Karla Keffer

On Roman Polanski

In Uncategorized on September 30, 2009 at 9:29 pm

He drugged and raped a thirteen-year-old girl, pleaded guilty, and then fled the country for thirty years. I like and admire his work, but I think anyone who rapes anyone, let alone a thirteen-year-old girl, should go to prison, and I don’t care if that person directed Chinatown or makes a living picking cigarette butts off the street. I harbor no particular animosity toward Polanski, so I don’t consider my opinion on this matter calling for his blood. That said, I did harbor a great deal of animosity toward Elia Kazan for the admittedly lesser crime of becoming a “friendly witness” during the McCarthy era because he wanted to work, and I was not pleased when he won a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, and it disturbs me that I should be so outraged at Kazan and not Polanski, who committed a crime I frequently think is worse than murder. The people in the Hollywood film community who are using Polanski’s artistry as a defense for his crime are being idiotic, although I don’t know how I would react if a close friend of mine were in the same situation, and maybe I would use a similar defense. Having the Manson family kill and gut your pregnant wife is a horrific event that will fuck you up for the rest of your life, and while I do think its effect on Polanski’s mental state at the time of the rape should be taken into consideration, I don’t think it should let him off the hook. And finally, the victim has long since forgiven him, and considers the media’s badgering more traumatic than the crime itself. Having undergone therapy that ended up being more destructive than the trauma that precipitated it, I tend to believe her. The victim would like to see the case closed. Perhaps we should heed her wishes. Perhaps we should make the victim’s wishes a vital part in deciding all cases, not just death penalty cases, and for all people, including those who make their living cleaning up cigarette butts. And for good measure, we might also want to rethink the tactical strategy of sentencing a person to forty-two days in jail, deciding on a plea agreement, and reneging on it. Of course a person is going to run. Then again, I’m not sure I would, and I don’t think that’s as much about a sense of honor as it is about being terrified I’d get caught.


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