Chapter 9. Let’s Blame Everything on Him!

Everything we know by now – namely, that there was no rape, that Samantha, according to her own words, felt in control all the time and her only fear was that if she didn’t act sexy enough she wouldn’t be taken into the movies – is in perfect fit with what she has been saying all those long years, constantly and consistently declaring that the only thing she has ever been traumatized by in all this was the media.

…The worst part was, no-one believed me. Everybody thought I was making it up. It was so traumatic, starting that night when my mother called the police.
…I never had a chance to be angry with him. By the next day everything was so blown out of proportion
…(QUESTION from the audience: I was just wondering, if Samantha had a daughter and it happened to her, what option would she take?)
I might consider not calling the police after everything the press and the police and the judge put me through.
…(LARRY KING: Maybe it's because of the years, but neither of you [Geimer and Silver – J.M.] feel particularly angry at Roman Polanski.)
No. Not anymore. Not even then. I mean, it just... I was angry because he was the cause of the publicity and the publicity was the worst thing that ever happened to me.
(LARRY KING: But not angry that he had sex with you.)
The publicity was so terrible, that -- and so immediate that it just overshadowed everything that happened that night. 
It was awful. Everybody knew at school. People came to school with cameras and things were being said and printed.
The media made that year a living hell, and I’ve been trying to put it behind me ever since.

The book seems to agree with the oral tradition. The same goes about the event itself, to which she refers in an interview as “just sex”: she tells how surprised she was to see it qualified as a rape in the media, saying it seemed “like a big pile of Awful for something that took only a few minutes.” Or “still, even though I was only thirteen years old, I just knew this was turning into something far bigger than what happened that night”

All this sounds very plausible and perfectly stands to reason. She let the jinni out of the bottle, and the outcome, due to judge Rittenband's unexpected behavior , was far bigger than the family had been able to foresee. What she says also confirms, once again, that there was no child rape, since there is nothing worse (or “bigger”, especially not “far bigger”) than child rape, and Geimer has consistently been flippant about the event itself; this alone, even if we didn’t already know for a fact that no child rape had taken place, should have been enough to bring us to this evident conclusion.

But Newman and Silver can’t be happy with this, so the book turns definitely schizophrenic. Due to their joint effort, we see poor Samantha express contradicting opinions on the same subjects. In spite of everything she has said orally, in disagreement with most of what she writes in this very book, they try: 1) to make her seem deeply traumatized; 2) to pin all the blame for whatever happened in her life on Polanski. They could have succeeded, had they been in any way consistent, or at least agreed among themselves (let alone with all other Geimer’s statements); as it is, they come up with another bizarre conglomerate which has no plausibility whatsoever. Let’s see how it all works.

First, Samantha gives an account of her life after the big event. It’s full of “wonderful sex”, partying, booze and drugs, also some small-time drug dealing.

I’m astounded that in the next few years, nothing truly horrible happened. Nobody got arrested, and there were only two car accidents.

Nobody was arrested for having sex with her all these years, either. She had sex with lots of various guys for five years before she reached the age of consent, and nobody batted an eyelash. Of course, no money or fame could come from arresting those guys. Do we have to believe she was continuingly raped all those years? Or will we at last come to terms with the obvious fact that the girl just liked sex and drugs and booze, like many teenagers have and will before and after her?  

It must have been especially hard for Silver to counteract her compulsive urges to blubber some truths time to time:

(I) celebrated my [fourteenth – J.M.] birthday with family and a few friends – Steven, Terri, and a new boy who was vying for my attention and helping me get over Steve.

Get over Steve, you see, not the horrible ordeal she had suffered only three weeks before.

Everyone assumed that the night with Polanski was an event that would make me shy away from sex for years. That’s what people expected...

Well yes, that’s what they would naturally expect if there had ever been rape.

The contrarian in me rebelled. I met and befriended John, the boy (almost literally) next door (….) An evening of making out on the porch on April 1 led to a gift – a cross on a chain – the next day, which led to drinking, getting stoned, and wonderful sex – a first – that night. (…)

“That night”, don’t forget, is three weeks after the events. Seems like she had gotten over the trauma pretty quickly?

In that awful spring leading up to ninth grade graduation, I was intent on getting a boyfriend – and I got one.

She also describes the gang she became part of, and, through pages and pages, again and again, pot, boys and beer, and pot, and boys.

I don’t think any of us acted out because we were “damaged” by our traumas; we were just young teenagers on the prowl.

Pay attention to the above quote: Silver/Newman will have to invent a lot of tricks in order to obliterate that frank statement.

(…) Everywhere we went  (…) we were scanning the place for boys. (…) Innocent moments could turn sexual in a heartbeat. One moment we were swimming with a neighborhood boy named Tom. The next moment he’d pulled out his penis and was proudly showing it to me. I don’t remember why. I probably asked to see it. At that point, you didn’t really need much pretext for events like that.

I have quoted this part because – remember? – in the Jacuzzi episode (a product of imagination, as we suspect) she had allegedly turned away not to see anything she would have to remember afterwards. For some reason, the sight of her own boyfriend’s (and other men’s mentioned by Dalton) penis before that, or the neighborhood boy’s penis after that, wasn’t such an unbearable sight. I wonder why she inserted this anecdote here at all: deep in her heart there must be a truthful person who cries out to be heard at last. Much of what she says points at this, and creates additional work for Silver/Newman team.

Of course, I was about as likely to have a mature relationship with someone as I was to win an Oscar. Sex at that age wasn’t about connecting with another human being; it wasn’t even about orgasms (at least not for the girls – all the manuals were telling us it was our right to have them, but try telling that to a fourteen-year-old boy). And if you had sex once or twice, it wasn’t something you necessarily continued to have. It was more like this toll you paid to cross the bridge to adulthood.

I especially love this part because once again it emphasizes the idiotical hypocrisy of society. There’ll be people who’ll tell me that all those boys who had sex with her before she turned 18 did not commit as foul a crime as Polanski because they were young. For some reason it’s acceptable for some people to see a minor copulate with a minor, a clumsy boy who is by definition unable even to think of his partner’s pleasure, let alone orgasm; but at the same time having it with a man who is both physically and emotionally mature and experienced is condemnable and automatically becomes a “rape” (which it is not, by the way. It’s unlawful intercourse. Just in case you’ve forgotten).

I realize that many women who’ve been raped take a long time before they want to be touched again. My attitude was different.

Anyone wonders why? Because these other women were raped. Raped. They didn’t “decide” to “let him do it” because of the profit they could gain.

Sure, there were times when I thought of what happened, times when it snuck into my consciousness, But I didn’t want to remember. I didn’t want to be damaged.
And there’s the thing: Back then, I didn’t think I was.

No, back then, she didn’t. It isn’t but right now, while the book was written, that her co-authors and I don’t know how many other people worried about the commercial success of the opus finally persuaded her to use the word “rape” – and to convince her that she must at last, contrary to everything she has said before, declare herself damaged.

That summer was pretty much a harbinger of eleventh grade. By the middle of the school year, my ritual went like this: Mom would drop me off at the back door of school; I’d walk straight out the front door with Crystal; we’d take the bus to her house; we would hang out and smoke pot all day. [also: cocaine, Quaaludes, speed, LSD](…) I was happy to use whatever I could get my hands on.
(…) we used most of what we bought and sold the rest to keep ourselves going. (Okay, maybe we were drug dealers, but not very good ones.) I smoked a lot, tripped occasionally, did a lot of speed, and moved on to cocaine and Quaaludes. I thought all of this was a hell of a good time, and so did the people I hung around with. Maybe I was trying to cope with what happened to me the year before. Or maybe not. Maybe I just liked getting high. One shouldn’t overanalyze the whims of a teenage girl on drugs.
I managed to keep my life as a truant drug user hidden from my mother.

That last sentence is clever. Whether or not it is believable is another question. We already know why it is crucial that mother be kept out of all this altogether – otherwise, too many uncomfortable questions will be asked, to which there’s no other answer than the one given by us: a premeditated setup. Thus, we are being persuaded that mother has no idea of her daughter cutting classes, drinking, doing drugs and having sex instead of school – all that for months and months; all that during the period of her time when an allegedly traumatized (by nothing less than rape!) teenager might seem to need additional care and supervision.

Then it is an endless story of more men, drugs, nude modeling etc. Even babies don’t stop her drinking and using drugs.

Geimer tells it all so candidly that Silver/Newman can’t leave it alone. On every page you can see them crudely patching a different story over the one already told so clearly.

Their main device, expectedly, is trying to blame it all on Polanski.

I look at my diary from the time [summer], and it reads something like this: blah blah blah boy blah blah blah pot blah blah cute boy blah blah liquor cabinet.

That sounds too honest to be left alone, thus:

These entries, of course, were preceded by this thoughtful observation several months earlier: I got my pics taken by Roman Polanski and he raped me, fuck.

Note the “of course”. And now remember that before this book Geimer never considered that event as being “raped”. That she had been genuinely surprised when she learned that what happened was a crime for which Polanski could go to jail. That she has repeated over and over again that it only qualifies as [statutory] rape (that is, unlawful sexual intercourse) because she was under age. That she explicitly said that Polanski is not a rapist (Odd Man Out, 00:51:00), and what happened was “just sex”.

Looks like the “thoughtful observation” wasn’t made several months earlier, but several decades later, and not exactly by Samantha. The same way, the episode with her allegedly cutting herself (needless to say, never mentioned before in any of her countless interviews and other statements) looks so obviously added by a different pen (Newman’s?) because it clashes with everything Geimer ever said (note, too, that the alleged incident happened right after her friends’ parents forbade her friends associating with her because of her behavior).

I think my heightened interest in sex was a reaction to the rape. My reasoning went like this: If I had had to put up with a creepy old man taking what he wanted from me, why couldn’t I give freely what I had to give to someone I loved? My body, I thought. Mine. (…) I was determined to control my own life, and having sex was an important part of this control.

This reasoning could make sense a) if she hadn’t lied again: “creepy old man” doesn’t qualify as exaggeration or personal perception, given Polanski’s singular physique

The "creepy old man" in summer '77

The "creepy old man" TWO YEARS LATER

The "creepy old man" TWO YEARS LATER

b) if the authors hadn’t inserted this “had had to”, since we already know that nobody ever made her do anything she wasn’t, or didn’t seem to be, willing to do – unless she means her mother, of course; c) if we substitute the word “rape” in the first sentence with something better applicable, like “intercourse”.

 [next school year] I don’t think this escalation of acting out was a conscious choice, but I was angry at the world and, with any thoughts of becoming an actress dashed, I didn’t want to be a cute little child anymore.

Now we are getting somewhere. So, the root of the trauma was the realization that she wouldn’t become an actress after all. Somehow they want us to believe that Polanski is to blame for this, too.

… for now I could get on with my life.
But what exactly was that life? It certainly wouldn’t be acting or modeling. I could see the headlines: “Sex Victim Girl Gets Part on Sitcom.”
…I take responsibility for my weaknesses and my bad decisions, but I also believe that my opportunities were reduced, and my life compromised, as a result of Polanski’s rape of the thirteen-year-old me.
…Who knows if I would ever have been successful, but my ability to pursue the career I wanted was quashed before I had a chance to find out.

Curious. Because, you’ll be interested to know, plausible as it sounds, it’s a lie again, one the authors of the book really should have agreed among themselves about: only a few pages away, she says:

I went on a call for a Kool-Aid commercial.

It means she and her mother never actually stopped trying! She mentions another attempt, a few years later:

One of my friends, Vikki, was paying her way through our legal secretarial school with nude modeling – and with my I’ll-try-anything-once mentality at the time, when a photographer said he thought my pictures would sell to Penthouse, I was happy to oblige. I think it is safe to say they ended up in a magazine that made Penthouse look like the New York Review of Books. I gave it my all, wearing a smile and little else.

So, no, the fear of headlines did not stop her, either a short or a longer time after the events. She even posed naked – again – and failed to make a career again. Somehow, Polanski is to blame – again?

In retrospect, I suppose it’s obvious I was hiding my pain beneath a veneer of cool. Drugs were an escape, of course, but often no amount of smoking dope or cranking up Aerosmith was doing it for me.

It’s obvious that any delinquent behavior can be blamed on someone who has proved an easy target. Since no “pain” other than caused by media was ever mentioned, and the unlawful intercourse was in no way forced, there’s no way, however, an intellectually honest reader will believe than anyone but herself and her mother are guilty of causing it.

Silver/Newman, in their attempt of piling up as many accusations as they can (doesn’t it remind us of the desperate attempt of the Gaileys to pile up as many unsubstantiated and contradictory accusations as they could during that Grand Jury testimony?) come up with peculiar patchwork. See, for example:

It was upsetting to hear the way my sister, Kim, thought my life had changed since Polanski. She described me as an introvert, a person who only went out when she had to and rarely socialized outside the home. Was she exaggerating? She certainly didn’t think so.

This declaration comes right in the middle of describing a life full of teenage gangs, sex and drugs. Is this entirely a creation of the authors’ imagination coming to a dead end, or does it mean that the whole Gailey family consisted solely of liars, or, to put it mildly, of people who would say anything that would sound better at the moment, something we’ve already seen in Geimer’s interview and this very book?

Samantha’s deteriorating relationships with her father (not her biological father, but the man who stayed with her mother the longest) go into the same pile of Polanski blaming. Let’s see how it developed. She comes and stays with him in summer of ’77 (the summer, as we remember, full of “wonderful sex”, drugs and booze). Remember she is, according to her at least, only 14:

[father] noticed that his daughter was going off the rails, so he began instituting rules about how and when I saw John ….
My father and I had adored each other, but our relationship was never the same after Polanski. (…) I’d gone from Daddy’s little girl to this belligerent, sullen, rebel-without-a-cause, and even though he tended to blame my mother for my recklessness, I was a gigantic pain in his ass.

One day this gigantic pain in the ass comes home so drunk she vomits on her father’s shoes (The Girl, p. 178). But nevertheless, their relationship was never the same “after Polanski” – so, we must read, “because of Polanski” – not because of her outrageous behavior, for which father himself so rightfully blames her mother. Then she stops seeing father for years, and then, already a mother of three and a successful real estate developer, she learns of his death and comes to the funeral. Then we are gifted with this product of Newman’s pen: Geimer comes to her father's house and sees a picture of herself on his shelf.

He hadn’t forgotten me. I was still loved. Why hadn’t we spoken more over the years? What happened after Polanski that made me feel, more and more, that I wasn’t his little girl?

What happened – after Polanski - was that she was banging the whole town under her father’s nose, drank and drugged herself silly and puked on her father’s shoes. Looks like father was a more reasonable man than the readers of this book are supposed to be.

Moreover, in between she associated herself with all kinds of petty criminals, mainly drug dealers, and invariably chose them as her more or less steady partners. She married one of them (Kyle)

in the court house, before he was sentenced to some time in prison

and immediately after that, with her husband still in prison, started seeing another man (Dave), which proves that there had been no love involved, but only a desire for more and more drama. It is obviously a disorder, stemming from her constant inclination to acting (to which her first boyfriend, Steve, testified to the Grand Jury). This inclination is one of the reasons why she took part in her mother’s scheme so eagerly and easily to begin with – remember “we are both playing our parts”?

To sum up all her antics in those years, she muses:

Was I acting out? I never thought I was. Would I have chosen a more straight-and-narrow path if it weren’t’ for the Polanski incident? Possibly. My mother and Bob, so riddled with guilt, were only able to say yes to me.

How is this consistent with the previous statement, about mother never knowing anything? Of course, mother and Bob seem to have closed their eyes on everything; but what awful guilt could have ever let a mother condone such things as constant promiscuous sex, drinking and drug abusing, let alone drug dealing? Looks like either such things seemed normal to them, because, if we look at all Samantha's escapades with men unbiasedly, we’ll see that all she did was repeating her mother’s life, - or, maybe, in addition to it, the guilt was really there – the guilt of involving a teenager (however “mature and willing”) in a setup with everything that ensued.

But really, the life she had “after” was only a logical continuation to what she had “before”. Here’s a quote from Polanski’s memoir. He retells what she told him about herself. Remember that he had no way to know what she would write 30 years later – and see how it is consistent with the "after" behavior she describes herself:

Then came a description of what went on at her school. She said there were, “like”, two groups there. The “good people” were the squares who did as they were told. Having started out as a square, she’d soon joined the “bad people”. These, she said, were the fun crowd, who drank, popped pills, and defied authority. It wasn’t easy to join the “bad people” – you had to be accepted. Sandra [Samantha – J.M.] said she didn’t go in much for grass – that was for older folks like her mother. Personally she preferred champagne. One Christmas, while staying with her dad, she’d gotten completely smashed on it. She’d also tried Quaaludes. She said that her sister, Tim, was a Quaaludes freak – she’d once been institutionalized for taking so many – and Sandra used to filch some from her now and then.

This is corroborated by the plain fact that the “after” didn’t differ from the “before” in the least.

By the way, I am not saying Geimer did not have any reasons to actually have been traumatized. I only want to make it quite clear that whatever she might have been traumatized by was not any Polanski’s actions.

She definitely might have, as she repeatedly emphasizes (see the beginning of this chapter), been damaged by the media and the whole legal circus.

This is important to repeat once again, to finally destroy the myth Silver is trying to perpetuate – namely, that the family insisted on plea deal for the sake of “anonymity”. No, it was only because they knew they had no case and would be exposed as false accusers and perjurers.

I believe, however, that hearing the sad truth about oneself in the media – however few and far between the voices of reasons were (their number has been steadily decreasing due to relentless brainwashing regarding the case) – is not pleasant. When the media make it known that you are sexually experienced and acquainted with drugs and alcohol at the age of 13, and especially that you have served as a honey trap in a clever scheme of your mother’s, it may very well be traumatizing. The only remedy for this, however, would have been not becoming one, and blaming it on Polanski is ridiculous.

Another thing is, of course, her busted expectations. Polanski obviously wouldn’t make a new Kinski of her; on the other hand, what with the behavior of the judge the family just couldn’t predict, the scheme of quietly taking the money and proceeding with their lives got busted too: they inadvertently let too big a jinni out of the bottle, becoming for some time hostages to the legal foul play. Geimer found an elegant way out afterwards, with the civil suit, the interviews, the TV and film appearances, and finally this book; but for some time she must have really felt at a loss.

A subtler reason is something she hints on rather transparently – that she had had bigger expectations for the sex itself (which is probably one of the reasons why she agreed to participate in mother’s scheme). 

When I met him in February 1977, I knew nothing of this. I had seen Chinatown and didn’t like it. I thought it was both brutal and boring. (Of course, if I had known he’d directed and starred in my favorite movie at the time, The Fearless Vampire Killers, I would have been starry-eyed.)

This, as David Ehrenstein  has also noticed, is just plain impossible. Polanski hadn’t changed a bit since The Fearless Vampire Killers (or, more accurately, Dance of the Vampires), and if it was her favorite movie, she couldn’t but recognize him immediately. Apparently, the wish to lead you away from this simple thought is one of the reasons why she insists on repeatedly calling him “old”. So here comes a man she was “starry-eyed” about, and one about whom she knows that he “had a reputation as a great lover”, Kinski and all.

The problem is, he was not my great lover.

Yes, that’s what seems to be the problem. Her ex-boyfriend, as well as the guy with whom she had a “wonderful sex” three weeks later were her great lovers, and Polanski was not. Indeed, the process was rushed, due to Huston interrupting it by coming home so soon; also, Geimer complains he never even said she was pretty.

Later I heard that older men seducing young girls was quite the thing where he came from – that in his mind, I should probably be grateful for his experience, his technique.
But I wasn’t European. I was an American girl. And I wasn’t feeling grateful

He somehow failed to come up to her American expectations, you see.

Thus, they are all free to cry rape, take his money and exploit this event for decades afterwards. They can also blame everything on him. Everything. Her lack of acting talent, her inclination for sex, drugs and alcohol, her straying behavior, her penchant for drama, her following in her mother’s footsteps in that first stage of her life. Everything is, miraculously, Polanski’s fault. Even when she clearly means the media/social/legal circus that raged around her, she replaces it with one name: Polanski, as in

For me, the summer was an escape from all that was going on with Polanski back in California.

Doing this, the three authors do really incredible things sometimes.

Polanski’s lawyers had a job to do: they had to prove that whatever emotional distress I had in my life was not the fault of Polanski.
So they would bring up the crazy Nana, the drug-addled friends, even the fact that I smoked marijuana with my sister when I was sixteen.

Hey? What are now supposed to believe? That her coming with him, behaving as his lover (both Kalliniotes testimony and everything she said herself while describing the events), her decision to “let him do it” and her “playing her part”, the family faking the evidence, her “maturity and willingness” (probation report) her mother’s greed – all that is somehow Polanski’s fault? As we clearly see, and the probation report confirms, from his part it was extremely bad judgment; but how can he be responsible for her “emotional distress”, even if we agree that promiscuity and love of alcohol/drugs is a result of this "distress", and not of poor upbringing and personal inclinations? He didn’t do anything to her he wasn’t led to believe she liked.

Or are we supposed to believe that Polanski’s lawyers’ only resort was “blaming the victim”? We’ve been through this piece of nonsense here. We know that all the facts and evidence (or lack thereof) were on Polanski’s side; we also know that the truth can’t harm the innocent. Or wasn’t it true that her grandmother was mentally ill, and her aberration was of heightened interest towards sex variety? But doesn't Geimer write about it herself, about how embarrassed the family was when grandmother flirted with Bob’s friends? Also, how are drug-addled friends irrelevant to the emotional distress of a young lady? And why does she say she smoked marijuana at “sixteen”, when we know from this very book it was thirteen at the oldest?

All that is to prepare you to this outstanding fallacy:

And here’s the thing: Maybe some of Polanski’s lawyers’ insinuations were valid. Who knows? They attacked my character, and their suggestion seemed to be that Polanski’s raping me fit seamlessly into my already messy life. So really, what was the big deal? But that’s sort of like arguing, “your Honor, having her legs run over by a Mack truck doesn’t change anything: she already had a limp.”

It sounds so clever that probably some of her readers bought it. Can you see the fallacy yourself or do you want me to break it down?

This ingenious metaphor makes sense in one case, and one case only: if there had been rape. We know that there was not. The only thing that happened was statutory rape, if you must use this word, that is, unlawful sexual intercourse. The only thing the prosecution could pull was “she couldn’t consent” – but she did, and it is crucial to prove that she had done it before: it substantiates the defense case, showing that her consent was not “uninformed”. Omitting the qualification “statutory”, Silver turns the case upside down.

Moreover, unlawful intercourse is not synonymous to corrupting a child, which is a foul crime whether or not it is consensual, for this very reason: the consent of someone who doesn’t know what sex is can’t be informed. But while you can run someone’s legs by a truck over and over, you can pop one’s cherry only once. After this the consent becomes informed – and what one consents to can in no way be equaled to having one’s legs run over. Sex is a good thing, which Geimer herself constantly emphasizes. She was brought up in the idea that sex was a good thing. She had been initiated into it (arguably, by more men than one ex) and has loved it all the time since – while one can’t be initiated into getting run over by a truck, or love it.

If she insists on the automotive analogy, here’s the only appropriate one: You can’t drive a car until you are of a certain age. If an adult lets a minor drive, it is illegal and can lead to a catastrophe. But if the defense can prove that the minor had been taught to drive before, and her family didn’t see anything inappropriate about it – then nothing awful was committed by that adult, except irresponsibility: looking at the minor’s willingness to drive and aptness at the wheel, the adult in question should have kept in mind the legal aspect nevertheless. That’s all there is to it.

Refuse to be duped, guys. By anything. Lies; fallacies; ostensibly clever metaphors; demagogy.

1 comment:

need2bAnonAgain said...

So, I see the stepfather (as stated earlier) as a groomer, the mother displaying grifter tendencies, and the desire to turn-her-out --- industry-connected style. I think SG is dropping these Clues throughout.