Patterico's Pontifications


Stopped Watch: Steve Lopez Has Excellent Column on Polanski

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:53 pm

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.

30 Responses to “Stopped Watch: Steve Lopez Has Excellent Column on Polanski”

  1. Amen. I also liked his dig at Woody Allen.

    Roy Rivenburg (58c90b)

  2. Somewhere out there, there’s a liberal boycotting Whole Foods because the CEO disagreed with the Left about economic issues, watching a Polanksi film.

    roy (d6fc79)

  3. That column will leave a mark on the beautiful people.

    I’m disappointed he didn’t throw a bone here to Polanski’s Pontifications.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  4. Then there’s the case of Carleton Gajdusek, Nobel Prize winner in Medicine for discovering prions, who also happened to be a defiler of young boys. He went to prison for a year and a half, plus 5 years probation, for unforced sex with one of many young aborigines he sponsored educationally in the USA. About 15 times the time Polanski did.

    I don’t find this to be particularly defensible, except that I’d offer leniency to a guy who saved countless lives by adding to knowledge of disease long before some self-centered entertainer.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  5. Somebody must have said this before on the tubes, but these people seem to think Noah Cross was the good guy.

    fat tony (6ee25e)

  6. Joining Steve Lopez in supporting Polanski’s arrest: the NY Times editorial board.

    Senso-ring (58c90b)

  7. Patterico – Lopez’s much wider audience.

    For now…

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  8. When I first read the “much wider audience” part, I read it as much wider stance.

    JD (769f99)

  9. It looks to me like Polanski’s PR machine had a head start and was able to plant its propaganda with it friendlies in the media, but honest journalists are finally catching up.

    nk (df76d4)

  10. Comment by Kevin Murphy — 9/29/2009 @ 11:46 pm

    Gajdusek did not share the Nobel Prize for discovery of prions. By that time he had been totally disgraced and ostracized by the medical and scientific community. He had received the Nobel Prize about 30 years earlier for his pioneering work on kuru which led to the discovery of the prion. After his conviction and imprisonment, BTW, he turned over his raw materials to other physicians and researchers who published it and continued the research. I know some of them.

    nk (df76d4)

  11. Correct me if I’m wrong but in Texas when a plea bargain falls through the accused then has a chance to change the plea back to “not guilty” and no mention of the aborted plea bargain is allowed at trial.

    Is that pretty close to the way it was in California? I mean it’s not standard procedure to skip to a foreign country and live the life of a Pasha if your plea bargain looks like it’s falling apart, is it? Or is that just for the artistes? If must be hard to keep track. One system for the poor, one system for the rich ex-athletes and one for famous movie types.

    Tell me, what is the penalty for a poor person trying to avail himself of famous movie justice?

    Peter (6682be)

  12. He had received the Nobel Prize about *20* years earlier

    nk (df76d4)

  13. I’ve heard that at most, he may get 5 years in jail. Would that be the ‘standard’ prison time in CAL for his crimes?

    Hopefully they’ll go directly to sentencing for the crime he plead guilty to – and begin a new trial for his flight before sentencing. I don’t think they’ll ever get a new trial on the original crimes because the victim will refuse to testify.

    I wonder how many will line up to support him when the real story is more widespread in the MSM.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  14. JD: 8.When I first read the “much wider audience” part, I read it as much wider stance.

    No, it refers to Michael Moore.

    aunursa (0e5924)

  15. Ewwwwwwwww

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    JD (c86804)

  16. Have you seen Polanski’s new business cards? I understand they’re inspired by those of Arrested Development‘s Tobias Funke.

    b (df882e)

  17. 9, NK, I thought honest journalists were extinct.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  18. To echo earlier comments: why not charge him with a new crime as well, Failure to appear while out on bail. That not only carries more time, but appropriately punishes him for deliberately flouting the law and not coming to court. Heck, it would be a fun little trial if he wants one—because as a “strict liability” type crime, why you didn’t come to court really doesn’t matter.

    doug (49dd6f)

  19. You wingnuts are prudes and predictably intolerant of other people’s sexual preferences.

    JD (e7c77f)

  20. Roy – that was great!

    Those of us who boycotted Polanski for decades have a little trouble feeling sorry for the guy. He is not the victim here.

    Also, it has been said before but it bears repeating. What else do his defenders speak favorably of?

    tyree (60c95a)

  21. nk, my point was that there are folks who were punished for this kind of thing who were more socially useful than a maker of entertainment, not that Gajdusek was wrongly imprisoned.

    But you never know, Polanski could still win a Nobel….

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  22. Polanski is facing five-years Federal time for Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – if the USA in L.A. will prosecute.

    AD - RtR/OS! (5b5739)

  23. NK, I thought honest journalists were extinct.

    Comment by PCD — 9/30/2009 @ 5:54 am

    The most honorable Bradley Fikes may be moving a tad slower and his eyesight may require a stiffer prescription, but he is most assuredly an honest journalist. A rarity, yes, but hardly extinct.

    political agnostic (53b89e)

  24. Has everyone read Polaksi’s comments that ‘everyone wants to F— young girls’?

    He’s unrepentant.

    And he’s wrong. If you are no longer a kid, and you want to have sex with 13 year olds… don’t delude yourself into think that’s normal. Maybe a million years ago the missing link acted that way, but that behavior is sociopathic. You need some kind of help.

    Polanski is bragging and snarking that the knew this was a little girl, and that what he did was normal. Patterico asked if he did it again, and I think these remarks hold the answer: YES.

    Anne Applebaum is not going to be bringing this quote up, either. This man was not framed… he was proud of what he did to a crying drugged resisting little girl.

    Dustin (0bdb72)

  25. Steve Lopez really knows how to kick a guy in the teeth.

    Fritz (e04596)

  26. 20.nk, my point was that there are folks who were punished for this kind of thing who were more socially useful than a maker of entertainment, not that Gajdusek was wrongly imprisoned.

    But you never know, Polanski could still win a Nobel….

    Comment by Kevin Murphy — 9/30/2009 @ 8:24 am

    And I understood it, Kevin. I was only making the point that Gajdusek’s colleagues, the medical and scientific community, renounced him and ostracized him. Unlike the Hollywood community with Polanski. And also, that Gajdusek surrendered his raw material so better men (and women) than him could continue his scientific work. And I really do know the people who continued it, but I cannot say how.

    nk (df76d4)

  27. Gee, an artistically gifted human who also happens to be a total skunk?

    First time THAT’S happened, huh?

    mojo (8096f2)

  28. I never thought I’d say this, but kudos to the LATimes for putting the column on the front page. I normally avoid Lopez but good for him and all the normally leftist writers for looking at the facts and condemning the behavior.

    Caroline S. (4e3063)

  29. If I remember correctly, Lopez also wrote about the Mumia Abu-Jamal case.

    Michael Ejercito (6a1582)

  30. told a judge that indeed, he knew she was only 13.

    Has everyone read Polaksi’s comments that ‘everyone wants to F— young girls’?

    Polanski looks scroungier and more twisted than what I was aware of until now. To be honest, the amount of time since the crime occurred and my ignorance of the details of the case made me less gung-ho and satisfied about Polanski finally getting snared by law enforcement and his omeuppance. Not anymore.

    Mark (411533)

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