Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cry for the rapist?

When I was in elementary school, the Manson Family was always in the news in California.

A few years after Sharon Tate was murdered, insult was added to injury of the collective California psyche when Roman Polanski was charged with rape.

In true southern California style, Polanski was viewed as this flamboyant, big shot Hollywood director and the judge who tried his case was seen as a 'square' (Conservative) who clearly had an ax to grind with the decadent Hollywood scene.

Polanski's lawyers, and apparently the man himself, had no qualms about playing the Jew card. Polanski, like many European immigrants of his generation, is a survivor of the Holocaust. Apparently a year in hell absolves one of later devilish behavior. Too bad nobody explained this to Khmer Rouge survivor and Oscar winner, Haing Ngor, so he could run out and rob some banks or liquor stores before his murder in 1996.

Of course, everything surrounding the Polanski case -- including the (now deceased) judge's very unprofessional bias -- is yesterday's news. Even the rape victim, Samantha Geimer, now a woman my age, wants the whole thing to go away. (She's been paid shut-up money and was given a 'formal' apology by Polanski years ago).

There's been a lot of talk about preferential treatment of celebrities like Polanski. But what about preferential treatment because of race and the class status incurred by fame, not just celebrity?

Imagine if Polanski were an African immigrant from Rwanda, a Tutsi man who survived the genocide of 1994. Now imagine this African rising to some prominence for his inventive, yet mainstream films in Hollywood. Now imagine this black filmmaker one night lounging in the hot tub of his mansion overlooking Sunset Blvd. Imagine this black filmmaker drugging and sodomizing a 13-year-old child. Now imagine the child is a boy.

Still want to dismiss Polanski's criminal charges?

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