Thursday, October 08, 2009

Politico and partisanship: The very stupid attempt to link Roman Polanski to Obama and the Democrats, via Hollywood

By Michael J.W. Stickings

How it is relevant, Politico, that "[m]ovie industry types calling for the release of director Roman Polanski last year gave $34,000 to Obama's presidential campaign and the Democratic Party, FEC records show"?

Is the not-so-subtle implication that rape apologists are pro-Obama Democrats?

Clearly, this is stupid. While I -- as I have indicated strongly here on numerous occasions -- am opposed to the effort to "free" Polanski and find Polanki's Hollywood supporters misguided, to say the least, in their efforts, I do acknowledge that there is a legitimate case to be made on Polanski's behalf and that supporting Polanski's efforts to be "freed" does not mean supporting, or approving of, rape. It's not like Martin Scorsese ever said, I like rape; therefore, I support Roman Polanski. And it's not like Darren Aronofsky ever said, rape should be legalised, and what Polanski did was awesome.

So what if some of those who now support Polanski -- Politico only names seven -- gave to Obama and the Democrats last year? Politico is obviously trying to draw a connection, where none exists, to discredit Obama and the Democrats, to paint them as being the candidate and party of rape apologists from the Hollywood elite. The main donor by far, though, was Harvey Weinstein, who "gave $28,500 to the DNC and its White House Victory Fund." Scorsese, for his part, gave only $3,300 to the Obama campaign.

It's not like Obama and the Democrats were funded by neo-Nazis or other fringe extremists. And it's not like they were funded by rapists. A lot of people make political contributions -- and they do so for many different reasons. Yes, connections can be made when, for example, anti-abortion groups give to Republicans and pro-choice groups give to Democrats. Is there any such connection here? Well, movie industry "types" tend to be ideologically liberal or progressive, and hence Democratic in their party political orientation. And so it makes sense that some of the Hollywood "types" who have some out in support of Polanski supported Obama. But that's it. There is no direct connection from Polanski (and rape) to Obama via Hollywood.

Many liberals, like myself, have been strongly critical of Polanski, as well as of those in the film community who have rallied to his side since his arrest. It is ridiculous to suggest that these Hollywood "types" should be defined politically by their current support for Polanski rather than by the totality of their political views. It is outrageous to contend that their support for Polanski is akin to their support for Obama and the Democrats. And it is insulting to imply that support for Obama and the Democrats -- that being a Democrat -- means apologizing for, and excusing, rape.

But I suppose that's Politico for you.

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