There's a side of America that scares Frenchmen, French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand was quoted by Time magazine Paris-based writer Bruce Crumley, and it's the side of American determination that doesn't let a 32-year-old rape case die, even if the perpetrator is an elderly survivor of the Holocaust.
Seeking to explain the "cultural divide" that's as "wide as the Atlantic" between America and Europe, Crumley noted that Europeans are "shocked and dismayed that an internationally acclaimed artist" such as Roman Polanski "could be jailed for such an old offense."
Of course, at no point did Crumley cite any public opinion polls with empirical data to back up his argument about the U.S.-European cultural divide on pursuing fugitives who jump bail after drugging and anally raping 13-year-old girls.
No, instead, Crumley turned to an American author (and journalist) living in France to bolster his argument about European sentiment on Polanski:
"The French view Polanski as an artist and celebrity and feel he deserves a different kind of treatment than ordinary people, which just isn't an option in the U.S.," says Ted Stanger, an author and longtime resident of France who has written extensively on the differing public views and attitudes across the Atlantic. "The French in particular, and Europeans in general, don't understand why it isn't possible for American officials to intervene and say, 'Hey, it's been over 30 years and things look a little different now. Let's just forget this thing.'"
Of course Crumley failed to mention Stanger is a journalist who has worked for Newsweek and UPI:
Stanger lives in Paris now, but he grew up in Ohio and after finishing his high school degree there spent four years at Princeton University where he earned a BA in English literature.
He began as a reporter for United Press International's Paris bureau and then worked for the Miami Herald, a Florida daily newspaper.
As of 1981, he became bureau chief for Newsweek magazine serving in four locations: Bonn, Rome, Jerusalem and finally Paris.
Could it be that the circles Stanger and Crumley run in -- the liberal intelligentsia in Paris -- are much like the liberal elite in Manhattan and Hollywood that have been echoing the same "leave Roman alone" gripe for years?