Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Did Dick Cheney pay for his own heart surgery? I'm just saying, that a man who is against government shouldn't be taking government money for medical expenses.

Neverland Ranch State Park, Huh?

When I first heard that state assemblyman, Mike Davis had proposed that Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch be turned into California's newest state park, I thought it a joke. I know that I'm in a vocal minority that thinks Michael Jackson will be a forgotten figure in 30 years, (Remember Eva Tanquay? Fame is fleeting. Look her up, she's a great story.) but shouldn't we wait awhile to see if I'm wrong. Too, while Michael Jackson's supporters seem to attribute a god like quality to the man, the taint of possible child molestation can stink up the place.
But, then I began to give the idea some thought. The first thing I did was look up Neverland Ranch. Its 2, 676 acres is a significant piece of open space in a state that has a habit of putting real estate development on a sacred plane. Turn the house into a Michael Jackson Museum and restore the remaining 2, 670 acres to it's natural state. Hiking, bridal, and perhaps some bike paths, crossing a near natural bit of the Santa Ynez Valley sounds like a pretty good thing to me. Paying to buy the land could be problematic, but not impossible. Rather than pass a bond initiative, take out a bank loan, slap a $10 admission fee to the museum, and tell the bank all the money is theirs until the loan plus a reasonable amount of interest is paid. I would be surprised if initial visitation was under a million visitors a year. I'm willing to put up with crying Michael Jackson idolaters in the parking lot if I can walk away and into a piece of old California landscape in 10 minutes.

Mad Mel!

We know that Mel Gibson's father is a holocaust denier and an extreme anti-Semite. We know that such people usually have a whole host of such prejudices. We know that the man embraces a very conservative Catholicism that divides women into three categories: saintly virgin, wife and mother, and whore, bent on corrupting righteous men.
It's very possible that Mel Gibson is at war with himself. One side is rational Mel, who knows that the holocaust did happen, that Jews aren't responsible for the Crucifixion of Christ, and that other minorities are not inferior sub humans. And one the other side, emotional Mel is ruled by the prejudices pounded into him by his father. Or then again, Mel Gibson may just be a major league jack-ass.
Is it just me, or are there others out there wondering why Mel's use of certain racial slurs is a much bigger story than the domestic violence?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Roman Polanski 2

Well, I'm not really all that surprised. Roman Polanski is a free man, at least if he never ventures out of France or Switzerland. I always thought it unlikely that the Swiss would extradite Polanski to Los Angles to face sentencing for his rape (Plea bargained down to unlawful sex with a minor.) of a 13 year old girl.
What has always bothered me is the large number of people, who should know better, that seemed to just brush off what Polanski had done as some sort of right for those creative enough to have directed Chinatown. Let's be clear about what happened. Roman Polanski had forcible sex with a thirteen year old after giving her drugs and alcohol. He admitted this. He also admitted that he knew she was thirteen and that it was against the law for a man in his forties to have sex with a minor. In her initial interviews with the police, the victim claimed that she said no. Even if she was lying, it is still against the law. If she was telling the truth, she was forcibly raped by Polanski. Some of Polanski's supporters claim that the victims mother, basically, pimped out the girl to Polanski. There is no proof of this, but even if it were true, it is not legal to have sex with a thirteen year old, even if the mother consents. Many of Polanski's supporters point out that the victim, now a mother in her own right, would prefer that this all go away and that any prosecution of Polanski end. In the United states one does not commit a crime against a person, but rather against the laws of the state. It is irrelevant what the victim thinks. Many of Polanski's supporters argue that he was unjustly made an example of for his crimes, and was receiving unusually harsh treatment. In fact, in being allowed to plea bargain down to statutory rape from forcible rape, he was treated with a great deal of leniency. Polanski fled the jurisdiction when he learned that the plea bargain negotiated by his lawyers and the DA's office might not be honored by the judge. Plea bargains only go into effect when the judge signs off, and Polanski was informed of that possibility ahead of time.
For those who would argue that there was a lynch mob mentality in the United States surrounding Polanski's case, I would refer them to the death of Emmit Till. A request for extradition is far from being a lynching. For those who would argue that what Polanski did was not "rape rape," whatever that means, I would ask them to refer to the facts of the case. For those who would argue that Polanski has been punished enough I would ask them where in the law does it say that someone who has suffered in life is exempt from rape laws. For those would argue that his film career justifies his actions, I would ask what are the limits of the creative exemption to the law. Is is battery, robbery, rape, murder?
Roman Polanski is a great director. I have another blog that I've made up, primarily for my movie buff friends, and sooner or latter I'll add Chinatown, Knife in the Water and Rosemary's Baby to the list. But even though I admire his movies, that doesn't mean I think he should get away with rape and fleeing the jurisdiction to avoid jail time.
Is it just me, or are there others out there that find the Swiss claim that national interests were involved in denying the extradition request a little weird?