by Ben Cohen
The popular show ‘To Catch a Predator’ snares potential pedophiles by luring them into houses after being promised sex on the internet by the NBC TV show. They are confronted by the host Chris Hansen who humiliates them on camera by reading a transcript of their online chat, then allows them to leave only to be arrested by the local police department.
The criminals are predominantly nondescript, fat and balding middle aged men with about as much sex appeal as Rush Limbaugh. Sympathy isn’t the first emotion one feels for them as they are bustled to the floor, hand cuffed and read their rights on national TV, because in the pecking order of criminality, they rank right at the bottom.
However, contrast this with the treatment of film director Roman Polanski, who didn’t just talk about sex with a minor, but drugged, raped and sodomized a child then fled the country to avoid jail time. The European artistic community is up in arms at his arrest in Switzerland demanding he be released, and several prominent directors have signed a petition for him to be excused.
The logic? Apparently, his talent obscures any criminal act he may have committed.
Imagine Polanski as a run of the mill computer technician from Ohio who had raped a 13 year old girl. Would anyone give a damn whether he was arrested and thrown into the most violent prison in America? Not likely.
But an artist of Polanski’s stature? Heavens no!
I’ve been scratching my head as to why otherwise sane people could argue Polanski’s case, and have yet to understand it. Chez Pazienza has perhaps the best explanation I’ve read so far:
They live in a fantasy universe revolving solely around them, that
they’ve been told “yes” for so long that they believe the rules no
longer apply to them — these have a certain amount of validity. Is
there a better explanation as to why so many intelligent people would
come together with one voice and proclaim loudly that one of their own
is above the law?
Other than that, the only conclusion I can come up with is that anyone arguing Polanski should be released is a) a pedophile, or b) a victim of child rape and unable to come to terms with what happened to them. Either way, it’s very, very sad.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.