Jimmy Savile was no doubt the predatory creep everyone
now says he was. But I wonder whether
the howls of retrospective disgust from female columnists might be more
persuasive if they directed as much scorn to those of their gender in the show
business world who promote their celebrity by regularly flaunting physical
assets to the limits allowed by the accepted rules of decency.
As usual in such cases, and in the finest tradition of
the late News of the World, hypocrisy runs rampant in the media that feign to
share feminist outrage. Every day, for
those with a prurient interest in such matters – and it appears there are
millions of us with a highly-developed interest – newspapers such as The Sun and the Daily Mail devote page after page, both in print and on-line, to singers
and so-called presenters whose fame is attributable not so much to the quality
of their voices, or other ostensible talents, but to the exposure of their
It may be that Rihanna, Lady Ga Ga,
Beyonce, Cheryl Cole and Jennifer Lopez – to name but a few – have genuine
musical talents. But their regular
appearances in the newspapers are clearly less inspired by the notes they
produce than by how little they wear while producing them – that is to say, not
“Leaving little to the imagination,” is how the Mail might primly put it when Shakira Geestring
appears on stage wearing little but a few strategically-place spangles. “A budding talent,” the Sun will probably smirk, as Lily Buxsome ‘accidentally’ flashes a
nipple at the audience.
Ogling titillating pictures of half-naked pop stars obviously
falls well short of raping, or molesting, impressionable teenage groupies. And I am unconvinced by the argument that the former
might tend to encourage the kind of impulse that leads to the latter. Reading, in my youth, the first unexpurgated
version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover
failed (so far as I am aware) to deprave or corrupt me, even though the much-derided
prosecutor of Penguin Books, Mr. Mervyn Griffith-Jones, famously argued that it
would. (The same goes – again quoting
the honourable gentlemen – for my wife and my servants.)
Still, I can’t avoid the thought – without for a
moment suggesting causality – that the comments of affronted female commentators
about the ‘anything goes culture’ that permeated the BBC at the time Jimmy was
up to his tricks tend to be subverted when the adjoining column is slavering
over Cheryl displaying her impressive embonpoint in a night club, or Jennifer performing
in a see-through costume clearly designed to expose her underwear.
Savile apparently got away with his crimes because a
‘climate of fear’ at the BBC – based on his supposed power as a money-spinning
performer at the time – deterred both victims, and the dozens of ‘witnesses’
now emerging, from speaking out.
Belated outrage might be better served if the
protesters shifted the focus of their scorn to the current media obsession with
celebrity tits and bums.
The police will posthumously investigate Savile’s
offences, and the BBC will hold an enquiry.
Outrage will be satisfied.
Meanwhile, though, delectable 18-year-old Felicity
from Leigh-on-Sea will continue to take her kit off for Page 3, while somewhere
in the wings a Jimmy Savile waits for the opportunity to help her to ‘advance