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Oct 08 2009

Yet another reason celebrities should be spurned by polite society until they can learn to stop doing stupid shit

1975 Women-in-prison flick directed by Jonathan Demme. Tagline reads "WHITE HOT DESIRES MELTING COLD PRISON STEEL!"
1975 Women-in-prison flick directed by Jonathan Demme. Tagline reads “WHITE HOT DESIRES MELTING COLD PRISON STEEL!” Originally uploaded at IMDB

Kate Harding thinks — and who but an asshole could disagree? — that it would be “superfun” to play a game called “Don’t Give Money To People Who Think Rapists Deserve Absolution, Sympathy, Freedom and Regular Public Tongue Baths.”

Harding alludes to a hypothetical boycott of the products blurped out by the burgeoning collective of rape-apologist celebrities who’ve lately been infesting the public square sporting “Free Roman Polanski” buttons. To the dismay of some of their more evolved fans, the gang includes pop-culture darlings whose public personae may have previously conveyed, when observed by the casual end-user, the [false] impression that they don’t support child rapists.

Who, you might ask, would be barbarian enough to form a chastity belt of solidarity around fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski?

A whole bunch of famous movie people, it turns out. Including Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Demme, Wim Wenders, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, and Woody Allen. Oh, and Natalie Portman.

Wait! No! Not Whoopi, the affable Center Square who’s black enough to be hep, but not so black that she scares the honkys? Not Jonathan Demme, writer/director of Caged Heat (“Rape Riot and Revenge! White Hot Desires Melting Cold Prison Steel!”)? Not David Lynch, director of Eraserhead, beloved fanboy 16mm art-house ode to infanticide and male anxiety about jizz? Not Martin Scorsese, glamorizer of macho thugs, whose second most memorable character is a wise-cracking pre-teen hooker-with-a-heart-o-gold? Not Woody Allen, the sexullectual nebbish who likes to get bizzy with his step-children?

God, not Natalie Portman, photogenic girl?

It blows the lobe that total strangers (film stars, directors, “media personalities,” TV actors, et al) should transcend their 2-dimensional products to play active roles — enjoying varying degrees of symbololotry (no really, it’s a word!) — in the real lives of pop culture consumers. It blows the lobe, but the phenomenon (wherein civilians believe they have a sympathetic, unique rapport with their celebrities) supports a multi-zillion-dollar industry, a tragedy equal in scope only to the recent discovery that there is no more Cool Whip in the spinster fridge.

So, should a media personality’s insane views on bail-jumpin’ rapist Roman Polanski be a deal-breaker? Fuck yeah, they should. “Rape? It’s less important than Chinatown” is now part of their official pop narratives. Please. Like Chinatown is a sacred pile of Jesus-bones, or vital to the biosphere, or the cure for cancer or something. And even if it were, sending Polanski to the hoosegow would hardly eradicate his fucking beloved movie from the planet.

Dump the bastards!

What’s the deal with celebrities, anyway? Do they imagine the public are just maxi-pads with spending power, stuck to Hollywood’s underpants and happy to soak up what ever oozes out? Are they so bloated with self-regard that, when they aren’t giving each other awards on televised red carpets, they actually confuse their tight-knit cabal of overpaid ingenues, perverts, and 2-bit hams with a sort of Privy Council of the Divine? One that is imbued with sufficient power to override in their fans such ethical and just prejudices as “rape is a crime”? Or to subvert the justice system with their keen and considered legal analysis that Polanski, forced to live comfortably in Paris and make Oscar-winning films all these years, has “suffered enough”? Whoopi, a noted legal scholar, has famously observed that what Polanski did — i.e. drugging and sexually assaulting a pre-pubescent girl — wasn’t “rape rape.”

Possibly Whoopi views Polanski’s violent crime in this seriously fucked-up way because in Hollywood — patriarchy’s primary misogyny propaganda unit — rape is nothing but a plot device. An extremely popular plot device. In fact, it’s the principal motif in about 97.3% of films and TV shows. Ya gotta love the Hollywood “love-rape,” wherein the starlet demurs, so the hero gives her what she really wants (see Gone With the Wind for an Oscar-winning archetypal example). The love-rape is so popular that Hollywoodists apparently think nothing of its practice in real life. It’s completely normal for directors to invite “sophisticated” 13-year-old “Lolitas” into their homes by promising to photograph them for Vogue, but instead they dope’em up with liquor and ludes to facilitate “consensual sex.” That’s not rape. That’s entertainment!

Disappointed fans of rape-apologist celebrities might consider, once they’ve worked through their shock and bereavement, precisely what, in terms of philosophic value, is really offered by these people. I hypothesize that it is possible to live a stunningly adequate life without buying any Woody Allen at all, either Allen-as-concept (see “sexullectual nebbish,” above) or his sexist-ass films. Likewise, it shouldn’t be too difficult to eliminate both the essence and the filmography of Natalie Portman from the intellectual environment; few, if any, spinster aunts in good standing could even pick her out of an identity parade. Ditto all those other artistes. And if playing Kate Harding’s “Fuck You, Rape-Apologist Celebrities!” game means crossing Whoopi’s Sister Act II off my Netflix queue, well, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Celebrities are just mercenary pukers of pop culture artifacts.

121 comments

2 pings

  1. PhysioProf

    The argument that I find the most outlandishly bankrupt is that he has suffered for thirty years–constant fear of apprehension, unable to travel to certain countries, missing out on awards events, etc–and that is enough punishment, so leave him alone. The only reason he has had to endure these supposed indignities is that he has been a motherfucking fugitive from the fucking law.

    Fuck him, and fuck his suffering of indignities. He should have thought of that when he raped a child and then fled justice.

  2. Suzan

    Oh Twisty, my dear spinster aunt.
    Thank you, thank you

    I too have been totally disgusted with the idolocracy’s gratuitous fellating of the child raper Polanski.

    Would they all be falling all over themselves like this if Polanski were a Catholic Cardinal and the kid he raped after drugging were a 13 year old boy?

    I think we all know the answer to that one.

  3. DammitYoda

    So, wait. If you were a movie star it would have been okay
    that I asked you to explain what you eat? Either this
    is really confusing or I’m actually way more dense than
    I feared I was. Bloggers can stay stuff about how people
    should live but no one should actually expect them to
    live how they talk, but movie stars who make crappy
    entertainment better step to. I mean, wait wait people
    I’m no fan of Polanski and I am NOT condoning rape.
    I am just having a damn hard time trying to figure out
    which “public figures” are supposed to be held
    accountable for what they do in their personal lives,
    and which ones aren’t. ‘Splain me, Lucy.

  4. otoc

    I was disappointed to see that Tilda Swinton signed the Free Polanski petition. I don’t know why, except that I’ve liked some of her roles and therefore assumed she wasn’t a rape-apologist asshole.

  5. liberality

    I am surprised about Whoopi being an apologist I must say. The others are not shocking but for her to excuse what Polanski did makes me wonder if being a Hollywood somebody has finally gone to her head.

  6. Alex

    Liberality, Whoopi Goldberg is a Hollywood somebody? Surely you jest. Even in the seedy pantheon of Hollywood celebritude, she is relegated to the lowest rung: daytime television.

  7. Jill

    Well, Yoda, I had always imagined there to be something of a qualitative difference between Oscar-winning film directors who rape children and jump bail, and penny-ante internet feminists who, you know, don’t do that.

    On the one hand, you’ve got Roman Polanski, whose work generates sizeable incomes for him and a bloated media industry, and whose crimes are a matter of public record. On the other, you’ve got a purposely anonymous blogger who writes fringe-issue essays that nobody reads and nobody has to pay a dime for. In fact, this website costs me like a hundred bucks a year; I have to pay extra to keep my personal info off the ARIN database. If you know enough about me personally to judge me, you’re my mom.

    In other words, you don’t pay me enough to hold me personally accountable for anything.

    Feel free to take issue with my analysises, though.

  8. agasaya

    One problem is that the victim is opposing prosecution after years of knowing that justice cannot be obtained, settling instead for financial compensation. Who knows if there were some agreement involved requiring such rhetoric on her part? I’m sure she has no desire to participate in this further under any circumstances. However, even if she chooses to forgive, society is not required to harm itself by forgetting.

    Rape is a crime against society, as well as an individual. Society can require accountability and will, as long as a few authorities recognize that the Hollywood community doesn’t speak for society. Seems like the conservatives oppose those ‘Hollywood types’ on a regular basis but I don’t hear them screaming now. Hmmm.

    Kudos to the person who mentioned a priest wouldn’t be forgiven such trespass years down the road, no matter what good they’ve done since that time. Yep, most of those victims were boys.

  9. yttik

    In partial defense of whoopi, who wouldn’t try to compartmentalize victimization in this culture? Women tell themselves a million times a day that it isn’t really rape-rape. The alternative is to confront the fact that not only is it really rape, but it is promoted and condoned, justified, rationalized, and rarely punished.

    Polanski’s victim doesn’t even get to own her own victimization. Her case belongs to the world now and to other people’s political agendas. Polanski robbed her of her choices, the system denied her justice, and 30 yrs later after she’s built a life for herself she still has no say in the matter, no choice, no control. The media will rip her to shreds, disrupt her life, and well intentioned people will post all the intimate details of the crime in order to try and show the seriousness of it all.

    Ironically, she’s the one who petitioned the court to drop the case, to let it be, the leave her in peace. In retaliation for a woman attempting to exercise some control over her life, the DA suddenly decides to bring the case back to the front burner, after 30 fricken years.

    Should Polanski be freed? Oh hell no, but neither should his capture be celebrated as some great step towards ending sexual violence because behind it all is yet another woman who has still not been allowed to take back what was stolen from her.

  10. Jill

    Whoopi has won Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, and Tonys. I’d say that qualifies her as a Hollywood Somebody.

  11. thebeardedlady

    Hollywood hates women. It’s practically impossible to pick up a novel or watch a film authored by men in which female characters act with any agency or sovereignty over their bodies. I once made the mistake of watching the first few minutes of The Rules of Attraction, in which I was treated to a frankly very fucking disturbing rape scene – I got as far as the bit where one of the rapists vomited on the victim before I turned it off (only a few seconds into it). It was one of the most hateful things I’ve ever seen. But all you ever hear about that film is how bloody stylish and witty it is, how it juxtaposes humour and serious issues in a like, dead arty way.

    It’s no surprise, really, is it, that Hollywood is full of rape apologists? You only have to watch a couple of movies before that becomes clear. Apparently there’s a new date-rape movie out soon – yay! He fucks her whilst she is passed out in a drunken stupor, but it’s ok, because it’s really, really funny. The victim even manages to rouse herself from her drunken coma to encourage her rapist to continue banging away at her, before she slips back into oblivion. That’s right, fellas – it’s not rape as long as she is still breathing, and you really like her and think she’s pretty.

    I have to say I am dreading this movie coming out and seeing which of my family members and friends go and see it and think it’s the funniest thing ever.

    Sadness.

  12. rootlesscosmo

    And even if it were, sending Polanski to the hoosegow would hardly eradicate his fucking beloved movie from the planet.

    In music this is known as the Wagner Problem. Generations of opera lovers have insisted that we judge the music on its merits, never mind that Wagner was a vicious anti-Semitic ideologue and many of his direct descendants funneled the operas’ earnings to Hitler. (Luckily he and they are long dead; luckier still are those of us who don’t like the music anyway, independently of the nastiness of the composer.) Why should it be difficult to draw the same distinction between the rapist Polanski and his movies? Could a certain institution be to blame? Starts with P?

  13. Jill

    It is unfortunate that Polanski’s victim has petitioned to dismiss what is practically an open-and-shut case against her rapist. Understandable, but unfortunate.

  14. PhysioProf

    I am just having a damn hard time trying to figure out which “public figures” are supposed to be held accountable for what they do in their personal lives, and which ones aren’t.

    Publicly apologizing for Polanski on teevee and elsewhere in the mainstream media and signing petitions that he be let alone isn’t even fucking close to being something these celebushits have “do[ne] in their personal lives”. These are highly public acts by highly public figures who are highly paid for their highly public acts.

    None of that has fuck all to do with some blogger eating foie gras.

  15. liberality

    Alex– I don’t watch television at all so to me she is somebody. If she is not in your opinion, well then please excuse me.

  16. Saurs

    Why should it be difficult to draw the same distinction between the rapist Polanski and his movies?

    Even if that were possible, it would still be difficult, in my estimation, anyway, to forget the basic premise of, say, Polanski’s cinematic ode to rape, Repulsion, in which a woman who is pathologically afraid of rape, probably because she is constantly being sexually harassed, goes on an insane, “man-hating” killing spree. Not wanting to be pronged = frigid, mad bitch, of course.

  17. Jill

    In music this is known as the Wagner Problem.

    In pop music this is known as the Chuck Berry Problem, the Ike Turner Problem, the James Brown Problem, the Michael Jackson Problem, etc.

    Even Yanni got arrested for attacking his girlfriend.

  18. Megan

    My analysis of accountability is as follows:

    1. Accusations of hypocrisy are a “gotcha” argument. They don’t elevate the discourse, they don’t ask anyone to behave better, they are generally used to invalidate an argument or to inflate the accuser’s own sense of morality without any moral cost (I get to feel superior and I don’t have to even do anything. I just have to catch someone else doing something.) It seems like 99.98% of people criticising Jill’s behaviour use “but didn’t you say X and now you’re doing Y?”

    2. Holding people accountable for their actions is something else entirely. If you have an actual problem with something Jill does, it would probably not be phrased like “AHAH! OH GOTCHA cause you said this thing but then you did this other thing.” People calling other people out with actual sincere moral questions will generally phrase it like, “You suck for doing X when we should all know X is wrong.” It still gets the accused’s back up, but it is, at least, not so much of an exercise in intellectual & moral laziness.

    (Not that any of this is an endorsement of people calling Jill out more sincerely. It is just an explanation of why I look down my nose on most moral criticisms delivered to bloggists while thinking that judging/punishing/boycotting Polanski & Team Polanski is less morally fruitless.)

  19. Pinko Punko

    Jill,

    Please check the Twisty inbox, I think I sent you an appropriate theme song for this campaign.

  20. thebeardedlady

    As for Polanski’s films being so stunningly brilliant that all moral standards and expectations of mere humanity do not apply to him (and quite apart from the incomprehensible levels of fuckwittery needed to maintain such a view): am I alone in not being overly enamoured of his talent? Rosemary’s Baby was pretty sick and misogynist, no? Oh sorry, no, I forgot – sick misogyny IS art. How fucking inspirational.

  21. rootlesscosmo

    In pop music this is known as the Chuck Berry Problem, the Ike Turner Problem, the James Brown Problem, the Michael Jackson Problem, etc.

    Yeah, it ain’t the genre, for sure. By way of illustration: Stan Getz.

  22. Jill

    “some blogger eating foie gras”

    Once again, just to be clear: I don’t eat foie gras! I’ve been clean for over 2 years!

  23. Casey

    Jill, thank you. I’ve been waiting for your take on this and it does not disappoint. Between you and Kate Harding and Jay Smooth, I finally feel like not everyone is a total lunatic.

    Apart from the moronical celebs supporting this sleaze, at least one of whom, Frederic Mitterand, is now under fire for buying boys for sex in third world slave markets, I even have female friends with preteen daughters who feel sorry for Polanski and say that he’s being treated unfairly. WTF?

    As for the overall worth of the entertainment industry, since I learned of the Bechdel test from this blog and combined it with my own longstanding film-viewing rules (no car chases, no Jack Nicholson types playing romantic leads), my mass-merch media intake is down to nearly nothing. Turns out there are a lot of more fulfilling things to do with my time and money–things that don’t leave me feeling like I’ve been played and my intelligence insulted.

    Do I think that me personally boycotting the couple of schmoes whose work I did enjoy (Emma Thompson, Tony Gatlif) will make an impact on them? No. But it’ll have a positive impact on me.

  24. virago

    Personally, it doesn’t surprise me that most of Hollywood are supporters of Polanski. They probably think that if they don’t sign the petition, they’ll never work again. On the other hand, a lot of those supporters may have had some culpability themselves (they were there at the time-Angelica Huston, Jack Nicholson, etc.), or were good friends of Polanski (Ryan O’Neal who took his 12 year old daughter Tatum to Hollywood parties like she was his date and than hit on her at Farrah Fawcett’s funeral as an adult). Other celebrities he was friends with-the late John Philips (Mackenzie Phillips dad, need I say more?). These people are a bunch of scum. OTOH, we have the sisterof Polanski’s late wife, Sharon Tate, supporting Polanski, and she’s a VICTIM’S ADVOCATE for fuck’s sake.

    “In partial defense of whoopi, who wouldn’t try to compartmentalize victimization in this culture? Women tell themselves a million times a day that it isn’t really rape-rape. The alternative is to confront the fact that not only is it really rape, but it is promoted and condoned, justified, rationalized, and rarely punished.”

    You hit the nail on the head! Mackenzie Phillips talks about her so-called “consensual” sexual relationship with her late father John Philips (Yes, I believe her), and she said that she woke up from a drug fueled blackout to find her dad having sex with her. She said she called it rape for lack of a better word. She was so high on dope whenever these sexual encounters happened that I doubt it was consensual. Her dad was her father, boss, and drug supplier through most of that relationship. She may have been an adult when it happened, but it doesn’t sound consensual to me.

  25. Kelly

    I design we have the ever repulsive Eric Gill. I won’t even use Gill Sans.

    I have a daughter this age and I’ve had to force myself not to read about this case. If I read one more dude say that 13 year old girls are hawt and then follow that up with the ‘don’t blame us we’re hard wired to f*ck kids and in ye olde days it was the norm’ defense my head will explode.

  26. yttik

    “…to dismiss what is practically an open-and-shut case against her rapist.”

    Open and shut from a moral perspective, definitely. However, taking 10-15 serious charges and plea bargaining them down to practically nothing with credit for time served, is what happened back then in a legal sense. Will that original plea deal still stand? I don’t know.

    Over riding a woman’s choices should never be taken lightly, even in the name of protecting the community. We at least need evidence to show the perp could actually serve some substantial time before, “for the good of the community,” we proceed to remove a woman’s right to control her own life.

  27. Kelsey B.

    @thebeardedlady:
    That’s an interesting take on Rosemary’s Baby. Personally, I felt like misogyny was the source of most of the movie’s horror. Rosemary is denied all agency, treated like some sort of broodmare, and is too cowed by an oppressive society to do anything about it. In the film, sexism directly facilitates the creation of the Antichrist. That being said, the novel that the film is adapted from is also much more blame-y, and I highly recommend it, along with anything else by Ira Levin.

    Anyway, more on topic, throw that guy in prison and lose the key. I can’t even believe that this is a source of debate. Sheesh.

  28. Comrade PhysioProf

    I design we have the ever repulsive Eric Gill. I won’t even use Gill Sans.

    For realz? Fuck, I just looked the shit up on Wikipedia. That is horrible, and Gill Sans is such a beautiful humanist sans.

  29. Bella Donna

    You forgot Harrison Ford, and Guillermo del Toro

    I can mostly live without the rest of them, but those two really hurt.

  30. Jill

    From Wikipedia:

    “Gill’s history of adulteries, incest, and experimental connection with his dog became public knowledge in the late 1980s, the consequent reassessment of his life and art left his artistic reputation strengthened. Gill emerged as one of the twentieth century’s strangest and most original controversialists, a sometimes infuriating, always arresting spokesman for man’s continuing need of God in an increasingly materialistic civilization, and for intellectual vigour in an age of encroaching triviality.”

    His “experimental connection with his dog” is an expression of his regard for “intellectual vigour in an age of encroaching triviality”? Are you fucking kidding me? And what the fuck is a “controversialist”? A dog-fucker? Gag, I need a shower.

    I would like to point out that this blog exclusively employs Helvetica.

  31. Jezebella

    Agasaya, civil compensation and criminal prosecution are two very different things. Given her choice, thirty years ago, no doubt the victim would have liked both justice and money, but she had to settle for money and no justice. There is no “instead” in the eyes of the law. You can have both, in theory anyway.

    Her current opposition to the arrest has, I am sure, everything to do with the fact that SHE will end up with the shit end of the stick and it will dredge up horrible memories, and probably she won’t get justice in the end. HOWEVER, if we listen to her, then we have to listen to the thousands of abused women who ask that their batterers not be prosecuted, and I can’t get behind that. The problem is that the justice system makes it just as bad for the victim as for the criminal, but that doesn’t mean criminals shouldn’t pay for what they’ve done.

  32. agasaya

    If clarification is needed for my earlier post, the victim here had to do whatever was needful to survive her experience and long-denied justice. However, the crime committed was equally against society as a whole and therefore must be prosecuted. Most crimes against women don’t even get reported and when they are, honest attempts to prosecute are inconsistent at best (I’d love to see stats on that). So, none of the SOBs should escape when we can hold them accountable or it conveys not just our consent for such actions but actual approval for them.

    As for Phillips and incest, there can be no consensual sex in such cases and if he kept her high enough, the molestation might easily have been earlier in her life. However, admitting it now makes anyone who knew of it accomplices to that crime so it would be too risky to admit now.

    The degree of trust between father and daughter (or older creepy guy and ignorant, manipulated teen girl) precludes an understanding of the equality which needs to exist in any consensual sexual relationship between adults. The resulting shame and inability to trust again is a continual reliving of that rape. There is no other word for it regardless of the age of the girl/woman when instigated by the father or father-figure.

    Few enough adults manage an adult sexual relationship without trying to pretend kids can manage it. There is a reason for statutory rape laws to exist and this is it.

  33. Marianne

    “What’s the deal with celebrities, anyway? Do they imagine the public are just maxi-pads with spending power, stuck to Hollywood’s underpants and happy to soak up what ever oozes out?”

    Yes. Yes they do. And what is worse is that more often than not what they imagine is exactly the reality.

  34. Pinko Punko

    Helvetica is big in the sciences due to the nefarious influence of the gun-running Elsevier. Truly, there is nowhere to turn in the font minefield.

    Actually, this isn’t really true, Elsevier bought the independently evil Cell Press, who are most responsible for the Helvetica-zation.

  35. givesgoodemail

    There was a storm of amusement in the GGE household caused by Polanski’s quote:

    “…but I am not an evil, profligate dwarf.”

    I think he mistook the word “not” for “indeed”.

  36. Kelly

    Jill, that whole quote is a great example of what I call Wiki ursprache.

    I love that once the depth and breadth of his depravity was exposed, a “consequent reassessment of his life and art left his artistic reputation strengthened.” Strengthened! Yeah, he was only okay until we found out about the incest and bestiality. Now he’s a genius!

    Hey, Kinda like Polanski.

  37. Nolabelfits

    That’s kind of insulting to dwarves.

  38. slythwolf

    Shit! You’re out of Cool Whip? That’s the worst thing I’ve heard all day!

  39. Flores

    I’m shocked anyone could call what Polanski did anything other than rape. If forcing yourself on a heavily intoxicated person who repeatedly protests isn’t rape, what is? Does it have to be a knife-wielding thug in an alley?

    IBTP.

  40. chicago dyke

    my saying is pretty simple: Put Not Ye Faith in Celebrities. why in the hell would any thinking person think they are better or more informed, simply because they are famous? and yet, so many americans (and others) do. “oooh! s/he was in a popular movie! s/he must know more about Subject X than everyone else!” how ridiculous.

    RP is a pedophile and rapist. he admitted as much, i take him at his word. the more important question to me is, “why do so many americans (and others) treat celebrities differently than the regular people who are subject to the fullest extent of the law?” i have my own answers, but that fact that celebrities are treated as above the law still disturbs me.

    as i’ve said on other blogs, there is a strong correlation between “The Village” (media and DC insider social circles) and Hollywood. in that they are both highly patriarchal, hypocritical, invested in protecting their own, etc. fwiw, i’m actually glad the RP case is in the news right now. it has helped me identify those writers who understand “child rape is wrong” from those who are more interested in being like Portman, Whoopi and (sadly) Ford. “My agent told me to sign this, and i’m too stupid to understand that it may hurt me later on/might piss off some of my paying fans.” sadly, i expect nothing less from celebrities, who are in fact mostly just commodities, traded and used by the real power players on media product creation, who for the most part remain faceless to the consumers of mass media product.

  41. magriff

    This situation is further proof that “art” needs to be dismantled and deep-sixed, for the good of humanity.

  42. sally

    Chris Rock came out against Roman recently. He quiped that many people in this country would want to get the guy responsible for 9/11 and take him out and kill him, but we wouldn’t rape him…that would be barbaric! Strange how we have a sliding scale on rape (with Whoopie’s rape-rape parsed definition), but I doubt any of these Hollywood supporters – the men in particular would want to be fucked up the ass without their consent. Funny, that is probably why Roman and his supporters believe it is too barbaric to put him in prison, taking away his freedom and putting him in jeopardy of all the indiganties of prison. And consent is exactly what he took away from the girl. Roman settled with the girl for a half mill years ago, and apparently many point to her being cool with it now as reason this should not be pursued. But he fled justice and for crimes like murder and rape, we don’t avoid justice, because the victim would be cool with that. These are such heinous violations that we don’t want them repeated. But apparently, these supporters think “who of his rank hasn’t had a drug fueled evening and fucked a young girl against her will?” He just a misunderstood puppy and said he was sorry and paid her off….(because he was caught). He went to court then fled the country…because submitting to full justice without his consent would have been…like getting raped up the ass to him apparently.

  43. nails

    There is a big list of anti-polanski celebrities coming out in response to this. What Chris Rock had to say about the matter was pretty golden.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/02/chris-rock-compares-roman_n_307816.html

    I kind of want to print the transcripts of the hearing out and spam mail the people who signed the pro release petition. It is friggin horrifying to read. Rape apologists amaze me in that a case like this is exactly what they usually bring up when they are trying to give an example of “real” rape. A kid, who was drugged, was anally raped multiple times by a guy who was way way older than her when she begged for him to stop. You get angrier about the Lolita headlines from back in the day when you read them, she said “cuddlingness” instead of cunnilingus in the testimony, for fucks sake. That level of childishness and immaturity would turn off anyone who isn’t a violent pedophile.

    I blogged about how the media keeps saying that he ‘had sex with’ her. Not only is it wrong because it was rape, but they are violating the sacred patriarchal code of sex always meaning hetero PIV sex, any other kind of sexual activity needs a special descriptor (lesbian sex, anal sex, oral sex, etc).

  44. Twobees

    Thank-you, Twisty, for having a place of extreme sanity amongst the pervasive bullshit about this. Whatever the relative merits of his films may be, they have nothing to do with the fact that he is a fugitive scumbag who is finally sitting in jail where he belongs.

  45. NullityPersonified

    Celebrities are phantasmagoric prototypes of people contrived for mass admiration. With hyperbolized value, their deeds assume meaning outside the ordinary. Only through denudation of that false persona can the hideousness of their deeds be broadly perceived. Perhaps, then, accountability might be entertained.

  46. facultades

    In a way Whoopi was right, it wasn’t rape-rape. but RAPE-RAPE-RAPE
    she was 13
    she was drugged
    and she said no

    And if I’m to belive JAy Smooth she never got money from RP

  47. Catherine Martell

    The standard romance narrative is the pursuit of a reluctant woman by an obsessed man, so of course Hollywood is down with rape-normativisation. But I don’t think the filmmakers’ indulgence of a violent paedophile rapist in their midst is unique to Hollywood. Everywhere patriarchy exists, rape-denial flourishes.

    Have you ever seen Chinatown? Two hours of boring, navel-gazing, self-important dreck. With added child rapist. This, I can live without.

  48. Comrade PhysioProf

    Why you harshing on Helvetica, Pinko Punko? It is an excellent grotesque sans, and extremely popular for good reason. It works beautifully in the Cell Press journals.

  49. Natalia

    I think this is a perfect case of tribalism at work. “They’re going after one of our own!!!11!!!eleventy!!”

    Also, I know someone who signed the Polanski petition, and I think it was definitely a case of “but… but… I’ve worked with Roman, I’ve had dinner with Roman, I’ve had much stimulating conversation with Roman, surely there must be some misunderstanding to all of this.”

    Not my Nigel, basically.

  50. CLD

    “What’s the deal with celebrities, anyway? Do they imagine the public are just maxi-pads with spending power, stuck to Hollywood’s underpants and happy to soak up what ever oozes out?”

    That is up there with my most favorite quotes of all time. I laughed so loudly that co-workers came running to see what was so funny. I had to quickly switch over to LOLCATs so as to keep their collective lobes from exploding with Jill’s blaming prowess.

    Polanski is a rapist and should be treated as such. The signatories on the petition are seriously delusional and I will not be purchasing, viewing or renting any of their material if it is at all humanly possible and within my power.

  51. Shopstewardess

    Jill, yes. Thank you. I love you.

  52. Jill

    “This situation is further proof that “art” needs to be dismantled and deep-sixed, for the good of humanity.”

    Alas, Magriff, you and I appear to be the only persons alive willing to voice this opinion openly.

    By “openly” I mean “on a penny-ante blog that nobody reads.”

  53. Level Best

    “If forcing yourself on a heavily intoxicated person who repeatedly protests isn’t rape, what is? Does it have to be a knife-wielding thug in an alley?”–Flores

    Actually, RP very convincing played a knife-wielding thug in Chinatown. I consider Jill’s post on this disgustingness and Kate Harding’s to be pure GOLD. Thank you.

  54. PandanCat

    Ahh. That’s the kind of unapologetic blaming that I needed to hear tonight. The maxi-pad stuff was wonderful.

    It feels like one of those things where people imagine that if somebody’s a rapist (especially a child rapist) they must ooze depravity from all their pores at all times in all circumstances. I mean, we would have known he was a rotten apple if he really was. Evil people just have that aura of evil about them, right? (And fangs. Gotta have the fangs.) Rape is something we don’t condone in society, so the only folks who would actually do it must be psychopaths!

    I’ve known pedophiles. I’ve known rapists. If nobody commented on it, you’d never know. They justify it in patriarchal terms, so nobody but a scary feminist bitter that 9 year olds are getting more than them would care. And, you know, they pay their taxes on time and help out their elderly mom (or make films that some people enjoy) so it all evens out. Besides, she liked it.

    The more I think about it, the less inclination I have to leave my apartment.

  55. Kelly

    This situation is further proof that “art” needs to be dismantled and deep-sixed, for the good of humanity.”

    Alas, Magriff, you and I appear to be the only persons alive willing to voice this opinion openly.

    Art is long dead and what passes as art is nothing more than what Joyce termed, ‘improper’ or pornographic. Art has become a tiresome, didactic, pornographic monologue. Most of it is just crap from the advertising department of Patriarchy, inc. I’m not a big Nietzsche fan, but I loved when he described art in his Der Wille zur Macht as, “the virtuosic croaking of cold blooded frogs, despairing in their swamp”. Ha.

  56. slade

    Please don’t let Meryl Streep’s name be on the ‘Roman is OK’ list. I’ve already had a slight bit of vomit in my mouth.

    I want to leave the planet…or maybe aliens would be so kind to remove most males from Earth or zap their lobes so they become tamed as opposed to feral.

    I’m going to go paint a picture now.

    And to top off a horrid Friday…did you see Serena Williams nude on an ESPN magazine cover. I’m ill. IBTP every minute of every day.

  57. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Here in the US, if you an Athlete or an Artist, you can get away with practically anything. Your friends and admirers will defend you ardently as they make tired excuses for your bad behavior.

    No matter how much we delude ourselves to the contrary, there are different rules for different people.

  58. Rumblelizard

    Whoopi also defended Michael Vick’s horrific dog-fighting ring. Her explanation? “It’s a part of his cultural upbringing.” http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0444500720070905

    Seems Whoopi is up for defending all kinds of vile and despicable behavior.

  59. yttik

    “Do they imagine the public are just maxi-pads with spending power, stuck to Hollywood’s underpants and happy to soak up what ever oozes out?”

    It appears to be a problem spanning the globe. The BBC reports:

    “A Brazilian TV presenter accused of ordering killings to boost his programme’s ratings has turned himself in to police.” To add insult to injury, apparently he was formerly a politician. “Mr Souza, also a former local politician, is accused of murder and drug trafficking offences. He had enjoyed legislative immunity until he was stripped of his political post last week.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8300079.stm

  60. Lexie

    What I don’t get about all of this excuse that “the victim wants it all to go away so we should empower her” line is that it is Polanski’s fucking FAULT that it hasn’t gone away for her. Well, Polanski’s and these rape apologists and the justice system.

    I’m not condoning the piddly-ass plea deal he made for statutorial rape, but if he would have not ditched the country and been a fugitive for the last 30 years, he would have done his equally piddly-ass sentence and then this all would have been swept under the rug and she would be nothing more than an unfortunate footnote in this guy’s otherwise charmed life.

    Because he ran away and kept this unresolved for 30 years, she has not been able to see it resolve either and has been repeatedly been re-victimized by the press. She should sue Polanski, the justice system and even Natalie freaking Portman for that repeated victimization. It is a shame that the only escape she sees is to make it all go away by having to let the guy off.

    Oh, and Emma Thomson signed the petition, too. Emma Thomson. I must go lie down now in disgust.

  61. MarinaS

    Dude, not Emma Thompson! I am woebegone.

    I mean, art can be nixed blah blah blah, but having to boycott “Nanny McFee”? That hurts.

  62. humanbein

    I tried to use this as a teaching moment to a dude who seemed violently against rape.

    Men get straight up insane about rape because we all know, in the back of our minds, how close all sex is to rape. It’s all a matter of degrees, and drawing the line somewhere – like 13 years old – makes them safer.

    The girl doesn’t want to go through this shit again. Prosecuting rape in our country is like raping the victim over and over again. Maybe worse. Because if you steal something, everyone knows you’re guilty, but if you rape someone, defense lawyers have a million reasons why the same act “isn’t really” rape. Stealing is defended by saying the act didn’t happen, rape is defended by saying the act happened, but the person who was raped is a lying slut who deserved it.

    As I started out saying, all sex is uncomfortably close to rape in the minds of men. Moving the lines back and forth is what makes a rape trial pure torture.

    Dude went apeshit at the idea. He even googled Andrea Dworkin and threw her in my face, as if to prove how full of shit I am. I just can’t stand men, I swear to god.

    The idea that art is seriously fucked up and not to be idolized is stunningly apparent in Dworkin’s book, Intercourse. She goes through the canon and finds mind-blowing examples of women-hating that makes your hair curl.

  63. orenthal Jay

    Thank you for posting this. I am fucking sick of this bullshit about Roman Polanski. HE FUCKING CONFESSED TO THE CRIME and it was really bad.

    I’m going to go pirate Chinatown right now so that fuck doesn’t get his royalties. He can seriously burn in hell.

  64. Hedgepig

    I have to confess I am genuinely miserable to hear Emma Thompson is an apologist for a child rapist. I KNOW she’s just another celebrity but I’ve always thought she had some feminist consciousness. I know I shouldn’t care, and my reaction is just another manifestation of the widespread pathological irrational feeling of “knowing” celebrities just because we know and like their work. Which is one of the points made in this post. So I should think of it as a learning experience. Which makes me feel heaps better.

  65. Jodie

    Why is it things we term “learning experiences” are so often painful? I HATE that. Not a slam at you, Hedgepig, just that frickin’ schools make so many people hate learning.

  66. thebewilderness

    There seems to be a bit of confusion about his current status.
    The trial is over. It has been over for some years. He pleaded out. He jumped bail before the sentencing. Not before the trial, before the sentencing. He has enjoyed the cachet of being an international fugitive so much that he repeatedly refused to return to the US in spite of assurances that no additional time would be added to time served and no additional charges would be leveled.
    He has never paid the civil settlement.
    He has, in all probability, continued to rape children from time to time. Why wouldn’t he.
    He is both a member and a tool of the patriarchy who has done nothing of any value with his life. I say this because of the pathetic arguments being made in support of him not having to be inconvenienced by the criminal justice system of the US.
    Not one person has said one thing that would indicate that he ever did a good or decent thing ever in his life. I find that odd.
    Even a serial killer usually has someone step up and say they weren’t all bad because they were good to their grandfather or their dog. Not Polanski.

  67. Orange

    Yeah, that maxi-pad line is pure comedy/blaming gold. I posted it to my Facebook page with a link back here. One woman clicked the “like” button and said it was righteous, and all the men were too frightened to comment.

    CAGED HEAT was a crossword answer this week. Jill, are you yoinking blog illustration ideas from crosswords?

  68. Nine Deuce

    I recently got into a discussion about this with someone somewhere (I can’t remember) wherein that someone claimed that people, by focusing on the Polanski case, were taking attention away from the many other rapes that occur in our society on a daily basis. I sure wasn’t aware that there was a TV show on during prime time every night that paid serious attention to the rape epidemic and had been ousted in favor of Roman Polanski coverage. What a travesty! Of course, this someone was one of those dudes who thinks “playing devil’s advocate” (AKA arguing completely irrelevant points and taking indefensible positions for the giggles) makes him look smart rather than like a rape apologist.

  69. nails

    I make art for me, for fun. I want to know more about this anti-art position that I heard about in the comments.

  70. Ron Sullivan

    Whoopi Goldberg used to tell this story about herself: When she lived in Berkeley in an apartment near (then) Herrick Hospital, she once heard a commotion outside her window and looked out to find an anti-abortion picket line——ISTR they maybe did abortions there back then. So she grabbed a bunch of wire coathangers out of her closet and ran down to the street, handed one to each picketer.

    Christ All Friday. Something corrupts, I guess. Power? Money? Gettin all cozy with famous guys? Too much time in front of a camera smiling archly and looking all wise and twinkly?

    There’s something the same in reverse about this and the foie gras snottiness. Something about time and learning and You Should Drop Dead Now If You Ever Change Your Mind About Anything. Forty years ago I thought I was going to be a nun. Wanna discuss that with me, DammitYoda? I dare you.

  71. sally

    When Emma Thompson starred in a movie with Dustin Hoffman as a romance, that was the limit with me. I mean, she was “hopeless-spinster” in her forties (at the time), and her only option was… dude in his seventies. According to her, this was the first time she ever got to play a romantic lead in her career. She should have more than a passing acquaintance with the patriarchy and identifies as a feminist, but somehow, I wonder if she is romantizing what happened. Maybe it was regretable party hijinks to her.

    A lot of these co-signers are arguing that it is wrong for Roman to be punished beyond his consent, basically. Roman and his “peers” gets to decide what is reasonable, apparently, and up to his dignity. He fled justice, which is another issue beyond the rape. Ironic when consent is what he took away from another.

  72. agasaya

    Irony is the emphasis upon child abuse which ignores its roots in misogyny. Today’s Times has a column here

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/10/opinion/10blow.html

    addressing child abuse and citing a celeb’s recollections of abuse throughout his childhood by a drunken father. No mention was made by the Time’s columnist however, about how the mother of that celeb failed to escape her violent husband. She was jailed and returned to hubby after running all the way across country – only to be stopped on car theft charges. The celeb, Tyler Perry, watched his mother being beaten all the way home in that car.

    Guess child abuse exists in a vacuum.

  73. Shopstewardess

    I wanted to check that Emma Thompson really had signed one of the pro-Polanski petitions, and apparently she has -

    http://www.bernard-henri-levy.com/si-vous-souhaitez-signer-la-petition-pour-roman-polanski-2418.html

    The original petition has been signed by Ian Brady -

    http://www.sacd.fr/Tous-les-signataires-de-la-petition-All-signing-parties.1341.0.html

    Inquiring minds would quite like to know whether this is the Ian Brady who’s been in Broadmoor (an English prison for the criminally insane) for the last several decades, following the serial, sexual, notorious “Moors Murders” of children.

  74. yttik

    What if women were to simply rally around each other like Hollywood does with rapists? What if people had Free Samantha Geimer buttons and petitions?

    There is some protest, a jail Polanski petition, and sparks of outrage, but there is never the total solidarity, the same kind of unconditional support simply because of gender. Under patriarchy people learn that only women who are absolutely perfect are entitled to our rallying efforts, so heaven help you if you ever ate foie gras or tossed a plastic bottle on the side of the road.

    When you speak of unconditional gender solidarity at other blogs, immediately people are uncomfortable. They respond, “I’m not a vaginal voter”, “but what about the men”, “we should be fair, not just any woman”, etc. But under patriarchy one entitlement many men often enjoy is being able to find troops somewhere who will rally unconditional support based on gender alone. It’s disguised behind excuses like he’s an artist or a lacrosse player or a city councilman, but what is really meant is that he is male.

  75. Pinko Punko

    I was baiting you, PhysioP. I wanted to see your predicted defense of the establishment!

    The Helvetica-archy has me in its grips, as all my talks use Helvetica bold because of Satan, Molecular Satan, Current Satan, NeuronSatan, Satan Metabolismm etc.

  76. Comrade PhysioProf

    My favorite typeface for display purposes–like seminar slides–is Syntax (a humanist sans). Unfortunately, however, Syntax has no Greek character set, and thus is pretty much useless in scientific contexts. I use Myriad instead (another humanist sans).

  77. Frumious B

    @PandanCat: It feels like one of those things where people imagine that if somebody’s a rapist (especially a child rapist) they must ooze depravity from all their pores at all times in all circumstances.

    A-yup. Rape culture is enabled by denial. Society is in serious denial that rapists get educations, hold down jobs, take the bus, go grocery shopping, write blogs and are basically just like you and me (except for the rape part). The othering of rapists and other criminals drives me batty.

  78. jael

    yo ron – that mind changing of yours. that just means your parents didn’t raise you proper ‘n’ all.

  79. Gnatalby

    Whenever someone is like “Chinatown is a great movie” it makes me want to say: “Polanski’s well known life story has obviated the need for you to see Chinatown: the rape of children is upsetting and there are powerful people in charge who make sure that justice is never served. It’s Chinatown.”

    There. I saved you the 5 dollar rental and I threw in the bonus gift of knowing you didn’t give money to a rapist.

  80. Felicity

    I hated Jack Nicholson to begin with. The news he supported this freak came as NO surprise.

  81. nails

    Frumious B, I was just having a conversation along those lines recently. I was trying to think of a rapist or child molester in a movie or television series who was otherwise shown as a normal non evil person, and couldn’t think of one. The people signing the petition are perpetuating the idea that only very obviously evil people do things like rape.

  82. Rugosa

    Imagine going to a lefty blog you sometimes enjoy and seeing the argument that “twice as many child molesters and half as many cops would be, on balance, a change for the better.”

    http://stopmebeforeivoteagain.org/2009/10/when_i_hear_the_word_sensitivi.html

    http://stopmebeforeivoteagain.org/2009/10/sympathy_for_the_devil_1.html

    http://stopmebeforeivoteagain.org/2009/10/the_innocence_of_childhood.html#comments

    You won’t win many arguments on the internet, but you might find out something about your opponent that you didn’t know before. Such as the fact that if you are unopposed to Polanski’s arrest, you are directly equivalent to the people behind the day care sex abuse hysteria from the 80s.

    “awesome a.” here:

    http://stopmebeforeivoteagain.org/2009/10/the_innocence_of_childhood.html#comment-422353

    sums up how I feel about this depressing episode. What do you do when you encounter sneering misogyny from people you thought were on your side?

  83. speedbudget

    nails:

    Not to mention that when rape is portrayed, it is minimized, as in the “I’m going to make you love me by screwing you” scene that is de riguer for all strong women in cinema. Also, the rapist is made to seem to be desirable and the audience is left with the feeling that that is what love looks like, so that when it actually happens to you, you only have a vague sense of wrongness.

    I should know.

  84. Shopstewardess

    Yikes. Moderated out. What’d I do?

  85. snow black

    About that “no more art” thing:

    What Jill does here is art. What I do in my living room with a microphone and Garage Band is art.

    Instead of getting rid of “art”, I’d like to get rid of “genius”.
    You know, Polanski, Picasso, Beethoven, Kurosawa, Dostoyevsky. Not their work, but their superhuman status.

    Then there’d be more psychic room for regular humans to make art.

  86. sonia

    if you’re going to defend someone’s disgusting behavior, doing it after they’ve basically pled guilty by fleeing the country makes your defense look even slimier.

    ew. ew. ew. now I’m totally boycotting Ms. Portman for other reasons than her vapid, pandering delivery. Tilda Swinton IS a shocker-she breaks a lot of cool rules by living with her baby daddy and lover at the same time. I guess she can’t distinguish between personal freedom and pedophilia.

  87. procrastinatrix

    Spent part of this weekend reading up on Eric Gill and Stan Getz. I’ll never hear “Girl from Ipanema” nor look at the BBC logo the same way again. Thanks for opening my eyes about some recent historical assholes that had flown under my radar–I’ll be sure to pass on the info, though I don’t expect happy reactions. :)

  88. goblinbee

    Procrastinatrix, can you give a brief summary of what you have learned? I don’t know anything about this.

  89. Susan

    I design we have the ever repulsive Eric Gill. I won’t even use Gill Sans.

    Jeebus. You wouldn’t believe the number of things I own with this font on them that I will now have to burn. Somewhere, some tool is working on a thesis claiming an inextricable link between artistic genius and the urge to rape children, I just know it.

    Your writing is brilliant, Jill. I didn’t need another reason to boycott Jonathan Demme or Woody Allen, but it’s a good time to update my list of “artists” to avoid. Thanks.

  90. procrastinatrix

    Trigger warning:

    @ goblinbee-some of the basics are covered upthread when Jill calls Gill a dog-fucker. He apparently is also an incestuous pedophile who groomed and repeatedly raped his daughters. But the BBC uses one of his fonts for their logo, and his memorial inscriptions and sculptures adorn churches and museums throughout Britain. Great art indeed. What a wonderful world…

    Stan Getz seems like a more run of the mill asshole, adultery, exploitation of Latin American musical partners, etc.

    I started with the inevitable wikipedia and worked my way from there into some interesting and spooky corners of the www. Some of the Catholic sites gleefully recounting Gill’s crimes are pretty creepy themselves. Yeesh.

  91. yttik

    I would enjoy hearing more of Twisty’s ideas on art. The art world hierarchy, what has worth, what doesn’t, what passes for art and what goes unnoticed. Myself, I live in an art community but I tend to avoid the art world, for some of the reasons listed. The kind of art that I appreciate is more about the craftiness of people who make useful things out of nothing at all.

    As in the Polanski case, locally we have some great artistes who can do no wrong, who are excused for any behavior because they can so fabulously paint red circles on a square of canvas. I don’t understand.

  92. Stella

    Wait, does Terry Gilliam’s inclusion on this list of rape-enablers mean I have to boycott Monty Python? I was all geared up until I got to the Gs.

  93. PandanCat

    As long as pomes are exempt from boycott, go for it. (Note that I only mean pomes — the wider category of poetry can be scrapped for all I care.)

    I do like snow black’s idea, though. Give the art back to the people. No more of this elitism!

    Oh, and nails totally hit the- er, got to the heart of the matter on child rape. It’s just not something that an otherwise rational person would ever be capable of! Right? Right?

  94. PatriarchySlayer

    Jill, can you post the link where you found the petition with Natalie Portman’s name on it. I’ve been scouring the internet searching for it, but alas I have not found it.

  95. tinfoil hattie

    Movies are “art.” Ha. Yes, please save the art that is at risk of being sullied by its connection to child rapists & woman-haters.

    As for this:

    What Chris Rock had to say about the matter was pretty golden.

    Who cares what Chris Rock, or any other celebrity, has to say about this? Do we justify sycophancy when the “artist” is on our side? His views on this or any matter are not important when stacked against the views of children and women who have been raped, assaulted, blamed, beaten, killed, etc.

    Besides, did you miss the part where he “joked” that the only person who should be “allowed” to “have sex with” a 13-year-old is the pilot who safely landed his airliner in the Hudson River?

    Har de har har.

  96. Felicity

    I’ve just heard the most disgusting child rape joke ever – it involves a load of criteria, including a 16 year old girl, virgin, and something about ‘If carlsberg did rapes..’ (cos how awesome would *this* rape be!)

    This was from one a guy who seemed pretty normal! I feel sick. I love how a lot of guys have that secret ‘look’ and knowledge when talking about raped children. Scary but let’s be honest we’ve seen a lot of joe average guys share it.

    Just to share an above sentiment, no you don’t have to be an obvious monster to be a potential pedophile capable of rape.

  97. Felicity

    I should say these ‘carlsberg’ jokes include the perfect woman. Sadly carlsberg don’t do women, but thailand does!

    DUDE. Pass me a beer *guffaw*

  98. Jill

    “Give the art back to the people.”

    NOOOOOOOO!

    OK, do it, but call it what it really is: “self-expression.”

  99. Jill

    “Jill, can you post the link where you found the petition with Natalie Portman’s name on it.”

    No, it turns out I can’t. I saw her name in one of the Jezebel posts written about the pro-Polanski petitions, and I thought it was so funny that anyone would give a crap what Natalie Portman thinks about anything. Perhaps my source was in error.

  100. Kelly

    Give the art back to the people. No more of this elitism!

    What do you mean?

  101. procrastinatrix

    I’m too plain lazy to find the link to the survey, but Shakesville and Hoyden about Town have both been writing about this too, and both have linked to the actual petition. Ms. Portman’s really on there. Terry Gilliam was a tough one for me.

  102. agasaya

    Re: Art -
    OK, do it, but call it what it really is: “self-expression.”

    The popularity of someone’s expressive style will always create instant idolatry on the part of those needing a standard by which they can ‘fail’. That serves as a dispensation for ‘ordinary’ humans to never attempt anything but imitation in art, or in life. Must be the reason for all those superheros that sell so well in the media. So, we may as well continue to enjoy our favorite creative minds and hands.

    As opposed to supermodels which just have to stand around and look like works of (a surgeon’s) artistry.

  103. Jill

    “Terry Gilliam was a tough one for me”

    Two things.

    1. I remember reading somewhere when, I think, Mel Gibson got busted for drunken antics (anti-Semitism, perhaps, or something like it) and hardly anyone stepped up to condemn him, that Hollywood is Hollywood first, ethics second. The gist was that they’re sort of like carnies, or cops, or FLDSers, and will always close ranks to protect one of their own, or risk “you’ll never work in this town again.”

    2. Monty Python was a goner long before Terry Gilliam went Polanski-crazy. From the radical feminist perspective, Upper Class Twit of the Year doesn’t cancel out misogynist female impersonations or Carol Cleveland as a boob-delivery device.

  104. larkspur

    Yeah, well, I hate to admit it, but Natalie Portman really does have the power to break my stupid pathetic heart.

    But because I am something other than human, my heart regenerates (which is way different than hearts that simply “go on”, so shut up). But my heart, it does not forget. Oh no.

  105. goblinbee

    Procrastinatrix, thanks! I had missed your answer before (did it finally get out of moderation?).

  106. goblinbee

    Monty Python. Ugh.

  107. nails

    Brazil& 12 Monkeys were both really good films from Gilliam. If anyone gets some satisfaction out of it, they should check out how his film career has been doing for the last…ever. Nothing goes well for the guy. 12 Monkeys was kind of it.

    Tinfoil Hattie- I appreciate hearing people codemn the actions after hearing so much support. If you want to think media doesn’t influence the lives of many people, go right ahead, but it simply isn’t true. There is ample evidence of media content having an effect on large numbers of people. It is unfortunate but what people say in the media does matter, and it isn’t like Chris Rock’s interview took away from some mass airing of rape victim concern on another major network. That was the only real way for that message to enter the mental space of a large number of television watchers at that time. So, over all, it is a crappy situation but saying something is better than saying nothing. And yes, for the record, I *did* miss that part you referenced.

  108. tinfoil hattie

    My point, nails, is that I do not value Chris Rock’s, or any “celebrity’s,” opinion more than any other given person’s. And our society’s collective starry-eyed adoration of famous people often leads us to miss, or overlook, such comments as Rock’s regarding “funny” rape.

    In other words: I’d rather read about rape victims’ feelings about Polanski than Chris Rock’s feeble, “You don’t have sex (sic) with a 13-year-old!” and “only (that pilot) can have sex with a 13-year-old! But only once!” being touted as a great condemnation of Roman Polanski and rape in general. In fact, Rock also explains that “some hot 16-year-olds look 18″ — and I’m not sure what his conclusion is, so I infer that it’s totally okay and understandable for middle-aged men to “have sex” with them.

    And his “joke” that the privilege of raping 13-year-olds is reserved only for very special people? I puke.

  109. Antares

    Regarding Natalie Portman : I read an article recently that reset my appreciation for her. The article referenced an interview she gave wherein she laughs about her love of obscene hip hop.

    Putting her name and the word ‘whisper’ into a search engine will yield plenty of articles that reference the comment in question. Here is one: http://tinyurl.com/yhose3h

    At the time of the interview, she was particularly loving a song whose refrain goes: ‘wait’ll ya see my dick’.

  110. Felicity

    Tinfoil Hattie, most men have said that at some point- ‘some 12 year olds look 18!’ (here it’s 16, as that’s the legal age). So glad I’m not born a man..

  111. Nolabelfits

    Who cares how old they look? As if its totally okay to rape someone as long as they “look 18?”

  112. Felicity

    I know, it is the saddest thing about it how the rape aspect of the Polinski rape of a child is ignored.

  113. figleaf

    “Possibly Whoopi views Polanski’s violent crime in this seriously fucked-up way because in Hollywood — patriarchy’s primary misogyny propaganda unit — rape is nothing but a plot device”

    Nah, it’s because in Hollywood people use, um, “leveraged” sex as even more of a medium of currency than most other places do. It’s not just the “casting couch” thing but an outright demonstration of a combination of power, fealty, and “committment” to a person or project. Where it’s sort of a given that giving a producer a blowjob when it’s known you like giving them or even just don’t mind isn’t nearly as valuable as giving one when it’s the last thing on earth you want to do.

    And so by that way of thinking, which I’m guessing Goldberg just sees as the cost of doing business, what Polanski did to a 13-year-old was just “over the line” and not “rape-rape.”

    And I’m just thinking that unusual suspects are standing up for him not so much because they like the system or look forward to being on the receiving end themselves but because to acknowledge it in Polanski’s case would mean having to confront what they themselves have submitted to, or at least steeled themselves for in case they had to, as their own “cost of doing business” in Hollywood.

    And by the way, that’s not to excuse the “rape as a plot device” business they grunt out on a daily basis. Quite the opposite. You see a lot of the same sordid plot devices in regular print and comic publishing, but you don’t see that “if you want it you’ve got to show me how badly you want it” sort of thing that goes on in Hollywood.

    Bottom line: it’s not so much “rape-rape” culture as a culture of sexual harassment on an industrial scale. For an insider to stand up to it requires acknowledging that he or she has participated in, and possibly “benefited” career-wise from it, as aggressor or victim or both.

    figleaf

  114. Friend of Snakes

    Regarding the references in the general media and here about the victim having come to terms with the rape and wanting the case to go away: How about if instead she said, “Polanski ruined my life and I insist that the other charges be reinstated and he be sent away to prison for the rest of his life.”? Should the state give any more credence to the latter view than the former? I don’t think so.

  115. HeroesGetMade

    The name that popped out of that petition with a giant WTF was Pedro Almodovar, who directed the anti-Chinatown, Volver. I have no problem never watching another Woody Allen flick as long as I live, as I’ve only made it through one befor the whining caused me to bail, and the one time was only out of politeness to a houseguest who thought NY Stories represented cinematic greatness and missed the guargantuan issues with half the human race embedded therein. But back to Pedro – when I saw Volver, it was hard to believe a man made that film as it features mostly women living and overcoming the shit heaped upon them by men. In Volver, the older-generation incest perp is burnt up in the love shack while the next-generation incest perp is put away by his would-be victim. Volver stands all the acceptance of incest embodied in Chinatown on its head. So what was Pedro thinking when he signed that thing? The most generous reading I can give to it was that he simply knew the child rapist, but did not apprehend that he was a child rapist, and went the low-information herd route.

  116. Lacquered Studio

    Pity about Jonathan Demme.
    Silence of the Lambs was fantastic.

  117. Hedgepig

    Since this thread has been revived, I’d like to take the opportunity to mention that Emma Thompson recently removed her name from the pro-Polanski petition, after a meeting with Shakesvillians, during which they implored her to reconsider her support of said rapist. She did reconsider, and she’s removed her support.
    A little flicker of light in the darkness is a marvellous thing.

  118. Saurs

    That’s splendid news, hHdgepig. And since Thompson has been thrown back into the mix, I’ve a question about something sally (at 2:19am, on October 19) says above:

    When Emma Thompson starred in a movie with Dustin Hoffman as a romance, that was the limit with me. I mean, she was “hopeless-spinster” in her forties (at the time), and her only option was… dude in his seventies. According to her, this was the first time she ever got to play a romantic lead in her career. She should have more than a passing acquaintance with the patriarchy and identifies as a feminist, but somehow, I wonder if she is romantizing what happened. Maybe it was regretable party hijinks to her.

    Can someone confirm Thompson actually saying or implying this? I’ve done a bit of searching, as this struck me, when I first read it, as an incredibly disingenuous thing for Thompson to say. As I dimly recall, she has almost always played the romantic lead or the lead’s gullfriend or ‘love interest’ or wife. I believe one of the first films in which I saw her is that Jeff Goldblum vehicle (Goldblum as an attractive, slightly melancholy aspiring comedian, second banana to a very narcissistic Mr. Bean, frequently engaging in long and loud bouts of aerobic sex) in which she plays Goldblum’s “love interest,” a nurse, if I remember correctly. She is also Kenneth Branagh’s “love interest” in nearly all of their films together, and didn’t she stand by Arnold when he and Danny DeVito made himself preggers in Junior?

    Although it’s unfortunate, especially given that Thompson’s a very fine actor, the default position for all women in literature, art, and film is Love Interest or Crone, and her career no more or no less reflects that tendency despite the whitewash(?) sally reports above.

  119. saurs

    Apologies, Hedgepig. I mangled your name up there.

  120. Saurs

    And now I’ve actually found the bloody quote myself. It’s here in a rather shortish webblog written by Thompson on said Hoffman film, containing some rather interesting (and depressing) commentary about body weight. The bit in question, about the romantic lead business, goes:

    I shall turn 50 this year, which is not without its odd emotions and has got me thinking about being, well, old. I don’t mean decrepit, I mean not infantile, no longer so attached to things, no longer so concerned about what others think, no longer so anxious to prove myself – you may know the sort of thing I mean. It was rather a treat, therefore, to play what is – in a way – my first modern romantic lead in a film that is more romantic than comic (although it has very funny moments and is underscored with irony and subtle humour throughout) where I was not required to be stunningly attractive or in despair or in need of rescue, but simply an ordinary woman in her forties living a rather stale-looking life as best she can.

    Along comes this rather brash American (Dustin) and he blows a great hole in her defenses (don’t you think we all build them for various stages in life and then FORGET TO DISMANTLE THEM when the danger is past or the trauma has been lived through?). So what you are watching is a sudden flood of real communication (how rare is that?), the sort of communication that shifts the emotional tectonic plates and provokes seismic movement in the soul…

  121. teresainpa

    I am just not cool enough to appreciate Woody Allen and his whiney loser act. I also do not think Nicholson is the sexist man alive. What is with these people?
    having spent many years in the theater I can tell you that part of being good is an ability to retain the childish ability to make believe. But the other parts of our brains are supposed to mature and so clearly people in Hollywood are so open minded their brains fell out.

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