Many years ago Roman Polanski, 44 years old at the time, gets a thirteen-year-old girl (described as "an aspiring model") left alone with him by stage-momma while he takes pictures of her (ostensibly for Vogue or some such high-end mag). The pictures slide from shots in clothes, to shots in different clothes (into which the girl changes in Polanski's sight), to an extended series of events which go from the girl being invited into a Jacuzzi, then told to remove her underwear to do so, then having photos taken of her in said underwearless state in the Jacuzzi, to plying the girl with Quaaludes and champagne, to (ultimately) having first regular common-or-garden intercourse and then anal sex with her. After she said no.
This led to that, he was apprehended, accused, and then fled into exile abroad, knowing that he could not ever return to the USA without facing prosecution.
Fast forward, oh, some decades.
Polanski is arrested at a film festival in Switzerland, and extradition to those bogeyman prosecuting USA is in the works.
What happens at this point?
The victim of this assault is basically saying, "let it go, I've moved on".
A large swathe of movie people - a list which is peppered with names all of us recognise - sign a petition which, if not precisely SUPPORTING Polanski, certainly comes down on the side of "let him go we've all moved on".
Defense of Polanski ranges from "He was unhinged when Sharon Tate was killed" to "He was a victim of the Holocaust".
And now the whole thing has been taken on by that weird-ass TV show, The View. And THIS is what Whoopi Goldberg has to say on the matter at hand.
People, what the HELL is "rape-rape"? As in, this wasn't "RAPE-rape". This was... what... play-rape? Like a play-date...? Between a child, and a man who ought to know better?
Even if she was presented to him nude and willing on a silver platter with an apple in her mouth, like a suckling pig, she was still thirteen years old. A child who was not only unable to give legal consent to what happened, but who, by all accounts, did NOT give such consent. And once sexual activity proceeds past the "no", it becomes sexual assault, by definition. Rape. REAL rape, not rape-rape. Goldberg says in that video that she has a thirteen-year-old granddaughter. I really wonder what her response would be if THAT child was subjected to what Polanski did to that other teenager so many years ago, and whether the definition of "rape" as opposed to "rape-rape" is that the former happens to somebody YOU know and love, whereas the latter happens to some arbitrary teenager who should have known better..
But be that all as it may...
What's this sudden urge to get all sanctimonious anyway?...
If the USA is in the market for doling out justice, how about we look at the thirteen-year-olds being sold on the streets daily? The kids who are getting assaulted RIGHT NOW, because they're poor or ethnically compromised (by being, say, black, or Mexican, or Thai) or simply damned unlucky? Their cases never get this publicity. Their assailants never get CAUGHT, never mind pursued with the single minded intensity that the USA DOJ has pursued Polanski. Oh, but wait, these girls don't come from Malibu, they are probably already on stronger drugs than Quaaludes, and they aren't "rape-raped" by celebrities.
How about some even-handedness here? If y'all haven't nabbed the old goat after twenty or thirty years, you either haven't WANTED to very much or the angle wasn't right at the time. You can have a court case in absentia if you like, you can convict him of rape, or "rape-rape", or whatever you choose to call it, and you can pass sentence - NEVER darken the doorway of the USA again (which was pretty much what was going on anyway) and then pass on the details of the thing to Interpol and leave it to the European authorities to deal with the fallout, if that's where he's currently hiding out. Victim gets justice. Perp gets conviction. Case closed. Moving on.
But this theatre?... this fakey melodrama?... and the redefinition of rape to accommodate someone rich and famous, finding rationalizations and excuses for what went on?...
Ferchrissakes. Convict the man or leave him alone to stew in his own juices. But this wonderful lens of concentrated attention and publicity that he's getting - and all the rich and famous rallying to the cause of protecting the rich and famous - it's starting to stick in my craw. Let's get back to the real world and dole out some real justice to some real people while they are still capable of being helped by it, shall we?
And let's not talk about "rape-rape" any more, shall we, while we're at it? The idea, and everything it implies, is leaving a smoky bitter aftertaste of fury in my heart.