Sunday, October 11, 2009

I just wasn't made for these times

As I am growing older, I feel like I am getting increasingly out of touch with our society. More and more actions that would have been condemned when I was growing up in the 1970s now draw nothing more than a raised eyebrow.

I recently thought of this as I watched the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski in Switzerland. Polanski has primarily lived in Europe since fleeing the United States more than 30 years ago to avoid jail time for drugging and having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.

Since then, there has been a warrant for his arrest, and he was captured by Swiss authorities when he came to their country to accept an award for directing.

Polanski has not been living underground for the last three decades. He has continued directing, and I have seen some of his films. There can be no denying his talent.

However, it is puzzling why it took so long for authorities to act against him. Equally puzzling are the calls by many to let him off the hook for the crimes he committed.

The primary argument being used is that because the crimes took place so long ago that it would be a waste of resources to pursue the matter further.

Additionally, the victim of his crimes has come forward and said that it is time for the matter to be dropped. She said all this has done is open old wounds, and it is time to put this matter in the past.

While the victim's wishes must be carefully considered, I disagree that this matter should just be dropped. While it is important for the victim to feel closure, there is simply something wrong with allowing child abuse like this to go unpunished.

Of course, some have argued that Polanski has been punished. He has been living in exile for a long time and could not re-enter the country without arrest.

However, living in exile can't be that difficult when a person is a rich and famous movie director. Living in his type of exile would seem like paradise to a lot of people.

Since he was detained, more than a hundred actors and directors have come forward in support of Polanski and want him freed. I can not help but think their attitudes would be different if the person involved was not a beloved member of their profession.

For example, what if Polanski was a Catholic priest? When considering the anti-religion rhetoric that many put forth in Hollywood, their position would likely be different if we were talking about a person of faith. They certainly condemned a drunken Mel Gibson when he was caught making anti-Semitic comments.

Recently, I was watching one of the cable news channels, and there was a series of programs that dealt with adult men trying to meet teenagers on the Internet.

Called 'To Catch a Predator' the program basically was a sting operation, and when the men showed up at a house for what they thought was going to be a tryst with a teenager, they were arrested and confronted by television cameras.

The double standard here is pretty obvious.

On the one hand, the average men who showed up in this sting were rightly busted for what they had allegedly done. On the other hand, many want Polanski to go free for basically doing the same thing.

As is typical in our society, there is one standard of justice for the rich, and there is another standard for the rest of America.

This is sad, but are we really that surprised?

No comments: