failures of imagination

I’ve been a little distracted by the Polanski story this week, and the world’s reactions to it, and choked on my breakfast over the last sentence of this paragraph from an article in the Guardian today:

The five members of the jury at the Zurich film festival, headed by the actor Debra Winger, yesterday released a statement protesting that the event “had been exploited in an unfair fashion”.

At least one jury member, producer Henning Molfenter, has now boycotted the festival, with others expected to follow suit. “There is no way I’d go to Switzerland now. You can’t watch films knowing Roman Polanski is sitting in a cell 5km away,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.

[my italics]

It’s a failure of imagination that leads to us being unable to believe that someone we admire and respect can be capable of doing something terrible.

It’s the same failure of imagination that makes it impossible to see that those who have done terrible things are also capable of being extraordinary and amazing… and worth the investment of grace and forgiveness.

I keep thinking that one of the hardest concepts we have to grasp is our complexity as humans. Even those we know best are always more than the story we know of them… and the more is always both beautiful and terrible.


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