Skip to comments."Repent, Roman! A Modest Solution to the Polanski Problem"
Posted on 10/20/2009 12:17:57 PM PDT by J. Neil Schulman
Ever since the American economy was struck down by a hit and run driver on Wall Street late in 2008, the world has been holding its breath. What would happen next?
Well, the Republicans lost power and the Democrats gained power, and somehow the War on Terror marches on without stumbling. The Pentagon budget remains untouchable even though we owe China a trillion dollars. “It's Chinatown , Jake.”
The immediate struggle is about a shift in the economy over the possibility of National Health Care. Many people are out of jobs and people with jobs aren't spending big. Everyone's yelling at each other and stressing over the subject of how to get medicine to control stress. America needs more money from somewhere.
Things are so bad that Michael Moore has made another movie. Another damned Michael Moore movie!
So who should come to the rescue and take our minds off the problems of 2009? It's just about time for Rosemary's Baby to have grown up and be the right age to threaten the world, but hey, look! It's Roman Polanski with a legal case over three decades old. Unbelievable!
Some of us thought the Polanski matter was behind us. He had effectively exiled himself from America when he fled the country. A lot of us thought that he would stay on his side of the Atlantic and we would stay on ours. Who could still care about celebrity crime in the polyester decade of the Seventies (a whole decade that was a felony) after something as serious as September 11, 2001 ?
We did not reckon on two things. First, the Internet is a real Devil beyond anything dreamed up by Ira Levin. Second, as mentioned in the first paragraph, the economy fell off a cliff in late 2008 (which has put a dent in magazine publishing like it has everything else).
Many strange things happened when the economy was crippled in 2008; things as strange as what went on in a hot tub with Polanski and a thirteen year old girl. One of these unusual developments was that the fiscal force field surrounding Switzerland shook and sank.
Switzerland is an entire country that used to be the planet's most secure bank. It wasn't easy maintaining neutrality during World War II. It was no small feat remaining aloof during the Cold War. A country capable of doing that could survive anything. Except...
... it couldn’t survive America’s nervous breakdown at the end of 2008.
And so, the American Empire went after tax havens in Switzerland and that night there came the sound of breaking glass from the bank windows. It’s no wonder the Swiss capitulated. It is a wonder that they have any chocolate left.
One unexpected result of the New World Disorder was that an old criminal case against Oscar winning director Roman Polanski was reactivated. Suddenly, all the deals he had made to secure his safety turned to ashes.
Think about it. France and Poland would not extradite their celebrity citizen back to America. Israel would not extradite him either. The British might have so he avoided all the hot tubs in Merry Olde England , but felt that he was secure in Switzerland where he had one of his houses.
The statute of limitations would have run out long ago on both the statutory rape and other rape charges (the liquor and Quaalude rape) even if Polanski had pleaded guilty to everything instead of copping to one charge only. The Internet and talk radio as well as cable fake news have pretty much exhausted all these legalistic details with every armchair attorney in the USA.
A typical commentary was to be found on FOX News; but the point is that it was typical! For once, MSNBC, CNN, Headline News and FOX all seemed to be on the same page.
At FOX, Bob Beckel, the Big Union Liberal Democrat said he’d kill a guy like Polanski if it was his daughter. So Beckel was the conservative. Sean Hannity, the Right Wing Republican, said he’d give Polanski life imprisonment. So Hannity was the moderate. Meanwhile, on a FOX show with higher ratings, Bill O’Reilly said he’d give Polanski five years. So O’Reilly was the liberal. An odd turn of events in anyone’s reality.
These kind of shows rarely if ever discuss exactly where Polanski would be imprisoned or done away with. The implicit assumption is that it has to be in America. Why is that?
National pride is why. Polanski defied the authority of the state government of California and the federal government of the United States of America. There is no statute of limitations on that. Logically, this should be the topic on the Internet and the babbling talk shows. It isn’t.
An angry female prosecutor on MSNBC told an astounded Chris Matthews that “the victim is not important” in the Polanski case. Was she making a point about Polanski insulting the American legal system? Of course not. Her opinion was echoed by another angry commentator on a different cable channel pontificating that rape is not a crime against an individual but a crime against society. For these people, the issue is not the girl in Jack Nicholson’s hot tub with smarmy Polanski; or the dissing of America by famous Polanski.
What is going on here?
In a vain attempt to make sense of it all we turn to someone who spends every day in the outer regions of Cyberspace: J. Neil Schulman.
1.) “Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, wants the charges dismissed and Polanski freed. She does not want to testify. She wants the government to leave her alone. She wants the government to leave Roman Polanski alone. I just don’t see how an all-powerful State saying to a powerless victim ‘you’re our client whether you want to be or not’ is more equitable than the victim being allowed to decide for herself that civil damages were sufficient to make her whole. Samantha Geimer is satisfied that she was made whole by the half a million dollars paid her in reparations.”
2.) “If you believe that the victimSamantha Geimershould not have a say about the disposition of the crime that was committed against her and only herthen please tell all the law-and-order types to shut their pieholes about how they care about victims’ rights. It just rings hollow.”
The sophisticated intellectuals with whom Schulman normally engages did not appreciate his common sense observations. Tom Paine might consider this common sense but try telling it to Glenn Beck! One of these geniuses summed up his view on Polanski with two simple words: Fry him!
This raises an interesting question. If those who want the death penalty in this case were given the magical power to deal with the Nazis who actually murdered Polanski’s mother how could they exact a punishment more severe than what they would do to the film director who didn’t murder anyone? Come to think of it, how could they punish Charles Manson and his Homicide Girls more than they would Polanski? Everyone remembers Polanski’s non-lethal crime, but does anyone still care about the grotesque Manson murders and what happened to Polanski’s pregnant wife, Sharon Tate? There is no campaign against John Waters for trying to get one of the Manson girls out of prison.
William F. Buckley, Jr. once wrote that we must not misplace the discriminating faculty. Since his death, all distinctions are lost in the Totalitarian Age of the Internet. The lynch mob is God more than ever.
Roman Polanski is a creepy guy. He is not Public Enemy Number 1, but he disturbs Americans at a deep level. This was true even before his crime. Although largely forgotten now, many Americans thought he was behind the murder of his wife. They did not, of course, have a shred of evidence to support such an opinion, but public speculation only stopped when the cops found Manson. Crazy stuff!
The bravest thing Nastassia Kinski ever did was go on a late night television show in the USA and defend her relationship with Polanski when she was 15 years old or thereabouts. She was his main squeeze in Europe after he fled America. Her reward was that she eventually starred in TESS. The studio audience was unimpressed with Nastassia. The host smirked at her. After she left, the next guest came on and he made fun of her. That guest was John Candy. Guess who the host was? It was David Letterman. They all made fun of her and there wasn’t a right wing Republican in sight. (Did I mention the host was David Letterman? That name seems vaguely familiar. Letterman, Letterman. It will come to me.) Laws may change but attitudes don’t. Europeans and Americans will never agree about the age of consent. We should agree to disagree and move on.
Still, the problem remains: what to do about Polanski in the 21st Century?
America can always use money, especially now. The final solution (to coin a phrase) is that Roman Polanski needs to buy his way out of trouble one last time. He paid off the girl and he paid off Europe (for all the good it did him) and now he needs to pay off the United States Government and the State of California.
How about selling all his homes but a cheap flat and emptying all his bank accounts but one? That money could be used for victims of sexual abuse in America.
In return, Polanski could receive a promise (not a pardon) from every relevant government entity in this country that no further attempts will be made to extradite him back to the Land of the Free. Case closed. The exile would finally be official.
America needs money more than it needs symbolism. It is better for Polanski to pay off the USA (a matter entirely separate from Geimer) than to give all his money to sleazy lawyers. The time has come for realism instead of hysteria.
As the sun sets on decadent Europe we turn again to our own wholesome country. We notice David Letterman again, the All American Boy. His scandal comes as a relief after contemplating Polanski forcing himself on the precocious 13-year-old girl. Letterman would never make a mistake about age of consent. He is someone Americans understand, the boss fishing off the pier. The young women with whom he had trysts are probably so loyal as to cause great distress to the militant feminist lawyers who have a platonic ideal of the workplace. In other words, it looks like he got away with it.
If the blackmailer of David Letterman had ever produced his imaginary film the audience would be treated to lots of production values, vibrant colors and the film would be in English. Polanski made movies like that as well, but that’s not how he started in Europe. He made black and white films in mysterious foreign languages thus requiring English subtitles. What it comes down to is that Americans don’t like the kind of art house films that happen to be Polanski’s life.
In Polanski’s first feature, KNIFE IN THE WATER, the main character is at a crossroads trying to decide if he should go to the police over a crime he believes that he committed but that actually didn’t happen. The picture fades out before we know his decision. All the trouble in Polanski’s first film takes place on a sailboat. Water seems to be the Polish director’s nemesis. Whether it’s hot tubs or the Atlantic Ocean, he should avoid them and spend as much time as possible on dry land. Only time will tell if David Letterman is going for a swim.
Brad Linaweaver is the publisher of Mondo Cult. A best-selling, award-winning author,
he hung around Hollywood for over 15 years before he escaped.
I doubt very many of those calling for Polanski’s death are unaware there is no possibility of a death penalty for his crime. They’re using hyperbole.
The author appears unable to grasp this.
That's not all he's unable to grasp. There are many mistakes he makes, one of which is about the "statute of limitations". Polanski has already been convicted. It doesn't matter a whit whether the victim wants to testify, she doesn't have to.
The only charge he still faces is that of "fleeing" and the victim has nothing to do with that.
He talks about the vicious rape and refers to it as a "romp in a hot tube", the author of this piece should be tried for stupidity.
I also like the part about not prosecuting crimes if the perp pays the victim enough money.
This presumably allows rich guys to commit rape whenever they feel like it.
The author also takes the position that the crime doesn't matter, that if you have money, you should be able to make it all go away. So all the black ghetto kids who don't have money must go to jail if they do the same things Polanski did, but if you have enough money, you don't have to lower yourself to such lower class results.
That is, of course, a reversion to very ancient forms of law.
Until quite recently punishments generally varied by the status of the perp and/or the victim.
Even today this is often the case, although de facto rather than de jure.
And then turn their victims into prostitutes.
Not quite, but I see your point.
Accepting damages for a harm is rather different from soliciting business.
What amazes me is that the author doesn’t seem to comprehend the idea that rape is a crime against “the King’s Peace,” to go way back in common law. Whether the victim is bribed or intimidated into not pressing charges has absolutely nothing legally to do with whether a crime was committed. In fact, the bribe or intimidation is itself probably a crime.
Civil suits are the appropriate venue for settling personal injuries. Not criminal courts.
That’s why there was an American Revolution — to get rid of kings. To make the individual sovereign. Polanski’s victim here was Samantha Geimer and no one else. Her desire is that Polanski’s original conviction/plea-bargain be voided because of judicial misconduct. That quashed, flight from jurisdiction to avoid sentencing also goes away. Screw the king.
Victims don’t get to decide when a conviction for a serious crime gets set aside.
There has been no ruling as to judicial misconduct in this case, only claims of it.
Flight from jurisdiction after conviction is itself a crime, even if the person is innocent, which he quite clearly is not. Doesn’t even claim he is.
The authority vested in the King by common law was transferred to the sovereignty of the American people by our Revolution. Polanski spit on every American citizen.
I disagree with you 100% on every point.
Oh, so you believe in collective State rights rather than individual sovereign rights. Individual victims mean nothing to you, just pawns for the greater glory of the State. Useful to know there are communists on Free Republic.
Thanks for the most bizarre post I’ve every received. I will treasure it forever.
Obviously only Communists believe a 40 year old man should not be allowed to get away with drugging and forcibly raping a 13 year old girl.
In plain fact, it is almost certain that more leftists think he shouldn’t be prosecuted than conservatives. Certainly most of those who’ve publicly supported the scumbag are on the Left.
Obviously only a person who worships the State like you do would dissemble and try to divert the issue, which is that it’s the individual victim who wants her rapist set free.
And you — who don’t even have standing, except on the Communist premise that a crime against one is a crime against all — wants punishment where the actual, real-life, and sole victim wants none.
Maybe you’re not a Communist. Maybe you’re just so incapable of reason that you don’t even understand the communist principles you’re using to argue.
The idea that the State, as the representative of all citizens, has a moral obligation to punish crime against individuals goes back thousands of years, long before Marx was born or Communism was floated as the worst idea of the 19th century.
Do you seriously contend that anybody who is able to pay or bully the victim into an unwillingness to press charges should go unprosecuted?
Should rape of children be allowed if the rapist is rich enough to buy off the victims?
I find your theory that the idea that criminals should be prosecuted for their crimes is Communist to be quite amusing.
Got any more good ones?
I thought Christopher Jones was the father of Sharon Tates’ baby?
1. No one is actually calling for him to be punished with death. Most men would say they would to "kill" a man who raped their daughter or wife. (See Michael Dukakis) I suspect you were being deliberately obtuse.
2. The victim may be pressured to say that she doesn't want a prosecution because of a settlement she received.
Most importantly: 3. The state needs to protect us citizens, not itself, against someone who has no respect for laws that protect our rights.
Suppose that all charges were dismissed against Mr. Polanski and he returned to the United States. Suppose that while here, he murders me. Could you, or anyone, then argue they are shocked if he then fled the country? He has already proven that he has no respect for the laws of the United States that protect the people who live here. I think our government is protecting my rights, and the rights of every other person who lives in this country, by not allowing a foreign visitor who thinks he can, (and apparently can) commit crimes against us with impunity. I completely reject your argument that the government is protecting itself, when it is protecting me. If you want Polanski to commit a crime against you, that's your business, but I don't accept your contention that I have that obligation. Since you believe the government is "being unfair" by prosecuting foreign nationals who commit crimes against people in the United States, you should be actively campaigning for Gavin Newsom.
Your argument about, "the glory of the State," might apply if Polanski were charged with espionage or tax evasion, but he was not. Whether you realize it, or not, you are advocating the trampling of individual rights.
Judicial misconduct? Have the courts decided that there was judicial misconduct in this case? Now you are willing to do away with Due Process as well? I'd hate to see the ultra-authoritarian world you want us to live in.
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