“Rosemary’s Baby” is one of the greatest films of all time, a one-of-a-kind original. The director of this masterpiece, one Roman Polanski, raped a thirteen-year-old back in the ‘70s. Technically, he never admitted this, and the charge of rape was dropped during a plea bargain, the state’s cynical way of making its own version of justice easier for the guilty, not guilty, and victims alike. But based on the victim’s testimony and her stalwart defense of that testimony throughout the years, she said, “No” and he didn’t stop. So why would I not restrain myself from praising this man’s cinematic talents? Why would I call for a rapist to be left alone? Two reasons, both of which I think any committed anarchist and individualist should take under serious consideration, and neither of which has to do with Polanski’s artistic abilities.
First, and most importantly, the victim wants all of it to end. She has forgiven him, and wants the government to drop it. For something as serious as rape, where there can be no true justice or complete restitution to the victim, I would say let the woman live in peace with her husband and children. Consider what a rape victim already has to live with, and then compound it with incessant media attention and governmental interference. For her sake, and for this first reason alone, it should be done; that is, if we truly had a government that was concerned with “defending” people’s “rights” in some Jeffersonian tradition.
But that’s not what we have, and this is at the heart of my second reason for defending the seemingly indefensible Polanski. We are under the control (and most of us are in thrall) of a government that goes after a criminal even when the victim herself does not wish for it to happen. Polanski’s real crime, as I shall explain, is not rape, but contempt for The Law. In the government’s zeal to keep this case open after more than 30 years, everyone involved except the presiding judge, now dead, has been adversely affected, and virtually all of them wish for it to end.
If your objective is to help a rape victim, after being convinced that a rape did indeed occur, you would think the next logical step would be to ask the victim what she wants, and then follow through. Would you like to know how the government determined what the thirteen-year-old victim wanted?
By asking her the most detailed, graphic questions about the incident. She sat in a roomful of grown men and discussed where Polanski touched her, where he placed his penis, where his semen ended up, the color of her panties, and much more. In the victim’s own words (from a fascinating documentary called “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”):
“All that stuff was so traumatic, that I never even had a chance to really, you know, worry about, you know, what happened that night with him. It was like– it… just… I had to worry about surviving the next day…
“I would’ve as soon just as walked away from it the next day, but you can’t stop it once it starts [emphasis mine]. I mean, I just, I just went in my room pretty much, and just turned it off.”
You can’t stop it once it starts. Instead, the government is flagrantly ignoring the victim’s repeated requests, and going after Polanski as if he raped the government, or the idea of government, or the government’s idea of society, or its rather perverted sense of right and wrong, a sense that is far more perverse than Polanski’s perception. That is the true objective: Polanski violated the state’s authority by fleeing to a safe place to escape the state’s incomprehensible sentencing, which is its only recourse toward restoring anything to a rape victim.
Polanski was given the opportunity to plea bargain, which he did. The government’s way of dealing with this rape was to drop the rape charge. Perhaps this was in part due to the family’s reluctance to put the victim on the stand, but there you have the state’s version of justice. In doing this, the government has admitted that slapping Polanski with anything that will stick is “justice,” just like going after Martha Stewart. The plea bargain was for “unlawful sexual intercourse,” a crime so simultaneously innocuous and foul that the criminal could spend anywhere from 6 months to 50 years in prison. For “unlawfully” screwing. This is called “plea bargaining.” Slap me with anything that hurts less, your honor. What nonsense.
The prosecutor admits that he watched numerous of Polanski’s films in preparation for his case. He noticed thematic use of “corruption meeting innocence over water,” and drew a parallel with part of the rape scenario taking place in a Jacuzzi. He was planning on using this “evidence” in court. Apparently, the Jacuzzi was central to Polanski’s plan to corrupt the innocent “over water.” Proof of guilt if I ever saw it. More nonsense. If this is proof of guilt, then why can’t I draw a parallel between the fictional Rosemary surrounded by evil men and women who wish to exploit her body, and the evil of the non-fictional state surrounding a young rape victim, demanding intimate details and flagrantly denying her family’s request for Polanski not to be incarcerated?
Polanski’s plea bargain originally allowed him to leave the country to continue working, which he did. The prosecution permitted it; until he was photographed in Germany sitting next to a young woman during Oktoberfest. More proof of guilt. As one member of the state’s prosecutorial apparatus admits in the film, he told the judge, “He’s giving you the finger, he’s flipping you off.” Apparently, the state told Polanski before he left for Europe not to sit next to any pretty girls. Good grief.
Polanski’s “violation” of the state’s probation was what caused the further confusion in the state’s already horrendous manner of administering “justice.” Polanski had already been subjected for more than a month, in frightening prison conditions, to “psychiatric evaluation.” In spite of the fact that up until this point Polanski was obedient to all the state’s directives, it was not enough. Amazingly, the lawyers on both sides of the issue, including the plaintiff’s own private lawyer, agree that Polanski was treated unfairly. The victim again:
“I was young, but the way I felt was: The judge was enjoying the publicity, and he didn’t care about what happened to me, and he didn’t care about what happened to Polanski. He was, like, orchestrating some little show, um, you know, that I didn’t want to be in.”
As Arthur Silber has pointed out:
“From a broad, theoretical perspective, any trial in any State can be regarded as a show trial. In this discussion, I use ‘show trial’ to refer to a trial in which the guilt or innocence of the defendant may be a concern to those dispensing justice (or what is designated as justice in that State), but that determination is not the primary concern. The primary objective is not answering the question of guilt or innocence in a strictly legal sense (applying the relevant law to the specific facts of the case), but political in nature. The major value of a show trial to the State is its usefulness as propaganda; more specifically, the major value is the utility of the proceeding to the enhancement of the perception of the State as legitimate and/or to the demonizing of the State’s chosen enemies. In the absence of a widespread campaign of terror directed against the general population, a people will regularly and consistently submit to the State only if they view that State as basically fair and good, devoted at least to some significant extent to their well-being and welfare [emphasis mine]. Thus, even and especially in a show trial, the State will be at pains to demonstrate its fairness and objectivity.”
Thus, the state must go after Polanski the Eternal Rapist, perhaps until he is dead.
The state has a whole lot of bloviating idiots on its side, none of whom is listening to the victim any longer. Even these film critics think that Polanski deserves to be consigned forever to some distant circle of hell. Honestly, to listen to enough of this would make you think some greater atrocity had been committed by Polanski than what the state is doing on a daily basis on the other side of the world, all of it based on lies.
Granted, the rape was certainly atrocious, but the victim herself, and she is the only victim, has verified that it is over and time to move on. Why, then, is there this collective outpouring of vitriol on one man, but “Collateral Murder” can be shown in viral fashion all over the web, yet these same angry writers and critics make no calls to shun or even complain to the politicians and military personnel making the daily atrocities happen?
To question the state in the way Polanski has done is a crime; to accept whatever the state does as “good intentions” is a virtue. The state is in charge, regardless of what you think. Therefore, you may protest the state’s mass murders all you want. But when the state says, “Jump!” or in Polanski’s case, “Stay!”, you had better do so. The protesting of endless war can only go on as long as the government will tolerate it. But when they tell the anti-war crowd to disperse, they’d better disperse.
The state can commit atrocities as long as it can sell itself as the enforcer of The Law. The Law, as foolish millions believe, is something that exists outside of ourselves, somewhere in this universe. The Law is merely an abstract, made by men — men who rape; men who steal; men who lie; men who murder. We trust these men to go after another rapist. This is “justice.” It makes no logical sense.
The fools who support the state’s latest arrest (in collusion with another state) of Polanski think this is all about rape, which is all about women as victims, which is all about feminism, which is all about being morally righteous, which is all about The Ring. The fools are wrong, as they will refuse to admit to themselves whenever the state comes after them, which is approximately every two weeks with every paystub that shows 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 of their income raped by the state.
The state’s latest arrest (in collusion with another state) of Polanski is not about rape at all. It’s about the state’s inability to do anything about rape or most other crimes against the volition of individuals, for whose protection the state allegedly exists.
Think about the morning of September 11, 2001. Taking the state’s specious claims at face value, in the span of two critical hours, the state that steals billions of dollars every year from those of us stuck on this land mass, that erects an insurmountable bureaucracy, that has the greatest technology at its disposal, that regulates and oversees every air traffic control tower in the country, was totally and completely incapable of stopping a single bad thing from happening. The government’s response was to shut down the entire airline industry for a week and give them a ton of money they stole from all of us, affecting untold numbers of other businesses, an action that prevented absolutely nothing but cost private businessmen millions. You can’t stop it once it starts. Now think about a thirteen-year-old scared out of her wits. The state’s apparatus is completely incapable of preventing or stopping the rape. The state is equally incapable of sparing the victim any further harm, and only exacerbates her pain. This is something else you are forced to pay for.
The state’s latest arrest (in collusion with another state) of Polanski is about the state’s desire to grandstand, to show its usefulness. It’s about power and authority, and our lack of the state’s permission to question its power and authority.
If the state’s actions were anything at all about justice for the rape victim, I would gladly shut up and let the bureaucracy run right over Polanski, “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Pianist,” and my anarchist convictions notwithstanding. The artists and entertainers signing the petition on Polanski’s behalf are probably only doing it because they love his work. I doubt very many of them question the state’s existence or legitimacy any more than Polanski’s detractors. But on this single point, I stand with them.
Run, Roman. Run.
B.R. Merrick writes for “Strike The Root” and “A Voice for Men,” lives in the Northeast, is proud to be a classical music reviewer at Amazon.com and iTunes, and in spite of the poisonous nature of television, God Himself will have to pry his DVDs of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” out of his cold, dead hands, under threat of eternal damnation.
This article was originally published at “Strike The Root” on June 14, 2010. It has been reprinted here with permission.
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