Under the Black Flag

The Limits of Compassion

Something’s bothering me about the Polanski business.  No, unlike Harvey Weinstein and Bernard-Henri Lévy—not to mention that Mitterand pedophile—I will not defend Roman’s actions with a 13-year-old, but I will say that with friends like his making fools of themselves defending him, it will be a miracle if he gets off with a slap on the wrist.  Although this may sound pompous, I doubt that any of Polan-ski’s defenders have known him as long as I have—40 years and counting—but let’s take it from the top.

Hollywood has a lot to answer for, and mixing up global warming, Darfur, HIV, and Roman’s case is not exactly kosher.  I particularly liked what one English writer, Hugo Rifkind, wrote in The Spectator about Mel Gibson, who was “nearly hounded out of town for a drunken anti-Semitic outburst, one for which he has apologized more times than Taki has had hangovers.  But Polanski shags an actual child and they love him.”  Ironically, the four people who failed to sign the petition for Roman were Woody Allen, Robert Blake, O.J. Simpson, and Phil Spector, the last two being in the pokey as I write.

Yes, there are a lot of jokes about Polanski making the rounds, but in the meantime he is having a very bad time in a Swiss jail.  Psychologically, that is.  Let’s face it.  It does smell a bit of Inspector Javert, 32 years on. ...

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