1. I missed this: Roman Polanski, with his “An Officer and a Spy” won the directing, and screenplay awards at the French Cesar awards last month, and the results were greeted by protests. After Polanski’s best-director award was announced, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” actress Adele Haenel and director Celine Sciamma walked out of the theater.
It was Polanski’s fifth Cesar in the directing category, He’s scum and a rapist as well as a fugitive from justice, but he is and has always been a great film director. Polanski did not attend the ceremony because, he said, he anticipated it would turn into a “public lynching.”
Haenel shouted, “Well done, pedophilia!” as she left the hall. In an interview with The New York Times about his nominations, she had said, “Distinguishing Polanski is spitting in the face of all victims,” she said. “It means raping women isn’t that bad.”
Think about that statement a bit, if you have to. It makes no sense at all, but articulates the logic of the cancel culture. The film is the film, just as a song is a song and a painting is a painting. None of these are the same as their creators. Just as the fact that art created by a saint doesn’t make it any better, the fact that other art is created by vile human beings doesn’t change the quality of the art for the worse. The law punishes people for bad deeds. Society punishes them in many other ways. What artists build, accomplish, and contribute to society are independent of the artists personally.
Bill Cosby’s albums are still funny, and nobody is saying that raping women isn’t that bad by enjoying those classic performances or by honoring Cosby as a performer. Harvey Weinstein produced too many great films to boycott.
Personally, I refuse to support Cosby, Woody Allen, Polanski and others who disgust me, but their work remains what it was and is, and burying it punishes the culture.
2. Submitted without comment: Ann Althouse flagged this from “The Sanders Campaign Is a Menace to Public Health/Bernie Sanders can’t beat Joe Biden. But he can force millions of people to risk being exposed to the coronavirus” by Jonathan V. Last:
[I]f [Sanders] does not suspend his campaign, immediately, then he and his supporters should be shamed and shunned…. Joe Biden has beaten him in every type of state… among nearly every demographic other than ‘people under 35’… in most places by wide margins…. But Joe Biden has not yet reached the 1,991 delegate threshold required to mathematically clinch the nomination. And since delegates are being awarded proportionally, he might not cross that line until the end of April—and even this assumes that the votes are held roughly as scheduled. As a theoretical matter, Sanders can keep campaigning until then by claiming that the race has not yet been decided. But it has….We are in the midst of a global pandemic…. In order to have an election, a bunch of volunteers—most of them well over the age of 35—get together in a firehouse or a school cafeteria. They then interact with a steady stream of people at close range for a day. These people hand objects to the volunteers (driver licenses, voting ID cards) and are then handed other objects (ballots or forms) in return. They stand within arm’s length of one another. And if the turnout is heavy, the voters stand in a line, waiting as a group…. There’s no shame in losing a campaign. There is a great deal of shame in what Bernie Sanders is doing right now. He is harming America. He should stop.
3. “You know: morons!” I was Christened in the Greek Orthodox Church, and my family continued to attend services with varying regularity until one priest gave a sermon asserting that the children of “mixed marriages”—like my parents, a Greek Orthodox spouse and one who wasn’t (my Dad was kind of a cynical Methodist)—were illegitimate in the eyes of the Lord, at least the one who speaks Greek. Dad got up, took the hands of my sister and me, and walked out of the service, never to return.
Now Greek Orthodox churches in Australia say that they will allow congregations to sip wine from the same holy spoon during mass because “the holy cup cannot carry disease.” If you’ve never been to a Greek Orthodox mass—and why would you? —during communion, a priest dips a spoon into a chalice of wine and places it into the mouths of parishioners. At a time when we are trying to contain the Wuhan virus, this would seem to be rash. Have no fear, however! The spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia explained that “once we decide to go to church, we believe there is absolutely no possibility of contracting disease from the holy cup….we believe that no disease or illness can exist in holy communion, which we believe is the body and blood of Christ.”
During the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, one of the most effective measures to prevent the disease’s spread was closing down church services.
4. The Really Big King’s Pass. Somehow, even though there is a shortage of Wuhan virus testing kits and critically ill Americans of normal size and income are waiting to be tested, somehow the NBA is managing to get its players, who are not a high risk group, tested. How could that be, especially since the season has been suspended? An NBA spokesman “explained”:
“Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given NBA players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus. Following two players testing positive last week, others were tested and five additional players tested positive. Hopefully, by these players choosing to make their test results public, they have drawn attention to the critical need for young people to follow CDC recommendations in order to protect others, particularly those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.”
Sure. The short version: “We’re rich, we’re famous, we’re bigger than you are, and we do what the hell we want.”