And Now, Your Bernard-Henri Levy Buzzkills

Hello! And greetings! From Death Flu Island! Death Flu Island, in case you are wondering, is my very special post-holiday locale, where I attempt blog posts whilst unable to maintain consciousness. But, you know, I imagine lots of us have had long weekends, and are getting a little too used to being lazy, and need some harsh, cold Existential Horror to get us going again.

Oh, hey, Bernard Henri-Levy on the Polanski bail offer, you guys!

The decision to free Roman Polanski is a wise decision. It honors the people who took it. It shows that the arguments developed by the movie director’s partisans — including those published on the French review’s website of La Règle du Jeu — have finally been fruitful.

Except that those arguments were for letting him go, and not pursuing due process of law in his case, and this is a bail agreement.

Nothing will repair the days he has spent in prison. Nothing will erase the immense, unbelievable injustice he has been subjected to. Nothing will take away the hysteria of those ones who have never stopped pouring contempt upon him, hounding him through hatred and asking for his punishment as if we were living the darkest and most ferocious hours of the McCarthy era all over again.

But you would seem to be making an argument for letting him go, and not pursuing due process of law in his case, and this is, again, a bail agreement.

At least the nightmare is about to end. At least the end of the hell is looming.

Right. Because – even though you didn’t think any of Polanski’s supporters would be so openly, unreflectively awful as to advocate letting the confessed rapist just run away again – that is what Bernard-Henri Levy apparently perceives to be the purpose of the bail agreement. Because, if Levy conceived of this agreement as an opportunity for Polanski to serve house arrest until extradition, there’s not a chance that he would be so very celebratory. Everything in this statement indicates that he believes Polanski is going to turn fugitive, again. And he’s happy about that. He just won’t say it aloud. He’ll say everything but.

Now that we’re apparently done pouring our contempt on Polanski, can we pour it on Bernard? Because it doesn’t seem to be slowing R-Pol’s roll much, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from hearing Bernard-Henri Levy whinge on and on and on over a period of months about how terrible it is to be a rich and famous and acclaimed and popular director who occasionally gets snubbed at cocktail parties, it’s that he views the dislike of others (this dislike being based, of course, on one’s feelings about child rape) as The Very Worst Thing That Can Ever Happen Ever. Which, you know. Isn’t exactly a disincentive.

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16 Responses

  1. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz November 28, 2009 at 10:32 pm |

    Who is this man, and why on earth is his work being published anywhere?

    I didn’t think we were going to go from rape apologism into rape enthusiasm, but you learn something new every day. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find my stash of brain bleach.

  2. Sid
    Sid November 28, 2009 at 11:03 pm |

    This man is a racist asshole, and misogynistic statements are not unheard of from him, he once called the veil an invitation to rape. I’m just so damn tired of him being introduced as a “philosopher” in all the publications which put something forth by him. He is a card-carrying Douche Bag.

  3. stompie
    stompie November 28, 2009 at 11:08 pm |

    Unfortunately he’s one of the most well-known philosophers and public intellectuals in France, hence the constant publishing. And and enormous jackass, too, of course, but an enormous jackass who can shoot his mouth off in pretty much any public forum he chooses.

  4. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz November 28, 2009 at 11:10 pm |

    Unfortunately he’s one of the most well-known philosophers and public intellectuals in France, hence the constant publishing.

    Geez. And I thought we were getting a raw deal with Will Saletan. (And he doesn’t even get the public intellectual tag!)

  5. James Martin
    James Martin November 29, 2009 at 2:24 am |

    It might help to understand Henri Levy in the context of Europe. Start with Italy and Berlusconi http://bit.ly/43ly74
    People are not shit in isolation. They are shit within a context of shit. As Henri Levy is shit! He is also called a Populist!

  6. Nancy Green
    Nancy Green November 29, 2009 at 7:07 am |

    I think it comes down to human nature. Polanski has many friends and people he has done favors for. They think he’s a nice guy, and nice guys don’t do things like that. You’d think an adult would be able to comprehend that people have more than one side to their personality, but that’s uncomfortable to admit.
    Look at how long it took the press to stop parroting the perp’s excuses.

  7. Natalia
    Natalia November 29, 2009 at 7:25 am |

    In days of yore, I considered Bernard-Henri to be kinda hot, and pretty awesome. And then I realized that he is, in fact, a pompous, prejudiced jackass.

    I LOL’d when Salon quoted him as saying “everything matters to everybody.” That’s deep, BHL. You keep on trucking (of course, a genius that leads a life as rarefied as BHL’s probably has no idea what “trucking” is, but that’s OK, we can’t expect his knowledge to extend to the daily lives of the unwashed masses who do such silly things as demand that rapists not flee from justice).

    Oh, and here’s a video of him getting pies in his face. Bwahaha.

  8. Elly d'Yckgirl
    Elly d'Yckgirl November 29, 2009 at 9:51 am |

    Sadly in France, I have the impression that most of the mediatical figures were in support of Roman Polanski.

    Finkielkraut was another of those well-known assholes “philosophers” defending him, explaining that at 13 the victim wasn’t a child, because she had already posed for photographs. Not at all victim-blaming, right.

  9. Eileen
    Eileen November 29, 2009 at 10:37 am |

    What’s the story behind the pies? Are there that many French people who think he’s full of it?

    I’m really put off by the passion he invests in this issue and how completely he misreads who has been damaged and who is a victim. Next thing he’ll be doing is pitying the news organizations for having to constantly barrage the victim of the crime. As if it’s her fault that they won’t leave her alone.

  10. William
    William November 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm |

    Finkielkraut was another of those well-known assholes “philosophers” defending him, explaining that at 13 the victim wasn’t a child, because she had already posed for photographs.

    I think an important point to make in the Polanski case is that it wasn’t “just” statutory rape. There are arguments to be made for 13 not being a child and for a much lower age of consent than we have in the US, I’d disagree with most of those arguments but they can be made in good faith. However, in this case, talking about whether the victim was a child or a woman is obfuscation. The fact of the matter is that Polanski drugged her, held her down, and raped her despite her protests and resistance. Thats something he hasn’t really disputed and thats rape regardless of the ages involved. I think, given all the bullshit the Polanski camp uses to muddy the waters, that it is especially important to keep those basic facts of the case clear and in the forefront. Talking about things that aren’t really central to the case makes it easy to intellectualize and avoid the reality of what is being defended.

  11. Amelia the Lurker
    Amelia the Lurker November 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm |

    I have always despised BHL. His name is something of a joke among me and my friends.

    I liked it when he was interviewed by Jon Stewart about his stupid “In the Footsteps of Tocqueville” book; Stewart was laughing at him the whole time and he didn’t know it.

  12. Natalia
    Natalia November 29, 2009 at 5:42 pm |

    BHL is a pretty polarizing figure in France, from what I understand. Considering that something like 70% of the French populace supports the Polanski extradition, I guess he’s about to get more polarizing. Or just more generally disliked.

  13. Marksman2000
    Marksman2000 November 29, 2009 at 7:26 pm |

    “Nothing will repair the days he has spent in prison. Nothing will erase the immense, unbelievable injustice he has been subjected to. Nothing will take away the hysteria of those ones who have never stopped pouring contempt upon him”

    What about the victim? Is rape something she can just bounce back from, without any suffering whatsoever?

    Good Gawd. Some people are so good at being assholes.

  14. Marksman2000
    Marksman2000 November 29, 2009 at 10:11 pm |

    Natalia, thanks for the link. That was great. By the way you phrased it, I thought it would be one pie in his face one time. But it looks to be a regular occurrence for ole BHL. Imagine that.

    Good thing that they live in France. Over there, they’ll just write you ticket for putting a pie in a face that deserves it. In the US, you’ll get like, 15 years.

  15. colleen
    colleen November 29, 2009 at 11:40 pm |

    “There are arguments to be made for 13 not being a child and for a much lower age of consent than we have in the US, I’d disagree with most of those arguments but they can be made in good faith.”

    I’m sorry but such arguments aren’t made ‘in good faith’.

  16. Amelia the Lurker
    Amelia the Lurker December 1, 2009 at 1:42 am |

    Natalia’s correct. All of my French friends thought he was a total douche nozzle.

    And yes, he’s been “entarté” by Noël Godin’s minions at least five times, each well-deserved.

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