Sunday, December 10, 2017

Woody Allen and Soon Yi Previn: basic facts

Dylan Farrow's Why has the #MeToo revolution spared Woody Allen? asks a question that implies an answer she does not want to hear. Abusers tend to have more than one victim. When no one else is speaking out now, in a time when victims are being supported, the odds increase that Allen is innocent. Before deciding, read Woody Allen, Sex Abuse Allegations, and Believing the Victim, which includes useful information like this:
While Soon Yi Previn was an adult (her birthdate is unknown but her age was in the range of 18 to 20) and Allen had never acted as her stepfather, even his defenders generally agree that the affair was sordid and grossly inappropriate.
...a major Canadian study that tracked more than 11,000 reports of child abuse and neglect in Canada in 2003. While reports of sexual abuse made during custody or visitation conflicts are fairly rare — the study identified 69 such cases — they are also quite likely to prove unfounded. Child protection workers substantiated just 11% of these charges, while 34% were “suspected” to be valid but not fully confirmed; 36% were classified as unsubstantiated but made “in good faith,” and 18% as deliberately false. By contrast, the rate of false allegations for all child sexual abuse reports was 5%. (The claim that malicious accusations in custody disputes come mostly from fathers is based on an earlier phase of the same study. However, fathers’ false reports were overwhelmingly of child neglect and sometimes physical abuse; false charges of sexual molestation were more likely to come from mothers.)
Woody Allen’s relationship with Soon-Yi is creepier than you could imagine includes this quote from Soon-Yi Preven:
 “To think that Woody was in any way a father or stepfather to me is laughable.”
and notes:
Allen and Previn married in 1997 and have two adopted children together.
The adoption process is not easy for anyone. In Allen's case, the charges against him would've resulted in exceptionally close scrutiny.

Does this mean he didn't abuse Dylan Farrow? No. It means we can't know, and sadly, neither can she. One lesson learned from the Day-care sex-abuse hysteria is that young children are susceptible to having their memories manipulated.

But the absence of other accusers strongly suggests that Allen deserves the benefit of the doubt.

As for his relationship with Soon-Yi, I'm a little creeped out by the difference in ages, but she was an adult when the affair began and, so far as anyone knows, continues to be happy. Their relationship isn't for me to judge. Unless you want to change the age of consent, it's not for you to judge either.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

This video about editing the first Star Wars has good points about effective storytelling in all forms

Lucas, like most of us, was at his best when he had to carefully consider the opinions of other people. The first Star Wars would have failed if he hadn't had a smart producer, Alan Ladd Jr., who forced him to go through many drafts of the screenplay, and a smart wife who may deserve a co-writer's credit, Marcia Lucas. As this video points out, he also got solid advice from fellow directors on what to cut.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

What Samantha Geimer says about Roman Polanski and why his haters ignore her

My curse is to see a third side in polarizing issues. The result is getting hated or ignored by people on both sides. I'm saddened to see the same thing happens to Samantha Geimer: the people who claim to be her champions have no interest in what she says, and the worst defenders of Polanski say that because she was sexually active, she must have consented.

She's told her story many times, and the basic story stays the same:

1. She was sexually active.

2. She did not consent.

3. She thinks Polanski's original sentence and time served was sufficient. (For more about that, see The prurient hounding of Roman Polanski is over at last | Agnes Poirier | Opinion | The Guardian)

Here are three tellings of the situation by Geimer; I recommend reading them all.

Roman Polanski sexual abuse case - Wikipedia:
According to Geimer's testimony to the grand jury, Polanski had asked Geimer's mother (a television actress and model) if he could photograph the girl as part of his work for the French edition of Vogue,[13] which Polanski had been invited to guest-edit. Her mother allowed a private photo shoot. Geimer testified that she felt uncomfortable during the first session, in which she posed topless at Polanski's request, and initially did not wish to take part in a second but nevertheless agreed to another shoot. This took place on March 10, 1977, at the home of actor Jack Nicholson in the Mulholland area of Los Angeles. At the time the crime was committed, Nicholson was on a skitrip in Colorado, and his live-in girlfriend Anjelica Huston who was there left, but later returned while Polanski and Geimer were there. Geimer was quoted in a later article as saying that Huston became suspicious of what was going on behind the closed bedroom door and began banging on it, but left when Polanski insisted they were finishing up the photo shoot.[14] "We did photos with me drinking champagne," Geimer says. "Toward the end it got a little scary, and I realized he had other intentions and I knew I was not where I should be. I just didn't quite know how to get myself out of there."[15] In a 2003 interview, she recalled that she began to feel uncomfortable after he asked her to lie down on a bed, and described how she attempted to resist. "I said, 'No, no. I don't want to go in there. No, I don't want to do this. No!', and then I didn't know what else to do," she stated, adding: "We were alone and I didn’t know what else would happen if I made a scene. So I was just scared, and after giving some resistance, I figured well, I guess I’ll get to come home after this".[16]
Roman Polanski’s Rape Victim Urges Court to Drop 40-Year-Old Case – Variety:
“He got arrested. I knew he was sorry the next day,” she said after the hearing. “I was sure he instantly regretted what he had done and wished it hadn’t happened. It just wasn’t as traumatic for me as everyone would like to believe it was. I was a young sexually active teenager and it was a scary thing, but it was not an uncommon thing. I understood much worse things happened to people. So, I was just not as traumatized as everybody thinks I should have been.”
Geimer also resisted the idea that Polanski was a pedophile.
“I was almost 14,” she said. “I wasn’t 10.”
Samantha Geimer, Victim In Roman Polanski Sex Case, Defends Him In Court | Deadline:
Reporters severely questioned whether her defense of Polanski let him off too easily, and might encourage other predators. But she insisted that Polanski had done his time and had since suffered the sort of shaming that was once loaded on her. “I was a drug-doing Lolita who had cornered him,” she said, describing the sort of insults that were thrown at her in the 1970s. “Now, he endures it because everyone is calling him a pedophile, the insults have switched.”
And yet his haters continue to ignore Geimer's wishes and insist he must be punished. How that will help anyone, they do not say. The reason is they're not interested in helping anyone. They want to see someone suffer. And if that means prolonging Geimer's suffering, they're happy to do it.

UPDATE: When I first posted this, I said there were no other accusers. I was wrong. There are: Roman Polanski is now facing a 5th accusation of sexual assault - Vox. I wouldn't have written this as I did if I'd known that—I was remembering research I'd done before anyone else came forward.

I still think Geimer's wishes should be respected, especially in light of the original judge's conduct, but I also believe Polanski's other accusers deserve the right to charge him now.

On Douglas Williams, The Guardian, and the DSA, or Why identitarians hate context

If I wrote like Douglas Williams and so many people online, I would first tell you what to think, then share screen caps or links so you would read them with my interpretation in mind. It's an ancient trick that should have a name and probably does. It's a way of pretending to be objective while promoting your bias.

And I suppose I've already done that by associating Williams with people who do what he does. We're all human. He and I both should be forgiven some missteps when we're trying to make our point and be fair to the other.

He made this public post at Facebook:

Williams' screen cap is from the comments on R. L. Stephens' public post (which I wrote about yesterday in A black man and a white woman fight, or Will identitarianism destroy the DSA?):

From the comments there, some of the context that Williams omits (the reference to "our man" is to Stephens):

Williams entered the discussion much later in the comments:

He ignored that. In his version of Oppression Olympics, women should only be afraid of white men.

I keep being amazed by the selective way identitarians read. But then I remember Adolph Reed Jr.'s observation near the end of The limits of anti-racism:
Yes, racism exists, as a conceptual condensation of practices and ideas that reproduce, or seek to reproduce, hierarchy along lines defined by race. Apostles of antiracism frequently can’t hear this sort of statement, because in their exceedingly simplistic version of the nexus of race and injustice there can be only the Manichean dichotomy of those who admit racism’s existence and those who deny it. There can be only Todd Gitlin (the sociologist and former SDS leader who has become, both fairly and as caricature, the symbol of a “class-first” line) and their own heroic, truth-telling selves, and whoever is not the latter must be the former. Thus the logic of straining to assign guilt by association substitutes for argument.
Short version: Cults gotta cult.

Ah, well. I continue to think third parties don't have a chance in the US's two-party system, so I hope the DSA can succeed. But if I was a capitalist who wanted to guarantee their failure, I'd do all I could to promote their identitarian wing.

This post is long enough, so I'll stop. But if you're curious about left-identitarianism's long history of failure, you might start with Antiracism campaigns: Twenty years of making racism worse.

P.S. I forgot to say anything about the Guardian. I mentioned it because Williams has written for them. Like all major liberal news sources, its writers are far more comfortable writing about identity than class.