Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Roman Polanski, Mel Gibson & RIP Harvey Pekar

Some nasty chaps on tonight... so let's start with someone nicer to lift our spirits.  
Oh.  He died.  Damn.

Harvey Pekar died yesterday.  For anyone who's not heard of him, Harvey was a comic book writer who wrote the autobiographical series 'American Splendor'.  He also worked as a filing clerk and a freelance writer, winning awards for some of his essays.  He also wrote the incredibly moving 'Our Cancer Year', a graphic novel about his struggle with cancer.  

I'll be watching American Splendor again this weekend.  You guys should check it out.  He was cool.

Straight on to Mel.  Again.  Oh dear Mel...  By now we've all heard the original tape.  It's clear that it's him (I think anyway, and still no denials from his 'people').  But now another transcript has been released.

Here are a few choice quotes...

“Threaten ya? I’ll put you in a f *ckin rose garden you c*nt! You understand that? Because I’m capable of it. You understand that?”

Oksana: What kind of a man is that? Hitting a woman when she’s holding a child in her hands? Breaking her teeth twice in the face! What kind of man is that?
Mel: Oh, you’re all angry now! You know what, you f* cking deserved it!

Okay, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's a death threat and an admission that he did assault her and knock her teeth out.  Right?  Surely?  No statement of innocence has been made and he's been dropped by William Morris.  Surely he can't come back from this?  Can he?  Who, in their right mind, would put him in a film?  Unless it's a documentary about his spectacular downfall.  He's been a director lately, but who would finance his film?  That's got to be it.  For a few years at least?

But it's ok Mel, because Whoopi Goldberg has leapt to your defence!  You can watch it here.  But here's what she said.

"You can say he’s being a bonehead but I can’t sit and say that he’s a racist having spent time with him in my house with my kids. I can’t say it and so I really just need to say that. I don’t like what he’s done. Make no mistake. …
Drunks say stupid stuff to people all the time because they’re drunk. They’re out of control. They are not thinking they are idiotic. That’s why I don’t like alcohol. I can’t say anything about that because I know what people are like when they’re drunk. This rant, I don’t think he’s drunk on this rant."

Erm, ok...  the good old, "some of his best friends are black" defence.  Interesting strategy...  Slightly undermined by the old, "drunks say stupid stuff all the time, but I don't actually think he's drunk" tactic.  Excellent work Whoopi.  You've made not one bit of difference to his situation, and you've made yourself look like an idiot. 

Funny video time!  By way of an apology for the rather depressing subject matter that's coming up....

Quiz time!  Who links despicable old men, with Whoopi Goldberg?  Aah yes, Roman Polanski!

I've got to cut the sarcasm here because I'm genuinely flabbergasted by this whole sorry mess.  Here's the history.

In 1977, Polanski pleaded guilty to Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Minor.  The 13 year old girl testified that he had given her champagne and a sedative, then performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy on her.  Polanski pleaded not guilty to 5 of the charges and entered a plea bargain in order to get those 5 charges dropped.  It soon became clear that the judge may not accept his plea and so he would get a much harsher sentence than he had anticipated.  Instead of accepting his fate, he fled the country to France, where he knew he would not be sent back.  

In 2009 he was arrested as he arrived at Zurich airport and placed under house arrest.  Yesterday, the Swiss courts decided that they would not grant America's request for extradition, and set him free.  He just needs to avoid countries that are likely to grant their request and he will stay free.

There is a lot of talk about procedure and the legal system and it's loopholes.  Apparently it would be unfair to imprison him due to mistakes that have been made regarding his case.  Ok, that I can accept.  I don't understand it, the man admitted guilt, surely that's enough, but if that's how the system works then I've no choice but to accept it.  What I can't accept though are the excuses.  Let's go back to Whoopi.  She imparted her wisdom on 'The View' back in 2009.  

"I know it wasn't rape-rape. It was something else but I don't believe it was rape-rape. He went to jail and and when they let him out he was like "You know what this guy's going to give me a hundred years in jail I'm not staying, so that's why he left."

Aah, not "rape-rape".  Thanks, that clears everything up. (Oops, sarcasm creeping back. Can't help it!)  It can't be rape-rape, it was in Jack Nicholson's house!  It can't be 'rape-rape", the man directed Chinatown!  

132 prominent members of Hollywood signed a petition supporting him.  I will never understand that.  I understand that the victim herself has asked for the charges to be dropped due to the amount of time that has passed.  He still raped a 13 year old.  I get that he's made some good films.  He still raped a 13 year old.  

I believe that there are shades of grey in all situations.  I believe that rules should not exist simply to have rules.  I believe that every situation should be judged on it's individual circumstances and that morality sometimes must be fluid.  But the man said this in an interview with Martin Amis in 1979.

“If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… f—ing, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f— young girls. Juries want to f— young girls. Everyone wants to f— young girls!”

He doesn't deserve any of it.


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