Child Molester on Child Molesters: No Prison for Us
Yesterday I saw a link on cnn.com. I wondered if it was a joke. The link read something like this: Woody Allen Says Polanski Has Suffered Enough. Now is it just me, or is that freakin’ funny? Since when is Woody Allen qualified to give an opinion on what should happen to convicted child molesters?
Was it when, as a forty-one-year-old man, he had a year-long relationship with a seventeen-year-old high school student named Stacey Nelkin, and later wrote a thoroughly creepy movie called Manhattan about it? Was it in the moment Mia Farrow found naked pictures of Allen’s twenty-one-year-old stepdaughter on Allen’s fireplace mantle when he was 56?
Maybe it was after he later married the stepdaughter and had children with her? Does that make it alright? Well, of course, it does. Woody Allen may be the most imminently qualified man in all of Hollywood to give a learned opinion on the Polanski case. Who’s next? Will I see a link on the CNN website that says, “President of NAMBLA says Polanski should go free”?
Actually, the term child molester is weak in Polanski’s case since he was convicted of forcibly raping and sodomizing a thirteen-year-old girl. Child molester doesn’t begin to cover it. We’re not talking about statutory rape here. The girl didn’t have consensual sex with him and claim to be older. He knew she was thirteen. He forced her to have sex with him.
Not only did he plead guilty to unlawful sexual relations with a minor, he also settled a civil case with his victim, Samantha Geiler, for over $600,000. There is no question of his guilt.
Polanski then fled the United States before sentencing and left for France, where they are presumably more accepting of men who rape children. He has “served” a sum total of 42 days in “observation” for his crime. Some people think this should serve as his penance. Lots of people in Hollywood have actually spoken out publicly in favor of Polanski. Some of them are actually women, or men who haven’t been caught having sex with underage girls.
The reasoning behind Polanski not having to serve any time usually falls along two camps of thought. It’s either that Roman Polanski should not have to serve any time because he’s suffered enough. More on that later. Or Polanski shouldn’t have to serve any time because he is a unique visionary artiste, an auteur, a genius de la cinema. We would be depriving the world of great movies for the however many paltry months that Polanski would have to be in jail for RAPING A CHILD.
I say let the man storyboard and write scripts in prison. The world doesn’t have to be deprived of great movies for long. If we let him have a computer he can be in preproduction while he’s in prison. And we are forgetting that prison is a great place to get inspiration for a movie. There are lots of great prison movies. How ‘bout one where a convicted child rapist, a small fey elderly Jewish man, runs through the corridors of a prison trying to escape a beating and a rape at the hands of brutal prisoners who are three times as strong as him? Imagine how moving the scene in the prison infirmary could be after the attack! The humanity!
The logic of the argument that we shouldn’t lock Polanski up because we would deprive the world of art is just a load of horseshit. It’s like me arguing that I should have the right to expunge my DWI because this blog post is funny. Wait a minute. Maybe that’s not such a bad line of thinking after all.
On to the second reason why some people say Roman Polanski should be free. He’s suffered enough. Let’s go over a complete record of the suffering, shall we? It actually is pretty bad:
- Polanski had to hide to survive the Holocaust in Poland. He lost his mother in Auschwitz.
- Polanski was married to Sharon Tate, the woman who was the most famous victim of Charles Manson’s family. Roman Polanski’s wife was murdered, and his unborn child was forcibly removed from its mother’s womb and stabbed to death.
- Since he plead guilty to some of the charges in the child rape case his reputation has suffered, and a small minority of people in Hollywood have refused to support him or do business with him.
- This has also probably put a dent into any future attempts to rape underage girls since they’re now kind of on to him. Unlike Samantha Geiler’s clueless mother, any future underage girls that he asks for parental permission to do a photo shoot with should view such invitations with the same wariness as a play date invitation to Neverland Ranch when Michael was still living. According to recent media reports, Polanski did manage to take advantage of British actress Charlotte Lewis when she was sixteen. So, it was still possible. He just had to work harder at it. Poor guy.
So, to conclude, the argument for keeping Polanski out of jail for raping a child is as follows: he’s an artistic genius who has suffered enough for one lifetime. Well, Polanski made Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby. So, I’ll give them that argument. Genius, check. And having to hide as a Polish Jew during World War II and then having your mother die in Auschwitz is probably enough suffering for a lifetime. And then having your wife and unborn child murdered is probably enough suffering for two lifetimes. Suffering, check.
But isn’t this faulty reasoning? I mean, if this is the criteria for getting out of serving time for your crimes a lot of guys would definitely qualify on the suffering front. My mama was a crack whore, check. Therefore, I shouldn’t have to serve a day for killing my landlord because I’ve already suffered enough for one lifetime.
And as far as the artistic genius argument goes, why did we even bother to hunt Joseph Mengele? After all, he was a physician who could still do more good on the outside than he could in prison. I mean, if he had been locked in a tiny cell with a bed, a toilet, and a sink, in an orange jumpsuit with no access to medical supplies, how could he ever save anyone’s life? Joseph Mengele had a gift and a skill. It would have been a shame to waste his healing abilities in prison. What good would it have served to make him go to prison for his crimes against society? I guess it was a good thing that he was never caught and got to die free.
If Roman Polanski gets out of serving jail time, I’ve already decided that I am going to contact my lawyer and ask for face time with the judge who presided over my DWI case. I am going to prepare a Power Point presentation, highlighting the genius of my writing skills and my lifetime of suffering. I am going to get that DWI thrown out and expunged from my record. I think the whole gay boyfriend thing could really clinch it for me.