Savile Row

I think it’s fair to say that Jimmy Savile has ruined the image of creepy old men who live with their mothers forever.

The papers must be kicking themselves. After all the fearmongering,  suspicion, calls for mob justice, support for vigilantism, printing of rumours, linking to race and casual calls for rewriting / enforcing / scrapping of child protection laws depending on specific story requirements they missed a literally all-singing, all dancing pantomime villain right in front of their eyes.

I know. D’oh, right?

Look at this man. He is exactly what the papers have been warning us about. He is the tabloid definition of a paedophile. He couldn’t look more like a child abuser if had a giant net and was dressed like the Hamburglar. And he was in plain-sight – literally cavorting next to children on TV, giving them hugs and offering special favours.

He was buying silence with charity money. And given his own room in children’s hospitals where he would prowl up and down the wards. He had the keys to mental health facilities and was allowed special access to vulnerable patients. He was an actual, proper, real evil mastermind. It’s like unmasking the President as the villain.

I met him once, and he told me I was far too pretty for him (I’m not).

Furthermore he was fully enabled by the BBC who, not content with just procuring children for one of their biggest stars to abuse, were also offering sanctuary to a nest of paedophiles by giving them broadcast positions. Worst of all this became an officially sanctioned cover-up, going as far to yank a Newsnight investigation from the airwaves for fear of damaging their own reputations.

The press, and the Mail especially, are going all out to push their lone gunman theory – that the BBC, the giant unified autonomous thinking-as-one unit were the only enablers; no-one else knew. Certainly not the Mail who are as gee-whiz-golly-gosh shocked as the rest of us. Apparently everyone knew but no-one told us.

This is horseshit.

They’re trying to convince us that over the course of 40 years one of the most famous people in the country ritually abused children and not one of their writers had heard a thing? With their Leveson exposed network of insiders, tip-offs, corrupt policeman, hidden cameras, hacked phones, fake sheiks and overwhelming willingness to print unfounded rumours we are expected to believe that they knew nothing…?

Again: horseshit.

The papers knew. Most likely not the full details but they heard the same rumours, they ran in the same crowds, they mixed with the same people. For them not to have heard *something* and wanted to investigate would require a monumental failure of an entire network of information gatherers across a dozen newspapers and broadcasters, both legal and illegal, in an industry funded by lurid and shocking stories. It literally makes no sense at all.

The thing is – we all thought it too, right? Not really. Not really really. But kinda. We all thought he was weird, but we assumed harmless. And we were right to do so – because it is inconceivable that someone so famous, so known, who has so many interactions, with so much power, could be doing such things. He worked in an industry where nothing is private. If Richard Bacon gets thrown off Blue Peter for a line of coke how could Jimmy Savile possibly be fucking kids for forty fucking years?

I love the BBC dearly and I would defend them until the heat-death of the universe but even I’m not going to sit here and pretend this isn’t a disgusting and catastrophic failure on their behalf. They’re not the only ones though – from left to right, red-top to blue-top, our press utterly and completely failed to unmask a corruption that was directly in front of them. And that is unforgivable.

Our media is a prime contributor to the sexualisation of teenage girls.There is no point discussing Savile as part of a larger societal acceptance – “it was the culture back then” – if you’re not going to acknowledge that that culture absolutely exists now, and it is more pervasive and accepted than ever before. As Graham Linehan pointed out on Have I Got News For You this week, searching the MailOnline for the phrase “all grown up” says all you need to know.

Why did the Mail choose to report on an affair John Peel had with a 15 year old girl and not mention David Bowie’s deflowering of 13 year old Lori Maddox? Because Bowie is alive, and he would sue them. Reporting on Peel is just a small hit-job; aiming at the larger target of the BBC, but in the process it dilutes the crimes of Savile in the public mind; he becomes just another cartoon hate-figure.

They’ll now echo the shock and disgust across countless articles, reprinting the same stock images of Savile’s leering cigar chomping next to the newest nubile paparazzi GEMMA ATKINSON SHOWS OFF HER ENVIABLY TONED FIGURE AS SHE GOES JOGGING IN A CROP TOP AND SHORTS headline and never ever make the connection.

To give the story due credit though, it’s been a goldmine for jokes. That last sentence may seem odd given the 900 or so words I’ve just written above but it’s ok – it’s satire, innit? Satire. This is my favourite joke we’ve written – very few other people thought so, admittedly, but I’m reprinting it here anyway.

EVIL BBC: “Jimmy Savile left messages on my voicemail bragging of sex with my granddaughter” claims Andrew Sachs.

Yours,

Disgusted of Europeland

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