Stopped Watch: Steve Lopez Has Excellent Column on Polanski
I once said of the L.A. Times‘s Steve Lopez:
He upsets you when you disagree with him, but when you agree with him, there’s nobody better.
I have whapped Lopez across the chops many a time on this blog, but today, he hits it out of the park with his column on Roman Polanski. As usually happens when I encounter an excellent Lopez column, I have to resist the illegal temptation to just cut and paste the whole thing, it’s so good. It should be required reading for Polanski apologists.
In the column, Lopez extensively quotes excerpts from the grand jury testimony — and while Patterico readers have read all these quotes in recent days and in the past, it is heartening indeed to know that these facts are going to be brought to the attention of Lopez’s much wider audience.
Here are some excerpts so you can see why you should read it all:
I wish the renowned legal scholars Harvey Weinstein and Debra Winger, to name just two of Polanski’s defenders, were here with me now. I’d like to invite Martin Scorsese, as well, along with David Lynch, who have put their names on a petition calling for Polanski to be freed immediately.
What, because he won an Oscar? Would they speak up for a sex offender who hadn’t?
To hear these people tell it, you’d think Polanski was the victim rather than the teenager.
. . . .
I’d like to show all these great luminaries the testimony from Polanski’s underage victim, as well as Polanski’s admission of guilt. Then I’d like to ask whether, if the victim were their daughter, they’d be so cavalier about a crime that was originally charged as sodomy and rape before Polanski agreed to a plea bargain. Would they still support Polanski’s wish to remain on the lam living the life of a king, despite the fact that he skipped the U.S. in 1977 before he was sentenced?
Indeed. I’d like to know one more thing, myself: what they would say if evidence emerged that Polanski had done this to other girls? (Yes, I have been sounding that theme quite a bit lately, haven’t I?) [UPDATE: I should make it clear that I have absolutely no inside information from my office about the handling of this case.]
The closing is a stirring helping of common sense:
Polanski stood in a Santa Monica courtroom on Aug. 8, 1977, admitted to having his way with a girl three decades his junior and told a judge that indeed, he knew she was only 13.
There may well have been judicial misconduct.
But no misconduct was greater than allowing Polanski to cop a plea to the least of his charges. His crime was graphic, manipulative and heinous, and he got a pass. It’s unbelievable, really, that his soft-headed apologists are rooting for him to get another one.
Well done, Steve Lopez. Well done.
UPDATE: Ace says it pretty damn well too:
Oh, and also incidentally — his legal team floated the defense that the girl wasn’t a virgin before he raped her, so he was willing to go full-on Whore Deserved Exactly What She Got on the little girl he raped.
His defenders don’t talk much about his artistry in that respect.
And he drugged her, and even as she resisted, he raped her. And then, figuring, I guess, “Ah, what the hell, gone this far, might as well run the table,” he sodomized her.
But he made The Pianist. So — no biggie.
Well said. It’s just that, well, you expect that from Ace. So Lopez’s great columns have that prodigal son quality about them.