- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Polanski’s other shoe

“We are not talking about a 17½-year-old, ‘Judge I swear she said she was 18.’ [Roman] Polanski drugged and liquored up and raped a 13-year-old child, then he scooted out of the country. He still gets support from Hollywood, saying it happened so long ago give the guy a break. …

“I believe that his punishment has been long overdue, and his Hollywood supporters should be ashamed of themselves. Just because Polanski has talent as a filmmaker doesn’t make him any different than any other child predator.

“I wonder how Polanski would react if Charles Manson, the man responsible for the murder of his first wife, Sharon Tate and their unborn child was suddenly let out of jail because its been 40+ years since their crime. At least Manson spent time in jail for his crimes.”

Sammy Benoit, writing on “Roman Polanski Still Treated Like a Hero in Exile — What Am I Missing?” on May 2 at his blog Yid with Lid

Maher’s new gig

“Some seriously brilliant producers at ABC television … were insightful enough to book [Bill] Maher as a participant in the roundtable political discussion on ‘This Week.’

“Although I had not seen Mr. Maher nor heard him with my own ears, I had heard of him from friends who apparently thought him to be quite a ‘hoot,’ funny, witty, and pretty darned smart. In imagining him from those descriptions, I pictured a modern-day George Carlin, maybe even a lineal descendant of Cheech or Chong. …

“What a surprise, then, to find that in fact Mr. Maher is neither funny nor smart. He is, I found, nothing more than just one more of those full-of-himself mean-spirited bigots whose certitude and nastiness so poison the well of democratic discussion. …

“And so the villain of this piece is? Not Mr. Maher: he is, sadly, what he is, and that is all he is. &… But George Will, Matthew Dowd, Al Sharpton, and Katrina vanden Heuvel, agree with them or not, have a proper place at the grown-up table; one can only wonder what the producers at ABC were thinking when they moved this character to a table at which the likes of George Stephanopoulos, Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson once sat.”

Mickey Edwards, writing on “On Discovering Bill Maher” on May 3 at the Atlantic

Banksy’s gimmick

“The most interesting thing about [‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’] is that Banksy gives a sort of semi-apology for this at the end. ‘Andy Warhol,’ he tells us, ‘took cultural icons and repeated them until they became meaningless, but he did it in an iconic way; Thierry made them really meaningless.’ Then we cut to Thierry [Guetta] himself grandly observing: ‘Only in time will you see if I’m a real artist or not.’ Back to Banksy again. ‘Maybe it means that art is a bit of a joke. I used to encourage everybody I met to make art. I used to think everyone should do it. I don’t do that so much anymore.’

“Later, a screen card pops up with the closing credits reading: ‘Banksy will never again help anyone to make a documentary about street art.’ That seems a promise worth holding him to, assuming for the moment that you can hold a superhero to anything. Yet in the movie’s defense, I would have to say that you are never likely to see a better example of how, in the art world as elsewhere, the principle of ‘style without substance’ has become the new substance.”

James Bowman, writing on “Exit Through the Gift Shop” on May 3 at the American Spectator

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