Scum begets scum

So Bernard-Henri Lévy has started a Free Roman petition.

This is how it reads:

Apprehended like a common terrorist Saturday evening, September 26, as he came to receive a prize for his entire body of work, Roman Polanski now sleeps in prison.

He risks extradition to the United States for an episode that happened years ago and whose principal plaintiff repeatedly and emphatically declares she has put it behind her and abandoned any wish for legal proceedings.
Seventy-six years old, a survivor of Nazism and of Stalinist persecutions in Poland, Roman Polanski risks spending the rest of his life in jail for deeds which would be beyond the statute-of-limitations in Europe.
We ask the Swiss courts to free him immediately and not to turn this ingenious filmmaker into a martyr of a politico-legal imbroglio that is unworthy of two democracies like Switzerland and the United States. Good sense, as well as honor, require it.

Read more at:

Here are the signatories currently listed:

Bernard-Henri Lévy
Salman Rushdie
Milan Kundera
Pascal Bruckner
Neil Jordan
Isabelle Adjani
Arielle Dombasle
Isabelle Huppert
William Shawcross
Yamina Benguigui
Mike Nichols
Danièle Thompson
Diane von Furstenberg
Claude Lanzmann
Paul Auster

If anybody has contact info for these people, I'd like ask them about their thinking on why Polanski's status as a holocaust survivor and ingenious filmmaker have any bearing at all on whether or not he committed the crimes he admitted to and if you can point me in the direction of how to contact any of them, particularly the English Speakers, I'd very much appreciate it. I'm particularly disappointed that Milan Kundera is on here. As for the rest they're mostly overrated. I think some people will be disappointed that Paul Auster is on there though.

Starfuckers Inc.

On the issue of Roman Polanksi:

First off, let me just say that this post is inspired primarily by the gaggle of idiot starfuckers defending Roman Polanski on the usually much more sane Huffington Post. I wouldn't feel so compelled to say something about this if it wasn't becoming quite clear that there is a sizable and perhaps growing constituency of starfuckers in the wider world who are willing to accept all manner of innuendo and half truth in the defense of Polanski. As best I can tell there are three basic arguments that are being advanced to excuse Polanski:

1.) He had a hard life/He's Paid his Debt/The Victim Has Forgiven Him/Time to Move on

2.) He's made some great movies and doesn't that count for something.

and most pernicious of all

3.) The girl lied about her age, her mom put her up to it, didn't you see what she was wearing, she totally was asking for it

I intend to take each argument in turn and demonstrate why it's ridiculous. In so doing, I hope to show that all of this ultimately just boils down to the cancerous crypto-starfuckery that plagues American culture.

The Facts
In 1977, Roman Polanski plied a thirteen year old girl with drugs and alcohol, photographed her in the nude, committed an oral sex act on her without her consent, then repeatedly raped her vaginally and anally. These are the facts entered into evidence by the prosecution against him as can be read in the victim's deposition taken at the time. has done the public service of posting the relevant portion of the grand jury testimony as a PDF here.

Review: The Best of Michael Moorcock

This article is part of a series on the work of Michael Moorcock that will culminate in an interview with the man himself. The story collection The Best of Michael Moorcock is his most recent book.

Considering the work of a writer like Michael Moorcock can be a little intimidating if only because of the sheer volume of material one is dealing with. Over the course of his fifty-year-plus career, Moorcock has written dozens and dozens of books in nearly every genre, and his influence has been broad and immeasurable. His books were formative to the New Wave SF movement that he himself spearheaded in the sixties and seventies, which in turn helped define the SF (and much non-SF) that would come after. His books influenced the creation of Dungeons and Dragons and the plots of children's TV shows. His character Elric was parodied by Dave Sim in the comic Cerebus, his literary fiction novel Mother London was called "one of the most astonishing London novels ever written ... a tour de force" by Alan Moore, and Michael Chabon dedicated his Moorcock-esque historical adventure novel Gentlemen of the Road to him. In the seventies Moorcock even performed with the rock bands Blue Oyster Cult and Hawkwind, who both based songs on his work (in Hawkwind's case, a whole album), as well as with his own band The Deep Fix. The man is an eclectic talent, and a prolific one.

NYC Primary Election

Today is a primary election day, so get to your polling places (in New York City, anyway, not sure about anywhere else).

I don't have time this year to whip up one of my usual voter guides, but I will say that I'm voting for William Thompson for Mayor, Bill de Blasio for Public Advocate (anyone but Mark Green) and David Yassky for Comptroller (he was my city councilman and is a stand-up guy). For my voting district (33) I'm voting for Evan Thies for City Council.

For more information about the candidates go to:

Happy voting!

Caster Semenya is a Woman and Sports are Dumb

The question of whether or not Caster Semenya is a woman is moot. She is clearly a woman. She was raised as a woman, she has been identified as a woman from birth. She feels she is a woman. End of story.

The question that the world body of track and field jack asses is trying to assess is whether she has more testosterone than most women which gives her an unfair competitive edge.

I challenge the notion of unfairness at play here.

Most top athletes have genetic dispositions that make them superior to the rest of us in their physicality. It takes much more than hard work and dedication to get to the levels of peak performance that world class athletes achieve. Michael Jordan would not be Michael Jordan if he had been born with Danny Devitos body.

Caster Semenya is gifted. If her body is capable of greater performance because of its chemical makeup she is no different from any other gifted athlete whether that athlete be Michael Phelps or Florence Joyner.

The notion of unfairness at play here, frankly, is wrong, it's discriminatory and the officials in question who think this matter warrants investigation should be ashamed of themselves.

But then, we're talking about sports here, and the people who run sports are, frankly, idiots. They always have been.

Sport when it is pure competition, purely an effort at testing the physical and an attempt to be the best that one can be, that has merit.

In the first world, however, sport has become an industrialized enterprise wherein the values at play are much more cynical and much less engaged with notions of pure human achievement.

Instead there are issues of nationalism, of state pride, of money and performance enhancement, of technological advancement and superiority. All of this has nothing to do with whether or not an 18 year old girl has a right to not have her identity challenged simply because she is extraordinarily gifted in some way.

The Minority View

Just for the record, on 9-11-2001, eight years ago today, a bunch of religious nuts flew airplanes into buildings in the united states and crashed one plane in a field somewhere in pennsylvania.

Today, eight years later, the world is the same as it was on september 10th 2001 with the following exceptions:

1.) Air Travel is a much bigger pain in the ass than it used to be

2.) roughly 10,000 americans have died who might not have otherwise.

3.) The US has further pissed off the folks in the middle east by waging a war in Iraq for going on six years now, and has still failed to put down the dogs who supported the attackers 8 years ago in Afghanistan.

4.) roughly a million iraqis and afghans have died who might not have otherwise.

5.) lots of assholes are using the eleventh of september and the deaths of all those people to advance their political cause

6.) we all have to spend the eleventh of september talking about how we felt about it.

I remember how I felt about it. It was horrifying. It was beautiful. I couldn't look away. The attack was an act that was awesome, revolting, compelling, brutal, despicable, unfathomable, moving, and many other things.

I remember how I felt afterward, as we got done mourning the loss of innocent life as all around me came a rising tide of jingoism.

I remember how disgusting it was to see the terror my fellow citizens felt turn them into mindless flagwaving drones of an overreaching government hell bent on turning the tragedy of September 11th into a vehicle for it's own twisted political agenda.

Now, finally, I think we're back to normal.

In two years it will be the tenth anniversary.

After that I hope we don't have to talk about it again for a good long while.

So How'd I Do?

About a month ago, I wrote about Michael Moorcock's methods for writing a book in three days. This past weekend, I made the attempt myself, moved from my original date (two weeks from now) to Labor Day weekend for solidarity with the three-day novel-writing contest—though I didn't actually participate in the contest because I didn't want to pay the entry fee and didn't think whatever I wrote would be worthy of the publishing-contract prize anyway.

Right off the bat, I'll admit that I did not succeed in writing what I would consider a whole novel. Someone get a picture of a book and put the word "FAIL" over it for me. First off, I cheated; in preparation for the contest, I wrote a 6,500 word (about 26 page) short story in one day, two weeks ago, and then, as the date loomed, I decided it would be easiest if I used this story as a launching-off point.

A couple things to keep in mind: before two weeks ago, I'd never written more than about 2,000 words of fiction in one day (about 8 pages at 250 words/page), and at the time I had considered that a laudable feat. My growing fascination with writers like Moorcock and Lester Dent has a lot to do with their legendary prolificity. Lester Dent boasted of writing 200,000 words (that's 800 pages) a month for 4 years, though he suffered a nervous breakdown at the end of it. For me, writing 6,500 words in one day felt like winning a marathon. Yet it wasn't close to the 15,000 words a day I had to write to get the relatively modest sum of 45,000 words (180 pages) I'd assigned myself for a short novel in three days. (And which is fewer words than in most of the novels Moorcock claimed to write in 3 days.)