If We Don't Free Child Rapists, The Terrorists Have Won

Oh look, it's yet another Washington Post editorial coming to the defense of poor Roman Polanski. This time it's written by Richard Cohen and it'

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Oh look, it's yet another Washington Post editorial coming to the defense of poor Roman Polanski. This time it's written by Richard Cohen and it's called:

Thank you, Switzerland, for freeing Polanski

And see, right off the bat things get weird. Thanking a foreign country for freeing a child rapist is a little strange. It's akin to saying, "Thank you, North Korea, for crushing those dissidents" or "Thank you, China, for undermining our export sector." In other words, you don't normally pat countries on the head for doing things like this. Anyway, let's see where he's headed with this:

The Swiss got it right. Their refusal to extradite film director Roman Polanski to the United States on a 33-year-old sex charge is the proper dénouement for this mess of a case. There is no doubt that Polanski did what he did, which is have sex with a 13-year-old after plying her with booze. There is no doubt also that after all these years there is something stale about the case, not to mention a “victim,” Samantha Geimer, who has long ago forgiven her assailant and dearly wishes the whole thing would go away. So do I.

The scare quotes around the word "victim" are truly a sight to behold. Under Cohen's calculus, we should just free people who commit crimes if they've managed to escape the law for long enough. After all, getting an underage girl drunk and then raping her can totally be forgiven if it happened a long time ago.

There are only bad reasons to proceed with the prosecution.

Really? I can think of a good one right off the bat: He drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl. That's a pretty good reason in and of itself, even if "Chinatown" was a pretty sweet movie.

The first is to rebut the argument that some sort of legal or moral exception ought to be made for Polanski on account of his talent. Having just seen his film “The Pianist” for the second time, I salute his genius as, if I knew something about poetry, I might that of Ezra Pound.

Wait, I don't get the logic here. Per Cohen, one of the bad reasons to prosecute Polanski is because it will refute the morons who think we shouldn't prosecute people who make good movies? Does that make a lick of sense to you? And look, the movies aren't relevant to anything. He should go to jail because he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl.

The only argument in favor of Polanski’s continued freedom is that he is the victim of judicial misconduct. He had good reason to believe that the trial judge in his case was going to break the plea agreement and throw the book at him. He had already pleaded guilty to a reduced charge; he had already spent 42 days in Chino State Prison under psychiatric examination. [...] He ran from the prospect of a judge who was going to make his reputation at Polanski’s expense and send him to jail for a very long time. I would have done the same.

Well that's good to know, Rich! We'll keep that in mind if you ever get arrested for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl!

But seriously, can anyone make sense of Cohen's moral reasoning here? His argument is that if you drug and rape a 13-year-old girl and you suspect that a mean and nasty judge might have it in for you then you have the right to... flee the country?!

Look, dude, we have an appeals process in this country for people who feel that they've been wrongfully imprisoned. And Roman wouldn't have been wrongfully imprisoned since he, you know, drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl.

(I know I keep mentioning this pesky little fact over and over again, but it's a pretty horrible crime that Polanski's defenders don't like to bring up. They should be reminded on a regular basis the sort of thing they're defending.)

OK, so where was I? Oh yeah: Even if poor, poor Roman Polanski had received a super-mean sentence from that nasty little judge, he could have easily appealed it. And given the fact that he's rich and can afford good legal help, his appeal probably would have been successful. Having a judge who doesn't like you doesn't give you a carte blanche to run off to France to escape justice, no matter how many times "The Pianist" made Richard Cohen cry.

It was this alleged -- but virtually proven -- miscarriage of justice that impressed the Swiss authorities and why they rejected the American requests for extradition. That was good. It would have been better, though, if at the same time they denounced the many artists and intellectuals who haughtily dismissed what Polanski had done on the basis of his talent and achievements. They thought of his films; they should have thought of their own daughters.

Wait, so now he's back to trashing people who defend Polanski on the basis of his artistic talents. Did Cohen write this column while sampling whatever vile concoction Polanski uses to ply his victims (or "victims," in Cohen's version)? I have no idea. I do know that it looks like Cohen vomited alphabet soup onto his computer screen and decided to file it as an opinion piece.

But on the other hand, "Rosemary's Baby" was a pretty sweet movie.

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