The fact of this rape has nothing to do with the fact that Polanski is also a significant artist.
Polanski did not commit rape because he is an artist. He did not commit art because he raped. That art and rape can be present in one person, should not, but does, surprise us.
Because the person he raped wants the matter to be dropped, I am torn on what I think should happen next. But that is the only reason.
There is, if you have not yet heard a petition going around that has been signed by luminaries of the film world protesting Polanski's arrest in this case, with some specificity being made about the arrest transpiring at a film festival.
The list of signatories is breaking my heart. It includes not just people whose work I admire, but people whose existence and/or work I feel has made my existence safer (yes, I'm looking at you, Tilda Swinton). Perhaps more distressingly, it includes people I have also worked with, not just in the sense of yes, we got a check from the same production company and might have exchanged a smile, but in the sense of people who have given me direction, touched me in the act of scene composition and deemed me worthy not just of praise, but of work; in celluloid they decreed my existence.
How dare you all!
A child got raped, and while there are reasons to perhaps discuss what should happen to Polanski next and why, Polanski isn't less of a rapist because he makes important films. And he's not less of an important filmmaker because he raped.
But that's not even what's important.
What's important is that a horrible crime is not less significant because a bunch of people sign a piece of paper because they're upset something ugly happened amongst all their pretty. That those people are the people who inadvertently, or in a few cases by looking into my eyes and telling me how to feel, taught me that pretty isn't all that counts, has me utterly shaking, mostly, but not entirely, with rage.
I am not articulate about this. This is not how I wanted to see all my heroes fall. And I'm just sitting here watching the list grow and praying, praying, praying that no more names with personal meaning to me show up on it.
But more than that, I pray that we somehow manage to do right both by our judicial system and the person who was raped.
Believe it or not, this has nothing to do with art, and I don't get why people can't see that.