Bill Maher and Gore Vidal -- two of my favorite contrarians -- are at odds over Roman Polanski. It is a culturally significant argument in that I have never seen an issue so polarizing. Hardcore progressives and conservatives -- philosophical mortal enemies -- have sort of teamed up against Euro-Hollywood jet-setting elites, drawing interesting class lines. From the VillageVoice:
"Roy Edroso, VV: Did you see Gore Vidal on the Atlantic web site this week? He made some comments on Roman Polanski. (Excerpt; 'Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she's been taken advantage of?... The idea that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko - that's what people were calling him - well, the story is totally different now from what it was then.') Your reaction?
Bill Maher: I don't agree. I love Gore, and I love the fact that when you get old, you can say anything. And the older you get, the more inappropriate and politically incorrect you can be: 'I'm 85, fuck off.' But he's dead wrong. That's being contrarian just to be contrary. It's a 13-year-old girl. I said this on my show: I don't know where you draw the line if you can drug and anally rape a 13-year old. I don't know what then we can say is out of bounds. I don't have any sympathy for Roman Polanski and I was surprised that so many people in Hollywood defended this. It's a defense of the indefensible."
I have to agree with Bill here. I don't quite know if it is an American-European thing, or a Hollywood thing (Gore has lived in both Ravello, Italy and the Hollywood Hills), but how could anyone in their right minds properly construe that a 13-year old could have consensual anal sex with a powerful A-List Hollywood director?