Chapter 7. Contextual lies: Righteous Indignation and Implied Sarcasm

Righteous indignation, as well as implied sarcasm, is a powerful tool of contextual lies.

Geimer/Silver/Newman team use it every time they have no arguments. When they have to give account of facts that are impossible to hide (not that, as we’ve seen, they wouldn’t stoop to just omitting a fact that is too uncomfortable), they either distort them or present them the way the reader has to believe these facts are false only because of the tone in which they are displayed.

It starts right away, on page 3.

Opinions on the Polanski case go something like this: He was a vile pedophile whose power allowed him to escape the long arm of the law. Or: He was a troubled man whose own horrific background did not allow him to gauge the difference between a child and a young woman. And the girl? She was an innocent victim. Or, no: She was a cunning Lolita. Or, perhaps most commonly: She was a reluctant but ultimately willing player in the crazy ambitions of her stage mother, who wanted her little girl to be a star.
Who was the predator? Who was the prey? We were all suspect: Was Roman a rapist? Had my mother set up the famous director to blackmail him, using her daughter as bait?

Leaving aside the not-quite-irrelevant question of why all other Geimer’s partners she had at the same time were unable to “gauge the difference between a child and a young woman”, either, let’s concentrate on the last line. In fact, it expresses the only explanation that could accommodate all the known facts without forcing them into a pattern. Cleverly positioned as it is, however, this explanation appears “refuted” by the very fact of being uttered. These kinds of decoys are scattered all over the book for the unwary reader. As if by just retelling this version she somehow provides arguments that nullify it. More examples of same:

But however persecuted he may have felt here, in Europe there was no debate: he was an extremely sympathetic figure, and it was easier to see him as a victim – if not of a malicious setup, then at least of America’s obsession with celebrity and the desire of every aspiring pretty girl to make it, however she could. And Americans – so puritanical, so obsessed with sex and sexual shenanigans!

This device works especially effectively when Geimer talks about the reaction their story produced immediately. The examining doctors, for example, failed to show enough sympathy:

“They think we’re lying,” Mom whispered to Bob.

Now we are supposed to believe that since she whispered that to him, it proves that they were not lying, and to share their righteous indignation at the heartlessness of the doctors. The doctors, let me remind you, who heard a story of rape and sodomy - and didn’t find any trace of any intercourse at all, let alone anal, - and a story of  a recent “drugging” and “plying” with wine, while the girl in front of them didn’t show any signs of either.

…the Quaalude was still in my system, and all of the Quaalude looseness and euphoria as well.
…Nobody took my blood. Maybe they just assumed that of course I’d been drinking and gulping pills. I was just another screwed-up little skank.

Much as we respect her self-pity, but… no. In this case, they would have had to test her, that’s the procedure. We have to conclude that she didn’t show any signs of intoxication, be it looseness or euphoria or glassy eyes or huge pupils – none whatever. This absence of signs fits the minuscule quantities which she had actually consumed.

The bad doctors go on asking questions:

Have you ever had sex before? And then: Have you ever had sex with Bob?
With Bob?
Now I was furious. I sat rigid with my arms folded, and spit out the answers. I don’t think I made a good impression, but then I didn’t see why I had to. I was the one who had been raped. Why was everyone asking me about what I’d done with my boyfriend, what I’d done with my mother’s boyfriend?

Because, according to her own words, she ("adult female", as the doctors defined her) was seen sitting on Bob's lap in the hallway, her arms around him, that’s why.

And there was the suggestion that I had been molested as a child, which was what motivated me to accuse Polanski later on. Polanski’s new lawyer, David Finkle, mentioned that I’d been asked by the district attorney whether I’d had sex with Bob, my mother’s boyfriend – and wondered why I had been asked that question. “Try insensitivity,” Larry shot back.
…In his autobiography, Polanski would write that at one of the hearings Gunson’s staff saw me and Bob – my mother’s long-term boyfriend, a man I considered another father – “locked in a steamy, passionate embrace. It wasn’t the avuncular hug of a grown man comforting a young girl – it was more; her leg was between his legs.”
I read this now and feel a little queasy. I did, in fact, sometimes regress with Bob; I remember sitting in his lap with my arms around him at one hearing. But the implication of this… Did anyone really report that? Did they really believe it?

Now remember what she looked like – a ripe young lady, – and don't forget Bob was not her father, not even her stepfather, not even someone who would have known her as a child, - but only a very recent mother’s boyfriend, who had only seen Samantha as an outstandingly precocious teenager.

…Incidentally, some of the articles also suggested I had been the one to bring cocaine and Quaaludes to the house. A few pegged me as a drug dealer.

Well, why the holy anger? If she was, according to her own book, dealing in drugs so soon afterwards, why couldn’t she have been doing it before? And, by the way: who did bring the Quaaludes to Nicholson’s residence?

It couldn’t have been Polanski for a number of reasons. First, he had his own, legally prescribed, Quaaludes of different strength. Next, if he had brought the ones in question, this information would have been around, as the only evidence that could have been used against him. Not only would it have been made widely known, but the charge of “drugging” wouldn’t have been dropped as easily. Moreover: if the pills had belonged to Nicholson, this could have been used to keep Huston on a leash. Instead, they used only cocaine: yes, it did belong to Nicholson, and yes, Huston was arrested (“In exchange for immunity on her cocaine possession charge, she agreed to testify for the prosecution. But her statement seemed to follow the narrative the defense was trying to create,” Geimer complains. Yes, Huston gave an honest account nevertheless; there still are decent people in the world). The most interesting part is that all the time the prosecution kept dead silence about those pills and their possible origin, and this makes it all the more probable that they were brought in by Samantha herself, who had access to them at home.

Polanski writes in his book: “She said that her sister, Tim [Kim. – J.M.] was a Quaaludes freak – she’d once been institutionalized for taking so many – and Sandra [Samantha – J.M.] used to filch some from her now and then.” Of course, that’s only what “he says”, but first, remember that he has never been lying (or at least caught lying – let’s give him the wrong side of the doubt, as usual) about anything in this case, and next, consider this: talking about his memoirs, Geimer agrees that they are mainly true. Listing the things she disagrees with, she never mentions this part.

Instead, she tries to incriminate him this way:

He seemed to have absolutely no clue he had done anything wrong – though he did try to inconspicuously drop the Quaalude he happened to be holding; the arresting officer caught him and seized the pill. That fact alone is odd, since Polanski had a prescription for Quaaludes for sleep problems. One can only speculate that maybe at that moment, it seemed too obvious he wasn’t using the pills for sleep.
Vannatter and Grodin showed him a search warrant, and once inside his hotel suite they found (but ignored) the little yellow case that held the pills.

That’s precious! Somehow she miraculously knows what they “found but ignored”. Please show me any mention of this “little yellow case” in any document, unless it’s the little yellow case that held the slides, not the pills (was it Silver who tried to make one of these objects to pass for another?), widely discussed at Grand Jury without any connection to that other, different box. But this isn’t the most stupefying yet: she pretends not to know that it was her sister’s boyfriend, Henri Sera, the very one who initiated the photo sessions, that brought Polanski the pills on that very night to be taken to a party (see the probation report). That’s why Polanski, who had his own, legal Quaaludes, now had these, the same strength that in Nicholson’s house, and if it isn’t a setup, what is it? Nice addition to the panties witha sterile stranger’s semen.

But no, the authors don’t ever speak of this. They keep using their favorite device instead:

They also knew no sperm was found. Which must have emboldened them [note this. - J.M.] to do what they did next.
[(AP), April 18, 1977:] “…Polanski pleaded not guilty to a LA County Grand Jury indictment charging him with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl (…)
“I am innocent and can’t wait to be vindicated,” Polanski told reporters(…)
[LA Times, April 12 77]: “Film director Roman Polanski’s attorney said Wednesday he plans to ask for an inquiry into previous sexual activity by the 13-year-old girl Polanski is accused of drugging and raping.
The lawyer, Douglas Dalton, indicated in Santa Monica Superior Court that he will also seek a psychiatric examination of the fame film director’s alleged victim.
“The facts that we’re aware of,” Dalton said, “show that before the events of this case, this girl engaged in sexual activities. We want to know when, where and with whom and why those people were not prosecuted.”
… ‘I seek to ascertain if she is truthful about her previous episodes of sex,” Dalton said in his motion. ‘It is possible that she fantasizes or lies about previous sexual experiences…’
Dalton said the prosecutor, by failing to question her further about when, where and with whom she earlier had sex, in effect deprived the defense of “vital” information that could be used to attack the girl’s credibility…
Dalton’s motions quoted a statement the boyfriend gave to the district attorney in which the boy said he talked to the girl just after the alleged rape. The girl ‘is always acting and therefore it was difficult to determine if she was truthful or not,’ the statement said.

How does she mean, “emboldened”? Of course, Polanski pleaded not guilty to “drugging and raping” – he had never done anything of the kind. Is the rightful indignation this time directed at Dalton, who was doing his job? Yes, in the absence of all proof everything hinges on the credibility of the alleged victim. Yes, her credibility was very doubtful, to say the least, what with the contradictions and improbabilities in her statements, the sterile man’s semen on her panties and so on. Yes, if we consider this case “rape”, then we should also investigate other cases when this very girl was “raped” in the same fashion; or does American justice discriminate between good American citizens and a Polish bohemian Jew? That Samantha’s boyfriend said she was “always acting and therefore it was difficult to determine if she was truthful or not” is by no means news to us by now; if anything, it’s an understatement.

But no, the authors want you to believe that everyone was just evil! Everyone, that is, except Silver and Philip Vannatter (whom we already know as one of the most notorious figures in this case):

He was the first person who didn’t treat me like I was lying.

And everybody else did! Wonder why?

[Father] was especially outraged that the defense, trying to build a case that I had fantasized the rape, was asking the court to require me to undergo a psychiatric examination.

Outraged is a very suitable word. I bet they were all outraged. Indeed: they were there with an extremely grave accusation, didn’t provide a single piece of evidence except an unknown man's semen, weaved an improbable tale full of contradictions… and the evil defense wants to make sure the accuser was not prone to fantasizing! Incredible.

Dad was outraged at the California DA for not protecting me, and furious at Polanski’s lawyer for an unjustified and prejudicial intrusion. He said that seeking a psychiatric interview of the complainant was not only something he’d never do; he didn’t even think the law would allow it.

No, really? And judge Rittenband was going to approve it, and would have, had he not been convinced that the other course, the one prejudiced against the defendant, would bring him more political gain.

Thus, instead of an independent expert, Silver brought his own psychiatrist:

The person was nice, asked regular questions, and even I couldn’t stay bitchy enough not to answer. Before I knew it, it was over. The psychiatrist found that I was a healthy teenager but said there was no way to predict the wilting effects from the trauma of being cross-examined in open court.

Ah, wonderful, a sympathetic ear at last! We might take it into consideration that this healthy teenager, indeed, at that very time was having that “wonderful sex” with a boy next door (The Girl, p.109) and had gotten a regular boyfriend (in addition to irregular ones). However, it took the psychiatrist one quick glance to come up with exactly the conclusion she (I assume it was a woman, since Geimer calls her “person”) was hired to give. Even in this case, her professional cautiousness let her only say “there was no way to predict”, which is, as you understand, true in every case, for all people, in any situation.

But everyone who has ever expressed sympathy for the wrongfully accused immediately becomes a target for the three authors’ sarcasm.

Rittenband had asked Polanski to give an account of himself. It is affecting in its very coolness; he had lived through a great deal. (…) Polanski’s assessment of himself was at least not mawkish or self-pitying. But the probation report of acting probation officer Kenneth F.Faye (and signed by a deputy, Irwin Gold) seemed to be recommending Polanski for the Nobel Peace Prize – or at the very least the Oscar’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Then she quotes from the report. Yes, we’ve already read all this: the report emphasizes that Polanski is a thoroughly honest man, that he is not a pedophile, that there was no rape, that the young lady was both “mature and willing”. She does not comment on any of this: there’s no arguments she can provide. She only uses irony, her only weapon in this case. We are supposed to feel that the very fact that those things were stated officially somehow makes them dubious.

The letters of support from friends, too, tended to indirectly cast doubt on this thirteen-year-old victim and her motives. You could see the White Male 1970s Guys circling the wagons.
“There is, in fact, very little that is dark or sinister about Roman,” said Gene Gutowski, the producer of many of Polanski’s most acclaimed films. “He has remained amazingly normal and well adjusted… generous to a fault, uninterested in material gains or possession, he is a loyal and kind friend, thoughtful, and completely trusting, possibly excessively so. As a result, he has been used from time to time by young and ambitious females who felt that being seen with Roman in public or having their names linked with his in the gossip columns would lead to their advancement or gain them publicity.”

Anything sound wrong? Gutowski is only stating the obvious. Polanski is all that Gutowski said, according to all the accounts (not only Gutowski’s) of his life and character, and there’s billions of those accounts, accumulated in the course of 80 years. Or does Geimer imply that ambitious females never tried to use him, thus she and her mother didn’t, either?

(…)[Robert Evans writes] “… [the press] has maligned him terribly. He may make for provocative headlines, but with rare exception, the press has never captured the beauty of Roman’s soul.”
And perhaps more tellingly, director and producer Howard Koch: “I’m sure the situation he finds himself in now is one of those things that could happen to any one of us.”

What is the sarcasm about this time? The beauty or his soul, something everyone has agreed upon for decades? Or the obvious fact that famous men are easy targets for unsubstantiated accusations?

Incidentally, the hosannas didn’t come only from men in Hollywood. Fifteen years before she discovered that Woody Allen had nude photographs of her daughter, Mia Farrow also publicly supported Polanski.

What does Woody Allen have to do with this? It’s an attempt to smear by any means available. When there’s nothing to say (because Farrow knew Polanski personally, and being a woman could not display any gender solidarity), this trick is used to work on the reader’s subliminal perception.

As I said, my family and I didn’t care if Polanski was imprisoned. There was no value to be gained in that, and we weren’t vindictive. [no, of course not. The only value could be gained only if he stayed free, working and earning the money that would subsequently be sued out of him. – J.M.]  But to see the empathy that was extended his way, while virtually none was offered to us, was a very sobering thing.

Nice try, Newman/Silver. So, when people see a man they know well being accused of a foul crime - a man who, as Brounsberg and all others said, could not be a rapist under any circumstances – those people must somehow extend empathy to the accuser? Sorry guys. There are only two ways: either he is a rapist – which everyone understands he isn’t, - or she is a false accuser. One can’t sympathize with both either way.

The psychiatric report from Chino was, if anything, even more flattering than the original probation report. I’m sure he was an exemplary prisoner. Yet it’s pretty clear the prison officials were no more immune to the power of celebrity than the average groupie.

It is interesting how, while it takes one to know one, by the same rule one will never recognize its opposite. In prison, Polanski showed integrity, strength of character and will - all the qualities he is famous for and ones Geimer/Newman/Silver are unable to relate to. That’s why they can only impotently express sarcasm at what was plainly written by the prison officials.

Philip S.Wagner, Chino’s chief psychiatrist, portrayed prisoner Polanski as more the victim than the violator. “There was no evidence that the offense was in any way characterized by destructive or insensitive attitude toward the victim,” he wrote. “Polanski’s attitude was undoubtedly seductive, but considerate. The relationship with his victim developed from an attitude of professional, to playful mutual eroticism… Polanski seems to have been unaware at the time that he was involving himself in a criminal offense, an isolated instance of naïveté, unusual in a mature, sophisticated man.”
It’s not that I disagreed with much of that statement… but “mutual eroticism”? “Isolated instance of naïveté”? Please.

Yes, they thought that when she was drinking champagne from his glass (as per her testimony) and posing as “sex kitten” (her book), blowing him air kisses while naked in the tube (photos) and swimming naked in the pool (both testimony and book), those were strong indications of mutual eroticism. Does anyone think otherwise?

Also, isn’t it regrettable naïveté to believe that when a young woman does all this and then lies down and spreads her legs, she actually wants to have sex? It was “isolated” inasmuch as in all previous cases the experience showed that that’s exactly what ladies wanted in such situations. And how about her own statements about how good it "felt" and her body "betraying" her?

Since there’s nothing the authors can counter this with, in terms of logic or common sense, they have to use sarcasm as their only weapon.

The authors also try to make it sound like everyone has been ganging on poor Samantha, vehemently defending Polanski. They mention he said he was a pariah at that time, and comment:

Polanski’s memory is faulty here – or maybe just convenient for breast-beating.

Putting aside the simple fact that a breast-beating Polanski is a beast as rare as an honest Silver, what they say is just their old trick, barefaced lies, and it’s enough to read the media of that time or get acquainted with the mere facts to see it. To quote just one from Geimer’s own book:

That first wire service article said that Polanski had lured a thirteen-year-old girl to Jack Nicholson’s house on the pretext of photographing her, then drugged and raped her. He also was suspected of sodomy, child molestation, and furnishing dangerous drugs to a minor.

With press filled of such murderous nonsense, isn’t one supposed to feel like a pariah? I also want to remind you, just in case you forgot, that there never was any molestation count: this “adult female” (medical examination report) did not qualify as a “child” in anybody’s eyes. It’s important that I say it once again, because in all the recent media, including BBC, The Guardian and others, this count has miraculously appeared out of nowhere: obviously, to prop Geimer’s fairytales of how underdeveloped she was.

So, all this is really nothing, compared to what the media did to the poor her! If you still believe it, see this: when she talks about the Switzerland crisis of 2009/2010, she, too, quotes only Polanski’s supporters, trying to make us believe that everyone was against poor Samantha again!

Now, I hope your memory is not that short, and you remember the unprecedented smear campaign against him, not her. If you don’t – look here, we quote enough of the mad dog barking that was the main media sport at that time, and still remains, as soon as Polanski’s name is mentioned in any context.

As a nice change… Once she quotes what he says in the book without any sarcasm and doubt. Unfortunately, it’s just the part where a reader who has a heart can’t help discerning an obvious note of sad irony:

Years later, in his autobiography, Polanski claimed he actually found a certain contentment in jail, and while various stories leaked into the rags courtesy of other on-the-take inmates (including a story that he’d promised a prisoner’s four-year-old daughter a part in his next movie, with a sinister insinuation of his love for the very young), the time he passed there was relatively trouble-free. “I felt secure and at peace,” he wrote.

One can only marvel at the outstanding ability of the trio (Geimer/Newman/Silver) to use all kinds of contextual lies. We haven’t seen all of them yet; let’s go on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brava. I post as anon because I was truly assaulted as a young teen. There are markers that she Gailey/Geimer was groomed by the stepfather. First clue, at such a young age, change of first name. There are many indicators here of psychological wounds held by the mother, seemingly attempting to extricate them via her daughter. I think the phenomena of not knowing how to say "No!" happens when one has been abused or over-sexualized by a family member. You begin to not know your own mind; because your body is no longer yours. To others you appear an enigma. Once my CEO father left me in a blighted inner city (same time frame basically as this tale), at age 13 with a pimp. I will never know if he was trying to abandon me permanently OR seeing how I'd make it.