Why Is the Unashamed Child Abuser Polanski Lauded While the Repentent Pope Is Vilified?

Daily Mail (London), April 23, 2010 | Go to article overview

Why Is the Unashamed Child Abuser Polanski Lauded While the Repentent Pope Is Vilified?


Byline: by Dominic Lawson

LAST weekend I went to see a new film by a childabuser. Very good it was, too. Roman Polanski's The Ghost shows no diminution in the artistic powers of one of cinema's most enduring talents: I understand why reviewers have been unstinting in their praise.

Yet Polanski has not been doing the usual TV interviews that accompany critical acclaim. He is under house arrest in his Swiss chalet, fighting the attempts of a Californian court to extradite him for the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl, Samantha Geimer, in 1977.

The world of film, indeed, of art in general, regards this (Polanski's arrest, not his abuse of a 13-year-old girl) as a scandal. This was clearly evident when Hollywood actress Whoopi Goldberg last year defended him with the observation: 'I know it wasn't rape-rape.'

With this remarkable neologism, Goldberg gave a new gloss to the old line (usually uttered by men) of 'she said no, but she meant yes'.

Yesterday, it emerged that Nicolas Sarkozy -- perhaps under the influence of his avant garde wife Carla Bruni -- handdelivered a letter from the film director to Barack Obama, pleading that Polanski should be spared jail.

Geimer's testimony to the grand jury of the Los Angeles Supreme Court therefore bears repetition. She told the court how the then 44-year-old plied her with the drug Quaalude mixed with champagne at the home of actor Jack Nicholson and, ignoring her befuddled requests that she wanted to 'go home', began to molest her.

Polanski, much less befuddled, asked her if she was on the Pill; not satisfied with the clarity of her response, he sodomised her.

Geimer told the court that she had not resisted more strongly because she 'was afraid of him'; but not so scared that she obeyed his demand that she not tell her mother about 'our little secret'.

The rest is more common knowledge: Polanski, aided by some excellent lawyers, bargained a plea of guilty to the lowest possible charge, of 'sex with a minor', but then fled the U.S. on the eve of his sentencing and has been, as the Americans would put it, 'a fugitive from justice' ever since.

As I say, the 'enlightened' view -- at least in this country and even more so in Polanski's adopted nation of France -- is that this was a long time ago and that the great auteur has suffered enough, if only in not being able to go to Hollywood to pick up any of his awards.

Pope Benedict XVI, by contrast -- without such creative achievements as the films Rosemary's Baby or Chinatown to adorn his CV -- does not enjoy similar indulgence.

So, the atheist Richard Dawkins has called for the head of the world's one billion or so Catholics to be arrested for complicity in the covering up of child abuse when he arrives in Britain for a state visit in September.

Professor Dawkins wrote in The Washington Post last week that 'this former head of the Inquisition should be arrested the moment he dares set foot outside the tinpot fiefdom of the Vatican and he should be tried in an appropriate civil court'. For good measure, he declared the Catholic Church to be a 'child-raping institution'.

I had always imagined that it was people who raped children, rather than organisations, but perhaps Prof Dawkins is not so much interested in bringing men to book for their abuse of children, as he is the Catholic Church for the opinions it propagates.

In fact this was made clear -- Dawkins is at all times wonderfully lucid -- in his book The God Delusion, published in 2006. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Is the Unashamed Child Abuser Polanski Lauded While the Repentent Pope Is Vilified?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.