Friday, October 2, 2009

Whoopi Goldberg Isn't Actually Jewish!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I am, and always have been, an opponent of rape. Apparently this would be an unremarkable statement, ranking up there with politicians who say "I want to help working families" or "I love America!" in that no one is really going to say "I respectfully beg to differ, kind sir!" But apparently a lot of Europeans and more than a few of our Hollywood glitterati (people who glitter) are willing to hedge on the question of rape.

Case in point--Roman Polanski, who's made two decent films (Pianist and Chinatown) and one overrated film (Rosemary's Baby, seriously folks it's a friggin' baby, it's the Devil's, so kill it already), and probably a bunch of others I haven't seen. As it happens, he's also a Holocaust survivor, and later in life had to deal with the fact that his young (and hot, but that's not relevant) wife and unborn child were slain along with some other party guests by a bunch of hippies. (For the record--hippies normally they just keep to themselves and only affect the rest of us by driving up the price of patchouli and hemp, but in the case of the Mansons things went too far) Ordinarily, this is a man who would have everyone's sympathy.

However, in 1977 he also had sex with an underage girl. Normally, when I hear "statutory rape" I withhold judgment, because in the case of say a 21 year old meeting someone at a party who claims to be 18 and it turns out they were only 17, and it was consensual, I don't like to put that in the category of sexual predation. (I think "predation" is a word, or it should be. It sounds better than "predatorness"). I know society has to draw a line at age, but there is a gray area around young adulthood, and the laws can be arbitrary (what's perfectly legal in one state can put you in prison in another) and abused by families that don't approve of their teenager's dating choices. But then there are more clear-cut cases.

Polanski was in his forties, and the girl wasn't "barely underage" but instead aged 13. He also knew her age--he'd needed her mother to sign a consent form so he could take photos of her for French "Vogue" magazine. He also plied her with booze and a sedative, and she'd resisted his advances. Ultimately, he pled guilty to a slightly lesser charge, but fled the country before sentencing. He settled the civil case that the girl brought, and has been living overseas ever since.

Now that he's been taken into custody (by the Swiss, who are extraditing him) a bunch of Hollywood halfwits, including Whoopi "Didn't I Once Have a Career?" Goldberg and Martin "I Really Need Some Coke" Scorsese are clamoring for his release, arguing that he's a talented filmmaker, suffered enough in his life, etc. One has to wonder if the same circumstances had happened with the accused predator being an unknown schlub who never won an Academy Award, would they have come to his defense?


  1. My mom suggested he be able to "settle his debt to society" via financial remuneration. She didn't seem to have much of a response when I asked "So it's okay to do that if you're rich?"

    I actually don't know all that much about what happened, beyond the basic "facts". Possibly because I get a lot of my news on the subject from celebrity gossip sites. They seem to imply she spurned his advances; my mom, apparently, heard it was consensual (which strikes me as more unlikely than likely...) so I was mostly just playing devil's advocate.

    And I guess I kind of see what Whoopi was saying? Maybe? Not really? Either way, acting like "Oh, it was rape, but it's misunderstood!" is a (para)phrase that, hey, let's be honest, if she were a man would have NOW all over her ass in a heartbeat. Are they on her? They should be..

  2. Yeah, it was rape. A drunk and drugged 13-year-old is incapable of giving consent, and Polanski's behavior was predatory in the extreme. This isn't just a mistake, or a case of puritanical America clutching its pearls - it's a series of choices made by an adult that culminated in the rape of a child.

    The prisons are full of people who had terrible things happen in their lives, but no one is clamoring for their release. More to the point, our country is full of people who had terrible things happen to them, who went on to lead full and positive lives.

  3. J--I lost respect for NOW back when they went quiet over OJ and the allegations against Bill Clinton. Apparently, race and political convenience outrank defense of women to that group.

    Shannon--agreed. It's the act itself that has to be punished. It's a shame that such a talented man would do such a thing, but his talent shouldn't absolve him from having to pay his dues.

  4. Hey, the man's been through the Holocaust... give him a break. Us Jews need to stick together! Statuatory rape for all!

  5. Brett--in that case, you might want to avoid Jewish Singles events!

  6. A coworker dated a 17yo at one point. He claimed not to know she was 17, but I was there when we met. She kept saying she had to leave so that she could wake up early and have her hair done for Prom...

    I told him his "but she's really hot" defense would not hold up in court...

    He also received formal warnings from HR after a coworker (we had a girl at out office once) repeatedly had to ask him to stop saying "Daddy's got a sweet tooth" whenever we'd eat lunch outside and high school girls would walk by.