By Isaac Butler
Since I happen to be in France right now, and since this issue appears to have come up once again in the Times... Roman Polanski is not Captain Alfred Dreyfus. A comparison between the two would be insulting were it not absurd. Alfred Dreyfus was a Jewish French army officer wrongly accused of and framed for treason who was given two sham trials before finally being pardoned and then eventually fully exonerated so that he could continue to serve in the military of a country that despised him for being a Jew. It was a horrible episode in French history that revealed the anti-semetic undercurrents of European nationalism, currents which would then explode in France as the collaborationist government and every day citizens helped deport and exterminate tens of thousands of Jews living in France.
Roman Polanski anally raped a drugged thirteen year old girl and fled the country rather than serving the very minor sentence he was given of ninety days of psychiatric evaluation at Chino State Prison. There's no equivalence here. But now that Polanski is making a film about Dreyfus, I have a feeling we'll be reading a lot of bullshit comparing the two of them.
Oh, and note to the press: Can we stop referring to what Polanski did as "having sex with" a teenaged girl?