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Thursday, October 01, 2009 

I don't care if he dies in prison, no

You want to know how I feel about the Roman Polanski furore, and have since I first read up on it in the 90s? Here's how I feel. Marcia Clark, of all people, has a good overview on the legal issues and how stupid/craven/etc. etc. running in the first place. And none of this affects - or has anything to do with - my love for Chinatown at all.

(first link via the ever-esteemable Alfred)

Hmmm... what really bothers me about Polanski is that I never sensed an apology- I'm sure he has done penance, though- being the world's most famous rapist has to hurt. But I would have had a lot more sympathy for him if he had been like: "I didn't know what the hell I was doing, I was overcome by emotion, I am so so sorry." Instead, he always insisted that "Hey, she wasn't a virgin, she knew what she was in for, all they wanted was money out of me." Not cool, dude. However, it has been more than thirty years- the woman has forgiven him publicly and moved on long ago, so it's kind of weird that WE refuse to forgive him too as a judging public. I did things as little as five years ago that have nothing to do with the person I am now. Time is an element in justice. Punishing him now serves nothing- altough it goes to prove that it was a huge slip not to have punished him THEN. On the other hand, it must suck for the non-rich rapists who can't escape to Switzerland watch him being feted with Oscars from their prison cells.
And, no shame about the love for his movies- the guy IS a great director- he probably IS the nice family man his friends depict him as- that has nothing to do with the fact that he imposed himself on a girl, and that was wrong and he should have paid, THEN. Again, I think time is an element in punishment. Now putting him in a cell solves nothing. This is one of the many reasons I am very ambivalent about the law system. Recall my favorite book is "Les Miserables". People, even good people, do haunting things that they can be redeemed from. I do believe in forgiveness.

I really hate the fact that I am able to see things from all points of view. DAMN.

Sure, I believe in redemption and forgiveness - but in story after story about this, you can see clearly that he's not seeking redemption and doesn't think there's anything to be forgiven for. He pled guilty, he's never said a single thing to dspute the victim's version of events, and he thinks he doesn't deserve to be punished for that - not just now, but at the time. As for what the victim wants, as it's been pointed out by many, justice isn't always about what the victim wants. I'm sure she's satisfied with the civil settlement she got, but he still deserves to be punished, almost as much for trying to evade justice for so long as for raping her in the first place.

And don't compare it to Les Miserables, for Christ's sake - Roman Polanski didn't steal a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. He drugged and raped a child.

Ah, but Jean Vlajean did try to evade justice repeatedly, if we're going to go that way ;-)
But, yeah, agreed on Polanski's arrogance. As I said, that's why I never felt could feel sympathy for him. His interviews about it are very chilling and macho-ey. "If she didn't want to me to sodomize her, why was she in my jacuzzi?!? Women!"

Yeah. If you look at the actual legal issues surrounding him evading his sentence, one of the huge problems I have with Polanski is that there were plenty of legal recourses for him to take if he genuinely believed he had done nothing wrong. The way he acted only really makes sense if he knew perfectly well what he'd done and was trying to avoid any responsability for it.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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