October 13, 2009

Ah, I see, sort of

Perhaps the timing isn't so mysterious, although the length of time it took will forever be a mystery:

"And it goes on. In July 2005, Polanski took advantage of the notorious British libel laws to sue my colleagues at Vanity Fair and collect damages for his hurt feelings. It doesn't matter much what the supposed complaint was - according to the magazine article he had allegedly propositioned a Scandinavian model while purring about making her the next Sharon Tate - so much as it mattered that Polanski would dare to sue on a question of his own moral standing and reputation.

"I don't think," he was quoted as saying of the allegation, "you could find a man who could behave in such a way." Say what? Anxious for his thin skin, the British courts did not even put Polanski to the trouble of appearing in a country where he has never lived. They allowed him to pout his outraged susceptibilities by video link before heaping him with money.

At this point, I began to feel a cold spot forming in my heart. And then, just last December, while still on the lam, Polanski filed from abroad to have the original Los Angeles child-rape case, in which he had pleaded guilty, dismissed without further ado.

In other words, it is not so remarkable the prosecutors have reactivated an old but still active case. Rather, it is quite astonishing that Polanski has been able to caper about on the run for so long, thumbing his nose, even collecting damages, flourishing a "Get Out of Jail Free" and a lucrative "Pass Go" card, and constantly reminding the law of its impotence.

It's affecting in some ways that the original girl in the case has forgiven him and doesn't want to see the matter reopened, but strictly speaking it's of no more relevance than if she had said the same thing at the time. The law prosecutes those who violate children, and it does so partly on behalf of children who haven't been violated yet. We take an individual instance, whoever the individuals happen to be, and we use it for precedent. And we do not know how lucky we are to be able to do so."


In Hollywood, real tragedy is ignored

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