SEATTLE, Washington- When the French government bails out on you, that usually means your goose is cooked - at least that's what Roman Polanski should be thinking right now.
Now, I have not exactly been calling for Polanski's head on a spear for the last fifteen years, so I've asked myself - should I have been doing just that?
If you asked me two weeks ago, "why did Roman Polanski flee the United States?", I would have said something to the effect that he kinda-sorta got down with a just-short-of-legal girl, and it came to light, and he left rather than deal with the static.
Polanski in fact had negotiated a guilty plea in 1978 on "unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor"; when you read that it kind of settles the issue of whether he had sex with her. So perhaps I have simply been Jedi mind-tricked whenever reading old accounts of why he left the country. Not even old accounts: the story linked above, written today, puts it thusly:
He is accused of having unlawful sex with 13-year-old Samantha Gailey in Los Angeles in 1978, before fleeing the country and spending the intervening period as a fugitive, mainly living in Paris.That's a bit of a tinted view of the facts, and I suspect everything I've casually read about the circumstances of his flight had a similar ring.
The word "rape" had not entered my thinking, but if it had, I think I (like Whoopi) would have assumed it was a-few-weeks-short-of-legal rape, not "rape rape."
Once you read the details of the legal wranglings, and Gailey's testimony, it certainly puts Polanski in a rotten light. Sounds like "rape rape".
Now, I have also thought about taking a more libertarian perspective on this - specifically, the fact that Gailey has stated that she'd like the dogs called off. Crimes, even a person-on-person crime, are technically regarded as crimes against the state (Polanski v. California, as opposed to Polanski v. Gailey), so Gailey doesn't really have such power. Should she? It is a mainstream libertarian position that her wishes should override the wishes of the state?
Are we (through the government) sticking our nose where it doesn't belong? As Polanski himself said - "You're a very nosy fellow, kitty kat. Huh? You know what happens to nosy fellows?"
Turns out, it doesn't seem to be - I can only find evidence of the most hard-boiled anarchists (and a few Hollywood types) clamoring for a reduced role of the state. Mainstream libertarian opinion (if I may use the term) is much more sympathetic to the government than usual in this matter.