Victims of a nudge-nudge culture
January 17, 2003 6:17 PM   Subscribe

Guilty until proven innocent? Mark Lawson discusses the perils being caught up in a nudge-nudge culture.
posted by tommyc (9 comments total)

Flash Friday!

I didn't want to make a FPP (since this one's been done before) so I just make a totally unrelated comment and derail this thread. :)

This is the best flash game evar!

posted by velacroix at 6:28 PM on January 17, 2003

Maybe we should stop denying that children become sexual beings before they are legally allowed to be sexual beings. Then maybe we won't have a bunch of perverts trying to perpetuate what was done to them upon others, or trying to reclaim a stifled sexuality.

The issue of the glee with which the media loves to parade the latest pervert or even-slightly-tinged-with-real-or-imagined-perversity is something I'll leave to those who still haven't opted out of television and most news magazines.

Stop flashing me velacroix. Someone from the Mirror is right behind me.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:29 PM on January 17, 2003

Isn't it funny how the personalities of the people involved in these allegations affects how the public reacts to them? For example, when the Gary Glitter thing came out, I remember everyone assuming the worst, simply because Glitter had a foul personality in the media, and wasn't particularly liked beforehand.

Then when the John Leslie thing came out, it happened all over again. Some people liked Leslie (mostly old ladies, IME) but again he was seen as a bit of a prat, and suffered the fallout again.

But now we hit Matthew Kelly, and I haven't heard a bad word.. and people I speak to actually feel sorry for him. Could this be because he really is TV's Mr. Nice Guy? I suggest it is, and that being seen as a 'nice guy' by the general public is important to surviving these debacles. (This doesn't explain Barrymore, although the gay angle could have pushed it.)
posted by wackybrit at 7:00 PM on January 17, 2003

I was listening to Aerial View on WFMU earlier tonight and and Chris T. read the article posted by Pete Townshend on his website from way before he was busted for this. I've never been a fan of the Who, but I tend to believe Townshend's story. My take is that he was naive and arrogant in his celebrity isolation, and really was doing what he thought of as righteous research into this despicable perversion, like a superstar-superhero. My other thought is that the prosecutors are probably just so delighted to have a famous person caught in their snare, that they are rushing to parade their prize before the press. Remember the McMartin daycare debacle. Those poor people had their life ruined from prosecutorial hysteria.
posted by gametone at 8:50 PM on January 17, 2003

The whole thing in the UK started when the FBI found over 250,000 credit card numbers on a child-porn site in Texas back in 2000 the largest ring ever busted and they sent them to police all over the world. It's caused an overload of police and social systems to deal with it so they focus on those perps in positions of authority (stars, police, teachers, etc..) and let the rest go pretty much. Many of these countrys are not as progressive as the USA in child offenses and so while good intentions are there the moral authority of the FBI and anti child porn forces in the USA often don't sync up with every country in the world who are dealing with it for the first time. The magnitude of the crime aside, this is another interesting example of American cultural imperialism at work.

There is also the interesting question if you commit a crime years ago on the Internet when perhaps that crime was not seen as being too offensive or was unenforced and then years later sentiment changes, the Internet has a long memory of record keeping. Whos to say downloading copyrighted material suddenly became a serious issue and logs are dug up from 1998 that show you went on a Napster MP3 binge. Perhaps a bad example but the lawlessness of the Internet may come back to haunt later when the police catch up.
posted by stbalbach at 9:07 PM on January 17, 2003

wackybrit , I agree with your observations. When it's some fringe celebrity who no one liked anyway, people feel that their instincts were correct in not caring for that personality. But when it's millions of people's hero, then they feel either that they were duped or that the charges must be wrong. It's hard to admit that your instincts were wrong.
posted by HTuttle at 11:07 PM on January 17, 2003

I think mark lawson must wish us to assume that somebody must have stolen these celebrities credit card details and used them to access child porn.
He must also hope that instead of condemning these people, we assume that a new investigation relating to jonathan king's successful conviction is nothing more than a mistake.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:23 AM on January 18, 2003

Htuttle and Sgt Serenity - the point Lawson was trying to make is that our culture is increasingly moving towards a guilty-until-proved-innocent stance which goes against one of the key principles not only of British law but of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 11).

By condemning people before they have even been arrested or charged, let alone tried in a court of law, we are taking a step back from civilised society towards a lynch mob mentality where innocence and guilt no longer apply.

It's not defending paedophilia to defend the concept of "innocent until proven guilty".
posted by anyanka at 9:51 AM on January 18, 2003

the point im trying to make is that lawson chose some pretty bad examples to prove his point, ie two people who if they were given a legal aid lawyer, would be told by said lawyer to plead guilty.
i agree with the concept and indeed the practise of 'IUPG'.
but being arrested with tam paton (a convicted sex offender) doesnt exactly put a shine on your halo, does it?
Its pretty hard to believe the allegations against townsend and kelly but what i am trying to say is the circumstances in which they were made are not fortuitous.
I think there is a difference between judgement and discernment really.
I would disagree with the notion that we live in a civilised society - doctors withdraw treatment from the eldery on a regular basis for a start and most peoples sense of community is gleaned thru watching coronation street, or having their emotions manipulated by the tabloids.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:54 PM on January 18, 2003

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