Update (December 6, 2009)
Roman Polanski, that award-winning and highly talented child rapist, is facing justice: European style. Looks like he's under house arrest - in a Swiss chalet.
And who says crime doesn't pay - for the right people?
Of course, there's the possibility that the Swiss government will decide to go along with an American request for extradition. Or, not.
(Arnd Wiegmann, via Reuters, used w/o permission)
- "Hey honey, watch me moon these guys!"
Oddly Enough, Reuters blog (December 6, 2009)
- "Polanski's luxury house arrest"
Chicago Tribune (December 5, 2009)
- "Polanski Begins House Arrest"
Arts, Briefly, The New York Times (December 4, 2009)
I've made the point that, in my view, the war on terror isn't so much about religion as it is about culture. In the west, we've gotten used to the idea of not killing our wives and daughters when we're in a snit, letting them drive cars, and even letting them have jobs.1
Social upheavals after the 14th century's Black Death and the 18th century's revolutions helped establish that state of affairs.
I also think people like Queen Boudicca may have left as a deep impression on northern European cultures, as she did on the Romans. But that's another story.
Islam Isn't Monolithic - Neither is the WestJust as I think it's a mistake to assume that to assume that "the Islamic world" is a single, culturally united block, I think it's a mistake to assume the same about Western civilization. NATO and the Euro notwithstanding, Europe isn't exactly homogeneous, culturally: And America isn't Europe.
An example popped up in today's news.
Roman Polanski is, no reasonable question about it, a skilled - even talented - motion picture director. I respect skill and talent in people. Part of that is probably from the set of American cultural values I learned as I grew up.
Then, there's that little matter of Mr. Polanski's "1970s sexual-offense charge involving a 13-year-old girl." (CNN)
I don't approve of rape. Particularly of young teens, by men in positions of importance. That's also in part from the cultural values I picked up. What can I say? Americans, as a group, are just plain intolerant of rape.
Then, there's France.2
"...The French culture and communications minister, Frederic Mitterrand, said he 'learned with astonishment' of Polanski's arrest. He expressed solidarity with Polanski's family and said 'he wants to remind everyone that Roman Polanski benefits from great general esteem' and has 'exceptional artistic creation and human qualities.'..."That's very broad-minded of them: and a tribute to the cultural values of France. I don't think it's any accident that one of the greatest museums in the world, the Lourvre, is in France.
What upset the French government, and brought it to the defense of this exception artist and child rapist ("alleged," of course) was Italy's arrest of Roman Polanski: a shocking display of insensitivity.
Apparently Italy doesn't consider great artists to be "beyond good and evil."
I'd have a little more respect for the French position, if the argument had been one of legal jurisdiction, or a perception that Mr. Polanski wouldn't get a fair trial in America. I might not agree: but either argument could be based on principles that I can respect.
But no. France seems to regard Roman Polanski as immune by reason of his "exceptional artistic creation and human qualities."
Again, I don't doubt that Mr. Polanski is good at making movies. Very good.
But I don't assume that rapists are dirty, smelly people who are not of my ethnic group(s) and/or below me in economic status. And, that 'great artists' or 'the right sort' don't rape, unless the victim is also of 'the right sort:' but instead that they 'get mixed up' with the lower classes from time to time.
Yeah: the west has its cultural differences, too.
- "Bikinis, Burkinis, and Modesty: The Other Guy isn't Always Wrong"
A Catholic Citizen in America (August 16, 2009)
- "The War on Terror: Yes, Who Wins Does Matter"
(July 30, 2009)
- "Terrorists, America, and Generalizations"
(July 28, 2009)
- What is Islam? Even Muslims Don't Seem to Agree"
(February 6, 2009)
- "Terrorism: Not a Muslim Monopoly"
(April 6, 2008)
- " 'They’re all Muslims' - This Does Not Help"
(December 29, 2007)
- "France shows support for Polanski after sex crime arrest"
CNN (September 28, 2009)
- "Swimmers are told to wear burkinis"
telegraph.co.uk (August 15, 2009)
- "Maylasia Marathon Part 1: Little Malaysia Girl"
Little China Girl (July 14, 2009)
- "Architecture for a Better Muslim World"
Spiegel Online (September 21, 2007)
- "Tourist Attractions"
kiat.net > home > Malaysia > Kuala Lumpur > Attractions
- "The 2004 Aga Khan Architecture Awards "
The East African, via ismaili.net (November 29, 2004)
1 "Letting"?! my forebears are from Ireland and Norway, for the most part - two European enclaves which didn't "let" women do what they willed, any more than they "let" men act. To a great extent.
I'll grant that they got downright "civilized" from time to time: but nobody's perfect.
2 Don't get me wrong: I have great respect for French achievements. France has been one of the great cultural hubs of Europe.