Rolf Harris and Cheap Fame

two satyrs by Rubens
two satyrs by Rubens

UPDATE UPDATE : It turns out that a respectable journalist – Ben Leapman – has been convicted of rape… The story is here :

Maybe hacks have their own sex scandal to cover-up? Or they’re being loyal to friends they hoped were innocent… 

UPDATE : In some quarters the media reaction has been shocking…

Peter McKay in the Daily Mail conflated consensual sex with rape and said we were foolish to bother prosecuting it – sex crimes being ‘instinct’ in a way that theft and murder – apparently – aren’t :

and now Simon Jenkins in The Guardian has this to say :

Yet we deal with sex crimes by licensing anonymous accusers and staging celebrity show trials, with lawyers in gladiatorial legal combat before juries. From the attendant publicity, no reputation survives. It is judicial barbarism.

Accusers – not victims… Show trials – not trials… Legal combat – not our justice system… What other crime is treated this way? 

The rest of it is here :

I’m soiling my blog with unpleasantness again – but I was pondering about the conviction of singer/tv presenter/artist, Rolf Harris, for sexual assaults on (mostly) underage girls – and I’ve made a list :

1. Journalist Amanda Platell has admitted that – when she was a newspaper editor – she killed a big story about his unhappy family life because he phoned her up and cried… Who knew the press were that easy to emotionally blackmail?

2. His wife and daughter seem to have lost their sanity (to various degrees) and been crushed by his fame – while developing a dependence on it.

3. Women are so used to abuse that we mostly take it in our stride – it’s the vulnerable or vengeful ones that crack… Normally we’d dismiss them as cranks and crooks but the Savile Panic has made us take them seriously. The OTT nature of the panic is like a dam bursting… Will we go back to denial and silencing?

4. Rolf seemed so nice and cheerful – but now I look at some of his pictures and I see the hard gleam of a man who just wants fame and will do anything to get it.

5. In the pursuit of fame he’d made himself such a naff, childlike, ridiculous figure that any sign of his sex life would revolt us… it’s the queasy mix of jumpers and Rolfaroos with groping and porn that really destroys our faith in entertainment… he’s like some ugly satyr panting after us at a village fete.

6. Satire has always told us that ‘nice personalities’ are never that nice… Children’s authors hate children, jolly Uncles are really a bit pervy… and yet still we fall for it… They smile like goofs and we watch like it isn’t a hideous charade.

7. Who next?

8. Are sex pests still getting away with it because Jimmy Savile was in light entertainment? When will we purge Parliament? Or Hollywood? Or fashion?

9. How sad that he’s featured on Kate Bush’s albums ‘The Dreaming’ and ‘Aerial’ – but then – she’s a serious artist and it probably doesn’t matter… My ears will adjust.

10. Dismay.


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