The Polanski controversy

Jonah Goldberg comments:

I am delighted by the Roman Polanski controversy. Don’t get me wrong: I am horrified and disgusted by what the acclaimed director did — and admitted to — but there is an upside.

Just to recap, Polanski drugged a child put in his care for the purposes of a photo shoot. He tried to bully her into sex. She said no. He raped her anyway. He pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse but fled the country before sentencing, allegedly for fear the judge wouldn’t keep his end of the plea bargain. He spent the subsequent three decades living the life of a revered celebrity in Europe. He never returned to America because there was a warrant for his arrest. In a bit of ironic justice, he was apprehended en route to Zurich to receive a lifetime-achievement award. That ceremony will apparently go on without him.

So what do I like about the controversy? Well, for starters, that there is one at all. I think it is fascinating beyond words that this is open to “debate.”

He goes on to look at the shape of the controversy and concludes:

And that’s the main reason I am grateful for this controversy. It is a dye marker, “lighting up” a whole archipelago of morally wretched people. With their time, their money, and their craft, these very people routinely lecture America about what is right and wrong. It’s good to know that at the most fundamental level, they have no idea what they’re talking about.

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