No Brainer

Published: October 2, 2009

By Jim Lichtman
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When it comes to apologia, creative people have the edge on most of us regarding imaginative rationalizations.  However, sometimes the more creative they are, the more cockamamie the reasoning.

Thirty-one years after he fled the United States after pleading guilty to having had sex with a 13-year-old girl, Roman Polanski has been arrested in Switzerland and is being held for extradition back to the U.S.  According to the New York Times (Oct. 1) more than 100 Hollywood actors, directors, producers and others have signed a petition asking Polanski to be released, immediately.

“The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country,” the petition reads in part, “opens the way for actions of which no one can know the effects.”

No one?  Oh, come on, I think some of us might know.

“Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renown and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom.”

VOILA… that’s the price you pay for crime.

“Filmmakers, actors, producers and technicians – everyone involved in international filmmaking – want him to know that he has their support and friendship.

“On September 16th, 2009, Mr. Charles Rivkin, the US Ambassador to France, received French artists and intellectuals at the embassy. He presented them the new Minister of Counselor for Public Affairs at the embassy, Ms. Judith Baroody. In perfect French she lauded the Franco-American friendship and recommended the development of cultural relations between our two countries.”

In perfect French, wow, I’m impressed. Okay, now for the really creative part.

“If only in the name of this friendship between our two countries, we demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski.”

Could any of you possibly follow any coherent line of legal or ethical reasoning in this gibberish?

More to the point: “Does being an ‘artist’ trump being a rapist?” asks Melissa Silverstein on the website Women & Hollywood.

Clearly, Polanski is a gifted film director. However, he’s also a confessed rapist. It makes no difference that the woman involved has moved on with her life and wants to put the nightmare behind her. Actions carry consequences, even after thirty years.

Sorry, Roman, “Do Not Pass Go! Go Directly to Jail!!”

In all fairness, it should be noted that talented, creative people are not necessarily gifted with the requisite intelligence to make some legal and ethical decisions.


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