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Thursday, September 29, 2005

The moral ambiguity of celebrity

Roman Polanski has re-adapted the Dickens classic, Oliver Twist, and movie promos are playing constantly on the television. But I can’t even look at the main character’s face as he pleads “More, sir” with innocent eyes and not think of the innocence that Polanski tarnished nearly thirty years ago, an act for which he has yet to pay. And I wonder am I the only one who remembers that this man was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl? Does anyone care? Obviously not the stars of this movie which include Ben Kingsley, nor the actors of Polanski’s Oscar winner a couple of years ago, The Pianist, which garnered a previously unknown Adrian Brody his own Oscar as well as a chance to grope Halle Berry.

It seems in the world of Hollywood, creative genius trumps moral turpitude. You won’t find a long line of actors who will refuse to work with certain directors or producers no matter the whispers, the charges, the convictions. I'm not talking about the sexual affairs between adults, nor the stupidity of excess that adults partake in generally. It's their bodies to do with what they will, so who cares? But when the boundary crossed involves a child, my stomach lurches.

Take Woody Allen for example. Luminaries still consider it an honor to appear in his movies (albeit his genius has diminished in the last decade or so) despite allegations by his former wife Mia Farrow that Allen acted inappropriately with their child, nor for the obvious betrayal of trust when Allen admitted having an affair with a very young woman whom he raised as a step-child. I know people who now refuse to watch his movies. And I have to censure myself for laxity when I’m drawn into Hannah and her Sisters, conveniently “forgetting” my indignity. Maybe I make concessions here because no crime was ever proved, although in Polanski’s case, the alleged victim made the accusation and Polanski’s flight from the US to avoid prosecution basically brands him guilty.

As for Michael Jackson, I’ve removed all of his music from my computer. There is a lot of ambiguity here, because those making allegations don’t sport the innocence of an Oliver Twist (who, now that I think of it, is not the standbearer of childhood innocence, having been forced into thievery). Still, two allegations and another rumor of sexual impropriety with even another child making the gossip circuit… I’m not buying the defense that nothing ever happened between Mike and his prepubescent friends. He may not be a pedophile; let’s try pederast on for size.

As for R. Kelly…please! No more needs to be said when the man videotaped his own behind doing the nasty with a 14-year-old - or someone who looked like a 14-year-old. Only a trial by fact-finders will settle that issue. (Loved the spoof by Dave Chappelle, by the way).

Despite the allegations and accusations, the public still spends their hard-earned money on these celebrities and you have to wonder why. I guess because celebrity overrides a parcel of sins.

As for me, my money is too precious to contribute to the life style of someone whom I couldn’t trust around a child. Just too big a price to pay.

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 9/29/2005 09:10:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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