Roman Polanski

The Counter-Thinker

 The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism By Pascal Bruckner Translated by Steven Rendall (Princeton University Press, 239 pp., $26.95) I. Once upon a time, it seemed an incontestable fact that the life of the mind radiated from the Left Bank outward. Within a small quadrant of the Latin Quarter in Paris, an intellectual elite labored to produce magisterial works that lesser minds all over the world received eagerly, gratefully—and by and large uncritically.

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The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western MasochisBy Pascal Bruckner Translated by Steven Rendall (Princeton University Press, 239 pp., $26.95) I. Once upon a time, it seemed an incontestable fact that the life of the mind radiated from the Left Bank outward. Within a small quadrant of the Latin Quarter in Paris, an intellectual elite labored to produce magisterial works that lesser minds all over the world received eagerly, gratefully—and by and large uncritically.

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Ten Things Worth Fighting For in a Health Care Bill, by Jonathan Cohn The New ‘Family Guy’ Spin-Off Isn’t Just Unfunny. It’s Offensive.

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Recently, several conservatives have been lashing out at a favorite new target: Kevin Jennings, the Obama administration's openly gay "safe schools czar." Both Sean Hannity and Republican Congressman Steve King have called for Jennings to be fired or to resign. Their main beef? That Jennings didn't contact authorities when, as a high school teacher in Massachusetts in the 1980s, a male student confided in him about a sexual encounter with an older man.

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The French culture minister Frederic Mitterand, who's been an outspoken defender of Roman Polanski, is now under fire himself for some revelations he made in his 2005 memoir. From the BBC: In his 2005 book The Bad Life, he wrote: "I got into the habit of paying for boys," saying his attraction to young male prostitutes was not dimmed despite knowing "the sordid details of this traffic". "All these rituals of the market for youths, the slave market excited me enormously...

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Among the luminaries defending Roman Polanski, one of the most widely-quoted has been Polanski friend Otto Weisser. CNN’s piece titled “Hollywood embraces Roman Polanski,” for example, begins with a dramatic quote from Weisser, explaining that he was “among the first to publicly run to [Polanski’s] defense": “This is for me a shock. I am ashamed to be Swiss, that the Swiss is doing such a thing to brilliant fantastic genius, that millions and millions of people love his work," Weisser said upon learning the director had been detained by Swiss authorities.

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I didn't comment on Post columnist Anne Applebaum's first short web piece in defense of Roman Polanski. Among its many flaws, it claimed that there was "evidence" that Polanski believed the girl he statutorily raped was older (in fact, he stated under oath that he knew she was 13),  and it failed to disclose that Applebaum's husband, Radoslaw Sikorski, is a Polish minister who,  in his official role, was appealing to U.S. authorities to drop the proceedings against Polanski. But Applebaum's followup is really too much to ignore.

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On September 26, Academy-award winning director Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss authorities. A warrant had been pending against him since 1978, when he fled the United States after being charged with rape and pleading guilty to engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Now, film luminaries are leaping to his defense. Click through this TNR slideshow to see what they're saying.

For some unknown reason--perhaps to "balance" its anti-Roman Polanski editorial--The New York Times op-ed page decided to give 1000 words to the novelist Robert Harris and his defense of Polanski. Harris gives the game away at the start, by writing: For more than two and a half years I have been working almost continuously with the director Roman Polanski, first on a screenplay of my novel “Pompeii” — which was never made — and then on a movie of another of my books, “The Ghost,” which was shot earlier this year. I have never collaborated with anyone more closely...Mr.

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Unsurprisingly, the cinematic community has come out in strong support of Roman Polanski, typically invoking--like the French culture minister before them--his status as a great artist as if it granted him some form of legal immunity.

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