Monthly Archives: July 2008

the genius defense

just watched Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. Certainly, there was a miscarriage of justice and Polanski should have gotten away with certain things simply based on procedural issues. But of course the question is–how is it that, even over time, the rape of a 13-year old child becomes acceptable, melts away into the regard for his genius? Or even at the time? The 15-year old Natassja Kinski, the 13-year old Paula Lavigne (who Caetano Veloso left his wife for). (Oh no! the ex-diplomat says. In South America and the Congo, fucking teens is fine! Especially when I’m exploiting them for visas!)

Then again, of course, the fact that most fashion models are under 18 years old, that we place our standard of beauty and desire on the backs of children.

This is nothing new. I’m almost embarrassed to be blogging about it, about something so obvious. But that big darker thing (that makes these stories so sexy, so shocking, so deserving of front page CNN coverage, that makes the Oakland Trib run a weeklong series on child prostitution, and makes me want to see this).

That’s the thing. That’s the deeper thing. The acceptance and naturalness of the exploitation, and what it means to witness it as the audience.

The genius defense didn’t work for Hans Reiser, although he lost his manslaughter plea (with a three years sentence that would have been finished in 2009) in the attempt, an atrocious 6-month long trial in which he performed his guilt while clumsily attempting to perform his innocence.

Now he’s performing something else. His lawyer, William Du Bois, said:

“His motivation for (taking authorities to the grave) was to put some resolution to the whole thing and improve his posture with the case and bring closure to the family…He realized that to ever be paroled, he would have to acknowledge responsibility and show remorse.”

See an awkward sociopath try to show remorse. (Also, watch the clip of him eating a cookie).

Of course, I don’t believe him. Neither does he.

CLEAN, the piece I did in March about the gap between the fantasy of the tech industry and the toxic physical reality used Hans and Fernando Jimenez Gonzalez, a 19-year old worker at a PC board manufacturer who drowned in a vat of sulfiric acid, as the two archetypes, the mythic figures that upheld the opposite ends of “manufacturing” and the relationship with the body.

Hans was still on trial as we created and performed CLEAN. It would have been so easy to focus on the tawdry details of the case, but what was more interesting for the purposes of the piece was Hans’ inability to function in the embodied world.

That’s the genius defense, of course.

I was amazed at how the geeks over at SlashDot defended him to the last breath all the way up until the moment he revealed the body and confessed to the crime for a potentially lighter sentence. They trashed Nina, her infidelities, her Russianness, they blamed America for hating on programmers, even as the evidence mounted up and up.