A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Life on Planet Hollywood

The recent arrest of fugitive and film maker Roman Polanski for fleeing before being sentenced for raping a fourteen year old girl thirty years ago, is another reminder of the lack of a moral compass that is continually displayed by so many in the Hollywood community. It is a shock, but it is not a surprise.

Here is a man who committed a heinous crime against a young and innocent girl and never served time for that act. Now many of his colleagues in the Hollywood community are acting as if Polanski is now the victim because of his arrest in Switzerland. Whoopie Goldberg said that while Polanski committed rape it was not like "rape, rape." (Huh?) Jack Lang a film maker referred to Polanski's actions toward the fourteen year old as a "so-called crime." (How does Lang feel about NAMBLA?) Actress Debra Winger referred to the authorities as Philistines (Does she even know who the Philistines were?) and stated that Polanski's arrest was exploiting the world of art. (Yeah, right! Arresting a child rapist will definitely lead to the censorsing of television and films.) Another Hollywood "Rhodes Scholar" stated that Polanski was arrested like a "common terrorist." (No... he was arrested like a common fugitive.) Woody Allen (whose credibility on sexual behavior is hardly to be trusted) is one of 138 artists who signed a petition protesting Polanski's arrest.

Now, it is certainly the case that reasonable people can disagree as to what should be done with Polanski as far as what kind of sentence he should serve, but the minimizing of his behavior because he is an award winning artist reflects the lack of moral center by so many in the Hollywood community. To be sure, there are those in the same community who believe differently, but they are quiet, which says much about the "moral" orientation of those in entertainment industry in general.

Robert Goolrick, a child rape victim himself, writes in an excellent editorial in the Daily Beast, "Define artist. Not so easy to do. Now define pedophiliac rapist. Pretty simple. If Polanski had been, say, a bus driver in Cleveland who had fed Quaaludes and Champagne to a thirteen-year-old girl and then raped and sodomized her, I doubt Jack Lang would be so quick to tell the rest of us about the privileges that come with driving a bus. Jack Lang doesn't care about bus drivers. Jack Lang cares about Artists."

While it should not be surprising, the whole Polanski situation is more proof that Hollywood is indeed disconnected, not only from regular folks, but also from common sense. But what else should we expect from people who spend their lives pretending to be people who don't actually exist.

For those who are skeptical, I offer definitive proof that alien life does exist on other planets... or at least on one other planet... Planet Hollywood.
Update: Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post published an excellent editorial on this subject entitled, "Hollywood's Shame."

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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian


Joel Betow said...

I think Roman Polanski should be held fully accountable according to the terms of his conviction and sentencing.

I don't agree with your singling out of actors as those who spend their lives pretending to be people who don't actually exist. After 17 years in the ordained ministry, I think clergy on the whole may spend as much time pretending to be people who don't actually exist as do actors. There is a significant "performance" mentality to pastoring that often interferes with servant discipleship and authentic witnessing.

I do not excuse Polanski and heartily disagree with the segment of the entertainment industry that is rallying behind him, but I can't help but wonder if his World War II Polish ghetto experience and the 1969 murder of his pregnant wife didn't hasten his downward spiral.

Yes, Polanski should pay the legal price for the rape, but maybe a post about Polanski should also contain at least a minimal hint of grace. No, that would be asking too much for those who see judgment and grace as total opposites.

Allan R. Bevere said...


I am only singling out actors in this situation because the story has to do with actors. I agree that there are people in plenty of and in every profession who pretend to be people they aren't. It is not necessary nor possible for me to qualify every argument I make. The particular narrative here had nothing to do with clergy or anyone else.

As far as your comment about grace-- if you would have read my comments carefully you would have seen that my post was more about Hollywood's reaction and much less about Polanski himself. In fact, I said, "reasonable people can disagree as to what should be done with Polanski as far as what kind of sentence he should serve." In that comment is the obvious assumption that given all the circumstances surrounding the situation, people may not be unified as to what kind of sentence Polanski should receive. In other words, grace does enter into the equation, although it is far from clear how to exercise that grace in this situation. I would be willing to bet that if Polanski had been a conservative politician on the run all these years, those same actors would be calling for a very stiff sentence.

As far as those who see judgment and grace as total opposites-- if you are referring to me-- that is quite a mischaracterization of my understanding of grace and judgment. What I oppose is what Bonhoeffer also opposed-- cheap grace. There is plenty of that to go around in the church today.