Sunday, October 28, 2012

 

Savile Unravels: Seeing Right Through the Anti-Savile Hysteria

There is still no compelling evidence – that is, evidence that amounts to proof beyond reasonable doubt (or anything near it) – that Savile was the serious sex abuser as he is portrayed. And we know from similar hysterias in the recent past – notably over what turned out to be the entirely groundless 'satanic sex abuse' supposed paedophile rings with countless 'victims' – that you can get a great multiplying of allegations even in the absence of any truthful basis. What is more, the spurious 'satanic sex abuse' scandals were in respect of alleged events that were current or in the recent past, whereas the events re Savile are decades in the past and therefore very likely to be the result of 'false memories'. The psychology of constructing fabrications of past events is a human universal, and is rife whenever there is a highly salient seed upon which a construction can be made. A famous and larger-than-life individual who had myriad inconsequential encounters with others is almost bound to be the subject of a plethora of 'false memory'-based supposed incidents.
     So what can we say for definite about Savile (apart from that he was on the odd side of larger-than-life, if not a creep)? Well, Savile was a personification of the role he was expected to fill. As a DJ his job was to create a fun and indeed sexual atmosphere by flirting or mock-flirting. The obvious fact is that his position, as a foremost media star within pop music culture in the febrile atmosphere of the pop music scene in its heyday, was one of an alpha-male, and as such he had and was seen to have sexual licence. Not only would it be that Savile felt able to approach girls/women sexually, but girls/women would expect and in many cases not be averse to this. Girls usually would at least go along with it, if not be actively facilitative. It must be borne in mind that just as someone in Savile's position would be both particularly attracted to and be in a position to act on his attraction to females at the peak of their appeal – a few years post-puberty, at the start of their sexual lives; correspondingly, females, in being sexually attracted to conspicuously successful males, would have been attracted to Savile, and notwithstanding a considerable age difference.
     The particularly high-status older male together sexually with the nubile girl, as we can see throughout history, is as natural as it gets. Only in contemporary Western culture since the advent of the 'political-correctness' political-philosophy within the past two decades has this been regarded as a form of abuse. It is most certainly not 'paedophilia', which is defined precisely as an exclusive sexual interest in individuals below the age of puberty. Not only is Savile's interest clearly in post-pubertal girls, but it is not established even then that he had the exclusive interest necessary for a categorisation of 'hebephilia' (corresponding to 'paedophilia' but re adolescents, not children). His extraordinary position meant that he could indulge in a narrow preference for the most highly nubile females, and simply to have promiscuous sex with them without having to offer long-term partnership. This is wildly beyond any realistic hope for all but a very small minority of males, but certainly not beyond their normal dreams. The scope of Savile's sexual interest a psychiatrist would tell you is normal for males.
     The upshot is that the sexual dynamics in which Savile found himself essentially were much more of a two-way street, with interactions that were mutually reinforcing. It is not at all hard to see how all this could ratchet up so that Savile got all too used to the dynamics and took liberties, as they say. It may be that instead of a formalised peck on the cheek, Savile would kiss on the mouth. There is a new 'Savile meme' of his cigar-smoke-smelling tongue rammed into unsuspecting mouths, and this likely reflects this extension of repertoire, but is also likely to be an exaggeration. Exaggeration is natural human behaviour to make an event more significant than it otherwise would be. Regarding sexual behaviour there is always the dimension that for girls/women any form of sex is often regretted because of the question that it raises of sexual proprietariness. [The main form of mutual denigration that females employ is to portray in terms of sexual over-availability. This is because it injures a female's chances of securing a male long-term (as opposed to a short-term) partner. It is the key weapon in female intra-sexual competition.] For this reason, any accusation by a female against a male of inappropriate sexual behaviour should always be regarded with some suspicion. This goes completely against the current politically dominant philosophy of 'political correctness' contempt for the male, and this is a key feature of the current hysteria against Savile.
     If you then add the media feeding frenzy, which provides a huge platform for attention-seeking, and additionally the prospect of large sums in compensation payouts with minimal need to supply proof in respect of any individual incident; then you have the perfect storm to actively facilitate women to come forward to redefine as coerced past sexual behaviour to which there was acquiescence if not full mutuality. Max Clifford points out that most of the many women coming forward to him appear to be fabricating – either exaggerating out of all proportion or making up the whole thing.
     To return to the issue of the nubile girl: contemporary age-of-consent law reflects a pejorative view of sex with nubiles stemming from Victorian times that is now anachronistic. The average age of puberty back then was 17, whereas now it is eleven and still falling. If the girls Savile preferred indeed were aged fifteen or fourteen, given the contemporary reality of the age of sexual maturity out of childhood, then sexual attraction to girls at these ages is normal. The objection that sexual maturity is not emotional maturity is true only inasmuch as full 'emotional' maturity may well not be until age sixteen: the onset of 'emotional' maturity is from the hormonal surge at the beginning of puberty, in that it is this hormonal surge which initiates the adult reorganisation of the brain. In consequence, there is sufficient emotional maturity by age of first sex. Clearly, the evolutionary process would never have given rise to females having sex before they were fully ready to engage in it and deal with the consequences. The brain in fact does not reach full maturity in terms of an end to profound plasticity, until age twenty-five. No-one suggests that sexual activity should be proscribed by law until that age. The average age of first penetrative sex is difficult to ascertain, but it is generally agreed to be below age sixteen – age fifteen (15.0 or 15.3 years) according to the 1999 Global Sex Survey. Yet this is an average taken across all age groups: the age of first sex of someone now aged 60 or 70 is likely to be considerably older than someone now aged fourteen. Thus, the age of first sex for today's adolescents is likely to be around fourteen if not younger. Furthermore, the definition in law of sex in terms of age-of-consent is regarding any orifice and any form of penetration (penis, finger, object), or even non-penetration, it would seem, if it involves the labia/vulva. The average age of onset of any such sexual behaviour inevitably will be notably lower still than re full penile-penetrative sex.
     It is true, of course, that some girls are still very immature in all respects at age fourteen, but this is in large part a 'class' issue, given that epigenetic changes to girls born into less socially structured and secure environments – notably single-parent families in 'underclass' and other 'lower' class milieu -- bring about especially early puberty, resulting in a polarisation in average age of puberty according to broad social grouping. Augmenting this is the highly protracted adolescence and early adulthood of the middle-class education track. The issue then becomes one of an imposition on others of criminal law from a middle-class reality which is particularly inappropriate for some other social groups.
     There is then the problem for such as Savile, that even if there is a desire not to infringe the arbitrary law, of how to ascertain the age of girls so as not to fall foul of the age-of-consent law. Given the falling age of puberty resulting in girls of fourteen/fifteen appearing to be years older, and the ubiquity of young girls lying about their age; then it is near impossible for a male not to fall foul of the law if he is engaging in a large volume of sexual activity. Therefore, even if Savile was mindful of this and trying to be careful, he would have ended up behaving in a way that might appear similar to how is being portrayed.
     It is a further issue as to whether or not Savile was actually coercive – that is, intentionally so – in his behaviour. He hardly needed to be, and even if he actually tried to be careful in this respect, given the volume of sexual activity then with the regular miscommunication between the sexes (especially in the light of mixed signalling by females of coyness and 'come-on'), it would be fully expected that errors would be made. Compounding with the above-mentioned retrospective redefinition of consensual sex as coercive, it is almost inevitable that accusations would accrue to someone in Savile's position, irrespective of his actual character.
     The allegations against Savile in respect of institutionalised girls look odd given Savile's access to girls generally. It could be that he realised that any complaint against him re such girls would tend not to be believed, and on this basis he targeted them; but his brazen attitude more widely belies this. Whether or not from his hubris as a celebrity, Savile may have regarded engagement with the girls sexually as in a real sense bringing them out of their institutionalisation and normalising to thereby actually benefit them; just as when he took them to the Top-of-the-Pops or Jim'll-Fix-It studios for recordings. The institutionalisation of such girls may well have led them more than usual to go along with the behaviour, such that a spiral of miscommunication could ensue, with Savile being unwittingly coercive. It is very easy to take the perspective that if Savile did indeed have sex with these sort of girls, that this is a simple abuse of authority and a very serious one; but the sexual dynamics above outlined apply, and there is an ever clearer basis for a retrospective redefinition of sex as coercive.
     The issue of harm is held to be self-evident, and in any case it is argued that sexual coercion of females of any age, let alone at or under the age-of-consent, is fundamentally unacceptable. This stems from the very deepest biological/evolutionary reasons: the essential basis of all social system in 'policing' male access to sex (which is for reasons beyond my scope here). The obvious harm ancestrally and historically is the obvious one that a girl could end up with a child by a male who is merely indulging in extra-pair sex (and therefore is not intending to support the girl and any subsequent child) and/or is in any case somehow an unsuitable male – that is, lacking in 'good genes' (the basis of male attractiveness across biology). Well, Savile was a very high-status male and there is only one case (so far as I'm aware) in which a putative victim alleges that an abortion was required. It is not clear whether or not Savile used condoms – if, indeed, it is clear that much of the alleged actual penetrative sex took place. Irrespective of these considerations, the harm that is alluded to is the supposed most serious harm of child sex abuse. But even if there was abuse, there was no child sex abuse (unless the outlier allegation of sex with a pre-pubertal boy is proven) because the girls were all past the age of puberty. [In any case, meta-studies on the adult clinical-psychological sequelae of child sex abuse show a very surprising minimal if not null impact.] One woman is claiming that Savile's hand up her skirt when on air in a TOTP filming when she was a teenager has resulted in her subsequent broken marriage, yet there is nothing apparent in the video that she was even upset at the time. Such is the ludicrosity of the cases springing to light.

Overall, there are multiple inter-related and mutually reinforcing facets to the hysteria over Savile, and the essential truths of the male-female dynamics are being completely ignored. The feeding frenzy is feeding upon itself and may turn out to have emanated from little real meat in the first place. It may well be that Savile went beyond an excessive laddishness to exploit the lucky situation in which he found himself, to become reckless as to the acquiescence of girls to engage in sex. It may further be the case that Savile turned into (or was from the outset) an out-and-out abuser, but as yet this is unproven and there appears to be no way forward even in principle whereby it could be proven.
     The Savile hysteria is a marker for our times, which will distinguish them as being peculiarly at odds with human nature and remarkably intolerant and plain stupid. Savile has become an emblem for a cultural hatred of the male. As a relatively low-status male myself, I hardly have great affection for high-status males such as was Savile; even those who behave as perfect gentlemen. The concern must be that if this is how we now jump to malign even high-status males, then as regards the majority of males – boys as well as men – we can only marvel at the extent of prejudice and contempt directed towards them.

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