links for 2009-09-28

  • Uh-oh. Some guy tried to assassinate a Saudi prince by stuffing a bomb up his ass. Now, an internally-mounted bomb is a pretty ineffective means of accomplishing anything other than blowing yourself up, but now that it's been done, this presumably means that the TSA will entertain the notion of full rectal examinations prior to boarding airplanes. Even if that became standard practice, I bet the number of people flying wouldn't decline by more than about 25%.
  • If you care to understand what, exactly, Roman Polanski did to a thirteen-year-old girl back in 1977, these are the minutes of his victim's grand jury testimony. I read over this a couple of years ago, in an effort to understand what the deal was with this guy. I can't say that I'm glad that I read this, but having done so, I can say that I cannot comprehend the perspective of those who say that he mustn't be extradited to the U.S.
    (tags: crime court)
  • I tried to make it through this Microsoft promotional video, I really did, but it pains me too much. You know how, when hearing about some particularly ghastly injury or serious surgery, your shins and knees start to get tingly? This makes my whole *brain* do that. It's that awful.
  • The bull terrier was the most decorated dog in WWI.
    (tags: awesome dog)
  • This guy going backcountry skiing is wearing a POV helmet cam when he's buried by an avalanche, and then rescued. This is definitely not for the squeamish.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

9 replies on “links for 2009-09-28”

  1. I’m troubled by the idea of taking grand jury testimony, which does not involve cross-examination and is supposed to be secret, and accepting it as gospel. As I understand it, Polanski pled guilty to having sex with her, but that doesn’t mean he conceded everything in her testimony.

    That said, I think he should be punished further not only because of the crime but in order to discourage future criminals from thinking they can escape punishment by fleeing the country.

  2. I think when a grown man drugs and rapes a 13-year-old girl—to which he pleads guilty—and then flees the country to escape, it’s fair to accept the testimony of his victim as being correct. Since the only other person who can verify the statement is, again, a man who drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl and then fled the country. I know which person I trust more here. :)

    Salon summarizes this very well:

    Roman Polanski raped a child. Let’s just start right there, because that’s the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in “exile” (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never — poor baby — being able to return to the U.S.). Let’s keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she’d rather not see him prosecuted because she can’t stand the media attention. Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let’s take a moment to recall that according to the victim’s grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, “No,” then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm.

    Can we do that? Can we take a moment to think about all that, and about the fact that Polanski pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, before we start talking about what a victim he is?

  3. “Utterly astounding” indeed. People like Whoopi Goldberg trying to distinguish what he did as not really rape-rape, and the lack of outrage from various women’s groups is chilling indeed.

  4. For a long time I had assumed (or perhaps been misinformed) that Polanski was merely guilty of stautatory rape — that he had had consensual sex with an underage girl; not the classiest thing anyone has ever done, but also not the worst (there’s a long list of unfortunate people serving time for consensual sex, often under circumstances that are totally legal in other states).

    But then a few years ago, when Polanski was in a news a lot (I think it was when his Oscar Nomination for “the Pianist” re-focused a lot of the media attention on his life in exile) I actually took the time to look up the details of the case.

    Roman Polanski raped a child. He had sex with an unconsenting 13-year-old. That’s completely monstrous and unacceptable, no matter WHAT age she was (or looked), and no matter how many great films the guy directed. (The fact that the victim has forgiven him is, while admirable on her part, not even remotely relevant.)

    I actually felt kind of baffled that the “common knowledge” on the subject had “downgraded” his crime a fair amount, and I’ve since been shocked at the number of people leaping to his defense because they’re fans of his films.

    Does the fact that he raped a child mean that “Chinatown” is no longer a good movie? Of course not. Well it’s weird to consider it while you’re watching it, but it’s still an astonishingly great film when taken on its own merits.

    Does the fact that he directed a bunch of great movies make it OK (or even “less bad”) that he’s a rapist? Not in the slightest.

  5. Oh my god, that Windows thing hurts. HURTS.

    I thought being stuck on a PC while my darlin’ mac is out in California, being lovely tended to by Steve Jobs (I assume. It’s in California for repairs.) was torture, but this is baaaaad.

    Also, for those who are thinking about doing this: It’s a bad idea to leave your computer up and running so people can “mess around with it.” If you have friends like mine, at least.

Comments are closed.