Monday, September 28, 2009

The art world has no shame

Once again, a policy of the USA has brought uproar to the world. There is widespread news coverage of the demonstrations, protests and condemnations against the US by people upset by its actions and the way their own governments appear to capitulate to US demands.

Only this time it is the art world -and the policy in question involves bringing a predatory paedophile to justice. When he was well into his forties, the film director Roman Polanski admitted having sex with a 13 year old child while in the USA - and then went on the run to escape justice. Now, after travelling to Switzerland to receive an award, the dirty old git has been arrested and faces extradition to the US.


But the art world is in uproar. How dare the Swiss arrest one of their great and good? How dare they give in to the demands of the US bullies? People appear on TV to denounce the US and the Swiss for their actions in pursuing a celebrated director.

Let's put this into perspective. If Roman Polanski were just a normal every day 76 year old paedophile nobody would give a damn. They'd all be glad that this disgusting creature was finally facing justice for his despicable acts - but because he is something in the art world this somehow makes statutory rape OK?

To be honest, the reaction from the art world doesn't surprise me. Art long ago gave up trying to reflect the culture that created it and started trying to shape the culture it existed in. Art became all about "pushing the boundaries" and being "challenging" - codewords for obscene and ugly. In a world where a pile of shit can be considered worthy art it is not a surprise that a predatory paedophile is so revered.

But to me, the reaction to the arrest of Polanksi is the ultimate shaming of the world of art. At least it would be if the art world had any shame.


Anonymous said...

Whilst I share your sentiments in this case, isn't part of the problem the fact that the "age of consent" around the world differs greatly, and what would in one country make you a paedophile, in another would merely be the norm.

Stan said...

Possibly, but even then a forty something having sex with a 13 year old would still be pretty disgusting and something to be condemned don't you think?

Roue le Jour said...

The only thing that spoils this story is that Polanski has a house in Switzerland and spends a good bit of time there.

So, why now?

BTW, he's not a paedophile, he's guilty of statutory rape. I don't hold with allowing the government to debase the language.

Stan said...

A paedophile is an adult who is sexually attracted to children, Roue le Jour.

Roman Polanski was in his forties when he had sex with a 13 year old child.

Roman Polanski is a paedophile.

JuliaM said...

"So, why now?"

That is odd, isn't it?

Stan said...

I don't think there is any mystery to the "why now?" question.

He may own a property in Switzerland, but he doesn't live there full time. They did it now because they knew where he would be and when he would be there - to collect an award - so it was pretty straight forward. A damn sight easier and cheaper than having a team of people watching airports, borders and his house!

Larry said...

I've been reading your posts for quite some time, Stan, and I've always agreed with what you've said . . . until now.

I would identify myself as a conservative -- pretty much like yourself -- but this labelling of men as paedophiles sickens me. Don't get me wrong, we need to draw a line in the sand somewhere; however, girls are more precocious nowadays, and more physically developed at a younger age.

Although I've never had sex with an underage girl, and I'm not advocating it, things like this happen in life; and if it's consensual, I don't see the problem. The way I see it, this is at least following the natural order, unlike homosexuality, which is virtually promoted in the media.

Roue le Jour said...

It's being attracted to prepubescent children that makes a paedo a paedo. The girl was not prepubescent. She was not a virgin. She did not consent to intercourse. Nastly little rapist bastard, yes, but not a paedo.

And I also stand by my question, why now? He's not exactly bin Laden and makes no secret of his movements. As for having a team of people watch for him, every country has them, they're called border guards. You mark him wanted on the computer, and the next time he comes past they arrest him. No drama required. Would you seriously suggest this is the first chance they've had in 32 years? This is a "show arrest".

Stan said...

Sorry Larry, I can not agree. First of all, girls may be more precocious today, but this event occured some 30 years ago.

Secondly, we are not talking about a 16 year old having sex with a 13 year old, but a forty something male with wealth, power and position having illegal sex with a school kid.

Thirdly, even if girls are more sexually aware and precocious today, that does not mean that they are any more emotionally or physically ready for such things.

Fourthly, as adults it is OUR responsibility to show restraint and moral steadfastness regardless of whether young girls are sexually precocious or not. We are not children.

Finally - as I pointed out to Roue le Jour - a paedophile is ANY adult who is sexually attracted to children. Polanski has demonstrated that not only is he sexually attracted to them, he is prepared to knowingly break the law to pursue his desires - which, in my view, makes him a predatory paedophile. He is not being labelled as a paedophile - HE IS ONE!

If he isn't then nobody is.

Stan said...

Actually Roue, you can enter and leave Switzerland from bordering European countries without having to go through any border controls.

And I stand by my point that a paedophile is an adult sexually attracted to children regardless of whether the child is a virgin or prepubescent or not.

A 13 year old is still a child. Polanski had sex with a child. Polanski is a paedophile.

Roue le Jour said...

The problem with your, definition, Stan, is that it leaves it up to the state to define the term. If the state declares an individual to be a child, then sexual interest in that person becomes paedophillia. Do you not see how that could be a problem? I'm not defending the little git, I just question the wisdom of allowing the state to declare that, for example, sex with a seventeen year old mother of three is paedophillia.

If somebody is described as a paedo, is it really all the same to you whether the girl is five or fifteen? It's a medical term. It's not up to the state to (re)define it.

I bow to your greater knowledge of Swiss border control. But I still suspect this is about publicly humiliating someone who has flipped the finger to the US and at the same time demonstrating a measure of control over Switzerland.

JuliaM said...

"I don't think there is any mystery to the "why now?" question.

He may own a property in Switzerland, but he doesn't live there full time. They did it now because they knew where he would be and when he would be there - to collect an award.."

Agree that he shouldn't be exempt from prosecution over this, but I'm still not convinced on the timing thing.

He's a celebrity! If they wanted to know where he was going to be, I think they'd have no problems finding out. 'Hello!' magazine would be a start.

So, there must be another reason for 'why now'...

JuliaM said...

"It's a medical term. It's not up to the state to (re)define it."

Letting the state define things - and redefine them at will - is always a bad idea...

Stan said...

I see what you are saying, Roue le Jour, but I'd argue that it is a legal issue rather than a state issue. Perhaps you consider them to be one and the same, but I disagree. Indeed, it is the confusion that the rule of law is the same as the rule by state that has led to a dilution of the principle of rule of law.

As it happens, the principle of rule of law still very much applies in the USA (for now) which is why they bother about such things as this. Similarly, the rule of law has never really been applied in continental Europe on any long term significant basis which is why they don't understand what the fuss over Polanski is about.

Finally, as a parent and father of a (soon to be) 13 year old boy I can confirm that someone aged 13 is still very much a child and the relatively small proportion that aren't quite probably wish very much that they still were.

Optimistic Cynic said...

I think everyone talking about this being a "statutory rape" case should read the grand jury minutes:-

This wasn't a girl of 15 years and 364 days initiating sex with her boyfriend of 16 years and 1 day. While that might technically fall under the law of statutory rape, we don't prosecute such cases harshly because it's around the acceptable age by both parties and the age difference suggests something more normal and non-predatory.

Age of consent laws are precisely there to stop calculating, predatory, dirty old men from taking advantage of children.

JuliaM said...

It seems Polanski's lawyers may have triggered a spectacular own goal!

Couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy...

Letters From A Tory said...

He didn't just have sex with her, he drugged her and then 'sodomised' her if you'll excuse the phrase.

AgainsTTheWall said...

"At least it would be if the art world had any shame."

Polanski of course is a member of a certain tribe and the 'art world' especially Hollywood is the preserve of that tribe. Possibly a connection?