September 29, 2009

Are Hollywood types defending Roman Polanski because they love him as a fellow artist or because of their own pedophilia?

Allahpundit trashes the Hollywood crowd for rushing to the defense of Roman Polanski.
Magically transformed, by Hollywood libertinism and douchebaggery, into an honest-to-goodness victim who’s being persecuted by the evil empire for, um, forcibly sodomizing a 13-year-old and then skipping bail.... ... Polanski and his cretinous supporters don’t care if he’s guilty or not. They want him to walk free, in the name of “art,” without another word spoken on the subject.
Is it just art, or is there a particular love in Hollywood film art of the forbidden love between the adult and child?

I thought I saw a pedophilia trend in the most honored films of 2008. I talked about that in this blog post...
I'm seeing all the well-reviewed year-end movies, and there's an awful lot of wrong-age sex. "Doubt" is about a priest accused of molesting children. "Benjamin Button," with its backwards aging character, had scenes of an old man in love with a young girl and an old woman in love with a toddler. "The Reader" had a 36-year-old woman seducing a 15-year-old boy. "Milk" had a man in his 40s pursuing relationships with much younger (and more fragile) men. "Slumdog Millionaire" shows a young teenage girl being sold for sex. I say that Hollywood is delivering pedophiliac titillation with the deniability of artistic pretension.
... and in this Bloggingheads with Glenn Loury:



Think about it.

62 comments:

peter hoh said...

Thespians might be acquainted with Marlowe's play, The Jew of Malta, in which the main character defends himself from the charge of fornication with this line:

but that was in another country / And besides, the wench is dead.

Except that in this case, it's the judge who is dead.

former law student said...

You would think that the "he's suffered enough crowd" would have come out in force to protest Plaxico Burress's two year prison term -- isn't shooting oneself in the leg punishment enough for the crime of being armed?

Lem said...

In her movie Jesus is Magic (2005) Sarah Silverman jokes "I was raped by a doctor".

i thought it was kind of funny.

traditionalguy said...

The first principle of Jurisprudence is that there are no laws against doing things no one wants to do anyway. The imagination of boys attracted to the 12 to 14 year old developing girls around them in school is still remembered in their minds at age 80 and they know it. Therefore we have laws to strictly guard the young women of child bearing age from attacks by ourselves and other men, and we like to establish those laws with harsh punishments. Does Hollywood want to exploit this hot button Taboo for money? Well, yes. They have been doing it for 50 years.

halojones-fan said...

Interesting to see how Glenn Reynolds is all "HARR, HES TEH SCUMZ AND HE SHOULD BE SHOT IN THE COCK" about this one. Isn't Reynolds the one who's all about how it's okay for teenagers to be sexually active and aware and in touch with their own desires? And by all reports this girl knew what she was getting into. This was not "hey little girl want some candy".

I guess we're all not quite so liberated as we thought, because 13+14 = "sure go ahead here's some free condoms", but 13+30ish = "oh god ew you should be raped in prison you horrible scumbeast".

The Crack Emcee said...

France and Hollywood. Two of my favorite crowds. What makes me "happy" you ask?

Little by little, everything's becoming clear,...

The Macho Response

Bender said...

Hollywood has long promoted sexual amorality - a sexual libertinism that knows no limits. It is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS what people do in their own bedrooms!!

But clearly we must go after Polanski with every weapon possible. Not only that, but far too many people have been guilty of coddling him by watching and liking his movies.

Oliver Twist
The Pianist
The Ninth Gate
Death and the Maiden
Frantic
Tess

They are all fruits of the poisonous tree. So what if a couple of them are classics? BURN THEM! We must purge ourselves of everything Polanski, wash ourselves of the stain of our own guilt.

Any good that he might have done these last 30 years is irrelevant. We must find every copy of every movie he has directed since the late 70s and destroy them. Anything less would be completely hypocritical. If he had been in prison where he belonged, these films would never have been made. So let's correct that now.

Jim Hu said...

I'm reminded of this from South Park

former law student said...

tradguy addresses an interesting point. When I first read Lolita, at age 13 or so, it very much appealed to my prurient interest, especially the first chapter, when the hero as an adolescent fools around with his contemporary.

But reading it decades later, the grown protagonist's lust for the girl was disgusting, repellent. Perhaps Hollywood types could never shift their identification with the lustful pervert to the violated girl.

Florida said...

The upcoming movie "The Time Traveler's Wife" based on the book, is also highly pedophilic.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I figure if you're a "Hollywood type" you're probably not so much a libertine personally as you are proud of yourself for not disapproving of libertines. Making movies about pedophiles gives you another chance to look down on the judgmental yahoos who think there's something wrong with pedophilia.

Florida said...

Why does this post have the tag: "unfair sentence"?

You're projecting again, Ann.

Do you think Polanski's sentence has been unfair?

Fred4Pres said...

Probably both.

Most Hollywood types may not be engaging in pedophilia, but they think they are above the law. The only things in Hollywood that are really crimes (in their circles) are saying something anti Semetic (provided you are conservative--otherwise you can probably get away with that too), being racist in public (but if you are liberal you can redeem yourself with an apology), or being outspoken as a conservative. That is about it.

Fred4Pres said...

Fellow bloggers are not rushing to your defense Ann. Calling Andy Williams square? How could you.

former law student said...

Why does this post have the tag: "unfair sentence"?

I recognize this as a former law student: The issue is whether certain sentences for crimes, including Polanski's crime are unfair. The tag pulls all such posts together. It is not an a priori judgment.

traditionalguy said...

FLS...Plaxico Burris plead to the best deal he was offered on a charge of following gang culture customs outlawed in NYC. But I agree with you that he should recieve Mercy/Clemency long before a man who plead to the best deal he was offered on a charge of following Parisian culture customs outlawed in LA, ever recieves any. FREE PLEXICO BURRIS! KILL ROMAN POLANSKI!

John said...

You can imagine a set of circumstances where Polanski might be forgiven. Suppose the girl had been at a party and a drunken Polanski ended up in bed with her not knowing she was 13. Or suppose that he had only photographed her and groped her but stopped when she rebuffed him. Things would in those cases be different.

But that is not what happened. He knew she was 13. He picked her up from her parents house and refused to let her bring a friend along. He gave her champaign and qualudes. And then he forced himself on her even though she objected. He didn't just have intercouse with her, he forcibly sodomized her.

She could have been 30 and that still would have been rape. Lots of people are rotting in prison today for doing those things to an adult, letalone a child.

Further, Polanski has never expressed any remorse. He also admitted to sleeping with a then 15 year old Natsia Kinksky. The guy has a serious problem with controlling himself around young girls. Further, you don't drug and violently sodomize someone as a one off see what it is like crime. It is very unlikly this is the only woman he ever victimized. Polanski is a divient and needs to be in jail

DADvocate said...

Let's not forget that there is such a thing as a "good rape". Maybe this is one of those cases. Certainly the elites should know.

Der Hahn said...

Florida said...
The upcoming movie "The Time Traveler's Wife" based on the book, is also highly pedophilic.


That's the impression you got from the trailers but after seeing the movie, not so much.

Florida said...

"The (tag) issue is whether certain sentences for crimes, including Polanski's crime are unfair. The tag pulls all such posts together. It is not an a priori judgment."

As Polanski hasn't been sentenced, this weak explanation doesn't make a lot of sense.

How can one pass judgment on the fairness of Polanski's sentence when he fled prior to his sentencing?

Ann Althouse said...

"Why does this post have the tag: "unfair sentence"?"

Because it's the tag I've used for a long time when there is a debate about sentencing. It's the subject. It doesn't embody my opinion any more than "pedophilia" or "rape." I use "rape" when the subject is whether or not something is a rape. Don't overinterpret tags.

William said...

The Hollywood types who are defending Polanski do him no favors. There's a kind of droit du seigneur quality to Polanski's behvior that is even more anger provoking than the crime itself. Hollywood looks like they're embracing a class privilege when they support him. This only reinforces and intensifies the anger against Polanski and Hollywood.

rhhardin said...

An artist obsessed with any kind of sex that produces audience is a commercial success.

So they're Hollywood.

The same audience obsession can kick back, with the audience seeking entertainment instead in the news media.

The audience doesn't know what's good for it, is the Hollywood observation.

Jason said...

I suspect the Film Actor's Guild is behind this.

miller said...

I'm neither for letting Polanksi off nor for burning him at the stake.

I just think he should be extradited and imprisoned to complete his sentence.

Otherwise the law is only good when it is obeyed by the lawful.

Running to escape sentencing did not make Polanski innocent nor did his years of suffering (could not come to pick up his Oscar! The horror!) equal prison time.

Just apply the law.

downtownlad said...

The movie portrayed Harvey Milk in his forties, as dating someone who was in his late 20's. If that was a man dating a woman with that age difference, nobody would call that "wrong". By your definition, "Lost in Translation" is a movie about pedophilia.

And in real life, Milk's lover did not commit suicide before Harvey Milk died. He committed suicide 2 years later, at age 33.

Even in the movie, the characters that play Milk's lovers are 29 and 30 respectively in real life.

Sorry, but that is not "wrong".

chickenlittle said...

At the same time that perverse "old" Hollywood self-combusts, along comes Breitbart's Big Hollywood as a breath of fresh air. I think that's newsworthy.

Florida said...

@Althouse "Because it's the tag I've used for a long time when there is a debate about sentencing.

As Polanski hasn't been sentenced, I was unaware of any debate about the non-existent sentence he didn't get.

My mistake.

What sentence do you think he should get that would be fair?

chuck b. said...

The victim/temptress in on CNN this morning. http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/09/29/polanski.victim.profile/index.html

Shanna said...

Isn't Reynolds the one who's all about how it's okay for teenagers to be sexually active and aware and in touch with their own desires?

I have no idea what Reynolds thinks about that but we are talking about a 40something man raping a 13 year old. WTF is wrong with people????

And Whoopie expounding on rape v. Rape-rape? Seriously, have these people gone mad?

Shanna said...

Oliver Twist
The Pianist
The Ninth Gate
Death and the Maiden
Frantic
Tess


Is Oliver Twist different from the musical Oliver? If so, then I haven’t seen any of those movies. Or Chinatown. Maybe that’s why I don’t give a damn about this guy, but I like Matt Damon’s movie and still think he’s kind of an asshole, so maybe not.

Ann Althouse said...

Another thing about tags... I just used "Obama helps kids" again.

Scrutineer said...

Your decision to initially go "all enigmatic and fence-straddly" about Polanski's extradition is more curious. You're smart and interesting, and the "Hollywood types" aren't. Instead of speculating about why dumb people are dumb, I wonder why you chose to be ambiguous. My first hunch was that you flinched from cheering his extradition because 1) he's a "great artist" and 2) you don't want to look like a "square." But maybe I'm being unfair.

Paul Zrimsek's answer to your question sounds right: I figure if you're a "Hollywood type" you're probably not so much a libertine personally as you are proud of yourself for not disapproving of libertines.

somecamerunning said...

Not that anyone else is addressing Althouse' request to "think about" pedophilic themes in recent Hollywood films, but I believe she's making a false equivalence here. Polanski's actual work contains no pedophilic themes or material. (Compare with that of convicted pedophile Victor Salva, whose "Powder" is an allegorical apologia for the perversion, and whose other pictures are replete with shots of teen boys in their underwear.) Just saying.

tim maguire said...

Prof, you draw an interesting parallel. Nearly every woman I know is offended by the "old man/young woman" love story that is a staple of Hollywood entertainment. Looking at what's normal to them, pedophilia probably seems like a forgivable vice, something most of them are interested in themselves and not too far out of bounds.

I second downtownlad's taking excption to Milk on this list. First, the age difference is not dramatic and they're all adults. Second, Milk is based on a true story. What are they supposed to do if he dated younger men?

former law student said...

The Pianist was excellent, by the way. I really teared up at the ending. But it doesn't make up for being a rapist.

Freder Frederson said...

Ann,

You really need to post a retraction about Milk. In no way, shape or form was it about pedophilia.

There is enough homophobia--even by some people who claim to be gay, yes I am talking about you Paladian--on this blog without you (who should know better) fanning the flames

chickenlittle said...

Decouple the art from the man.

Polanski's art will endure, despite his actions, no matter the outcome.

But to defend a man based on his art or celebrity (if that is what is happening) is perverse and cheapens those who do.

Tertium Quid said...

What if Polanski was a priest? Would any of the same people defend him?

http://burketokirk.blogspot.com/2009/09/what-if-polanski-was-priest.html

CarmelaMotto said...

Hasn't the clock on the rape run out and now he can only be tried for being a fugitive from the law?

Also, he PLEADED GUILTY then RAN.

He had a very successful career in Europe and the US while a fugitive, so I can't understand why there is so much sympathy. He hasn't paid any price from what I can see.

G Joubert said...

What if Polanski was a priest? Would any of the same people defend him?

Or a Republican? What if it was Rush "Limpballs" in the dock?

John said...

Long time reader, first time commenter. (I wonder why that annoying phrase never caught on for blogs like it did for talk radio). Anyway, first, a pedantic point. Pedophilia is an example of one of those words popularized in a particular field (medicine) that has found its definition expand has it worked its way into common usage. Strictly speaking, it should refer to sexual attraction to prepubescent children, not simply to "minors," as defined by the relevant age of consent laws. As a couple of other commenters have pointed out, Ann has really inflated the definition in this case, adding "fragile" twentysomethings to the list. Certainly, we could all differentiate between one who is sexually attracted to a six-year-old as compared to someone attracted to a sixteen-year-old. There actually is a word, ephebophilia, to describe primary sexual interest in adolescents.

To your larger point, I really cannot fault Hollywood for taking an interest in the sexual interested between adults and minors. It has been one of the great themes of Western humanities. Socrates was said to be in love with a young boy, Alcibiades, who pursued the philosopher doggedly, only to have his sexual advances rebuffed. However, I do not think this has much to do with the Polanski apologia. I think it is simply another case of Hollywood types letting their admiration for a man's artistic abilities blind them to his deviance. Call it the Jack Abbott syndrome.

Ann Althouse said...

"What sentence do you think he should get that would be fair?"

5 years at least. At most... life.

Ann Althouse said...

"I believe she's making a false equivalence here. Polanski's actual work contains no pedophilic themes or material."

My point is about why Hollywood is into forgiving him. I'm saying pedophilia and older/younger sex more generally is a big Hollywood theme, often glossily packaged in very high prestige movies.

As for Milk, I didn't say he went with legally underaged men, but the movie certainly depicted an older, more powerful man dominating and using other men. It was especially striking in a movie that might have heroized the protagonist that this negative side was shown so much. It surprised me and it made it a better movie.

Milk was presented as a flawed human being -- not because he was gay, but because of various things that can be wrong with a person. His sexual relationships were not based on equality (in the film).

Pedophilia is especially wrong, at it deserves criminal punishment, but it is a manifestation of a much more general human quality which has to do with finding a power differential erotic. That is extremely common, and it's no surprise that there are movies about it.

Perhaps the urge to forgive Polanski comes from seeing oneself in him. Anyone ought to be ashamed to admit it, but the movies Hollywood sells shows that they think we find it sexy.

Dave said...

I would def. say that to the extent certain people in the film industry are defending Polanski is not a result of their own pedophilia, but a direct result of his stature and artistic abilities. Most major studios care about the bottom-line and not much else. If pedophillia-themed movies did well at the box office, you'd see a spate of them.

Freeman Hunt said...

They're defending him because they knee-jerk defend one of their own, and many of them are unmoored from morality. The worse the guy is, the cooler it is to defend him. It's edgy, man.

John said...

"Most major studios care about the bottom-line and not much else. If pedophillia-themed movies did well at the box office, you'd see a spate of them."

Yeah, that is why they made so many copycat biblical epics after The Passion made a half of a billion dollars. Don't kid yourself, they care about a lot more than the bottomline.

Freeman Hunt said...

What's cool about defending people who are innocent? Anyone would do that. How boring. How square.

But defend a guy like Polanski? That's cool. It shows that you're hip to the secret knowledge that the anti-sex flyovers can't grasp. You're part of the new and progressive. You're a rebel, and you're not down with those judgmental asshole red-staters. You're tolerant and into a higher consciousness that doesn't have time for all that traditional bullshit.

You're cool, and you're part of the club.

rhhardin said...

Pedophilia is especially wrong, at it deserves criminal punishment, but it is a manifestation of a much more general human quality which has to do with finding a power differential erotic.

I'd guess finding a power differential erotic is female only.

And I think immediately of Vicki Hearne's observation that young men at puberty drop horseback riding, where young women keep it up.

Look Inside here and search for "tactful."

Where the tact practiced on horses might be the tact that deals with men.

rhhardin said...

It seems to me the female interest is in how things might go wrong; and men's interest is in protecting their daughters.

As Lileks wrote, he doesn't mind his daughter dating when she's old enough, say twenty-six.

Dave said...

'Yeah, that is why they made so many copycat biblical epics after The Passion made a half of a billion dollars. Don't kid yourself, they care about a lot more than the bottomline.'

Hollywood never shied away from making biblical epics (see the '50's & '60's). And Mel Gibson had little trouble making another film after The Passion. Studios are large companies with boards & shareholders they report to. they don't have time for make-believe culture wars.

Freder Frederson said...

As for Milk, I didn't say he went with legally underaged men, but the movie certainly depicted an older, more powerful man dominating and using other men. It was especially striking in a movie that might have heroized the protagonist that this negative side was shown so much. It surprised me and it made it a better movie.

You must have seen the bizarro world version of Milk. As the movie went on, his relationships with other men became more self-destructive, and he was dominating so much as trying to fix them, which he couldn't do.

John said...

"Hollywood never shied away from making biblical epics (see the '50's & '60's). And Mel Gibson had little trouble making another film after The Passion. Studios are large companies with boards & shareholders they report to. they don't have time for make-believe culture wars."


You can't be that stupid. The culture war doesn't sell? I guess that is why Michael Moore's films never made any money. And the Hollywood of the 50s and 60s that made all of those biblical epics is not the Hollywood of today.

The Passion made a half a billion dollars. You could pump out two or three more biblical epics just like it and be gaurenteed to make a cool billion from the evabgelical audience alone. Yet, Hollywood doesn't do it. Better to make some anti-war flick that goes straight to video.

Freeman Hunt said...

I figured it out.

Echoes of the Hitler article linked a while back.

Genius is above morality. At least that's what some in the Hollywood crowd like to think.

Cedarford said...

former law student said...
You would think that the "he's suffered enough crowd" would have come out in force to protest Plaxico Burress's two year prison term -- isn't shooting oneself in the leg punishment enough for the crime of being armed?


Agree. I would have been happy if we opted for have poor Plexico parade around Harlem with a "I am that dumbass Plexico!" billboards for a few days, followed by community service given gun law and gun safety lectures to black high schoolers.

Maybe also wear "dumbass" instead of Burris name on his NJ Giants uniform for a year.

================
John, it is zee French and their mistresses and jeune filles!
Plenty of powerful men have their twiffle, and the twiffle adently chases zee men for favors and trinkets!
As was, Kinski had been sleeping with men in her Dad's artiste community circles since age 12. When Polanski got her, she was of age of consent in France (15), and had already done nude or semi-nude fashion modeling and feature "Euro-B" movies.

Christopher said...

Dave wrote:

"Hollywood never shied away from making biblical epics (see the '50's & '60's). And Mel Gibson had little trouble making another film after The Passion. Studios are large companies with boards & shareholders they report to. they don't have time for make-believe culture wars."

The Passion of the Christ cost $30 million to produce and made back more than twenty times that.

If it is true, as you say, that Hollywood is all about making money for their shareholders, then Hollywood should have been all over the film when Gibson was pitching it.

In reality, Gibson funded the production himself through his own company Icon. Because Hollywood backers wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.

Of course, after Gibson showed that there was a ridiculous amount of money to be made in religious films and a chance for movie studios to increase their market share by getting people who don't normally go to see movies into theaters, Hollywood jumped all over that trend, right?

Right?

To the extent that there is a culture war, Hollywood is dead center, not some kind of disinterested non-participant.

Revenant said...

Isn't Reynolds the one who's all about how it's okay for teenagers to be sexually active and aware and in touch with their own desires?

That would be a "no".

And by all reports this girl knew what she was getting into.

Apparently the reports you have read on this incident are restricted to those written by Polanski supporters. He gave a thirteen year old girl quaaludes mixes with alcohol, then orally, vaginally and anally raped her while she begged him to stop.

If you think that bears any resemblance whatsoever to anything Reynolds has supported, I would like to politely suggest that you might be a complete fucking moron.

Revenant said...

Hollywood never shied away from making biblical epics (see the '50's & '60's). And Mel Gibson had little trouble making another film after The Passion. Studios are large companies with boards & shareholders they report to. they don't have time for make-believe culture wars.

I don't think the people greenlighting films are consciously fighting a culture war, no. Many of the filmmakers are, but that's fine -- artists can do whatever they like so long as they can find a willing buyer to pay the bills.

But one has to ask why Hollywood greenlit a seemingly endless series of anti-war films filled with A-list stars, pretty much all of which tanked. At the same time people like Mel Gibson and Tyler Perry have to seek independent financing for a series of socially and religiously conservative films with ridiculously high profit margins. At the very least it suggests that the business culture of Hollywood is wildly out of touch with what Americans actually want to watch. If they aren't deliberately waging cultural war they are, at a minimum, incompetent judges of culture.

jr565 said...

Cue the Maurice Chevalier...
Thank, heaven for little girls...

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/michaeldeacon/100011795/roman-polanski-everyone-else-fancies-little-girls-too/


"But… f—ing, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f— young girls. Juries want to f— young girls. Everyone wants to f— young girls!”
So there you have it. Who doesnt' want to f- young girls?

careen said...

Their own pedophilia - though I don't think it's quite the same situation as in the 70s which was the mainstreaming of all that - the pubescent yet hardcore Led Zeppelin groupies, Brook Shields in Pretty Baby, etc. etc.

Girls now would be more aware of at the very least their economic value and legal rights.

A skeezy director type from that era put the typical "I'll put you in pictures" moves on my niece-in-law recently - a daughter of a minister, age 16. She had her dad, attorneys etc. negotiating the "contract" almost immediately and SURPRISE the film is still on the shelf. I still haven't let them know how typical this all is because they'd never believe me. My point is she has layers of sophisticated parental protection that just didn't typically exist until probably the 90s when those former little 70s girls grew up and became parents.

(Think Miley Cyrus.)

Bob Belvedere said...

This has always been a problem that has plagued all forms of art. The innocence of the young has always drawn interest from artists, but, it seems to me, it has always been reigned in by the society up until the modern age. Many have crossed the lines in the past, but they've either been shunned or prosecuted. Those periods in history when they haven't, have been times of debauchery and decline. Could this be one explanation?


Quoted from and linked to at:
POLANSKI, THE 'BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE', & BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA

Eris said...

The Swiss government will take the easy way out, and deny extradition, leaving us with an "acting community" (o! the revealing nature of that phrase) having exposed its hidden desires.


And, yes, the Time Traveler's Wife had a strong Lolita-like component EXCEPT Henry doesn't mess around with the girl at 12 (IIRC).