Tag Archives: sexual violence

Movie-Maker-Rapist

Well, all I can say is, LIKE. WHOA.

I feel like I have to say a few things about all the buzz around the arrest of Roman Polanski. The blogosphere is just busting with all kinds of analysis of it. Kate Harding (as usual) has been right on top of the whole thing the whole time and has a great, one-stop post about it if anyone feels inclined or hasn’t had time to go over a lot of the information or doesn’t know wtf I’m talking about. Here’s another link to a Kate-ness for anyone reading who feels compelled by “the art godz(TM)” to defend the asshole.

You can find some very insightful survivor analysis here and here.

You can go here to see the list of dipshit, fuckwad, celebs and quasi-celeb sycophants who’ve decided to “take action” to free an old guy who admitted to having illegal sex with a kid. I hope you’ll use the list as a reference point for film-makers you won’t be supporting with your hard-earned money.

SO much has been said, it really isn’t easy to think of too much more to say about it. However.

I’m the kind of person who’s already formulated an analysis against the prison-industrial complex, who’s an artist herself, who values cutting-edge thought and new ideas. I hate the way our legal system works, because it only “works” for about a tenth of the population. At my job, my boss has posted a sign on my mailbox that says “bleeding heart liberal.” I’ll just put it out there and say, due to the fucked-up-edness of said legal system (in which you have civil versus criminal courts, neither of which address the roots of fucked-up behavior but attempt a garbage-pail stab at the consequences of said behavior) I don’t necessarily think that “jail time”, IMO, is going to do anything in the way of “righting” the “wrong” that’s been committed in this situation. It might make some folks feel ok for a few minutes once they read the headlines. It might make this asshole feel like the asshole he really is for a little while, before he retires back to his mansion to die a rich, old man.  It might. :: shrugs ::

My own, personal- I dunno, feeling? Maybe? I think that I would get a kick out of seeing Roman Polanski sentenced to life- IN FLORIDA. Seriously. Think about it. He would have to come to Florida, register as a sex offender – so that everyone would have access to his home address- and live in one of the few tiny niches where sex offenders are allowed, by asshole landlords, to rent apartment or trailer homes. Then maybe a nice gesture would be to take, like, 90% of the dude’s net worth and donate that money and land to a feminist separatist community that heads up rape prevention education and teaches little girls to do killer ninja karate fighting. Or something like that. But that won’t happen, nothing like that will happen. I would bet that if he gets out of Switzerland and comes back to the US for trial, he’ll get a little slap on the hand and then go back to making movies as usual. He’ll get to pretend he’s some kind of martyr for film-making. And more dudes will think it’s hip and cool to infantilize the women they sleep with. But I really hope he does end up coming back and having to register as a sexual predator. I think that’s just fair.

If you haven’t yet looked at the national sex offender registry website, you should. Because, conveniently, that brings me to my next point.

You shouldn’t go there to gawk out of some sort of “righteous indignation.” You should go and look at all the different types of people who are on there.  What kinds of things do you think, when you put your zip code in and see all the faces that pop up? Besides “monster monster monster rapist monster,” I mean. I don’t ask necessarily to glean empathy or respect, or whatever, for the folks you’ll see there; I’m not trying to point out the plight of the convicted sex offender. I just want people to see how common some of these faces look. Because they are COMMON. Some of the folks on there do indeed look like they might be in need of some heavy psychotropic medication. But most of them, shit. They could be your next door neighbor. They ARE somebody’s next door neighbor.

So the folks in the art world who want to talk about Polanski’s “genius” and “artistry” have some things right. He’s not your “common rapist.” Not because he deserves any better treatment than anybody else on the registry I linked to- but because he’s wealthy, white, and part of the ruling class. He will probably have a legal team, not a P.D. His files probably won’t get lost or shuffled around into nothing while he sits in a cell, forgotten. He’ll come out of jail, or prison, or wherever he does his token time and he’ll still have won an Oscar. Not all convicted sex offenders have much in common with Roman Polanski.

{Not that we don’t already have our share of celebrated child rapists. Edgar Allen Poe and Jerry Lee Lewis spring into my mind. Of course, what I am calling rape others would call “appropriate for another time,” or whatever- and validated by the human sexual slavery machine that is Patriarchal Marriage. So I guess they don’t count, per se.}

The point, though, is that talking about people who rape other people as though they were some sort of statistical anomaly is not correct and it isn’t useful, either. Abbey McDonald’s post pretty much sums up most of my thoughts on the topic, but still, there is this glittering assumption that there is some sort of legal answer. There’s an assumption that *if* someone like Polanski goes to prison and does some sort of “hard time” or gets some other kind of legally-sanctioned punishment for his *crime,* that some obscure, abstract notion of *justice* will be *served*.

But there isn’t. And it won’t. There is no fair in this system. This is NOT A NEUTRAL SYSTEM.

The liberal law of the United States will be “served” precisely if and when this rich white man gets off with a minimal sentence due to his wealth and his influence. This is what the law is designed to do. The “Great White Father” that is the United States Government has been raping and hurting and abusing common people since its inception in order to acquire capital for itself. Why would it do anything EXCEPT protect someone like Polanski?

With rare exception, the only people in this country who are punished for rape or either 1. survivors of rape or 2. people who rape and can’t afford good attorneys. But the thing is, that isn’t even *supposed* to be a glitch. What do you think They mean when They talk about “protection for the minority???” Hint: They don’t mean “minority” in the political sense of the word.

For me, though, the only good things that can come out of something like this media-shitstorm surrounding a very slightly avant-garde filmmaker are an increased awareness of sexual exploitation and how very fucking mundane and common sexual violence actually is (instead of being some rare, scattered, and random atrocity) and an opportunity to hold, maybe this person, and maybe some other people who would defend him socially accountable. I think that boycotting is *actually* a good idea here. We don’t have to let this supposed “vanguard” of upper-class twits decide what’s good art and what’s bad art.

Jesus fucking Christmas. We don’t get to decide who’s famous and who’s not- so why should we let famous artists tell us what to do??? Why on earth?

I mean, really. Do I love the films of Pedro Almodovar? Absolutely. Every one I’ve seen. Does that mean I should support a decision like this one; to publicly support and defend a rich, white man who raped a kid? Fuck no. There is better art out there, anyway. If all else fails, I can find a fucking camera and make my own art. We have the stuff and we know how to use it; we don’t need some ficticious “vanguard” to guide our decision making process.

Just the same, I don’t take it as *a given* that a legal system that routinely oppresses women is going to come up with a solution for rape culture. It’s circular thinking, folks. It don’t work.

We are better than this. Human beings are intelligent, creative animals. We don’t have to believe that a young girl’s bodily integrity and sense of self are worth less than some slightly-artsy films. We don’t have to just *blindly* trust in power structures that don’t give a shit about us. We should use this moment of cultural clarity to SHOW the powerful what we’re made of.

So that list I posted, the one full of people who are willing to openly support rape culture? I’m going to boycott the people on that list. And I really think that others out there should as well. And I’m going to continue to talk about this truthfully to people, even when it’s difficult and inconvenient.

That said, I’m on to my regular nightmares and fitful sleeps. Hope everyone’s had a good Tuesday and is taking good care of themselves.