The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

« Previous Post | The Big Picture Home | Next Post »

Roman Polanski is a free man. You got a problem with that?

Roman_polanski I'm sure that Glenn Beck will somehow find a way to blame this on some Obamaian socialist conspiracy, but the news Monday morning that a Swiss judge has set Roman Polanski free is probably just the latest example of how different European attitudes about sexual abuse are from the views we hold here in America.

It may well be that the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office has bungled the Polanski case again, especially since Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf made it clear that the district attorney's request to extradite the 76-year-old filmmaker was undermined by "persisting doubts concerning the presentation of the facts of the case." But it seems clear that the Swiss -- and the French and the Italians, who keep electing as their presidents guys who seem more infatuated with young women than even Hugh Hefner -- just aren't that worked up about the fact that Polanski forced himself on an underage girl more than 30 years ago.

In America, having sex with a 13-year-girl is a crime worthy of punishment, no matter how talented Polanski is as a filmmaker. In Europe, it's hardly worthy of a raised eyebrow, which is why Polanski is still lionized in most European countries, receiving countless awards and happily accepted in polite society. This drives a lot of Americans crazy, since we're at heart a Puritan nation. But in Europe, attitudes are different. Not better. I'm not sure even worse. Just different.

I still believe that if Polanski wants to return to America, he should have to submit himself to the American judicial system and pay whatever price has to be paid. But I suspect this rejection of the district attorney's case marks the end of any persistent efforts to persuade the Europeans to go along with our mores. Hearing that the Swiss had rejected any extradition efforts, France's Minister of Culture, Frederic Mitterrand, said, "The time has now come for calm," as if he were speaking to the crazed Spaniards celebrating their World Cup victory. But what he was really saying, with a supreme Gallic shrug, is that it's time for us to move on. When it comes to Polanski, history will be the only judge.

Photo: Roman Polanski at the 2002 Spanish premiere of "The Pianist." Credit: Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images 

 
Comments () | Archives (66)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Goldstein, Polanski and Hollywood are of one tribe, Beck and most Americans the other. We're the majority but they have the media advantage, for now.

Well, as long as he's not over here in the U.S. drugging and molesting underage girls, let the Europeans keep him

Should we be surprised that the country which has provided a haven for criminal money for many years, would also have no qualms about sheltering a despicable individual like Polanski ?

"In America, having sex with a 13-year-girl is a crime worthy of punishment, no matter how talented Polanski is as a filmmaker. In Europe, it's hardly worthy of a raised eyebrow, which is why Polanski is still lionized in most European countries, receiving countless awards and happily accepted in polite society. This drives a lot of Americans crazy, since we're at heart a Puritan nation. But in Europe, attitudes are different. Not better. I'm not sure even worse. Just different."

I'm sorry? Which part of Europe are you talking about? How high and mighty you all are. "Not in America." Well we Europeans don't tolerate this either and Polanski should be delt with. How dare you even suggest that rape of a young girl is tolerated in Europe. How dare you suggest that a court in Switzerland speaks for the law in the UK, Germany, Holland, etc. How dare you suggest that any court or government speaks for the people? This paper is dumber than I thought. America put convicted rapist Mike Tyson in a Hollywood movie and love him for it. So you are talking b/s right there. So before you start saying that American is so great and Europe is not -get your facts right.

"In America, having sex with a 13-year-girl is a crime worthy of punishment, no matter how talented Polanski is as a filmmaker. In Europe, it's hardly worthy of a raised eyebrow, which is why Polanski is still lionized in most European countries, receiving countless awards and happily accepted in polite society. This drives a lot of Americans crazy, since we're at heart a Puritan nation. But in Europe, attitudes are different. Not better. I'm not sure even worse. Just different."

I'm sorry? Which part of Europe are you talking about? How high and mighty you all are. "Not in America." Well we Europeans don't tolerate this either and Polanski should be delt with. How dare you even suggest that rape of a young girl is tolerated in Europe. How dare you suggest that a court in Switzerland speaks for the law in the UK, Germany, Holland, etc. How dare you suggest that any court or government speaks for the people? This paper is dumber than I thought. America put convicted rapist Mike Tyson in a Hollywood movie and love him for it. So you are talking b/s right there. So before you start saying that American is so great and Europe is not -get your facts right.

boo to the swiss and to our so called LA attorneys. polanski paid money - yes, but that should not excuse him for his crime. if the euro's are okay with the rape of young girls bad on them.

Post 1 of 3
1. The purported basis for releasing Polanski -- i.e. the LA authorities' weak presentation of the facts -- is untenable in the light of Polanski's longstanding admission(s). The facts are not in dispute. The decision smacks of bias as well as cynicism, especially since extradition is typically granted in cases where capital punishment is not on the table.

Post 2 of 3
2. Polanski's crime was reprehensible. He traded on his position in the industry to gain the victim's trust (as well as her family's). He lured her to Nicholson's house under false pretenses. He plied her with champagne and barbiturates. He vaginally penetrated and sodomized her despite her protests. If she had been of age, it would have been rape. What he did was both felonious and immoral by any standard -- even in the 1970s, even in Europe.
3. *Popular* sentiment in Europe generally skews against Polanski. It's *elite* sentiment, both in the U.S. and in Europe, that tends to "weigh" Polanski's criminal acts against his contributions to film. But one has nothing to do with the other. He is both a great filmmaker and a criminal who has evaded justice for more than 30 years.

Post 3 of 3
4. To Bianca (above): I hope you're not implying that Europeans have embraced moral relativism ... In any event, your Europhilia is misguided. With all due respect to Mr. Wilde, the great markers of European civilization in his era -- Christianization, Westernization and Colonization -- have been repudiated. (As an aside, I note that America's worst ills are attributable to the "civilizing" forces of imperialism and the concomitant slave trade, foisted upon us by the *European* powers of England, France, Spain et al.)
5. Mr. Polanski has led a tragic life, but this wound is one of his own infliction. A grown man must not be permitted to visit his demons upon a thirteen year-old child.

I have to think that this blog was written ironically and you all just didn't get it. There is no other explanation for an article of this quality, entirely lacking in research or logical inference, to appear on the website of such a high profile, mainstream publication. Ironic or not, though, I hope this blogwriter's post is not a paid position and that tomorrow he apologizes to both Europe and the USA.

 
« | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 | »

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Stay Connected:



About the Bloggers


Categories


Archives
 


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: