DID YOU READ

Eight offensive quotes on the Polanski situation.

Eight offensive quotes on the Polanski situation. (photo)

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In a case as tangled with moral, legal and straight-up emotional arguments as the ongoing Roman Polanski one, there’s plenty of room for reasonable people to disagree. But wherever you stand, you’d hope at least people would avoid making the debate needlessly glib. And you’d be wrong. Here are eight of my favorite stupid statements made, in the interest of being fair and balanced, by both the media’s prosecution and defense of Polanski:

Prosecution

1. “He raped her in a lot of different ways. We’re talking sodomy and… other styles of rape.” –Wendy Murphy on MSNBC’s “Hardball”.

Without being too flippant about it, Ms. Murphy’s imprecision isn’t exactly making the best case; I wonder how many “styles” of rape there are, and I have to point out that sodomy can be perfectly consensual. A few sentences later, she notes that abroad, Polanski was “hanging around on the Left Bank,” which kind of gives the game away; Murphy, a noted Bill O’Reilly compatriot, knows how to tie in her undeniably sincere rape-victim advocacy to a broader culture war. Because really, why does it matter if he was on the Left Bank or in a Trappist monastery?

2. “Polanski is a great film director — although the much-acclaimed “Chinatown” has a muddled script — but his true talent is to make fools of his friends.” –Richard Cohen editorializing in the Washington Post.

In an incoherent editorial, Cohen basically proposes that Polanski doesn’t have to be prosecuted as long as Cohen gets to punch him just once. A lot of the prosecution crowd accuse Polanski’s defenders of having a double standard for anyone who’s a “great director,” and wonder how they’d feel if he was “Polanski the Plumber”; Cohen pulls the same trick in reverse. If “Chinatown” isn’t that good, then we really have to prosecute him. Wait, what?

3. “None of this, as my grandmother used to say, is ‘good for the Jews,’ especially at a time they have far bigger fish to fry. It is also worth noting, although cruel, that Polanski has admitted to being unfaithful to Sharon Tate during their very brief two-year marriage, an admission made only under oath many years after carrying the torch for Tate as if she were his own personal second Holocaust.” –Roger L. Simon at Pajamas Media.

Blaming Polanski for being arrested at a time when the world needs to focus on Iran potentially launching a missile at Israel — or, uh, being a bad Jew and encouraging anti-Semitism? — is a total non sequitur. Also, it actually isn’t worth noting Polanski cheated on Sharon Tate; it has nothing to do with the matter at hand.

4. “He pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977, then beat it for France,
where I’m not sure that’s even a crime.”
–Andrew Klavan, also on Pajamas Media.

Ha! Another joke about the French! Order up one more batch of freedom fries! (For the record, the age of consent in France is 15, one year younger than in most American states.)

Defense

1. “I suggest, in the finest American tradition, we protest this absurd and deplorable act by smashing our cuckoo clocks, pawning our Swiss watches, and banning Swiss cheese and chocolate.” –Joan Z. Shore on the Huffington Post.

Shore ends up blaming the Swiss for it all. It’s obviously tongue in cheek, but she begins the column by reminding us of Switzerland’s dubious “neutrality” in World War II. Surely Nazi complicity and the arrest of Polanski aren’t quite on the same level?

2. “The jury of the international Zurich Film Festival has decided to proceed in honoring films and filmmaking despite the philistine nature of the collusion that is now occurring.” –Debra Winger, speaking at the festival.

Because the only reason Polanski would be arrested is a lack of appreciation for his movies.

3. “I know it wasn’t rape-rape. It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape.” –Whoopi Goldberg on “The View.”

Beyond this being phrased like a teenager wondering “Does (s)he like me, or like-like me?”, rape doesn’t work like that, and few are really disputing the facts of what Polanski did.

4. “Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time.” –Harvey Weinstein editorializing in the Independent.

“So-called crime”? Really? That’s not helping.

[Photo: “Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired,” 2008, HBO.]

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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