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[personal profile] mightydoll
Just under 3 weeks before my 5th birthday, John Lennon was shot dead outside the Dakota (I'll get to how this pertains to Polanski, bear with me). At 5 years old it had never occurred to me that someone could just take away someone else's life. Murder was not a concept I'd ever considered and it was terrifying and devastating to learn about. I knew about death; my maternal grandfather had passed away the year previous, and I knew what devastation and sadness death caused. The thought that someone could cause that, and, further, that someone would want to cause that just blew my mind.

When I was about 12 or 13, I checked out the novelization of Rosemary's Baby from the library. I left the book on the dining room table one evening and my mother expressed disapproval. She expressed to me that she didn't think it was appropriate to consume Roman Polanski's media, because he had raped a little girl and fled the country. The cognitive dissonance in those words was similar to that which I experienced at 5.

He'd done it. Everyone knew he'd done it. He'd admitted to it and not shown remorse (and for all those who claim he has, I ask them to prove it. Certainly we've all read the quote from the Martin Amis interview by now: "If I had killed somebody, it wouldn't have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But...fucking, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!") He'd been convicted and then, somehow, he was able to just waltz away. This rapist of a young girl, a child about my age, was living large in France and completely untouchable. How was that possible? 12 year old me wanted to know, how could that BE? Further, people were abetting his evasion. They were continuing to support and celebrate this man.

It sent a message to me then, that young girls are being sent now, that we were/they are less important than this story I was reading, (which incidentally, featured a terrifying rape scene or two).

When the news broke that Roman Polanski had finally been apprehended, I was jubilant. I turned to the internet, expecting a similar sense of celebration. For two days, almost everywhere I looked, I saw apologism, I saw celebrities I admired (and many I've never heard of) championing an admitted child rapist, and petitioning for his release. It felt like a kick in the guts. It feels like it did when I was 12 and I found out that it was even possible for someone to walk away. HOW my brain screams at me, HOW is it possible that people are taking this stand?

I've been obsessed with finding people who've spoken out against Polanski. I'm following the Dreamwidth list and the Shakesville list with a passionate need. I'm surprised, myself, with how personally I've taken this, with how obsessed (and obsessed really is the word, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I've thought of little else since the news broke) I am, and I think it just comes down to utter incredulity. I need to know that there are at least as many people out there willing to speak out against this subhuman waste of skin as there are trying to support him (and really, I don't give a shit about his art. I don't think I've ever seen one of his movies, and I'm pretty sure my life is not a swirling vortex of culturelessness because of it).

I'm just...so disappointed.

on 2009-10-02 09:47 pm (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
I had a similar talk with a neighbour, who thought Rowan's name was Roman, ten years ago. She was pretty 'forgiving' about Roman,but couldn't believe my attitude toward this artist. Her daughters are 14 and 12, so maybe her mind has changed. It is mind boggling and disheartening.

I didn't get it then and I still don't.

Marina

on 2009-10-02 09:53 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] drjon.livejournal.com
There's been a good (low-level, but good--mostly, apart from one person being a dick and trying to derail it) discussion thread on a quote I posted on FB.

(The quote was Orwell: "If Shakespeare returned to the earth to-morrow, and if it were found that his favourite recreation was raping little girls in railway carriages, we should not tell him to go ahead with it on the ground that he might write another King Lear"; -George Orwell, "Notes on Dali")

I must admit, I'm still stunned at the general reaction in some sections of the community. He's admitted raping a 13-yo girl, he's admitted drugging her to effect this. How the fuck do you then think "well, he made some good movies and he was dicked around by the judge, they should let him go"???

People are weird and broken.

on 2009-10-02 09:56 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] iscari0t.livejournal.com
I'm not up on the subject, so pardon me if I ask - how was he dicked around by the judge?

on 2009-10-02 10:07 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mightydoll.livejournal.com
that bit, actually, is a misconception based on a lack of understanding about how the court system works as well as based on the heavily RP sympathetic documentary that just came out.

The prosecuting attorney agreed to a plea bargain, which RP, expected would get be accepted by the judge. I don't know if the judge actually indicated that he would accept it, but even if he did, that's not actually how the judicial system works AND the attorney who claimed that the judge had pre-approved of the plea bargain has since admitted to having lied.

For the record: Judges don't agree to sentencing prior to the plea being registered. The prosecuting attorney can agree to prosecute on a lesser charge and ask for a lesser sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, but the ultimate decision rests with the judge AFTER the trial (not in advance of hearing evidence).

The prosecuting attorney agreed to ask for time served and RP got it in his head that that's what the judge would agree with. He caught wind that the judge might consider time served a bit low "even" for statutory rape. The judge has been reported as having expressed that he was intending to give RP several more months in sentencing (oh the humanity!) and RP and his spin team turned that into a certainty that he'd be railroaded by the criminal justice system and played on a lack of understanding about judicial procedure to give this impression that he got fucked over.

on 2009-10-02 10:13 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] drjon.livejournal.com
I'm quite willing to accept that he *may* have been dicked around by the judge, and I think it should be looked into by a judicial inquiry. They can even call Polanski from his gaol cell to give evidence.

And then throw him back in there.

on 2009-10-02 10:23 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] iscari0t.livejournal.com
I only ask because if he WAS dicked around by the judge, that can (and should) affect sentencing; if there's one thing I've learned about being a liberal, it's that the system is more important than the justice it serves. At least I think that's the idea. ^.~

on 2009-10-02 10:34 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mightydoll.livejournal.com
certainly, if there was as mistrial, it will have to be dealt with. That said, the way to deal with a mistrial is not to flee to France.

Further, an outpouring of support for an admitted child rapist, regardless of whether he was dicked around by the judge, is just creepy.

I do think it needs a lot more publicity that the attorney who claimed on that documentary, that there was a miscarriage of justice has admitted to lying about it. Was Roman Polanski lied to? Possibly, however, what he seems to have expected, and what people are spreading around that happened to him, legally, simply isn't the way it works.

on 2009-10-02 10:45 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] iscari0t.livejournal.com
I'm with you - I mean, I have seen his films, and I think they're fucking fantastic. But it's like, dude - you drugged and raped a 13 year old girl; you deserve to die at the hands of her family. *shrug*

(and in this episode, we see why [livejournal.com profile] iscari0t considers it better for himself to trust the system over "justice")

on 2009-10-02 10:08 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mightydoll.livejournal.com
incidentally, the judge who presided over this case is now dead, so there's no asking him.

on 2009-10-03 08:18 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] kaninchenzero.livejournal.com
Also, the prosecuting attorney who claimed to have had an illegal ex parte communication with the District Court judge in the 1978 Polanski trial now says he lied (http://kaninchenzero.livejournal.com/246179.html). Made the whole thing up.

on 2009-10-02 10:04 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] nicklausse.livejournal.com

People get real weird if you try to insert reality into a culture of escapism. They'll say all kind of crazy shit to keep it at bay. Disturbing indeed.

on 2009-10-03 02:02 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] tormenta.livejournal.com
Thanks for this.

I've been taking thus pretty hard. Nice to see friends wax eloquent about the impact of rape-apology on every one of us.

on 2009-10-06 02:51 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] daphne1d.livejournal.com
I find his supporters baffling, depressing and revolting.

I'm especially revolted by Whoopi Goldberg's "rape rape" remark. I mean, WHAT THE FUCK????

I read the victim's grand jury testimony on The Smoking Gun, and it broke my heart.

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