Friday, November 20, 2009

Kaalgat pseudo-liberalism and the Polanski affair

By David Saks

The late Irving Kristol once defined a liberal as someone who, upon witnessing a fourteen-year-old girl engaging in a live sex act, worries about whether she is getting the minimum wage. It was the same Kristol who described a neo-conservative as a liberal who has been “mugged by reality”. Kristol himself is widely regarded as neo-conservatism’s foremost intellectuals, if not its actual founder.

The reaction of many to the recent arrest in Switzerland of filmmaker Roman Polanski echoes a lot of what Kristol, I think, was getting at. One sees all too clearly from this unfolding saga the propensity of certain self-defined liberals to turn a blind eye to glaring social evils when it suits them.

For the liberal-left intelligentsia, particularly in the artistic community, Polanski is being portrayed not as a man who notoriously drugged and sodomised a thirteen-year-old girl and then fled to France to escape the consequences. Rather he is being presented as a victim of middle-American vindictiveness, a real-life version of Victor Hugo’s saintly Jean Valjean hounded by the implacable inspector Javert. Was it not punishment enough, they argue, that the gifted Polanski was unable to receive his 2003 Best Director Oscar in person for fear of arrest? Has he not suffered sufficiently from his ‘mistake’ by all the notoriety he has attracted, the lawyers’ fees he has paid, and the fact that he has been unable to visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film?

Father Thomas Reese, a Jesuit, asks how the same outraged voices would have responded had Roman Polanski, distinguished artiste, instead been Monsignor Polanski, Catholic priest. He writes: “Imagine if the Knights of Columbus decided to give an award to a paedophile priest who had fled the country to avoid prison. The outcry would be universal.”

Neo-conservatism (before it so lamentably became an excuse for an aggressive foreign policy aimed at forcibly imposing democracy on others) was, and still is, a powerful intellectual force. It confronted and exposed the blinkered double standards of those who ignored (and frequently even championed) the world’s most human rights delinquent nations whilst depicting the Western nations, particularly America, as the epitome of evil.

The special pleading on Polanski’s behalf seems to me to be reminiscent of the same kind of excuses that were routinely made for the emergent post-colonial countries and communist regimes. In his case, the fact of his being a great filmmaker is seen as a good enough reason to judge him according to a different, less stringent, standard of behaviour.

This reasoning is pernicious in the extreme. When standards of behaviour are not consistently imposed but rather selectively applied, or not, according to one’s ideological proclivities, they become a hollow mockery good only for smearing others. If the passage of time does not lessen the imperative of bringing a felon to justice, why are so many apparently reasonable voices being raised for Polanski to be let off?

7 Opinion(s):

Marisa Lorah said...

As a strong supporter of Roman Polanski and as someone who signed the Petition to free him, I would like to clarify something regarding the analogy between Polanski and Catholic priests.

Samantha Geimer's mother dropped her off at the home of Jack Nicholson for the purpose of meeting and being photographed by the notorious European director in the hopes of getting her onto the pages of French Vogue and into films. If anyone should be blamed here it is the mother. The girl, at 13, was not a virgin and it is unknown whether Mr. Polanski even knew the girl's age.

The girl was not injured or ever feared for her life. This young woman's credibility is questionable considering her past sexual history.

I hope that this lynching of a talented film director will lead to his being able to work in Hollywood again, where he will be feted like a king.

Viking said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Marisa, you are a disgrace. You besmirch the efforts of others to eradicate this type of vilification of female victims.

How dare you absolve Polanski of responsibility, by suggesting that the girl was not a virgin. What difference does that make, or whether she enjoyed engaging in sex? Consent is the only issue that matters, and she was too young to have granted it. Period.

He was an obviously older adult, and any reasonable person in that position would have questioned the age of the girl, better yet, the ethics of having sex with someone so obviously younger than himself.

It is typical of people like you, to obfuscate the issues, in a desperate attempt to "save your hero". Polanski knew what he did was wrong. It is a matter of public record. He needs to be tried in a court of law, and if found guilty, he needs to be appropriately punished. But hey, money can get you a good defence, right? It worked for OJ Simpson.

Exzanian said...

There are a lot of issues being raised here. Firstly, don't necessarily go with Sacks just because he is parading as an anti-liberal that fits in with your agenda. He is a staunch Old Testament supporter. He will have you executed for picking up sticks on a Sunday (Saturday) On the other hand, I have a twelve year old daughter and let me tell you, I am thrilled that this bastard Polanski is being hounded into the utter hell of his life for the atrocity that he committed. I abhorr paedo's, more than anything! Fuck Polanski, fuck them all. Burn them! May they all have a special hell after death...
and for Maria Lorah who said "The girl, at 13, was not a virgin and it is unknown whether Mr. Polanski even knew the girl's age. The girl was not injured or ever feared for her life. This young woman's credibility is questionable considering her past sexual history"
You dirty old bitch! Fuck off, do not besmirch us further, paedos and their apologists will NOT be supported

FishEagle said...

@Marisa Lorah. Having been a victim of child sex abuse, I truly do not know what is considered 'normal' for a child of 13 years of age when it comes to sex. I wouldn't know if she is able to make such a decision for herself. I completely trust the opinion of a parent like Exzanian though. And having said that, I've had a hell of a lot of experience with taking blame for my abuse, which was just a form of denial by the perpetrators. Lady, your denials are CLASSIC and by being in denial you have become complicit in the crimes against the child. You have not considered the implications of your actions and you have no idea what is at stake for the child. It should come as little surprise to you that people have a particularly poor regard for your precious Hollywood when you value your entertainment that much. You make me sick.

Islandshark said...

@ FE, VI, Exzanian: Ditto. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Another prime example of ditching responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Ms Lorah, what a load of liberal shite! The man was an adult, the girl was a child. He knew that. He plied her with drinks and drugs and then took advantage of her. He KNEW what he was doing was wrong.

You people are such HYPOCRITES and no wonder mainstream society HATE you Hollywood douchebags with your selective morals.

I don't care even if the man had invented the cure for cancer, he committed a heinous crime against a CHILD, I'm emphasizing here because you need to get a grip on reality, and whether the child consented even, he, as an ADULT had NO RIGHT to have sex with a child. Capiche! YOU ALL MAKE ME SICK! I have no time for child abusers and their apologists!