Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Political is Personal, and Occasionally Cinematic.

Over in the Movie Bonanza post, Trooper York refers to some people whom he will not part with his money--or even attention--for. His last response is worth quoting in full:

I don't really get mad. I just refuse to waste my time on people I detest because of politics or something they have done in real life. Like Woody Allen or Roman Polanski. I can get through my life just fine without giving them any of my money. There is currently a move to rehablitate Polanski, I wonder how that will go.

But Robin Williams and Sarah Jessica Parker are the King and Queen of the Dammned.

I was going to say that I'm not particularly that way, although it is true that I'm pretty strict about avoiding giving Microsoft money. But individuals? I don't generally feel it.

I have enough unpopular ideas that, were I to enforce any sort of ideological purity, I'd never be able to watch or buy anything. But are there limits? Well, I won't go to see Michael Moore any longer, but that's because he's convinced me that he's actually a bad person. I actually wish some of the ideas he promotes had as eloquent a voice in someone less vile. (So, there's a rule: If you want me to stop purchasing your wares, simply exult in treating others badly.)

Now, Roman Polanski is an interesting case. Troop is right that there are forces trying to rehab him. It doesn't seem to be in dispute that he drugged and raped a 14-year-old girl, and whether her mother set them both up is rather irrelevant to that. The girl (now a woman in her 40s) has forgiven him, but perhaps that's not really relevant. It's easy to say, "Yes, Polanski is worthy of censure."

But what does that mean? OK, no more going to Polanski movies. Well, I think I've been to one (The Ninth Gate) without knowing it was his. But does it mean, say, we don't watch Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby? Forever, or for a few years, or what?

What is it we're trying to accomplish? Or are we not trying to accomplish anything, and this is just the one remnant of "polite society" left? "We have few standards, but we don't watch movies by rapists."

Polanski's aberrations are not his art, unlike the previously mentioned Michael Moore. He doesn't exult in raping 14-year-olds, I don't think, and he certainly doesn't film that. I probably would have gone to see the Leni Reifenstahl movie had Jodie Foster managed to make it, but I don't think I'd have gone to see a Reifenstahl movie, had she made one in recent decades. Her art was her undoing as well. Polanski seems to me (by contrast) to be an ethically weak, drug-addled celebrity of the sort we excel in creating here.

I don't have anything conclusive to add, really.

Except maybe: Forget it, Troop, it's just Tinseltown.


  1. The answer is that it's a big world out there with a lot of alternatives. My granddaughter is coming to visit this week and I want to teach her that she has choices. She has to have integrity and she needs to make choices. Don't give support, even tacit support to people who don't do the right thing. For example R. Kelly. I don't know if he's guilty or not but I ain't buying his stuff. Now a hot mess like Britney Spears doesn't really mean it, she was just exploited and destroyed by her family and hangers-on. So I won't boycott her stuff. But someone like Benecio Del Toro who is humping his Che movie is actively promoting evil. I won't be watching any of his stuff. I mean I might love Hallie Berry and all but I won’t use pay per view for their movie even if there isn’t anything else to see. Because there is a lot of other stuff out there. Ice road truckers. Poker after dark. Even freakin’ QVC. You have to have a little integrity and deny yourself stuff you might like to not aid and abet the douches of this world. You see integrity is what you do when nobody else is watching.

  2. And I am trying to be good today. On John Althouse Cohen's site today, he has a post with the tag "taboo." Now I have twenty-five Kay Parker jokes all lined up and I am not using them. Restraint is very hard.

  3. As I am thinking of Kay Parker. But that's another story.

  4. I don't know that this is a matter of integrity. I mean, it could be if I were taking a stance and secretly doing something else.

    But I don't care all that much with Polanski, Allen or--well, maybe a little with Steven Soderbergh.

    I'm having trouble watching Brian De Palma movies lately, though, and I used to be a fan.

    I don't do PPV though, so...

  5. Somehow I don't think the Althouse-Cohen boys would be up on the Kay Parker jokes. Just a hunch.

  6. PPV is the only way to go in my opinion. Nowadays, my 72 inch plasma is as big as the screen in the multiplex. And I can rewind if my wife misses any of the dialogue. Plus the price can't be beat. For about 5 bucks you can catch a movie that would cost 50 or more if you go to the movies with travel and snacks etc. The only downside is you have to wait a bit for the movies. But that’s not a big deal. Although I enjoy movies, I am not as obsessed with them as you. So I can let a lot of them pass me by without a second thought. You catch them on the rebound when they hit cable. That’s more than good enough for me.

  7. And you can be sure that those poor guys have no idea who Kay Parker is and would be offended by the joke itself. As well they should be. That's the whole point of the joke.

  8. I recently have done a drive by on a few other blogs. JAC has had his site pimped by his mom and instanerd and it was pretty funny. Very serious. With moderated comments. It must be hard to take a dump when you get that tight. He should have Titus over there to lossen things up a little.

    I also visited one that Reader-iam often post on. A whole different culture let me tell you. Not bad in itself, just a little too serious for my taste.

    Anyway I like the way you run your blog and keep up the good work. I hope you get a lot more hits. I think you are on the right track.

  9. A lot of the movies I see don't seem to come up on cable.

    Two can go to our local Laemmele for $10 on a weekday. Popcorn & sodas about $10.

    Plus, the manager comps us tix and refreshments because we're there all the time.

    And, you get a couple of hours of complete devotion to the screen, something I can't get at home. I've got so much to do here, going away from it is the only way to get my mind off it.

    In the grandkid phase, I might feel differently, of course. But you know, that's a long way off for me....

  10. I loved your comments on Jac. Very funny, especially because the whole place is sooo deadpan.

    Althouse has an interesting touch when it comes to moderation. I don't know if I'd let everyone's freak flag fly here, but I like her mix of killing the trolls, but primarily for violations of the (very loose) manners.

  11. I should say, I was online at Jac's age and juuuust as serious, for the most part.


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