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This Week, In Reasonable Discourse: Why You Are A Lynch Mob of Art-Hating Glenn Beck Terrorist Hitlers

You know what’s really hard for me to write and/or think and/or read about? The Roman Polanski case. There have been many smart, praiseworthy explanations of why some dude should not get away with drugging and raping someone and subsequently fleeing the country. I agree with those discussions! Wholeheartedly! But every time I look at one of them – or try to write one, OH HEY GUARDIAN – I become a bitter, despairing harpy whose internal organs threaten to develop 197 spontaneous ulcers, dissolve, and emerge from her mouth as a spontaneous torrent of puke and gore. (Description! Literature!) Because you know what those smart, praiseworthy explanations remind me of? THE FACT THAT WE STILL FOR SOME GODFORSAKEN AWFUL REASON HAVE TO EXPLAIN THIS, GOD.

I mean: this is not specifically a feminist issue. This is not even specifically an anti-rape issue. This is an issue for a new group of political activists I am forming right now, which I am going to call People Who Don’t Think It’s Cool For Criminals To Just Opt Out Of Their Sentencing Because They’re Afraid Jail Would Be Kind Of A Bummer (PWDTICTJOOOTSBTAJWBKOAB, for short). It is, I am surprised and alarmed to discover, a fringe position! And lo, many a person has weighed in to talk about how awful and hysterical and unreasonable and mean PWDTICTJOOOTSBTAJWBKOABs are. Often with colorful comparisons!

And, you know? I might not be able to talk about Roman Polanski. But I can talk about these dudes allllll day. So: what do you support by not supporting Roman Polanski? Join us, as we enter the sophisticated, reasonable, and in all ways non-hysterical discourse of Roman Polanski defenders to find out!


From noted political analyst Peter Fonda, we have this sobering thought: we, the people, should have been “celebrating the arrest of Osama bin Laden and not the arrest of Polanski.” Yes, it’s true! In what will no doubt go down as one of the darkest days in US history, authorities were informed of the precise locations of both Osama Bin Laden and Roman Polanski, and were aware that both dudes were just going to hang out and be totally arrestable for a while and they should maybe go check that out. BUT! They were too far away from each other! And there was only one Batman dude in charge of arresting notorious terrorists and/or criminals! Batman the dude in charge of arresting notorious terrorists and/or criminals WOULD HAVE TO CHOOSE. And then Maggie Gyllenhaal Roman Polanski got blowed up arrested and long story short Osama Bin Laden has half a face now and is even more evil and The Joker cackled his demonic cackle and was like TONIGHT YOU WILL BREAK YOUR ONE RULE and everybody was all, “ooh, acting” and WAIT. Actually, I made this all up! Because it turns out you can actually look for more than one notorious terrorist and/or criminal at a time. You can even find more than one of them! Because, basically – and I know this will shock you! – the justice system is not a gigantic game of Whack-a-Mole. NEXT!


Noted art philosopher Debra Winger has noted that arresting a dude what done a crime is an example of “philistine collustion,” and says that “this fledgling festival has been unfairly exploited and whenever this happens, the whole art world suffers.” Bernard-Henri Levy sniffs that Polanski was “apprehended like a common terrorist,” despite the fact that he is an “ingenious filmmaker.” A petition signed by a whole bunch of unexpectedly douchey folks plus Woody Allen (because that makes everyone involved look good) states that arresting a dude what done a crime “opens the way for actions of which no-one can know the effects.” For, you see, cinema is not merely a collection of still images presented at 24 frames per second, often with an accompanying soundtrack; it is a demon god that demands the blood of the innocent. If those involved can be held accountable for crimes, the entire industry will come to a screeching halt due to lack of human sacrifices! Oh, sure, you might think that Roman Polanski is sort of a unique case. But to you, I say: name one decent filmmaker who is NOT at risk of being arrested for fleeing justice following a guilty plea in a sexual assault trial! Name one! LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.


Patrick Goldstein of the LA Times, in his classic piece on the incident, notes that Polanski “will always, till his death, be snubbed and stalked and confronted by people who think the price he has already paid isn’t enough.” Awww, sads! And, you know, that piece has gotten a lot of attention. But I think this lesser-known bit is actually my favorite: the life story of Polanski is a “tragedy,” because he “was a fugitive as a boy” – from Nazis! – “and is now a fugitive as an old man” – from people who want him to do the time for the criminal offense to which he pled guilty! Those are totally the same thing, right? I mean, they both made Polanski a fugitive! It would appear that Patrick Goldstein, aside from his many accomplishments as a writer, also has a degree from Godwin’s Law School.


Two words: “lynch mob.” Because, you see, in the dark days of America’s recent past, white people liked to accuse black people of crimes and then put them through the court system, convict or not convict them according to the evidence, and then faithfully maintain a commitment to following the law in regards to sentencing. Oh, no, wait! They liked to TOTALLY MURDER THEM WITHOUT TRIAL AND OFTEN WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE THAT THEY HAD ACTUALLY COMMITTED THE THING OF WHICH THEY WERE ACCUSED! That is what “lynch mob” actually means! Which is why it’s used to imply contempt for a group and to convey that it is acting irrationally and with malicious, hateful intent! But, you know, I have read up on the subject, and one thing “lynch mob” typically does not denote is “people who strongly believe the law should not be circumvented in order to protect and maintain privilege.” The more you know, y’all.


No, actually, on second thought, this is my favorite bit from the Patrick Goldstein piece: “In the coming weeks, the Polanski affair will no doubt become a tabloid sensation, with op-ed moralists” – heyyyy – “excitable bloggers” – oh, WHAT – “and the Glenn Becks of the world noisily weighing in.” Dudes! If you write anything about your opinions and beliefs concerning the case, you are basically Glenn Beck! Patrick Goldstein said so! In his… piece about… his opinions and beliefs concerning… OK. Let’s start fresh: if you are not Patrick Goldstein and write anything about your opinions and beliefs concerning the case, you are basically Glenn Beck! Luckily, Patrick Goldstein has already written the one piece that anyone anywhere is allowed to write without being compared to a ludicrously stupid and irresponsible demagogue.

And it’s in defense of Roman Polanski.


  1. Thinking about this just makes me want to HULK OUT. Thanks for writing it, even if the crazy people will never take it seriously. I definitely enjoyed reading something that took the time to point out all the obvious bullshit that’s been going on. Thumbs up.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  2. Reenxor wrote:


    Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Permalink
  3. Mendacious D wrote:

    I eagerly await Hollywood’s defence of the Catholic Church’s assertion that only a few percent of the clergy are suspected of being pedophiles, so it’s okay.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
  4. I love you, Sady. May you have a long a rewarding career of slapping people upside the head with their own absurdity.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Permalink
  5. ChelseaWantsOut wrote:

    Why are you so hilarious? You are SO HILARIOUS!

    I said something about Polanski on my facebook yesterday and got no bad replies, so that made me pretty happy.

    Also, and I’m so sorry about this, but I think you mean “subsists” and not “subsides” in number 2.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Permalink
  6. amy wrote:

    this does pretty much sum things up.

    and I second the comment about wanting to hulk out.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 6:55 pm | Permalink
  7. Lauren wrote:

    Thank you for enumerating all of these ridiculous defenses of Polanski. I was arguing with a friend today who said “he didn’t know she was only 13!” Because drugging and raping an 18-year-old woman would have been A-OK, apparently.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Permalink
  8. Jaimie/QL wrote:

    So I wrote about this yesterday, and I felt pretty good about it, I’ve been waiting for your piece about this and now I remember why –
    because you have an uncanny (google assisted) knack for finding the plethora of UNIMAGINABLE BULLSHIT that exists on the internet news section and pointing out what complete and utter RIDICULOUS TRASH is really is.

    GAH! All of these people make me SO ANGRY. How is it even RELEVANT that Polanski is a filmmaker or brilliant? HOW!? How is his persecution for a REAL CRIME that he PLEADED GUILTY to, comparable to his persecution by Nazis? HOW?

    And IMAGINE if there was a precedent set that said, hey, even though you are white, privileged and pretty good at films, that does not excuse your CRIMINAL ACTIONS. That would truly be a TERRIBLE THING for the art world, and the world in general.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  9. kimpowell wrote:

    Lauren, I’m amazed at all the people saying it was consensual. Talk about no means no unless you’re drunk, drugged, underaged, saying no and with a much older famous man who says he’s going to make you famous. Then it means yes. Apparently.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm | Permalink
  10. Broggly wrote:

    “the life story of Polanski is a “tragedy,” because he “was a fugitive as a boy” – from Nazis! – “and is now a fugitive as an old man” – from people who want him to do the time for the criminal offense to which he pled guilty!”
    Truly, he is like a modern day Jean Valjean, if Jean Valjean had been raping Cosette the whole time.

    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 4:28 am | Permalink
  11. Moira wrote:

    In a recent development, even the ‘judicial misconduct’ alleged in That Goddamn Documentary has turned out to be complete bullshit. There was no ex parte communication between the prosecuting attorney and the District Judge — the prosecutor now says he lied to make himself look like he played a bigger role in events for the doc.

    His reasoning for why it was okay to do so? He thought the doc would be screened only in France and not the U.S.

    I hope he gets a nice fat contempt of court penalty. Disbarment might be in order. You’re an officer of the fucking court, asshole. You took oaths about this shit.

    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 6:11 am | Permalink
  12. Moira wrote:

    Crap, I meant to put a link in that.

    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 6:12 am | Permalink
  13. Canomia wrote:

    Thank you!
    This thing has been eating me up. The way people I thougt were reasonable human beings keep defending him.
    And the one thing that always helps when the world is fucked up is you and yoour writing.

    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 6:33 am | Permalink
  14. Nora Deirdre wrote:

    Thank you Sady- I got into a crazy fight on Facebook yesterday with a woman who believes that for the prosecution to proceed against Polanski without the victim’s endorsement AMOUNTS TO ANOTHER RAPE OF THE VICTIM.

    She says she is “pro-choice” and that she “respects” the “choice” by the victim for this to be over and done with.

    I am completely and utterly speechless about how this whole thing has been twisted around.

    Definitely hear you on the ulcers, though.

    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 7:58 am | Permalink
  15. octopod wrote:


    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 8:01 am | Permalink
  16. clevinger wrote:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH. This shit has been driving me crazy all week, and reading you smacking it down so wonderfully and hilariously is really cathartic. I feel somewhat better already!

    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  17. Amellifera wrote:


    Not sure if you read that part in Goldstein’s piece or arrived independently, but ewww.

    “We live in an age that is so thoroughly post-modern that you can find an obvious literary antecedent for nearly every seamy media storyline. The same goes for the Polanski case, which is full of echoes of “Les Miserables,” the classic Victor Hugo novel about Jean Valjean, an ex-con trying to turn his life around who is being obsessively tracked and hunted down by the Parisian police inspector Javert.

    Hugo’s story is a tragedy, as is the life story of Polanski, who was a fugitive as a boy and is now a fugitive as an old man.”

    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink
  18. Tawny wrote:

    OH MY GOD, my awesome lady friend IS THE FIRST COMMENTER on this super awesome piece! Holla, Danielle!

    But seriously, this was amazing and on point, and I am so glad that no one has tried to argue about this with me because I would probably have to murder them in cold blood THEN RUN TO SWITZERLAND.

    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
  19. McDuff wrote:


    Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 2:49 am | Permalink
  20. Sady wrote:

    @Everyone, on the Jean Valjean issue: WHY DO YOU HATE THE BREAD-STEALING FRENCH POOR. Honestly, I think everyone needs to go read and/or see the musical adaptation of “Les Miserapists” again.


    Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink
  21. Isabel wrote:

    i didn’t think someone could write about this issue and make me laugh till i cried, but there, you’ve gone and done it. section 1 in particular had me dying. quoting & linking at my place.

    Monday, October 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
  22. Yoooooou aaaarrrre Aaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwesome!

    (/sing-song voice)
    I’ve been maintaining my own personal list of shame of all the WOMEN who are defending Polrapeski as above the law because he’s an “artist”.

    (Dude, I’m an artist too – does that mean I can start printing my own money and get away with it?)

    It just… hurts. It’s so unbelievable, and yet not. Who cares about a girl who was probably a slut and asking for it anyway? I mean, who cares, right?


    Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 3:23 am | Permalink
  23. Robert wrote:

    I love this post so much that I would come to your house and clean your garage and mow your lawn.

    But that’s too hard so I’ll probably just link it.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 6:04 am | Permalink
  24. Level Best wrote:

    You are awesome, and I hope the puke and gore don’t materialize. Go right on being a bitter, despairing harpy, though, because I and your other fans dig that!

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 6:49 am | Permalink
  25. Rosa wrote:

    Thank you! x a million
    Thank you! x the deficit

    The child rapist Roman Polanski makes me feel murderous. I can’t even see straight when I see his stupid face in the news.

    Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 1:15 am | Permalink
  26. Alexander wrote:

    Here’s another thing on the same insanity: the World Socialist Website, 4th International. In the context of comparison with CIA treatment:

    “The campaign against Polanski, who pled guilty to having sex with a teenage girl in 1977 and then fled the US after a judge threatened to renege on a plea bargain agreement, is entirely vindictive. It is a sop to the right-wing “family values” crowd that now has such a significant influence on social policy in the US.”

    Bastards. I am officially never affiliating with them now. Focus on dogmatic anti-U.S pressure to the extent they go into rape-justification? Screw that.

    Friday, November 13, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

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