I’ve been scanning the usual sources, and it’s gratifying to see that condemnation of Roman Polanski among people who have never been offered entrance to a luxury lounge is pretty close to universal. Among the ahem artistic community — pinkies up! — not so much. I admire Martin Scorsese, and you’d hope a man with five daughters wouldn’t be afraid to take a contrarian position, but ultimately, it doesn’t matter. We separate the art from the artist, amen.
I agree with Paul Campos at LGM, who said the petition in support of Polanski “reads like a wingnut parody of degenerate France and degenerate Hollywood engaging in an orgy of amoral pomposity.” Let’s take a look at it, shall we?
Pétition pour Roman Polanski
Nous avons appris avec stupéfaction l’arrestation par la police suisse de Roman Polanski à son arrivée samedi 26 septembre 2009 à Zürich (Suisse), alors que celui-ci se rendait à un Festival de cinéma qui devait lui décerner un prix pour l’ensemble de sa carrière.
Cette arrestation fait suite à un mandat d’arrêt américain prononcé contre le cinéaste en 1978, dans une affaire de mœurs.
Oops, that’s the French. It sounds so…sexy, doesn’t it? The plodding, Puritan, Amur’can version:
Petition for Roman Polanski
We have learned the astonishing news of Roman Polanski’s arrest by the Swiss police on September 26th, upon arrival in Zurich (Switzerland) while on his way to a film festival where he was due to receive an award for his career in filmmaking.
His arrest follows an American arrest warrant dating from 1978 against the filmmaker, in a case of morals.
It is astonishing to learn that arrest warrants are sometimes carried out. What is astonishing to me is to learn that someone actually believes the following:
By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.
The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no-one can know the effects.
Sundance as de facto embassy space? How charming. Imagine the possibilities for the diplomatic pouches.
I bring this all up not because this case is so interesting; ultimately — and it’s important to keep this in mind — this is about a grubby little crime, not artistic freedom and puritanical American…what’s le mot juste? Une affaire de mœurs, yes. I bring it up because you watch, it won’t be long before someone tries to hang this on “the left,” or the Democrats, or Obama’s secret teenage-girl rape teams, or whatever, and I just want it on the record now that I ain’t havin’ it. I don’t know what Scorsese was thinking, but I suspect it’s more along the lines of, “if I ever want to do business with Harvey Weinstein again, I’d better get on board with this” than “sure, she was asking for it.” Not that the former is any better than the latter, but at least we can all understand filthy lucre as a motivator, whereas the other is just gross.
OK. As you can see, I’m late getting started today. I took an extra-long sleep last night, didn’t rise until 9:30, and friends? It felt good. I see the previous comment thread has taken a left turn into discussion of “Valley of the Dolls,” one of my favorite novels of all time. I read it as a teenager, and learned so much from it, I hardly know where to start, from New Haven openings to El Morocco, where everyone waits for the early editions to see what the reviews are like. I’ve been looking for one of those “frownie” plasters Jennifer North wears in an early scene; it’s sort of a glue-on thing that pokes you in the face if you dare to furrow your brow and invite wrinkling, Botox-before-Botox. Also, I’m all about the Nembutals. I think I took one last night.
So no bloggage today; I’m still barely ambulatory. At least I’ll be well-rested for work tonight. I did try, as an experiment, doing the L.A. Times crossword puzzle within 30 minutes of rising, pre-coffee. I finished in 7:18. Anyone care to take me on?