shoot someone and then say “fuck this life sentence nonsense, that’s just UNFAIR,” and expect people to say “you know, janklow’s right, that judge was running wild!”
02. Woody Allen being involved in this in a supposedly serious manner
so i understand that not everyone has a negative view of Woody Allen; many may at least think that even if he DID do something shady with his stepdaughter (or whatever she was, i know, there’s a complicated defense of Allen based around him not actually being married to Mia Farrow), it’s been redeemed by all of his wonderful work in the world of cinema. but even if that’s the case, they have to understand that he looks like king of the perverts to the average American, right? so does no one that supports Polanski even realize how BAD it makes their side look when Woody Allen is signing petitions in his defense and making a show of it?
that’s right, ladies, LET’S GET THAT POLANSKI
01. that janklow and a whole bunch of feminists are on the same page about something
okay, you probably saw this joke coming. but seriously, considering that feminists universally despise janklow and janklow feels bad about all their jealousy-based-rage, when they and i are on the same page about something (with the exception of Peg Yorkin, i suppose), well, then you KNOW there’s some irony at work. and we all love irony!