Melissa has Part 1 (which disappointingly includes Whoopi Goldberg, who draws a line between “rape” and “rape-rape,” and leaves me wondering what the difference is — and if there’s also rape-rape-rape, and how many “rape”s we have to string together before we decide someone did something wrong).
Add to the list:
Ann Applebaum, whose piece is, in my opinion, one of the most egregious. First, she calls what happened between Polanski and his victim “statutory rape.” Well, yes, since the girl was 13 — but she was also drugged and anally raped after she said no. That is, to borrow from Whoopi Goldberg, “rape-rape,” and would have been no matter what the victim’s age. But, Applebaum reminds us, Polanski is a victim too!
He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers’ fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film.
Lawyers’ fees are not how you “pay” for a crime. Not being able to come to LA to receive an Oscar is not “paying” for a crime. And I’m pretty sure there’s not a whole lot of professional stigma going on when you receive the highest award in your profession (even in exile), and an audience of your peers stands up and applaud you.
Richard Cohen also stands up for Polanski, basically arguing that the dude did a bad thing, but shouldn’t be punished — unless punishment means that Richard Cohen gets to punch him in the face.
Patrick Goldstein says Polanski is being “hounded” by LA County prosecutors and compares him to Jean Valjean:
We live in an age that is so thoroughly post-modern that you can find an obvious literary antecedent for nearly every seamy media storyline. The same goes for the Polanski case, which is full of echoes of “Les Miserables,” the classic Victor Hugo novel about Jean Valjean, an ex-con trying to turn his life around who is being obsessively tracked and hunted down by the Parisian police inspector Javert.
Hugo’s story is a tragedy, as is the life story of Polanski, who was a fugitive as a boy and is now a fugitive as an old man. Whether the L.A. County district attorney office has its way or not, it is not a story that can have a happy ending. I think Polanski has already paid a horrible, soul-wrenching price for the infamy surrounding his actions. The real tragedy is that he will always, till his death, be snubbed and stalked and confronted by people who think the price he has already paid isn’t enough.
…and I want to quit life.
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