Polanski and Kennedy

Polanski and Kennedy

Polanski and Kennedy

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Oct. 1 2009 4:18 PM

Polanski and Kennedy

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The discussion over whether Roman Polanski’s artistry and his own personal suffering should mitigate the fact that he raped a 13-year-old is strangely similar to the discussion of the life of Ted Kennedy. At the time of Kennedy’s death, there were appalling comments that his accomplishments as a legislator and his personal tragedies made up for the fact that he left Mary Jo Kopechne to suffocate alone in a car when he drove it off a bridge. Why is there an impulse to excuse a crime just because the perpetrator has suffered in his own life, or has extraordinary professional achievements?

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Photograph of Ted Kennedy by Evan Agostini/Getty.

Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.