Bad Things Happening To You In Poland A Long Time Ago Justify Your More Recent Child Molestation - If You're Famous And Polish
It had to come, and the winner is Anne Applebaum. The wife of Poland's foreign minister Radek Sikorski, the Subprime Sobieski and veteran of both the American Enterprise Institute and the Bullingdon Club, has used the Polanski family's unfortunate, although unfortunately not unique, experiences in wartime Poland in order to justify the pocket pederast's evasion of the lawful consequences, the just desserts, due to him for molesting a child in 1970's California.
Whatever 'understandable fear of irrational punishment' Polanski might have as a result of his wartime experiences, it did not prevent him from penetrating a girl of 13 in another country over 30 years after the war ended. One would imagine that doing that particular crime in California would at all times have been easier than doing it in Krakow, as would have been the experience of doing the time; indeed, one has written very recently on how Poland has recently passed laws allowing for the castration of sex offenders, a thought that should have the diminutive dirtbag crossing and re-crossing his legs in a state of high anxiety. There may perhaps be a study in comparative justice to be made here; Polish pleas for special treatment for Polanski's offences against American justice open the door for American pleas in favour of American abusers of Polish justice. I'd love to hear how that one plays in Katowice.
It should not be forgotten that part of Polanski's justification for his offence was that be believed his victim to be sexually experienced and the act consensual - perhaps the trauma of living under the Third Reich had cut it out of him, but at the time of his offence he seemed to possess no sense that interfering with a child is somehow wrong, a bad act. This attempt to cast what is a grotesque act against a person protected by law in a purely technical light, as if the act of securing sexual gratification upon a child is no different than failing to judge the stopping distance before a red light, gives some insight into how his mind worked at that stage in his life. Maybe it also slimes a wee lassie's character; but Roman's a genius, didn't you know?
It is not true that he has been unable to return to the USA or to visit the UK since he began his evasion of justice - he's been able to return whenever he's wanted to, but he knew that to do so would involve paying a price he didn't feel to be worth it. He deserves no sympathy on that account. Indeed, one could question the ethics of those Americans, such as the late Walter Matthau ('Pirates'), Harrison Ford ('Frantic') and Johnny Depp ('The Ninth Gate'), who appeared in Polanski's movies while he was to all intents and purposes a fugitive from American justice. Was appearing in a movie, and working with a famous director, more important to them than the idea that they might be helping a fugitive from justice remain a fugitive from justice by helping them to earn money? Did any of these people ever later go to the FBI to report on his whereabouts (well-known, I'll admit) and what he was doing? If Joe Schmoe from Palookaville came across one of the 10 Most Wanted and knew they were one of the 10 Most Wanted, isn't that what they would be expected to do? Why should Oscar Madison, Captain Jack Sparrow and the Blade Runner be any different?
Polanski deserves no special treatment because of his family background. His crimes were not against the nation of his upbringing, but against one that had accepted him with open arms and had given him opportunities far beyond the reach of the vast majority of its citizens. He deserves no special treatment because of his assorted special tragedies - being widowed young and violently is not carte blanche to commit crimes of your own. The impact of those events might provide mitigation - but the only place where that should be heard is a California court, not on the opinion pages of the 'Washington Post'. The forgiveness he has received from his victim is a personal matter between the two of them - unless a court is advised of it and considers it to be of some weight in mitigation of his offences, it is of no legal consequence whatever.
Yesterday, I wrote of how similar Polanski's case was to that of Ronnie Biggs, but upon reflection there is a gaping difference between them. You see, Ronnie Biggs was a Cockney nobody who stole money, while Roman Polanski is a creative genius who succumbed to temptation while taking photographs for 'Vogue'. This chasm in thinking more than illustrates what the Establishment's prorities really are - steal money and go on the run, you're a scofflaw; if you entertain us, if you amuse us, and get caught molesting children (who knows, perhaps re-enacting one of the themes of what was your most famous movie up to that point, that of father-daughter incest), you're in the tent. Although it shouldn't be shocking, this particular disconnect continues to shock the hell out of the reasonable and moral, for it shows how at the top of our society a human being's relative worth, even that of a 13 year old girl, is determined not by the fact they are spiritual and intellectual beings in their own right and worthy of respect because they exist, but by what gain, whether it be financial or creative, that they can provide for those who count. Although Polanski's produced his fair share of clunkers while on the run, the very least you can say for this very small man, so small in so many ways, is that he's kept up a batting average good enough to be considered worthy of being kept on the teamsheet until teatime.
But bad light always closes play. Perhaps there is some mitigation for Polanski after all - in using a human being as a thing for a short-term gain, he may have merely been imitating the mores of those with whom he associated. After all, by continuing to go to the movies, it was the public who kept the casting couch creaking. Or perhaps the mores he assimilated were of those who had governed him in his youth. All of them seemed disdainful of the value of life.
Polanski is not Pilsudski, a fact which those who may have vested interests in the maintenance of good Polish-American relations would do well to remember. I encountered some child molesters in my previous professional life; every single one of them was pathetic. For all his creativity, Roman Polanski is just as pathetic as every other pathetic old pervert. He knew he had done something wrong, and didn't want to face the consequences, consequences he evaded for over three decades of Parisian high life, fortune and acclaim. He was scared of taking his punishment. He's not the first criminal to have felt fear of being punished, nor will he be the last - but such unmanly behaviour as running away from what you have done, from the consequences of your own actions, is just pathetic. If you think the California State Police are a Gestapo Sonderkommando, a Californian prison akin to a Third Reich extermination camp, then you don't know what you're about; and that's just pathetic as well.
Attempts to excuse the pathetic are only pathetic, can only be pathetic, as well. The most pathetic thing of all about this affair is that Roman Polanski's lapse into perversion resulted in what must by now be one of history's most inconvenient moments of lust; and somehow, one can't help but think that there's a very sick and pathetic joke in somewhere. The joke's not over yet, and it's all on him.