A poem for Hollywood’s Polanski supporters

Now this is art – a poem by Calvin Trillin at The Nation, titled…
What Whoopi Goldberg (‘Not a Rape-Rape’), Harvey Weinstein (‘So-Called Crime’) et al. Are Saying in Their Outrage Over the Arrest of Roman Polanski
A youthful error? Yes, perhaps.
But he’s been punished for this lapse–
For decades exiled from LA
He knows, as he wakes up each day,
He’ll miss the movers and the shakers.
He’ll never get to see the Lakers.
For just one old and small mischance,
He has to live in Paris, France.
He’s suffered slurs and other stuff.
Has he not suffered quite enough?
How can these people get so riled?
He only raped a single child.
Read the rest at The Nation.

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46 Comments

  1. olga
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    A wonderful poem! Right on.

  2. aleks
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I was going to see A Serious Man this weekend and marry Natalie Portman someday, but apparently Natalie and the Coen boys are all big fans of raping children.

  3. opheliasawake
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I am so disappointed by Whoopi Goldberg’s role in this.
    What a great example of rhetoric in art. Bravo Mr. Trillin!

  4. Toongrrl
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Love that poem!

  5. Toongrrl
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Love that poem!!! Whoopi???

  6. Mighty Ponygirl
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    This whole thing has everything upended and fucked up.
    Salman Rushdie signed the petitition. Salman Rushdie who I’ve always respected as a voice for women’s liberation in the Islamic world…. thought it was fine and dandy that Polanski raped a 13-year-old girl.
    And then I’m listening to a Real Time podcast and Bill Maher is talking about how what Polanski did was reprehensible and he should go go jail. I mean, it’s not like Bill Maher is Ross Douthat but he’s certainly not someone I would have expected to come out swinging in the corner of rape victims.
    It’s just a very fucked-up situation. I feel like I’ve slipped into Bizarro World.

  7. aleks
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Whoopi doesn’t think drugging a 13-year-old then forcing sex on her as she says no is “rape rape”. It’s rape-not-rape, which is only a misdemeanor with a short statute of limitations. Whoopi is sad, pale shadow of the Guinan who taught Data and all of us so much about humanity.

  8. marnanel.org
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    This came so very close to being in sonnet form! FTFY:
    And should Polanski be arrested
    For youthful errors? Yes, perhaps.
    But not in jail, as you’ve suggested,
    For he’s been punished for this lapse–
    For decades exiled from LA,
    He’ll miss the movers and the shakers.
    He knows, as he wakes up each day,
    He’ll never get to see the Lakers.
    For just one old and small mischance,
    He’s suffered slurs and other stuff.
    He has to live in Paris, France.
    Has he not suffered quite enough?
    How can these people get so riled?
    He only raped a single child.

  9. Luna
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    You know, the slander against Whoopi Goldberg can stop any second now.
    What she said was that he wasn’t charged with ‘rape-rape’. She was trying to say that he was charged with statutory rape, but couldn’t come up with the word. She wasn’t defending his actions, she wasn’t saying he shouldn’t be arrested, she was simply trying to make it clear that the charge against him that he pleaded to was not rape, but statutory rape.
    Go watch it. You Tube is useful in situations like this.

  10. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    yeah. Bill Maher?! That surprises me too.

  11. Mighty Ponygirl
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    She doesn’t know the facts, then.
    Just because she’s thirteen doesn’t change the fact that he drugged her.
    Just because she’s thirteen doesn’t change the fact that she pleaded with him to stop and cried and asked to go home.
    Just because she’s thirteen doesn’t change the fact that he plead guilty.
    Sounds like rape-rape to me.

  12. Unequivocal
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Substantial improvement IMHO, but the scanning is still off. Bonus points if you actually rework it into iambic pentameter. =)

  13. Muffin
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I hadn’t heard the Coen Bros supported Polanski. Could you provide a link?

  14. Muffin
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Actually, you should probably check the clip again. Whoopi pretty clearly discusses what he was charged with, then moves on to say that she thinks it was consensual sex with a thirteen-year old:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fasb7tHv8XU

  15. JMI
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I am surprised that other people are surprised ( (sorry, I know that sentences is confusing) that Bill Maher would come out against Polanski. Months before the arrest happened, I heard him talking about the Polanski case as an example of how we don’t hold celebrities to the same standards as “regular” people. I know that Bill Maher has said sexist things on his show, and there have been times when I’ve wanted to scream at the television during Real Time, but I don’t think he’s ever indicated that he’s not against rape. That seems a little unfair to me, but I am fully prepared to be proven wrong if someone wants to correct me.

  16. SaraLaffs
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you… I met Rushdie at a reading earlier this year, and I was star-struck. I really enjoy his work. I guess it’s a good thing this happened *after* I met him, because if I saw him post-Polanski apologia, I might yell some.

  17. Pheagan
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully they’ll be reading this one in English classes along with A Modest Proposal.
    For those of you who want to do something about the Free Polanski petition, I’ve started an anti-petition petition in the form of a facebook group:
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=167664386022&ref=mf

  18. aleks
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Permalink
  19. Pheagan
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Not Bill Maher: http://boards.hbo.com/topic/Maher-Member-Created/Roman-Polanski/2000009130 . I think it’s important to be really careful to make sure a person is really on the list before you say they support a rapist. It’s a big thing.

  20. aleks
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Did you watch Whoopi’s remarks without watch-watching them?

  21. Pheagan
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Again, he does not support Polanski: http://boards.hbo.com/topic/Maher-Member-Created/Roman-Polanski/2000009130 . This is how slander starts. I’m not a big fan of Maher or anything, but we should stop throwing people’s names around without looking at the list for confirmation first.

  22. JMI
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    I know that Bill Maher doesn’t support Polanski. My comment was that I don’t understand why earlier commenters were surprised that Maher condemned Polanski. I guess my comment wasn’t clear.

  23. micheyd
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Phegan, it would help if you actually read the entry. JMI and others are saying they’re surprised Maher has come out vigorously against him.

  24. JMI
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    This is clearly a case of me using two many double negatives. I apologize, I’m new to this commenting thing. To be clear, I think Bill Maher has said sexist things on his show. BUT, it did not surprise me, as it did others, that he condemned Polanski and the rape of a 13 year old. I never thought of him as dismissive of rape, but again, maybe he has been in the past and I just didn’t see that episode.

  25. JMI
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    This is clearly a case of me using too many double negatives. I apologize, I’m new to this commenting thing. To be clear, I think Bill Maher has said sexist things on his show. BUT, it did not surprise me, as it did others, that he condemned Polanski and the rape of a 13 year old. I never thought of him as dismissive of rape, but again, maybe he has been in the past and I just didn’t see that episode.

  26. Muffin
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    aw man.

  27. Mighty Ponygirl
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    You fail at reading for comprehension.

  28. Jack
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    People have a tendency to assume that, if someone disagrees with some of their philosophy, they must disagree with all of their philosophy. Because Bill Maher occasionally says some sexist things and is willing to make jokes about violence against women, then some people believe that it must follow that he is a virulent anti-feminist who thinks that rape should be legalized, provided the woman isn’t married (and thus, the property of another man.) Bill Maher doesn’t get all of it; you run into a lot of comments saying that “You can’t be a feminist if you believe this,” or “If you think this, then you’re not really a liberal.” And so we come to a world where people’s thought process leads to I don’t like this person, he says things that offend me sometimes, so he must support rapists.

  29. snowpiece
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    He plead guilty and he served
    More time than any other perv
    In LaLaLand at that time
    Isn’t that a big fat crime?
    Sentences for raping a child
    in the USA are so mild.
    I wish we spent more time
    Serving victims of crime
    Instead of exploiting Samantha
    For a one-man agenda
    We should do something
    Anything!
    To actually help more children
    Instead of yelling in futility at the ocean.

  30. snowpiece
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    He plead guilty and he served
    More time than any other perv
    In LaLaLand at that time
    Isn’t that a big fat crime?
    Sentences for raping a child
    in the USA are so mild.
    I wish we spent more time
    Serving victims of crime
    Instead of exploiting Samantha
    For a one-man agenda
    We could do something
    Anything*
    To actually help more children
    Instead of yelling in futility at the ocean.
    *My suggestions:
    + Work to increase sentences for sexual offenders.
    + Lobby to actually investigate sex crimes instead of letting rape kits remain unopened in evidence lockers until statutes of limitation expire.

  31. JMI
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Good point, that’s along the lines of what I was suspecting too. I just wanted to make sure that Maher hadn’t supported a rapist in the past on an episode I hadn’t seen or something, as then it would make sense to be surprised of his anti-Polanski response.

  32. Pheagan
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    “Brilliant or not, Roman, it’s time to face the music.” Please explain.

  33. Pheagan
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Also, check the list:
    http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/39618660.html
    His name’s not on it. He has not signed the petition, he stated in that link that it’s time for Polanski to “face the music”. Just because he his statement said Polanski was talented and his life was tragic doesn’t mean that he’s excused the rape. He basically said despite these things, Polanski should be held accountable. And there’s no need to be so flipping rude about it, either. Not only do I not support Polanski, I’ve started a petition asking the signatories to take back their names.

  34. Pheagan
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Okay, now I understand. Sorry.

  35. SaltyLilKipper
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    NOBODY IS SAYING BILL MAHR CAME OUT IN SUPPORT OF POLANSKI. THEY ARE SAYING THE EXACT OPPOSITE. STOP JUMPING ON PEOPLE WHEN YOU’RE THE ONE WHO DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON.

  36. SaltyLilKipper
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Um, no.
    I’m not surprised because I think Bill Mahr is douchey and have some wacky philosophy that all douchey people are rapists/think rape is good, I’m surprised because of a comment he made on the Craig Ferguson show a while ago during the Michael Jackson media circus. It was something about how he’d rather be “gently masturbated” by a pedophile than beaten up (he recalled a story of being beaten up by a group of bullies as a child before saying this). He seemed to imply child molestation simply wasn’t that bad, so that’s why I’m surprised.

  37. Pheagan
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    OK, I’m very sorry for the misunderstanding. It came from reading a post up above where I jumped from reading someone upset about Rushdie joining the petition and then I jumped to a quote below that that said – and Bill Maher too. Yes, I should have read more closely before posting. I fucked up. I’m an asshole. I’m sorry. But mistakes happen, and it’s not like I support Polanski, so also, calm down.

  38. Hrovitnir
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    “Calm down”? Nice. To you it may have been a matter of moments – to people reading this thread, it’s you commenting no less than four times about it in error. If you read it as give and take it’s like reading the Argument Clinic video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teMlv3ripSM).

  39. JMI
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I never heard that comment, which is why I asked what the context was. I understand your lack of surprise now.

  40. Pheagan
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I also apologize and admitted my error and explained how I made it. And you know, my intention was obviously just to say this guy didn’t sign the list– yes, I misunderstood, I misread and I skipped a part of a post two posts above to what I first replied to. And my two responses were in response to “you fail at reading comprehension” which I read as applying to the Bill Maher post, not the commenter post. And I can’t delete those comments, I wish I could. It is way worse for me than for you for those four mistaken posts to be there. Believe me, I feel like a total idiot. But there’s a polite way to point out a mistake and an impolite way. I don’t believe my original posts were impolite, just mistaken. Which I apologized for. I don’t think it warrants all-caps jumping down my throat. Nor do I think me apologizing and then addressing the impoliteness of the upbraiding warrants your post. I’m sorry I caused you so much annoyance, but I’m pretty sure my current state of upset and embarrassment is payment enough. And I don’t think it’s out of line to ask you to lay off since I meant no harm and cannot undo those goddamn posts.

  41. defenderofpants
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    i don’t get it… are the celebrities who signed the petition bat-shit insane, or just uninformed?

  42. baddesignhurts
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    i love the sentiment of this poem, but i must object to one little thing in this post (yes, i know, i’m a pain in the ass)…. can we not say things like “now THIS is art!” when it’s something we agree with? often on this site, if there’s a controversial work, there seems to be a chorus of “that’s not ART, that SUCKS!” that, as someone deeply engaged in the fine arts, i find really anti-intellectual and almost willfully ignorant.
    art is art, no matter if it’s good or bad or offensive or not. saying something is art isn’t an endorsement of its quality or a statement of agreement with the viewpoint (if any) it espouses. art is merely the creation of a object/experience/image/whathaveyou for the purpose of the communication of thoughts/ideas/beliefs. there’s plenty of shitty art out there, for sure. but it’s still art.

  43. aleks
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    No kidding. Hometown heroes gone over to the dark side.

  44. aleks
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    They just despise the gutter morality that tells us big famous artistes shouldn’t rape peasant children. We can’t be expected to understand them. Theirs is a high and lonely destiny.

  45. MaggieF
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I took that as a sort of humorous, hyperbolous expression of approval, a la “now THAT’S a burger!” Of course it’s a burger. It’s a ground-beef patty on a roll. Definition of burger. But someone really likes it, so makes that statement.
    I can see where you’re coming from, because there is a tendency to do exactly what you’re talking about, especially regarding art (and feminism, for that matter), but that’s personally not how I read the title of the post.

  46. acnescars
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    It’s a wonderful poem, thanks for sharing with us.
    Acne |
    Acne | Acai Berry

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