Thursday, October 15, 2009

Look at the size of that thing!

Magicians don't make things disappear, but they are very good at focusing your attention away from what they're really doing, with jokes, pretty girls in skimpy costumes, flashy patter or a flair for showmanship. It's all about keeping your attention away from what they're really doing. The only magic is in the gullibility of the audience. Media outlets and politicians have learned the art of misdirection very well as anyone who reads or hears or sees the news can tell you, or at least they would tell you if they weren't so caught up in the trick.

When I was a child, the favorite prank was to shout out something outrageous (Look! That guy is naked!) to make you look away right before they poked, slapped, pitched, etc. you while laughing and saying, "Made you look. Made you look." It was funny if you weren't on the receiving end. The only ones who didn't look for their chance to even the score were either repressed or made-to-order fall guys.

One thing as a child I looked forward to as an adult was no more "Made you look. Made you look." while rubbing a sore arm or leg. No such luck. My arm and leg aren't sore, but my sense of justice is still smarting. Welcome to the grown-up world of "made you look." It's all about focusing attention on issues guaranteed to get your blood boiling and your sense of outrage tuned to a fever pitch.

It didn't start with O.J. Simpson's lawyer Johnny Cochran, but I'll start there. Instead of focusing on the issues -- a man accused of murdering his wife and a friend in cold blood -- Cochran focused on the race issue. It's all about a black man who married a white woman. Uh, no. It's about a man who plotted and murdered his wife in cold blood. By focusing on race, a real hot button, Cochran managed to keep the prosecution and the jury off balance in order to get his client off on a murder rap. The legal profession has always played "made you look" in order to rake in the bucks.

It works for law enforcement, too. Since the police were in Al Capone's inside pocket and the FBI were unable to make murder, drugs, prostitution, boot legging and racketeering on shifty Al, they got him on tax evasion. Made you look!

The left leaning side of the political scene has spent the past two years playing "made you look" in order to elect a nobody from nowhere as president. The campaign was never about the issues, but about race. If you opposed the Democratic party's nominee for president, you were a racist. I think a lot of people voted for Barack Obama not because he had a great record in politics or government or economic and social reform, but because they were afraid that if they didn't they'd be racists. Funny how that worked out. The President keeps playing that race card any time opposition to his plans and schemes becomes vocal and focuses on issues and the results of disastrous legislation and political moves. Made you look! It's an ongoing game that will get a lot of play in the next three years, and it's being played in other ways, too. The economic downturn, inflation and rampant unemployment is not due to the stimulus package or the other disastrous legislation signed into law by the President; it's George W. Bush's fault. Made you look!

The latest non-political game of "made you look!" is being played out over Roman Polanski. How many people have actually taken the time to look at the reason Polanski is being expedited? How many reporters for the media have focused on the real issue? None. All media attention and most people are caught up with the issue of whether or not Polanski raped, sexually abused and sodomized an 11-year-old girl under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It's a heinous act, but that is a topic for another post. People have taken sides. It's over already, they say. He paid the girl $500,000 in 1992 and she doesn't want to relive the nightmare and have him prosecuted. Made you look!

Polanski's extradition has nothing to do with the rape. It is a result of the rape (and, yes, Whoopi Goldberg, it was a rape-rape; she said no), but not the issue. Polanski plea bargained his case and was sentenced to undergo psychiatric evaluation for 90 days. The doctors were convinced that Polanski was not psychotic or dangerous and finished their evaluation in 42 days. Polanski was out on bail and slated to go before a judge who was to determine where and how Polanski would serve out the remaining 48 days. Fearing that he would be in prison for years, Polanski jumped bail and fled the country and has been on the run ever since, avoiding any country that had an extradition treaty with the United States. His mistake was going to Switzerland, that bastion of neutrality, to pick up an award for one of his movies where he got tagged. Made you look!

The Swiss judges refuse to let him out on bail because he is a flight risk (ya think?) and await extradition proceedings to proceed. Now the movie and arts communities are up in arms because Polanski has been in prison all these years, suffering for having sex with a minor under the influence of alcohol and drugs. They point to the girl, now a woman, who doesn't want to dredge up the past (or lose what's left of the $500,000 Polanski gave her in reparation for raping and sodomizing her) and has forgiven him. Guess what? It's not about a woman who was raped and sodomized as a child; it's about Polanski jumping bail and fleeing the country. That is a felony and he is right to worry about spending a few years in prison.

By focusing on the rape of a minor, a done deal as far as the courts are concerned, the media stirs up people's emotions and outrage and keeps them from seeing what's really going on. It's the ultimate "made you look!" Whether or not Polanski has made peace (paid off) with the rape victim has nothing to do with his extradition or his pending jail term. He jumped bail and fled the country over serving another 48 days and condemned himself to a lifetime of running, albeit in the best hotels and restaurants and resorts while making millions of dollars. He could have dealt with this years ago, come back to the U.S. and cited temporary insanity. He would have served maybe a year in prison, but most likely would have been sentenced to community service or something equivalent. Instead, he compounded his mistake of failing to serve the remaining 48 days of his sentence and turned the world upside down defending and reviling him for a rape that was already a closed case. It's not about the rape; it's about jumping bail and fleeing the country. That cannot be said too often. Not rape. Jumping bail and fleeing the country. Keep saying it. Repeat it often. Use it whenever someone brings up the fact that Polanski has suffered over his indiscretion (rape and sodomy) with a minor. Focus on the issue. Jumped bail and fled the country. Felony flight. Needs to pay for that.

Unless Polanski is willing to fork over a few hundred billion dollars to the U.S. government (they can use it), he needs to be a man, come back, face his punishment and stop playing games. This is one "made you look!" that needs to end.

As for the size of that thing . . .

Made you look!

That is all. Disperse.

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