Repulsion II

Eliot Weinberger

There’s no doubt that someone in the California Justice Dept is hoping to make some headlines by dredging up the Roman Polanski case. But that hardly makes Polanski, as Andrew O’Hagan wrote on this blog, 'a silly old bugger who slept with a teenage model 32 years ago'. As we’ve all been reminded lately, Polanski was a 44-year-old man who drugged and repeatedly raped a 13-year-old girl who was pleading to go home. Then he called her parents and told them she’d be late.

One expects Hollywood to protect its own, but it is repulsive to see writers such as Paul Auster, Salman Rushdie and Milan Kundera signing on to Bernard-Henri Lévy's petition deploring that this 'ingenious filmmaker' has been 'apprehended like a common terrorist'. (Not even an extraordinary terrorist!) They apparently never got past their adolescent reading of Nietzsche. Or, as one wit somewhere on the internet put it, 'Jeffrey Dahmer would’ve been OK if he had directed Citizen Kane.'


  • 8 October 2009 at 9:56pm
    astott says:
    Thank you. Until someone definitively codifies the artistic standard that one has to attain to indemnify them against persecution and excuse abhorrent behaviour, crumbling old wankers like Auster and Rushdie (who always seems to be accompanied by women half their age) should just stfu.

  • 9 October 2009 at 4:24am
    LRmarte says:
    Well, I'm kind of out of your league all of you, but ?"wotthehey"? This is just an evening blog sort of thing so, in that sense, "here goes nothing". [Maybe?]

    I only caught this thread because LRB is my home page for logging online -- hoping it would harrass me less than some of the other choices.

    I'm (by what I call "carbon-dating") older in years than even Polanski, much less most of the posters here. I was also once a 13-year-old-girl (and a 14 and 15 year old girl and younger and now -- not to flog a dead horse, hardly no girl no' mo').

    I moved to Topanga California -- where Polanski's pregnant wife Sharon Tate was murdered by Charles Manson -- only a few years previously. I am not "a Hollywood type" and (wudja believe?) I moved there because my best pacifist friend lived there and I needed to go to a place with some trees and a simple structure I could partly remake into a partly better home for myself after a time of many changes in my own life.

    That was a long time ago.

    For me, for Polanski, and for the woman cited in this media exploitation (I apologise to her for not right now knowing her name because of course it isn't as famous as his)... My question right now is:

    Why, and What, do all of you think you are doing?!

    What is with all of "you" (me, us) that the London Review of Books (along with all the other once not "yellow pages" publications or online sites) pander and exploit this way?

    If there's anyone signed in for this blog who'd have the patience and tolerance to post a reply I sure would appreciate it because (HA!) -- I just now took the time to establish a password and all that, hoping I might be able to find SOMEONE, somewhere, who might talk with me a little bit about who the actual people and circumstances were way back then instead of what seems to me the media exploitation of just-about-everybody in this (as in so much else) by now?

    Grumpy Old Woman (with a few smiles and laffs left).


    • 11 October 2009 at 10:09am
      Julia Atkins says: @ LRmarte
      Grumpy Old Woman [GOW] is right in decrying the decline of cultural life in the West, but in this case her worries are besides the point. The simple question is whether a celebrity, young or old, should get away with what was a pretty appalling crime and seriously damaged a young life. Polanski's aging celeb cronies or would-be-cronies feel that pretty young women are available for their pleasure and behave accordingly.Viagra has a lot to answer for. Had Polanski been an Afro-American trucker or a bearded Muslim shop-keeper he would have been denied bail and locked up for thirty years. Henri-Levy and his gang would never have lifted a finger. Should Polanski spend a few years in prison for raping a thirteen year old? I think so. He would have time to think of a new movie and perhaps even start filming it in the penitentiary with . Surely GOW will agree.

  • 9 October 2009 at 9:17am
    Martin says:
    See below - 'Equal Before the Law'.

  • 9 October 2009 at 1:43pm
    fernanda says:
    What do all of who think they are doing?

  • 9 October 2009 at 1:55pm
    Jenny Diski says:
    But I think better not to let Bernard-Henri Lévy et al's comments in petition be.

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