Bloody nonsense about Gary Glitter

Convicted sex offender Gary Glitter stands to be paid thousands of pounds in royalties after the BBC aired a repeat of him performing on Top of the Pops in 1977.

What sort of tosspot phones up the BBC to complain about this?

Should we tear down Prospero and Ariel because Eric Gill was a kiddie fiddler?

And I\’d love it if someone could tell me how he\’ll get several thousands for one song in a TV repeat. It\’s more like £50 on the radio so I rather doubt it\’s thousands on the TV.

39 thoughts on “Bloody nonsense about Gary Glitter”

  1. Playing a song on radio means that the artist gets something from the PRS. But if they appear on TV they can get repeat fees. I don’t know if that is the case with Glitter, it’s more to do with shows. But it might explain it.

    A quick check of a site that calculates such fees seems to indicate that he could get a sum more than a few quid. Someone paid £500 on the day could get more than that in repeat fees for a national advert. See http://www.usefee.tv

    However the weasly word is “stands” which means that in theory he could get thousands but more likely in reality only get £50. Whipping up a frenzy is standard journalistic practise. More important than telling the truth.

  2. ‘Should we tear down Prospero and Ariel because Eric Gill was a kiddie fiddler?’

    Well, why not? Hadn’t realised he was until I read this, and seems quite reasonable to get rid of his public works.

    Surely art doesn’t excuse paedophilia?

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Refusing to play someone on the TV is different from destroying a unique piece of Art. The correct parallel would be either refusing to go and see Prospero and Ariel, (although that would not involve the payment of money to the man (and actually in retrospect a statue of an elderly man with a naked child between his legs is a little …. dubious – think he was trying to tell us something? Although at least it isn’t his dog)) or better yet recalling and destroying every copy of every recording Glitter made.

    This is a little bizarre, but on the other hand if there is no need for my money to go to a convicted paedophile, is there really any need for my money to go to a convicted paedophile? Is the re-broadcast of anything Glitter wrote or sung that involves transferring as much as a penny of my money in the national interest? If it is, it is. But if it isn’t, why do it?

    Although we do have double standards. No one seems to mind Somerset Maughan cruised the Third World for young boys. But then he is not getting the reprint fees is he?

  4. Interesting how language can change context.

    ‘Should we tear down Prospero and Ariel because Eric Gill was a kiddie fiddler?’

    ‘Should we tear down Prospero and Ariel because Eric Gill anally raped his underage daughters?’

    Appreciate it was probably a bit of a troll….

  5. I saw Glitter on a TOTP repeat a few months ago singing a different song. It was an incredibly creepy performance. Not just because of what we now know — in itself, it made my flesh creep. How did he ever get on the show in the first place?

  6. Philip Scott Thomas

    Just wait till some bright spark at The Daily Mail figures out it was Gill who did the stations of the cross at Westminster Cathedral. That should be fun.

  7. PST (#6), you’re about 15 years behind.

    There was a fuss years ago, with people calling for the Gill stations of the cross to be torn down from Westminster Cathedral.

  8. SMFS (#3) – now I look at it again, the fact that the naked boy is blowing on a whistle is also somewhat disturbing.

  9. SMFS,

    Although we do have double standards.

    It’s tribal. Roman Polanski doesn’t get the same treatment as Gary Glitter, despite raping a girl because he’s an arts critic darling, “one of us”.

  10. Philip Scott Thomas

    Richard –

    Thanks for that. I know I shouldn’t be surprised that what I thought was just a throw-away joke turns out to be Puritanical reality, but I am.

  11. Surely art doesn’t excuse paedophilia?

    Of course not, but then neither does paedophilia condemn art. It should be judged on its own merits.

    Obviously, there then comes a moral problem with payments to criminals but I thought a generally agreed context (many here might not subscribe to) was that they could not benefit from their crimes but anything they did outside of that. Subject to confiscation for reparations, of course.

  12. Surely art doesn’t excuse paedophilia?

    Hmm. Maybe not.

    If somebody raped one kid, but created a work of art that brought significant amounts of happiness to millions, then they’re a net positive contributor to humanity, and we’re better off with them having lived than not.

  13. What anon @9.58 said

    Roman Polanski gets a ‘creative pass’ for anally raping a girl. The BBC won’t go banning one of their own so they can’t be seen to single out Paul Gadd.

    Anyone seen Chris Langham lately?

  14. Surely art doesn’t excuse paedophilia?

    Hmm. Maybe not.

    I don’t think there is any “maybe” about it. It’s not an excuse – just as being drunk at the time isn’t an excuse. Probably little is – except not having (for reasons not of your own making) the capacity to realise what you were doing. Technical paedophilia (i.e. tarted up 17 year olds who claim to be 19 or would have if asked) and some people who were abused themselves may also fall into that category.

    It is a separate weight on the scales of somebody’s existence (channeling Ma’at a bit) …

    I agree with your main point but would hate to have the discussion with anybody I didn’t know really well (and probably quite a few of those) about how much “great art” it takes to excuse a rape (or, frankly, any crime.)

  15. John B,

    So there’s nothing wrong with the argument that yes, the Krays were murdering nutjobs, but they were always good to their mother – it’s just they weren’t good enough?

    For your cost-benefit analysis, you need to use the net good and and net bad of the person concerned.

    I would have thought that if one raping sculptor hadn’t lived then the spaces his work now occupies would be filled by the work of a non-raping sculptor, who would also bring much pleasure. Whereas, the raping sculptor’s victims are a lot less likely to have another rapist step forward.

  16. ‘Of course not, but then neither does paedophilia condemn art. It should be judged on its own merits.’

    I see your point (and John B’s) but why bother? If Leonardo didn’t exist he wouldn’t be missed. Art is fine and fun, but it is only art (IMHO).

    Why not have a moral line, however much it costs us?

    For some obscenities, the person and their creations are rejected from public life.

  17. Why not have a moral line, however much it costs us?

    Hmm. Okay. You are attempting to predict the mores of the future.

    Let’s take paedos. In the last 30 years, we’ve gone from pictures of a 16 year old Sam Fox being on Page 3 of the country’s largest circulating newspaper to being actually illegal. Yet, in the same time, her being a lesbian has gone from being something socially unacceptable in most sectors of society to being nothing much to be bothered about.

    I’ll go back to my original answer to your point – art does not excuse paedophilia. However, if you wish to have conviction for a crime imply censorship of output (rather than ostracisation from society) then you are begging the courtesy of all of the past and all of the futures definitions of crime.

    As we argue here frequently, anybody who trusts the mendacious scum who form our legislature needs to be sat down for some intensive indoctrination in reality. Any body who thinks they were significantly better in the past is deluded and anybody expecting them to get any better is positively Panglossian.

    Risking a righteously earned Godwin: first they came for the sculptures of the paedophiles …

  18. I don’t think any amount of fine art outweighs child rape. But I’m not going to delete Perpetua and Gill Sans from my computer. Is anyone?

  19. Thinking about it some more. Which crimes would you choose?

    Are we not culturally poorer for the Commonwealth’s destruction of much of the great religious art in London? Mores of tptw, the artists had committed the mortal sin of distracting people from God. Compared to a bit of you know what with a servant girl? Even if she wasn’t desperately keen.

    Afghan women who dare to be educated? Burn anything they produce.

    I’ll stop before I accidentally Godwin again.

  20. The artist and the art are separate. If (say)Shakespeare was suddenly revealed to have been (say) a paedophile, his plays would not be diminished – cf Peter Shaffer’s exposition of this exact issue in his play Amadeus. Come, come, this really is first year stuff.

  21. ‘However, if you wish to have conviction for a crime imply censorship of output ‘

    No one has been talking about censorship as far as I can see – I certainly wouldn’t make a case for it.

    ‘You are attempting to predict the mores of the future.’

    Not really – your Sam Fox example doesn’t really work. Hypothetically child anal rape might make a comeback in the moral stakes but …..

    Private institutions and individuals can display what they want within the bounds of decency, but the state already has limits on what it spends our money on.

    So, we say ‘oops, sorry. This man was scum. We’re not going to display his work’ and down they come to be stored away.

    Sure there’ll be some fuzziness, but I can’t see armageddon galloping down the road, which seems to be what you are suggesting.

  22. ‘If somebody raped one kid, but created a work of art that brought significant amounts of happiness to millions, then they’re a net positive contributor to humanity, and we’re better off with them having lived than not.’

    Well, it’s a point of view, but…

    In which case an artist paedophile only has to be convinced that they are producing great art (and what artist doesn’t believe they are well above average?) to justify their practises.

    Seems a game plan to me.

    The state withdrawing recognition of the artist for these kind of crimes would only be reasonable, even post mortem.

  23. Philip Scott Thomas

    The artist and the art are separate.

    Hurrah. Yes, quite so.

    I had thought most of us here were mature enough to distinguish between the man and his work. A significant number of the works regarded as milestones in Western culture were produced by utter bastards (see Paul Johnson for more details).

    I am somewhat distressed to find myself agreeing with PaulB: Gill Sans is one of the most beautiful fonts ever created, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop using it because its creator was a kiddie fiddler.

  24. Philip Scott Thomas

    Should we tear down Prospero and Ariel because Eric Gill was a kiddie fiddler?

    They already have. Well, sorta.

    There is a (probably apocryphal) story about that. According to the story, the adolescent Arial was originally considerably more, ahem, endowed than nature would have otherwise suggested; so much so that it acted as a downspout when it rained.

    According to the story, Lord Reith himself was entering Broadcasting House when a rivulet of water pissed down his neck. He looked up, saw its source, and ordered that Gill reduce the size of Arial’s endowment.

  25. SE, pedeophilia does not include 16 yr olds page 3 models and older. Pedophilia is prepubescent children. Hebephilia for slightly older. And Ephebophilia for those up to legal age.

    Part of the problem with the whole pedophilia scare is the MSM including teenagers as pedophile victims. They are not. So any case which involves teenagers is a pedophile scare story to whip up into frenzy.

    Calling teenagers children does not help either.

  26. Doug Young.
    “The state withdrawing recognition of the artist for these kind of crimes would only be reasonable, even post mortem.”

    What do you mean by that ? Just withdrawing state subsidy from convicted criminals maybe, fair enough but then I don’t see much of a case for state subsidy of art in the first place. If you’re suggesting some sort of air brushing from history however, which is what a lot of people seem to want with Glitter, then that is censorship.
    Anyway what Churm said, this is all first year stuff of the kind I’d expect to see in the Guardian.

  27. SE, pedeophilia does not include 16 yr olds page 3 models and older. Pedophilia is prepubescent children. Hebephilia for slightly older. And Ephebophilia for those up to legal age.

    Etymologically you are entirely correct. Legally and, more importantly, memetically you are wrong. Yours is an argument that I’ve simply stopped trying to have because it simply upsets people too much. Pointing out that they’re upset because of their own stupidity doesn’t help in the slightest.

    Under 18, I’m afraid, nowadays it’s paedo.

  28. MrPotarto (#20) said: “if one raping sculptor hadn’t lived … his victims are a lot less likely to have another rapist step forward”

    A tricky argument in Gill’s case, since if he hadn’t existed then some of his victims wouldn’t have either. I don’t know how one even starts to decide whether it would have been better if he had not existed; I suspect we can’t.

    And we don’t really know what the dog thought of it all.

    But the real prize for chutzpah goes to Gill for accusing Epstein of being sex-mad.

  29. So Much For Subtlety

    Anon – “It’s tribal. Roman Polanski doesn’t get the same treatment as Gary Glitter, despite raping a girl because he’s an arts critic darling, “one of us”.”

    I guess that is about the size of it. Sad.

    13 Surreptitious Evil – “Of course not, but then neither does paedophilia condemn art. It should be judged on its own merits.”

    Doesn’t Art also deserve a context? The main distinction here is still that no one wants to destroy all of Glitter’s work – just not play him so he doesn’t get Royalties. You can still go out and buy his records. A sculpture, once made, is made and it should not be destroyed. However doesn’t our appreciation of the work also rely on the context in which it was made? Gill’s Catholicism, such as it was, is relevant to that. Why isn’t his preference for sex with his dog?

    Obviously, there then comes a moral problem with payments to criminals but I thought a generally agreed context (many here might not subscribe to) was that they could not benefit from their crimes but anything they did outside of that. Subject to confiscation for reparations, of course.

    By all means. But here it is different. The BBC is spending my money. Not their own. If you want to buy his records, I am fine with that. None of my business. But I am not sure it is the same when the BBC spends my money on Gary Glitter. He can still earn, but that does not mean the government should throw my money at him. So if there is a good reason to broadcast Glitter, by all means. But if there isn’t why do it?

    16 john b – “If somebody raped one kid, but created a work of art that brought significant amounts of happiness to millions, then they’re a net positive contributor to humanity, and we’re better off with them having lived than not.”

    Since when has Art brought happiness to millions? You mean Glitter’s music? So I have a tougher question. If we know that an artist is bringing happiness to millions, but that he is also anally raping his daughters, should we jail him and so prevent him from making more Art?

    18 Surreptitious Evil – “I agree with your main point but would hate to have the discussion with anybody I didn’t know really well (and probably quite a few of those) about how much “great art” it takes to excuse a rape (or, frankly, any crime.)”

    How about experimenting on human beings? If freezing some Jews to death produced pretty much all we know about hypothermia and so doing so saves thousands of lives every year (which, alas, is actually more or less true), does that justify freezing said Jews to death? Isn’t living more important than happiness? Does the same argument work better if we don’t use Jews?

    21 Doug Young – “For some obscenities, the person and their creations are rejected from public life.”

    For some obscenities some artists are exiled to the wilderness. Look at the struggles many people have had with Wagner. Or Mel Gibson for that matter. Leni Reifenstahl was pilloried her whole life. But not, it seems, for child rape. Unless they are Catholic.

  30. Glitter’s work – just not play him so he doesn’t get Royalties. You can still go out and buy his records

    For which, I suspect, he does indeed get royalties. So your point comes down to the BBC spending money on your notional behalf. I would suggest that it does worse things than give a few thousand pounds to Gadd.

    How about experimenting on human beings?

    Interesting you went up the scale of crime from rape to murder. What about going down to, say, tax evasion. Should we destroy all Ai Wei Wei’s works?

    But that was the point of my qualification – even if you accept that there could be a balance, it’s a damn difficult and unpleasant one to seek in any particular case.

    Does the same argument work better if we don’t use Jews?

    Yes. Although it shouldn’t. It’s an illustration of the privileged place the “Final Solution” has amongst so many bigotry inspired mass murders. Contrast with the Armenian genocide. Illegal to deny one in many countries, illegal to affirm on in another.

    some artists are exiled to the wilderness … But not, it seems, for child rape. Unless they are Catholic.

    You seem to be reading support or approval for Gadd and Gill, as people, in where there is little or none. (And Gill was Catholic? And Gadd was educated by them.) But, hang on, Nazis – yes. I’ll agree with you. Murdering millions of people is worse than raping a child.

    As for Gibson – the positive side of his art (especially recently) is so light, a foul-mouthed anti-semetic rant and a bit of wife-beating is more than enough to condemn him to eternal darkness. Although I’m not going to throw out the Mad Max DVDs. Especially as I’d have to find them first.

  31. So Much For Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “For which, I suspect, he does indeed get royalties. So your point comes down to the BBC spending money on your notional behalf. I would suggest that it does worse things than give a few thousand pounds to Gadd.”

    Actually I am sure you’re right about the last point. It is just that objecting to this doesn’t seem so unreasonable to me. Glitter has no right to be played. No harm is done by not playing him I can think of. There are at least two films I can think of off the top of my head that are not allowed to be played – one on the Rolling Stones and one on the Beatles. That is unfortunate but it is a much more complete ban than just the BBC refusing to play them. Is that a crime? I would have thought we would all agree that it isn’t.

    Although the idea that because the BBC does so many bad things they should be allowed to do some smaller bad things is not an argument I would want to see widely accepted.

    “Interesting you went up the scale of crime from rape to murder. What about going down to, say, tax evasion. Should we destroy all Ai Wei Wei’s works?”

    You assume Ai Wei Wei is actually guilty. I am not convinced of that. But I don’t support the destruction of art in any circumstance. Even Gill’s work. On the other hand, not playing Glitter on the BBC is reasonable.

    I went up to murder because it is actually an issue that doctors have to deal with. We know a lot about some very bad things because of experiments done on people. Even Ross won his Nobel Prize by deliberately infecting his Indian servant with malaria. Should we ignore that knowledge? Some journals have a policy of not citing such work. Some people refuse to use it. Most don’t go that far.

    “But that was the point of my qualification – even if you accept that there could be a balance, it’s a damn difficult and unpleasant one to seek in any particular case.”

    True. But perhaps less so in this case. We should not destroy Gill’s work – but we shouldn’t play Gary Glitter’s on the BBC either.

    “Yes. Although it shouldn’t.”

    Alas.

    “Contrast with the Armenian genocide. Illegal to deny one in many countries, illegal to affirm on in another.”

    Deny the Holocaust, even by implication as David Irving did, and you’re a pariah. Deny Pol Pot killed anyone much and you can have a long and distinguished academic career. Say that Stalin was justified murdering as many as he did and British academia will rain honours on you. Ask Eric Hobsbawm. Actually take part in said murders and they will rain even more honours on you. Ask Zygmunt Bauman. Strange world.

    “You seem to be reading support or approval for Gadd and Gill, as people, in where there is little or none. (And Gill was Catholic? And Gadd was educated by them.)”

    Gill took his Catholicism very seriously indeed. At least in theory. But no. I am reading support for Polanski from the very public support for Polanski.

    “As for Gibson – the positive side of his art (especially recently) is so light, a foul-mouthed anti-semetic rant and a bit of wife-beating is more than enough to condemn him to eternal darkness. Although I’m not going to throw out the Mad Max DVDs. Especially as I’d have to find them first.”

    What has he done lately? I didn’t see him do the thing with the glove puppet but I heard it was good enough. No doubt he will not be working much any more.

  32. SMFS,

    I think we are essentially in agreement – about the generics if not the specifics.

    As someone who has used data extracted from some Nazi experiments – on hypothermia and EM radiation exposure – and was disturbed to find out the source material …

    Armenia was just an example – we’re in agreement that the Shoah has been elevated to a different level of discourse than other holocausts – including the Nazi murder of other untermenschen.

    I think Polanski attracts what support he does because of his membership of a self-privileging minority. And that support is almost entirely from that minority which has then successfully enlisted the general European distaste for the American legal system.

    Gibson – “Get the Gringo” (as good as it sounds), “Edge of Darkness”, “The Brain Storm” – all out since his 2010 admission of wife beating, never mind his 2006 “fucking jews” rant. He’s got another film out shortly “Machete Kills”.

  33. Even Ross won his Nobel Prize by deliberately infecting his Indian servant with malaria.

    No he didn’t. He demonstrated the transmission of avian malaria through mosquito saliva. It was Grassi who succeeded in infecting a human subject by means of a mosquito bite.

    Ross did earlier attempt to infect his Indian servant by having him drink water in which Ross had previously kept infected mosquitoes, following Manson’s theory of how malaria might be transmitted. But the theory was wrong.

  34. So Much For Subtlety

    PaulB – “No he didn’t. He demonstrated the transmission of avian malaria through mosquito saliva. It was Grassi who succeeded in infecting a human subject by means of a mosquito bite.”

    I stand corrected. It was not for want of trying though.

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