Fr. Roman Polanski...

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Timebandit Timebandit's picture

martin dufresne wrote:

To call this a paradox is to accept the notion that Polanski's sexual assault on this child and his films are somewhat on the same plane, that they constitute a contradiction per se and that one can't do one if he does the other. I don't accept that.

What I would accept is the weight of personal choices, e.g. someone saying "I am so dead set against rape that I wouldn't accept a rapist as someone deserving admiration because of something else he or she did," or "I am so admirative of artists that I would never let whatever heinous stuff an artist did affect my appreciation of his/her art."

So there is no contradiction or paradox: some people give a moral pass to "brilliant" enough artists (or politicians or sports heroes or members of minority groups), and some peole blackball rapists/child molesters. whatever else they do. which I think they are entled to do without incurring the wrath of art fundamentalists.

Ah.  Your first sentence shows that you have missed my point entirely.  They aren't on the same plane.

Sometimes distasteful people have the ability to make something quite wonderful.  Does the "heinous crime" have an impact on the work?  Maybe, but maybe not.  It's not the two-dimensional cut-out that you would have it be.  Polanski also had other horrific experiences as a victim of violence, and those shouldn't give him a free pass, either. 

But the work still stands on its own, and if you knew nothing about the artist, you'd probably have to say, yeah, that's a well-made film.

But then, I can look at "Triumph of the Will" and think, wow, horrific message, horrific stories around it, but man, Leni knew her stuff.  If you can't, well, maybe you're just a little limited.  However, I'll thank you not to censor me.

I also believe I talked about giving a "moral pass" upthread - I said that the work's quality should not give the artist a pass on a criminal act. 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

remind wrote:

Actually...that paradox comment is helpful, Timebandit.

Perhaps enough time has not been devoted to discussing moral paradoxes, as really that appears to be what we are doing.

ETA: Timebandit, when "art" and "the artist, sell rape it sure as hell has wsomething to do with me, and it isn't fucking art in my view. It is pandering to one's personal pleasures at the expense of others and society.

"The Pianist" wasn't selling rape.  If you look at other Polanski films, I'd say you'd have to work pretty hard to say that the films themselves "sell rape".  They do deal with desire and taboo, but so did Frears' "Dirty Pretty Things".  Are they both verboten, or just Polanski's? 

Whether you consider Polanski's work cinematic art is completely moot.  Enough of us do that it doesn't matter if a small minority of censors say otherwise.

I know you feel a lot of moral conviction here, but you're focusing on emotion at the expense of reason. 

ETA:  It isn't necessarily "pleasure", not as I'd define it.  I've watched some movies that I've really disliked, but still admitted they were well done.  Mainly because the technique or the storytelling or the cinematography were in part or in all very good.  Art isn't just about pretty.

martin dufresne

TimeBandit, it seems to me you have a really loose/vague/sloppy notion of censorship. Is disagreeing with you somehow "censoring" you? Please define the term as you see it.

remind remind's picture

No actually, timebandit, it is germaine.

You can pretend in your little artsy world that it isn't, but it is.

And I was NOT bringing your kids into it, I was making an allegory, or an analogy, that it if it had, or should happen, to your children, or indeed anyone's close to you  children, you would not think the guy's art was brilliant. The furthest thing from it, I am sure, and I do not appreciate your stating that I was bringing your kids into it, it is a nonsensical ploy, to deflect away from your thinking to closely about it, IMV. As  I am sure, you well know, I was just trying to get you to understand empathy, and what is wrong with supporting a pedophile rapist, in anyway shape or form.


worth another repeat:

The widespread support for Polanski shows the liberal cultural elite at its preening, fatuous worst. They may make great movies, write great books, and design beautiful things, they may have lots of noble humanitarian ideas and care, in the abstract, about all the right principles: equality under the law, for example. But in this case, they're just the white culture-class counterpart of hip-hop fans who stood by R. Kelly and Chris Brown and of sports fans who automatically support their favorite athletes when they're accused of beating their wives and raping hotel workers.


No wonder Middle America hates them.

Take it out of the damn abstract and deal with it in real life.

remind remind's picture

Fuck, art for the sake of art is such fucking BS.



I think if I didn't start us down this path, I kept us on it.  And, I regret the way it has turned out.   If I was smarter, instead of mentioning how some in Europe used Polanski's artiste status to deffend, or  express outrage at his arrest, I would have pointed, as I think the Times editorial quoted by Remind really points us in the right direction, and that's how group identification, or clan, if you will, colours our thinking.

The film making industry-- or a good part of it-- chose to let what's probably a hardwired behavior-- stick up for one of your own-- overide their sense of justice and right and wrong.

I think we all succumb to that from time to time.  We're only human.  But in this case, where the crime is so starkly wrong, I am surprised many people in the entertainment industry allowed it to govern thier perceptions.

Again, I am sorry I took us down this cul de sac.  Stargazer and Remind are pillars of instruction to me, and it bothers me that one of my stupidities has set them against one another.



I have no ill will towards remind. I quite like her. I just don't follow that line of pure thinking that she is putting forward. I don't want to censor myself, or others, because it isn't my place to do so.

remind, let's call it a truce. We both are in agreement that Polanski is a rapist, who needs to pay for the crime he committed. I understand your passion, but I can't get behind the other part of this whole "pandering to pleasure" over all else idea.


remind remind's picture

Point of clarification, I am not against stargazer, I simply cannot understand, keeping this in the abstract, or alleging to.

It  isn't, and it can't be.

I thought I had done all the correct things for my daughter, to keep her safe, she took years of self defense, I made her street smart, and aware of ploys. That did not help her, when a brother to one of her friends, decided he wanted her, so he drugged and raped her, while they were all gathered  mourning the suicide of a friend, if you can fucking believe it. And he did it everywhere he could, for hours on end, leaving her with carpet burns across her  face even.

I know what it has done to her, and how it has impacted ALL things from that time forward.

It is the culture of rape that people are permitting, and we can do all we can to keep our daughters safe, but until we decide not to support it in anyway, it will continue.



remind, I knew something was happening with you, because you have been very upset lately and I am very very sorry that this has happened to someone you love. It isn't your fault. You did what you can. The problem isn't you. It is that we have no control how others are. There is a whole huge world out there that doesn't like women. We know because we live it everyday. We do our best to stop what we can, but other things we have no control over. It is a sad situation when we are made to feel like we have failed. That we caused our own suffering. It's internalized because it is fed to us as if we did have control over the actions of others.


Again, I am so sorry about your daughter. My heart goes out to her and you.


remind remind's picture

But that is just it stargazer, we do have control, and we can stop permitting the culture of rape. And we can start right now with Polanski, by not accepting that he has any brilliance of any sort that is germaine to humanity and being humane.

That he can frame a good emotional provoking shot is no measure of brilliance,  nor indeed a gift of any sort, we should be applauding those who are brilliantly humane, not those who are not.

Yes, this has been  a trigger, which I at first tried to control, but insistance that he is of any worth to humanity, got the better of me. And I was not looking for  sympathy  nor even empathy in stating what happened to my daughter, I was showing that society has to change for the good of us all, and that accpetance of pedophile rapists  on any level cannot happen, it gives tacit approval to others, who would do the same.

Stargazer,  I respect you deeply,  though I cannot concur with you in anyway about Polanski and his movies.


That's perfectly fine remind. I certainly don't expect you to.


I'm going to close this for length.  I'm really happy to see Stargazer and remind finding common ground.


P.S. If someone starts a continuation thread, please don't start it with a baiting post like this one was.


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