There is a lot of it about, both smoke and mirrors – sleight of hand, deception great and small, some connived at, some glaringly obvious. Take Putin – oh do, do take Putin . Away. Sadly the walk says it all, cock of a lucrative dung heap. Political watchers will say, “Could be worse” or “Same old, same old” but poor Mother Russia – £31 billion for the Winter Olympics? People driven out and dispossessed, Cinemascopic corruption, the beating of gays endorsed by state decree (nothing like acting out your fears), dogs destroyed en masse – please invest in The Last Man in Russia by Oliver Bullough published by Allen Lane about how the gross over centralisation of goods and services in Moscow and environs leaves tracts of a continent without trains, petrol stations, work, medicine or food – in a word, dying.
Look at the vast pestilential cloak draped over Jimmy Savile and see how it brushed against the innocent, the would-be innocent, the probably guilty and the caught-in-the-crosshairs – and remember, mud sticks. I have only heard one person speak publicly about statute of limitations, that beyond a certain passage of time, a case cannot be brought. She was unappealing but the point was valid. I don’t remember what I was doing on 5 August last year, let alone 5 years ago and I bet you don’t either. Memory is selective. We are looking at men of some influence and power who may or may not have behaved in a certain way and memory being what it is, probably don’t remember or chose to forget. Men and women alike, we all like to be heroes in the bathroom mirror. The courts are asking people to recall over 20, 30 years. And there is money on the table and the lure of money is very strong. If we want to change the culture of sexual elitism whereby the weaker are exploited by the stronger, it will take a much more difficult route and a much greater degree of intention. Not being able to bring such a case outside an officially recognised period of time may be the only way forward.
Listen to the outcry over the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, a fine actor, apparently a likeable man but you know and I know – and if you don’t , I will tell you – that anybody whose weight swings as much as that man’s did – is a soul in trouble, regardless of sex or occupation. (Food is misunderstood as a drug of choice). And, no matter how unhappy you are, at the top of the heap called show business (forget about the show, never forget about the business) you can do and have anything as long as you continue to generate revenue. (Think back to our own Knight of Darkness Jimmy Savile). It isn’t in either case that nobody saw, it’s that nobody wanted to see. In both cases, gifted people often have money, money buys almost anything you want or might want to try. It is noticeable that US news media, no matter how sympathetic, is now pointing to the prescription of a painkiller so powerful and addictive that it is “the gateway to heroin” – the latter an opiate first isolated by a British chemist in 1874. We must wonder – what is the pain, the unmanageable pain?
So once again, as we do every so often, we begin to examine through general media stories of addiction and unhappiness, the nature of pain and how different personalities respond to it, the abuses of power we permit to those who rise to the top of our convoluted society – although Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry pointed out 40 years ago (in Helter Skelter the story of the Manson Murders) that the crossover is sex and drugs, and drugs and sex. It isn’t an accident that they are twinned because both may be expressed through addictive behaviour which is hard to understand unless it possesses you, difficult to treat and almost impossible to convey unless you the researcher wish to understand and will put in the time and effort. Tabloid headlines addiction is not. Less time being cosily appalled and more trying to understand the nature of smoke and mirrors, how things appear to be compared to what they are, would be immensely constructive on all sorts of levels. It might even bring the disaffected back to politics. It is no accident that the phrase was coined by an American journalist, describing his country’s political crisis in the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal, which looks set to run and run and run into tributaries of deceit and decadence all over the globe.