Monthly Archives: September 2009

Roman Polanski is an Animal and a Coward

Y’know, I really don’t know why I am so upset about Roman Polanski.  I mean, he’s the director of such notable films as Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist.  When one is a “respected” artist, shouldn’t we allow for certain…shall we say…”proclivities” that maybe aren’t what the average schmo should get away with?  After all…he’s a movie director!

What’s the big deal about telling a very pretty little 13 year old girl that he could make her a star – i.e., a model for the French Edition of Vogue magazine?  How narrow-minded can you be to imagine that taking pictures of the naked 13 year old girl in a hot tub, plying her with glass after glass of champagne and popping her a few Quaaludes (ostensibly, he said, to cure her asthma), and then showing her what a real man can do without Viagra is a problem?  And what’s wrong with the fact that he cautioned her to never tell her mother about their “little secret?”  It just makes the whole scenario more…intimate.

Go figure…the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office filed charges against Roman Polanski for this “innocuous” behavior – gee, it must have been a slow legal day.  After pleading guilty to having sex with a 13 year old child, working out a plea bargain, and then paying off the girl’s family, Roman Polanski fled the United States in 1977.  The American authorities (just stubborn, I guess) issued an international search request in 2005.  Swiss authorities arrested him Saturday at the Zurich airport.

How terribly inconvenient for the film world.  Polanski had traveled to Switzerland to collect a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Zurich Film Festival, and by going to Switzerland, he finally got arrested for his “lifetime guilt.”  Actress Debra Winger, President of the film festival’s jury, was terribly upset, poor thing:  “The festival has been unfairly exploited to secure Polanski’s arrest over a case that is all but dead.  Despite the philistine nature of the collusion that has now occurred, we came to honor Roman Polanski as a great artist.  We hope today this latest order will be dropped; it is based on a three decade old case that is all but dead except for a minor technicality.”

There are so many people around the world who were equally as astonished as I was that such an important film director should be treated so disrespectfully.  Jack Lang, a former French culture minister said, “While Mr. Polanski had committed a ‘grave crime,’ he is a great creator and artist, and there’s a sentiment here that pursuing someone for a crime committed 30 years ago…is unreasonable…a kind of judicial lynching.”  I’m not sure what Mr. Lang’s notion of what consequences a “great creator and artist” should have had, had he not eluded sentencing three decades ago.  And it certainly isn’t the fault of the American judicial system that a country such as France would give him sanctuary.

Apparently, 100 or so entertainment industry professionals created a petition for Mr. Polanski’s release, saying “Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision.”  It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.

After all, with all the stress of hiding in France to avoid criminal punishment for what is ultimately the drugging and raping of a little girl, he still managed to get the Best Director Oscar in 2003 for “The Pianist.”  In spite of the clarity of his “wrongdoings,” the Zurich festival director is experiencing “great consternation and shock,” adding, “We are unable to judge the legal background surrounding the arrest.”

Let’s go through this again:  the man drugged and raped a child.  The man drugged and raped a child, and then fled the United States to avoid jail time.  The man drugged and raped a child, and the fled the United States to avoid jail time, and has been for 30 years treated like the patron saint for the arts by a world that is growing more and more morally corrupt by the moment.

There is hardly a more sympathetic creature on the face of the earth than Roman Polanski.  He was born in Paris, moved to Poland with his Jewish family when still a toddler (shortly before World War II).  His mother died in a Nazi concentration camp, but Polanski avoided capture and spent his youth in Poland before moving to the United States.  His wife, Sharon Tate, was 8 months’ pregnant with their child when she was brutally murdered by the Manson family.  When you look at his ability to make movies, after these grossly horrendous experiences, it seems logical that you should forgive a little drugging and a little raping of a young girl.  NOT.

In my opinion, all those who have participated in any way in the making or distributing of Polanski’s movies for the last 30 years should be considered accessories after the fact, and part of a conspiracy to protect a child rapist.  Polanski’s movies should be boycotted by every decent American, as well as the movies of those who acted in or contributed to any of Polanski’s movies in the last 30 years.

The man is an animal and a coward.  He’s an animal because of what he did to a child; he’s a coward because he didn’t take his punishment like a man with character.

I am thoroughly disgusted by the world’s film community for supporting him just because he makes good movies.  I understand that Hitler was a good painter…Maybe we shouldn’t have closed in on and bombed his bunker because good painters are a treasure.

There’s word that both the Polish and French governments are going to try to get Obama to “pardon” him.  I can’t believe Obama would agree to such a request while looking into the eyes of his two little girls.  Can you?

Amoral is the word of the day – it means no moral compass whatsoever.  And that’s what we are seeing around the world in those who have come out to sympathize with and support Roman Polanski, child rapist.  His heinous act and three decades of freedom avoiding an appropriate sentence don’t mean anything to amoral people.  It’s all about the game of movies.  God bless the Swiss arrest and the intent of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office to bring him back to face justice. 

Someone in Hollywood is already, I am sure, scripting up for the movie of Polanski’s life, and to be sure, he will be presented to the Vatican for consideration of sainthood, because he is big box office.

When Students Don’t Make the Grade

When I was in grade school one year, I got a few “D’s” on my report card.  With a pen of contrasting color to the D, I made a line halfway across the letter from left to right, and turned the two D’s into weird looking B’s.  Much to my astonishment, my father noticed the alteration!  And, boy oh boy, I got punished.

The following story ups the ante on my little escapade:  An 11 year old boy from Alabama didn’t want to bring home his bad report card either.  So, he said that a man with a pistol snatched him after he left middle school, forced him into a beat-up car, and threatened to kill him.  He then explained that he escaped by jumping out of the car, but that he wasn’t able to grab his book bag in which was (no surprise here)….the report card.  The police investigators were a bit suspicious when the boy was able to “escape” with his cumbersome band instrument, but not his soft, smaller book bag. 

The boy ran to his grandfather’s house, and admitted to lying.  The grandfather called the police to apologize.

I mention this story because the issue of grades is important.  Grade inflation definitely exists — and it’s like telling a kid he’s special just because he breathes regularly. It builds a false sense of competency and value which condemns a kid to fail in the future and be frustrated that his unconditional perfection hasn’t quite panned out. 

In addition, there’s a lack of willingness to respect children who are able and willing to work hard and attain high grades and become valedictorians.  In fact, the acknowledgment of a valedictorian has been banned in some schools so the feelings of those less accomplished won’t be hurt. 

Then there are parents who want to see A’s, even if their child is capable only of a C+.  I always tell parents that the teacher should let them know at their regular meetings whether or not their child is doing his or her best – that’s the best -accomplishment.

It’s sad when parents don’t know what’s happening with their children’s school work until report card day, and then the yelling starts.  Yes, this Alabama boy did the wrong thing, but he must have been (as I was) VERY scared about the consequences.  He’s 11….11!!  If he’s that scared,  then let’s look at that first, and then help him to do his best.  Punishment for bad grades is not the way to go in this case. 

Punishment for editing the D’s or for lying to police?  Now that makes more sense.

Quote of the Week

Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be.
               – Harriet Beecher Stowe
                  American abolitionist and author
                  1811-1896

When Good People Make Bad Choices

Bad things happen to good people.  My question often is:  when they have a choice, why do good people choose for bad things to happen to them?  Here’s an email I received, which was titled “Choosing Wisely:”

Dear Dr. Laura:

…I have cerebral palsy.  My difficulties have motivated me to use common  sense quite frequently.  I consider what others may perceive as my  weakness to be my fulcrum of strength.

I have dated several men, but I knew at a young age that I couldn’t marry  a weak one.  I have to be strong, but in many ways, my husband IS one of  the reasons for my strength.

{I heard a female caller who knew she had not chosen her man wisely,  but] married him anyway.  When you were guiding her, she kept  responding with ‘I know that.’  But the fact is, she now has two children  who will likely witness an unhappy relationship between the parents or  succumb to the misfortunes of a broken home.  Why on earth are all the  red flags ignored?  We’re all born with a gift of intuition, but too often, it’s  discarded.  Choosing wisely in the first place is meant to help us avoid  unnecessary drama.

Many people still don’t realize the power that they have.  We teach others  every day how to treat us.  Conversely, we get treated in a manner that we  allow.  As I once read on your website, ‘The reason there are jerks is  because there is always someone willing to date them,’ and unfortunately,  in many cases, marry them.

My existence is hard, but choosing wisely was the easiest thing I have  done.  I have no complaints.  I suffer every day with a disability, but at  least it reminds me that I am alive.  I know you have said that what’s  ’normal’ cannot be fixes, and not everything can be.  However, if my  condition is the only thing I cannot fix, then I simply accept it.  I am my  husband’s girlfriend, and I remain your dedicated listener and reader.   Thank you for everything you’ve given me.

Sincerely,
Dana

As a psychotherapist with over three decades on THIS job, I know that plenty of people get absorbed in the melodrama of difficult situations with huge ups and downs.  Some people compulsively re-live early childhood problems in the hope of finally having them end up better; others are just not ready for healthy intimacy, but dive in anyway.  Then there are those who aren’t very interested in giving, which is avoidable if you’re in a difficult relationship with a difficult person and always spend your time angry or hurt. 

I know all this, yet it hurts my soul when people line up for grief, disappointment, disaster and hurt.  It makes me angry (sorry, it’s true) when they triangulate children into the chaos.

Choose wisely; treat kindly.  Those are my four words for success.  They are why I do my show three hours each and every weekday…in the hopes that many of you good people will not make bad decisions.  Your life counts on it.

TV Review: Fox’s “Glee”

There’s a new TV series that debuted two weeks ago called “Glee.”  The title refers to a high school glee club, and that’s as child-friendly as this show gets.  It should be rated “A,” for Adults Only. 

That said, this show kept my jaw dropped for half an hour.  Every possible stereotype can be found in “Glee,” and frankly, it’s hilarious.  The show is an equal opportunity offender of delicate senses, and is basically politically incorrect.

The Glee Club is run by a former student of the high school, Mr. Shuester, who is married to a blonde, self-centered woman who obviously never read “The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands.”  The Glee Club consists of a nice Jewish girl, an Asian girl, a sassy, large black girl, a gay male, a boy in a wheelchair, and a brain-dimmed jock. 

An uber-feminist cheerleading coach/teacher loathes any attempt of the Glee Club to gain prominence and take attention and financial support away from the cheerleaders, who are known as the “Cheer-i-os.”  She is vulgar and mean to the nth degree, and very funny because she’s so over the top.  In talking to Mr. Shuester, she says that (as she did with her elderly mother), he should “euthanize” the glee club program.  That’s a terrible thing to say!  But delivered by this actress (Jane Lynch), it’s hilarious.

The cheerleaders (all gorgeous, of course) also run the Celibacy Club, where they practice humping their boyfriends with balloons in between them.  If a balloon pops, an angel cries.  They espouse “teasing, but not pleasing.”  It’s obviously religious-based, and so religion is a bit put down by this group.

The nice Jewish girl from the Glee Club sounds like someone out of Planned Parenthood – i.e., “kids are gonna do it anyway, so we might as well give ‘em condoms,” and (with the Glee Club) performs a very gross performance of a rap song called “Push It,” with lotsa bumping and grinding.  Of course, the student “body” now wishes to join the Glee Club in droves. 

The guidance counselor is germ phobic and very hot for Mr. Shuester, whose wife is pretending to be pregnant.  It seems clear that Mr. Shuester is unhappy with his demanding, self-centered wife, and these two have an attraction.  However, the guidance counselor is a decent sort, and decides to date someone else, and not entertain her feelings for him.

So, this program goes back and forth from anti-religion/liberal sexual values for teens to the moral considerations of not engaging in an affair with a married man. 

Everyone will find something offensive, but, I’ve got to say, it is funny.  It’s on Fox, Wednesdays at 9PM Eastern/Pacific.

Proud To Be An American

I watched the most horrendous (but telling) video on Fox News last week.

The video was taken from one of America’s finest military airplanes, which was getting ready to send a missile to kill terrorists while they were working on planting a roadside bomb.  You can hear the pilots talking about the target and informing the base as to what they were about to do.

All of a sudden, one of them aborts the shoot because a young boy has come on the scene, delivering something, it appears, to the bombers.  Our guys halt their attack, and then watch as the boy moves away.  You hear one of the pilots kind of “cheering” the kid to leave the site, so they can then destroy the terrorists and their bomb. 

Suddenly, there’s a huge explosion.  It appears that the bombers have accidentally blown themselves up, saving us some ordnance.  I don’t know if the casualties included the boy.  I do know that the terrorists’ religious and political commitments to murder include killing their own women and children as part of their world vision.

I was proud for the whole world to see (assuming other news outlets played it) that our commitment was to protect the innocent whenever possible. 

It made me proud to be an American.