In a 24-7 media world, one would have expected the story of Roman Polanski to last, oh, about 9 1/2 minutes. He raped a girl, admitted it, fled the country before sentencing, was caught again and now faces justice.
On what planet is this controversial?
We might shrug and say, “Only in France,” where the culture minister called the arrest evidence of “a scary America that has just shown its face.” Or, perhaps, we say, “Only in Hollywood,” where more than 100 filmmakers and actors have petitioned for Polanski’s release.
What’s more likely is that we have reached the point, identified by the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, at which deviancy has been defined down to such an extent that we no longer recognize it. If it isn’t deviant for a 43-year-old man to stalk, drug, rape and sodomize a 13-year-old girl, what is?
Yet, during the past several days, Polanski has become a true cause celebre, point man in an international incident that has individuals and nations weighing in and staking out positions.
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