I cannot shake the suspicion, however, that lurking behind all of these various excuses is the fact that Polanski is a great artist. It is decidedly doubtful that so many in Europe and elsewhere would be outraged if a factory worker, office manager, or Catholic priest, for that matter, were finally caught after so many years evading justice for statutory rape. It is much more likely that they would be outraged at the authorities for taking so long to get around to arresting the perpetrator. The simple truth is that many people - and I freely admit to being one of them - very much wish that Polanski had not done what he did, and are sorely tempted to pretend that, somehow, he didn't. Since we cannot deny the facts, we deny, in some way, his culpability; or, we tell ourselves that, in the end, all things considered, all things being equal, etc., it really wasn't such a big deal. And we do this, I think, for one reason only: We love his movies.
It requires a great deal of effort in the face of this to remind oneself that perhaps the foremost reason people get things wrong is wishful thinking. By and large, we do not listen to what we don't want to hear. Indeed, it is not easy for lovers of cinema, and especially Polanski's cinema, to be honest with ourselves and admit that the only really important question to ask about the Polanski case is this: Did he do it? There is no question that he did.