November 10th, 2012

breaking bad

The Tory abuse allegations

The Tory I didn't want to name the other day was Lord McAlpine. It now transpires that it was sensible to be cautious. It appears the abused children were told the person abusing them was McAlpine when he was actually some other rich old man. The BBC fucked up for the second time, which is tragic.

I also know at least two of the names that were given to David Cameron (on air by Philip Schofield) - and I don't believe these two men to be paedophiles. Although they are senior Tories whose policies I hate I think they are innocent of this. They were both part of an upper crust gay subculture in the 80s and 90s. I am pretty certain of that because a very affluent gay man I used to be close to was part of the same subculture. I have never made anything of that knowledge, because I don't believe in outing harmless sexual proclivities. One of the two is an affable enough chap, the other is a nasty piece of work in my opinion. It doesn't matter, I think they are both innocent.

On the subject of sexual abuse I stand by what I have been saying all week:
Obviously there are secrets - like who exactly did what and when - but secrecy is there to protect the incompetence and weakness of the powerful. It doesn't give politicians and their pet journalists special power or competence, quite the reverse, it allows them to be rubbish... The only thing that happens when details come out is that what has been frankly obvious to anyone with eyes can't be denied any longer - not the individuals but that attitude that some people are expendable, usable, less important. Although of course some people will bitterly continue to deny.

sheenaghpugh rightly responded that the names of individuals are important for prosecution. Yes, and I won't deny there is also a natural human tendency to want to know names and faces - that's how our mind's work.

But the overall issue doesn't change - which is that child abuse has been allowed to flourish by a culture which says rich white men are more important than all other types of human being. That their word is more reliable. That their sexual needs are the norm. That their pleasure is more important than the pain of children. A rape culture in other words.

What I am scared about is that people will focus on names, and when a particular name is shown to be false they will think this solves the problem. It does not. The names are - I won't say a red herring - but the insider knowledge is less important than what should be clear to all. Rape culture is evil and needs to be changed.
breaking bad

Tom Watson, please take special care

I think the senior Tories caught up in this abuse scandal are horrible selfish people, but I don't think most of them are child abusers. I think Tom Watson MP is good to his core, and has done so many good things. But I think he is at risk of making an error.

It must be very difficult for him. He was told things which must have seemed almost impossible to credit, about phone hacking by newspapers, then about Jimmy Saville and so on. And all the allegations so far have been shown to be true, and there had been a massive establishment cover-up. What an emotional impact that must have had on him.

But now, in my opinion, unscrupulous or emotionally damaged people may have started to take advantage of him.

Here is what he wrote this week:
As I type this blog post, I’m half-smiling about how insane all this appears. It sounds like I’ve taken leave of my senses – just like they said I had during the early days of the hacking scandal. Maybe I have.

I don't believe he has taken leave of his senses. I think he is - quite understandably - overwhelmed by how many seemingly-impossible things have proved to be true, that it is hard for him to know what to credit. This does not make him bad or stupid. But it makes him vulnerable.
Many ordinary people have contacted me about suspicions they have had of a wider wrongdoing – in some cases so heinous it made me cry. They have talked of psychopaths marking children with Stanley knives to show “ownership”.

I think the knife thing is an urban legend. And I think there is a big risk that individual details like this will be proved false and people will use that to discredit the overall story. People want to restore the status quo. They want to believe it is all about specific individuals, who can be exposed once they are safely dead. People really, really want to believe that powerful people are basically benign. So Watson - a good, brave man - needs to be very careful this week.
breaking bad

Television cinematography as art

Can you tell this is my one time a week I allow myself to much about online? Back to work in a few moments.

Here is a beautiful video showcasing the Cinematography of Breaking Bad.

What I want from art of all kinds is to feel the beauty and horror of life, to wake up from the kind of dull trance we fall into (I fall into, I think other people do): as Wordsworth said 'Getting and Spending we lay waste our powers'.

I think that video works as a standalone.

There are clever things in particular camera shots. For example, sitting in front of the desert sunset you see Walt is eating a hoop-shaped thing. That is a 'FunYun', and he has mocked Jesse for eating them. Walt eating Jesse's food is a gentle sign of their reconciliation. In the next series, on the day they destroy the camper van, Walt sees a bag of FunYuns in the van, and he reconciles with Jesse. This kind of narrative thread adds a further layer to the shots. But I think the video stands alone as a piece of TV poetry.