- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2003

Oscar fugitive

“A few weeks back, film director Roman Polanski received an Academy Award for his work on ‘The Pianist.’ Just one problem: He couldn’t receive the honor in person because he’s an international fugitive, running from a jail sentence after being convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl. Had Polanski traveled from his home in France to attend the March 23 awards ceremony in Los Angeles, he would’ve been arrested before setting foot on stage. …

“But that didn’t stop many of the Hollywood elite from giving him a standing ovation and praising him in the media accounts about the ceremony. …

“Polanski’s supporters offered a variety of excuses, all noteworthy for their sheer moral squishiness. Some said that the crime should be forgotten because it happened decades ago. … Many say that the case shows that an artist’s private life and his work aren’t related.

“These arguments are not only outside the law, they’re usurping the justice system. It’s not that convicts should never be allowed to move beyond their crimes after they do their time. But Polanski never did his time. ‘He’s a convicted felon and a fugitive, and that’s not going to go away,’ Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons told MSNBC. ‘You don’t get a pass for longevity.’”

Marshall Allen, writing on “Celebrity Injustice,” Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org

Eternal adolescents

“For centuries, most people married and began families in their teens. If today they are not ready until 25 or 30 or 35 then our first question ought to be, ‘Why aren’t they?’ …

“The unnatural prolongation of adolescence poses a variety of moral problems. Normal erotic desire is transmuted from a spur to marriage to an incentive for promiscuity. Promiscuity thwarts the attainment of moral wisdom, and makes conjugal love itself seem unattractive. Furthermore, prolonged irresponsibility is itself a sort of training, and a bad one. Before long the entire culture is caught up in a Peter Pan syndrome, terrified of leaving childhood. At this point even the responsibilities of marriage and family begin to lose their transformative character. Men in their 40s with children in their 20s say, ‘I still don’t feel like a grown-up,’ ‘I still can’t believe I’m a father.’ Their very capacity to face the moral life has been impaired.”

J. Budziszewski, from his new book, “What We Can’t Not Know”

High-tech ‘Ghosts’

“As Bill Paxton actor turned narrator and deep-sea explorer in James Cameron’s ‘Ghosts of the Abyss’ prepares to make the 2.5-mile trip below the surface of the North Atlantic to explore the Titanic, he notes in a tone of foreboding that, like the maiden voyage of Titanic, the crew traveling to film the sunken ship is pushing the ‘limits of technology.’

“The combination of the technology on the screen the cutting-edge submersibles and camera-ready remote operated vehicles, dubbed Jake and Elwood with the technology of the screen 3-D IMAX confirms in some measure Paxton’s statement.

“Of course, Cameron’s voyage never approximates the shock, tension, or drama of Titanic’s fatal trip…. Yet the film, which lasts just over an hour, is so effectively shot and edited that it brings viewers into contact with the past, not just with a relic, but with living history. … This is a film that needs to be seen in an IMAX theater; the DVD version is likely to be something of a disappointment. …

“Because of Cameron’s artistry, it is not just things that resonate, but human lives as well. … Unlike his 1997 movie version of ‘Titanic,’ which wallowed in the romance of its central characters, the tone here is always somber, as befits a visit to a gravesite.”

Thomas Hibbs, writing on “No Leo This Time,” Thursday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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