Is it just me, or rape been getting a passable rep lately? First, we had the massive scuffle over the Polanski arrest, seriously disrupting the general zen of our cultural zeitgeist. Suddenly, everyone felt that they needed to take a position (no pun intended), to pick a side. Now, the fact that there should be multiple, let alone opposing sides on the issue of child rape is, in itself, disturbing. So, it’s a good thing that all those Hollywood actors and actorvists decided to use their power and influence to take a stand on this crucial issue. Unfortunately, they stood behind the rapist. You can see the list as of the end of September here: http://www.indiewire.com/article/over_100_in_film_community_sign_polanski_petition/P1/ (Sorry, but I am not the mad hyperlinking genius behind The F-Wave).
*Now, I know this is off topic, but looking at this list, I can’t help but notice that Darren Aronofsky, someone I consider a true artist, signed the petition (booo), but that his equally talented wife, Rachel Weiss, did not (woohoo!). I have a vision on Darren spending a long exile on the couch.
*And don’t miss Kate Harding’s badass essay on the issue: http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/09/28/polanski_arrest/
After that hullabaloo died down (and whatever happened to Polanski? Is he trapped forever in a Swiss prison being force-fed powdered hot chocolate?), it was replaced by the disturbing story of a 15 year-old girl, who was gang raped for at least two hours outside her homecoming dance, while an audience of fellow students looked on. Let’s repeat this, it was over TWO HOURS before one of the witnesses thought it best to call 911. Only two of the alleged assailants have been detained. Oh, but she was drinking alcohol, so you know, it happens.
To top it all off, we have the story of darling Al Franken. No, Senator Franken was not raped. Rather, in a shocking act of feminist pandering (where were his actorvist counselors when this was going down??), he introduced a bill that would make it illegal for private companies to force employees to sign contracts, waiving their rights to prosecute in the event of sexual harassment. Or, you know, RAPE. While this may seem a bit redundant, since rape is theoretically illegal here in the US of A, this bill was sparked by the case of a woman who went overseas as an employee of KBR (aka Halliburton). There, she was gang raped by fellow workers, and when they realized that perhaps she would report the crime, they kept her locked in a shipping container under armed guards. When she was finally released, after the intervention of her parents, by way of her Congressperson, she was unable to sue her employer. As if the need for such a bill seems absurd enough, think about the fact that 30, I repeat 30 US Senators voted against it. I think Jon Stewart sums this up nicely: “If, to protect Halliburton, you have to side against rape victims, you might want to rethink your allegiances.”
So I guess my real question here is . . . when did at least the public appearance of rape being, well, bad become passee?