I was reading around the topic of director Roman Polanski's arrest in Switzerland lately. That's not him pictured, read on. Due to the various high-profile reactions, there is now a debate going on around it. However, it is confused. It is at least three debates.
1) Should he be arrested, is he a criminal.
2) Should Hollywood have let him work (release and reward his works).
3) Do artist's behaviour/crimes affect their art, should we condemn his work.
I'm writing now because I'm interested in number three. The mainstream debate, excellently reproduced here,
The Polanski Uproar - NYT
... tends to come down on yes or no art is or isn't separate from the artist. I believe it's more complex than that, but easy enough to lay out. Let's clear up number one first so we can let it go.
In one of the essays presented in the NYT article there, Geraldine A. Ferraro says,
"A male is guilty of rape in the second degree when, being eighteen years old or more, he engages in sexual intercourse with a female less than fifteen years old."This is the definition of statutory rape. A 13-year-old can't consent to intercourse with a man over 18.There you have it. Also one of the commenters over at the The AV Club perfectly summed up their excellent podcast on the celebrity reactions thus:
"New rule: If your family is killed in the Holocaust and your wife is killed by Charles Manson, you are allowed one free rape."Indeed. Okay, we'd better go after the jump for the next part on art and artist's beliefs/behaviour.