03 October 2012

Jimmy Savile

There's a lot of mystified chatter around these days along the lines of, “How did Jimmy Savile get away with it”. There are some fun theories (David Icke is on form there), but the truth is at once boringly prosaic and shocking.

In the 1960s and 70s, being into teenage girls wasn’t a big deal.

It wasn’t exactly respectable, but DJs weren’t respectable anyway. It wasn’t legal, but neither was drink-driving, and everybody in those days did that.

Being into teenage boys was a bit worse, but that’s because homosexuality was not well-regarded. Stories about choirmasters or scoutmasters or latin masters who were a bit too friendly with their charges were common jokes. Not shocking, “alternative” jokes, but boring, mother-in-law, Benny Hill, variety show jokes.

I think messing about with pre-pubescent girls or boys was another matter, but Hugo Rifkind’s story, from Savile’s autobiography, where he keeps a runaway remand school girl home overnight, was not the sort of thing someone with a reputation for being a bit rough and wild anyway would be shy of admitting.

This is another example of those changes in attitude that are so severe and sudden that the culture just blanks out that things were ever different, leaving odd inexplicable anomalies like Jimmy Savile, the friendly childrens’ entertainer and sex-case. 

3 comments:

sconzey said...

That's not to say that were I in David Cameron's shoes I wouldn't exploit the hell out of this opportunity to eviscerate the bbc

A Nonny Mouse said...

I watched the ITV programme about the sins of Jimmy Savile, conducted by a detective from Surrey Police. One girl had been molested by JS 48 times. The trouble with the ‘detective’ was that he thought like a Witchfinder General or a Sun Reporter, but not at all like a lawyer. Savile’s activities can be divided into three headings.

1) Those that were perfectly legal. He had sex, repeatedly, with girls of 16: by the time they were 18, he lost interest in them.
2) Those that were contrary to English Law, but not to natural law, and thus unlikely to lead to a conviction: he had sexual relations with girls who were not quite 16 years old with their consent, and sometimes with their parents’ consent. As these did not generate a contemporary complaint, nothing could be done about them and, one might argue, nothing should be done about them.
3) Cases where he overstepped the mark. He groped a 14 year old on a cruise and after complaints from her parents was put ashore at Gibraltar.

But as far as I can see, his non-consensual activities with minors were of the manual sort, and therefore minor: he did not have non-consensual sexual intercourse with minors, or for that matter, with adults.

Having started the ball rolling, the newspapers are now encouraging all manner of people to consider themselves victims. Savile had girls-only parties at Broadmoor, which is not an institution for children, yet the attendees are now presenting themselves as poor unfortunates. And despite Savile’s clear indication (girls-only) of where his interest lay, a man is now claiming he was molested by him when he was nine.One woman presenting herself as a victim complained that he lost interest in her when she was 18. I get the impression that her grievance is not that he had sexual intercourse with her, but that he stopped doing so.

As for the notion that there has been some change in public morality, Michael Jackson pursued the same predatory path and got away with it because of fame and money. The continuing conflicting dynamic of what men want, what women want and what reporters can write about to sell newspapers will ensure that incidents of this sort will continue for ever.

A Nonny Mouse said...

…And if I were in the BBC’s shoes I would point out that Jimmy Savile frequently spent Christmas with Dennis and Margaret Thatcher and use the opportunity to eviscerate David Cameron and the Conservative Party….