Matthew Wrather hosts with Peter Fenzel and Mark Lee to overthink Roman Polanski’s legal and moral trouble, cultural hysteria and hypocrisy, the reasons reality is different from fiction, and the deeper meanings of Crank 2 and Glee.
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Wait, they did the “poor inner city school that has trouble keeping teachers, and then sing and dance about it.” It was called Sister Act. Or maybe Sister Act 2 – I confuse them. The one with Lauryn Hill.
Also, ugh, I keep trying to compose a reasonable comment on the topic of sex crime registries, but it makes me so angry that I just ramble incoherently. Maybe I’ll try again in the morning.
I’m not quite getting Glee. I don’t hate it – I just don’t see what the fuss is about. It’s not that funny, the characters aren’t that interesting, and the plots seem pretty bland (Desperate Housewives did the fake pregnancy thing a couple years back). The main character, Will, has yet to develop a personality beyond “nice guy.” The only part of it I really like is Jane Lynch, who plays the villainous cheerleading coach. She’s amazing, to the point where she threatens to overshadow the rest of the show.
I’m going to keep watching for a while, give it a chance. But like I said, I feel like I’m missing something.
We live in a society of fear and the media only feeds it by coming up with shows like ‘SVU’, ‘Criminal Minds’ and all the other garden variety show that deals with that sort of stuff. I’m with Wrather on it, we condem what happens while at the same time we need to know every sordid detail.
Also, I actually watched ‘Fargo’ this weekend…by the end of the movie I was flinching from the accents.
@Genevieve: Lauryn Hill was in the second Sister Act.
Polanski: Fenzel, you’re alluding (a lack of) to statutes of limitations, among other things, when you’re talking about “putting it into perspective” that I think are somewhat a result of that “Puritan dodge” Wrather is talking about. (NICE Miller reference, too, Fenzel.) Sex crimes themselves are in a world of their own, but a case like Polanski’s is even more severe because it involves a child. As such, it doesn’t matter, according to society, how long ago it happened. I suppose I fall into the category of the hysterical masses and think yeah, he should still be put on trial, and regardless of what the old judge did- IMO, it should give him grounds for a retrial, but not a dismissal. As you said, Wrather, there is no disputing that he did indeed commit multiple crimes against a minor, so (I believe, at least) he needs to be held accountable. His method of avoiding arrest was using his ins with local police at all of the places the film festivals he was invited to over the years if they weren’t in France- if the police native to the event found out any international police were on the way, they’d alert him and he’d stay home. But anyhoo, I can’t find any stats, but I find it hard to believe that charges would be completely DROPPED very frequently because of shady judges or prosecutors- don’t cases usually get transfered to a different court or assigned a new prosecutor or whatever? So what I think went on with Polanski and it taking so long for him to be arrested, as well as why the idea of a dismissal has been thrown around (and even offered to him by one judge) has more to do with his celebrity status.
You know, that “bubble” thing actually makes me think of my rocky relationship with Ebay. (Oh, Fenzel, you actually made a football reference, yay!) I had sworn up and down I wouldn’t do eBay because, with my luck, I’d get totally jipped. I finally caved and gave it a try, and lo, I was sent knock-offs of what I really wanted- and to exacerbate the situation, the guy I bought them from basically practiced extortion on me by refusing to give me any $$ back unless I gave him a high rating or whatever. So I’m totally traumatized and will never, ever, ever do eBay again. I know I’m missing out on deals, but it’s practically a phobia now- I even get nervous when *other* people tell me about the amazingly awesome thing(s) they got from eBay. And actually, I’m avoiding PayPal for similar reasons- it wasn’t me that had their identity stolen, but I know enough people that *were* victims to desire avoidance of it. I’ll do the one-time PayPal thing that some sites require to buy something, but I won’t make an account. (And this is why I have yet to click on your donation button… I see “PayPal” and cringe a little.)* But I guess what I’m saying is, coming from that, having experienced my own forms of paranoia that have been justified by my own experiences and by the experiences of people close to me, I can understand where overprotective parents are coming from. And, alas, I can relate to them more directly than I wish because of other things and will probably, as a result, be just like them whenever I become a parent.
So to soap-box about something for a bit (yeah, here we go…), if a parent knows their kid is going to do something stupid that could have severe ramifications, it’s their responsibility to protect the kid from themselves and prevent it. Remove the child from the situation if you *know* they won’t make the right choice. And if we lived in a perfect world, the risks involved wouldn’t exist- but we don’t, and they do. If we lived in a *different* perfect world, parents would always be able to make the right decision for their kid when necessary, too- but we don’t, and *they* don’t, which is why I am (and somewhat ashamedly because I do lean libertarian on some issues) a proponent of some of the laws meant to protect children. A child is in the hands of their parents, but it isn’t their fault if said parents fail them, so the state has an obligation to fill in the gaps- but again, only when necessary. I know it sounds paternal and such, but that’s why organizations like CPS exist, so sex crimes against children are, ultimately, the sort of thing the state needs to be proactive about. I do see the problems with laws causing the stuff in Florida you’re talking about, but (and I think I’ve said this before) society often must operate on a LCD standard, because no matter how good people *generally* are, you still get that one crazy f*ck that ruins it for everyone else. But camera phones? Okay Mom, Dad, just don’t let the kid have a camera in their phone- there shouldn’t have to be a *law* about that. And no, I don’t think seventeen-year-olds should *in general* be listed as sex offenders, but sometimes an individual is a naturally born and/or conditioned predator due to some underlying mental illness or psychological circumstances, and if they go unchecked, they very well may end up hurting someone when they’re older. Cases like that should be monitored (have them go in for psych evals every so often or something, maybe, I dunno), but I do agree automatically sticking them in the same category as a rapist is unfair. I suppose my overarching solution is cases should be evaluated individually, from the teacher that sleeps with their student to the person caught on To Catch a Predator to the person caught raping a teenager.
So to relate it to Polanski, I do think what he did was a crime- it’s illegal to drug up a *grown* woman, and the girl was thirteen at the time for crying out loud. Even if there weren’t date rape drugs involved, even if there was no sex or touching, or even if she had stayed completely clothed, he at least gave alcohol to a minor- an offense that yeah, probably should be forgotten thirty years later, but when combined with everything else that went on in that hot tub, the sum makes the is utterly deplorable IMO because of the completely predatory nature of the crime.)
Aaaaand I suppose I’ve rambled enough about that. Yeah…
Realism (or lackthereof) in Glee: Lee, I can commiserate on principle, but I don’t agree about Glee because, as Wrather said, it’s the show I was promised. To take from your own examples, the wife ending up in the car in itself isn’t *that* big of a deal, but it in conjunction with all of the other stuff going on could, indeed, make the whole experience overwhelming.
*This eBay/PayPal thing was typed *before* you acknowledged your donors… Now I feel bad.
@Gab: I completely agree with you on the paranoia thing…you just never know with people these days. I do have a PayPal account but that’s only because I’m selling some items and the moment that’s done I’ll transfer the balance and delete my account.
also, the movie the panel was talking about (people going to a website to watch someone die and the more people that watch the faster that person dies) is called ‘feardotcom’ (2002) and is number 30 on Rotten Tomatoes ‘worst movies of the decade.’
@Megan: Actually, I believe the movie they were thinking of is “Untraceable” starring Diane Lane, from last year. Why the hell do I know that?
And on the subject of movies which are winkingly self-aware of their own cliches, I would recommend “Gremlins 2,” which as far as I can tell, basically serves as a parody of “Gremlins 2”. There’s a great scene where the lead character explains the rules to a room full of security personnel. The security people then gleefully play the role of the comic book nerd in the audience and tear the rules to shreds. “Well, it’s always midnight SOMEWHERE… what if I’m flying on a plane with one, and while I’m feeding it, we cross the international date line?”
@Dan: Ah, okie dokie. they all sound the same to me. ;)