Can we try and be accurate about the late Mr. Savile\’s sexual preferences?

J. Street Porter:

Savile, like all paedophiles, was interested only in people who had no power to resist or complain, unlikely to cause trouble.

Yes, I know it\’s a common enough term. But accuracy in such things is important I feel.

In research environments, specific terms are used for chronophilias: for instance, ephebophilia to refer to the sexual preference for mid-to-late adolescents,[1] hebephilia to refer to the sexual preference for earlier pubescent individuals, and pedophilia to refer to the sexual preference for prepubescent children.[5] However, the term pedophilia is commonly used to refer to any sexual interest in minors below the legal age of consent, regardless of their level of physical, mental, or psychological development.[6]

Among the male of the human species ephebophilia is perhaps the natural state. Perhaps not quite as far as a specific preference for but certainly the way The Good Lord* made us all those girls who have just recently matured to fertility are the very definition of sexually attractive.

And it does seem that Savile was an ephebophile. Possibly on the verges of hebephilia but not, in that strict usage, a paedophile.

The truth is, ephebophilia in human males is normal even if societally repugnant.

Yes, I know you can say the same thing about murder: the murder rates of hunter gatherer societies make that one of the leading causes of death among males. Normal and societally repugnant. But it is still true, male attraction to teenage lovelies is simply normal.

Fun fact: it\’s generally accepted that homo sapiens sapiens\’ exceptionally long lifespan is a result of the couplings, over the many generations, of those dirty old men with younger and still fertile women.

* OK, OK, evolution then

46 thoughts on “Can we try and be accurate about the late Mr. Savile\’s sexual preferences?”

  1. Oh, such complicated Greek words. If a man is attracted to a young woman more or less arbitrarily defined by the state as a “child”, then his designation should be “statutory paedophile”.

    To be fair to the old cunt, the law might have been the same then but I clearly remember attitudes were quite different. Having an underage girlfriend was like, smoking in the no smoking carriage or something.

  2. his designation should be “statutory paedophile”

    Except that the statute doesn’t define any such designations, not even that one. Statutorily, if he did do it, his designation is criminal – possibly even “rapist”.

    Once again, the attraction (natural – even normal) and the act (immoral and criminal) are being confused. Like, I suppose, wanting to murder the mother-in-law. Most of us don’t actually carry it out.

  3. Tim, you’re being a bit daring here. This isn’t a time for reason, not in the middle of a full scale witch hunt.

    This one’s going to run and run, methinks. Anyone who banged an eager groupie in those libertine times is going to be on the list. This is what the radical feminists have been after ever since they arose as a reaction against sexual liberalism in the 70s, so they’re sure as hell not going to let it drop until they’ve got as many old men on the pyre as they can get.

    Interesting times, as the Chinese say.

  4. If we’re going to be accurate, the word being looked for here is parthenophile — ?????? generally refers to a beardless youth, and batting for the other team does not seem to tally with the recent accusations.

  5. Roue,

    To be fair to the old cunt, the law might have been the same then but I clearly remember attitudes were quite different. Having an underage girlfriend was like, smoking in the no smoking carriage or something.

    Well, no. This isn’t about Saville having some borderline legal groupies offering themselves for a shag. There is a different set of rules regarding that today, I agree, but what he did would have got him arrested back then.

  6. Stigler, that’s true. There are two problems

    (a) We don’t know how many of these allegations are actually true. Many have the ring of truth, but I can’t be the only person raising an eyebrow at the “Jimmy, Gary and Freddie” one at the centre of it. We know from experience that abuse scandals attract a mix of (a) true reports (b) people on the make, hoping for compensation and (c) nutters. Bryn Estyn being a classic example. Also, consider that woman who made up the story about being raped by the Hamiltons. People lie, and some people are nutters.

    (b) We don’t know how many of the true allegations were consensual at the time, but are now regretted by the people as they have become older, and the moral environment as changed from 1970s “have it away, wahey!” to the whole paedophilia narrative. As an example, one woman described looking forward to his visits (day out, nice food, free ciggies) the only downside being groped and once giving him a BJ. The mental image of Savile’s wrinkly old man is disturbing in itself, but how the story reads is that she still thought it preferable at the time to a day in the Institution. Which says a lot about 1970s institutional care, if nothing else.

    (c) It is quite clear that there is now a witch hunt underway, and really anyone who had sex with some jailbait in 1975 is potentially in trouble. It’s well known that an awful lot went on in that brief libertine period. As such, we’re rapidly moving from one dirty old man taking advantage to what amounts to a feeding frenzy.

  7. What’s the difference between Bill Clinton’s cigar and Jimmy Savile’s cigar? Jimmy’s didn’t end up with pubes on it.

  8. If we’re going to be accurate, the word being looked for here is parthenophile — ?????? generally refers to a beardless youth, and batting for the other team does not seem to tally with the recent accusations.

    Interesting point. One of the defining characteristics of a paedophile (in the literal sense) is that they don’t tend to care if it’s boys or girls they fiddle with. Which kind of puts the “gays == paedos” thing in context.

  9. Matthew,

    Gays==paedos is basically the same moral panic. An ‘undred years ago, nobody thought gays were going out after five year olds, but rather that they were going out after teenagers, like what that Oscar Wilde did.

  10. Fancy terms, Mark. But, as far as I can gather, he raped his victims. If anything, punishment for that is perhaps less now than 40 years ago.

    One of the most disquieting aspects of this dreadful issue is that many others, including I suspect some of those who are now condemning and distancing themselves from him, despite having suspicions did absolutely nothing to alert the police or BBC bosses . Not just because such behaviour was common among show biz stars or BBC staff, but mainly because self interest/ career advancement took precedent.

  11. Fancy terms, Mark. But, as far as I can gather, he raped his victims. If anything, punishment for that is perhaps less now than 40 years ago.

    I haven’t seen any rape allegations. The allegations seem to be mainly groping. I can’t be sure I’ve read them all, admittedly. Even the strange Jimmy, Gary and Freddie one has Glitter raping a girl (“you couldn’t see but you knew what was happening”), Savile with his “hand up a girl’s skirt” and Freddie making tit jokes.

    The Telegraph have got a couple of strange new ones; an old woman says she saw him “abuse a teenage girl recovering from a brain operation at Leeds General Infirmary”; apparently without drawing the curtains or anything, and another of “touched inappropriately by Savile in a lift”, back in the days when bottom pinching was routine on BBC comedy. It’s all pretty odd really. I certainly haven’t found any reports of him actually using force, which was certainly how rape was defined in 1975. So it would depend on whether “I’m a top DJ, suck my willy” counts as rape, which it does by modern definitions, but didn’t back then.

  12. Perhaps many of his victims consented, but there are others who were too frightened to speak out until after his death. I fail to see how anyone could remotely justify his actions, nor that of others doing the same. What makes this monster any different to Gary Glitter or Jonathan King? Both of whom were jailed. Of course, they didn’t have as much establishment protection, not having raised millions for charity, nor ensuring BBC viewing rates were maintained.

  13. Nobody’s justifying, just trying to qualify and quantify in the midst of a media frenzy. Hysteria is dangerous. Try this, from the TElegraph today-

    Even national treasures like John Peel, who died eight years ago, may now come under scrutiny. As a young man, he worked in Texas as a local radio station DJ and admits taking advantage of the young girls queuing up outside his studio to offer him sexual favours. “All they wanted me to do was to abuse them sexually which, of course, I was only happy to do,” he once recalled. One of the teenagers was a girl called Shirley Anne Milburn. Peel was 26 and Shirley Anne just 15 when they married in Texas in 1965. The couple came back to London, but the marriage faltered as Peel’s career took off. They divorced in 1973 and Shirley Anne returned home, committing suicide some years later.

    During the 1970s, Peel would write a column in Sounds magazine in which he kept up a running joke that he preferred his fans to dress as schoolgirls. To illustrate the point, he dressed in a schoolgirl uniform for a magazine photoshoot.

    See how this is spreading?

  14. “I’m a top DJ, suck my willy” counts as rape, which it does by modern definitions, but didn’t back then.

    It doesn’t “count as rape”, what a bizarre thing to suggest.

    Back then, the offender might have been prosecuted for “Indecent conduct towards young child”, if the child was under 16.

  15. It doesn’t “count as rape”, what a bizarre thing to suggest.

    It does by feminist definitions, it’s considered an abusive power relationship and all that.

  16. The distinction made in the Op is right. That’s a bit of a mea culpa because I called someone a pedophile in a comment thread here when he was actually someone who liked young post-pubescent girls.

    But this isn’t a phenomenon of the past. At nightclubs round the country last night and the night before, underage girls were trying, and sometimes succeeding, to get into nightclubs by offering a bouncer a blowjob.

    We’re in danger of doing what the BBC staff did back then: avoiding dealing with the current issue by displacement.

  17. Also, the thing that’s really stuck in my mind is one occasion when Savile said the police wouldn’t do anything because it would take half of them down too. Abuse of runaways and kids in care has been very widespread and included the institutions that were supposed to look after them.

  18. I’m guessing that, ironically, most of those girls are old enough to put a cock in their mouth but not a vodka, which sort of shows up the stupidity of alcohol control laws, or something.

    Anyway, I’m not sure what we can do with the issue of nightclubs discriminating against male potential customers. More gay bouncers, maybe?

  19. I await with interest the conclusions of the MacPherson report on whether the BBC was institutionally paoedophile, or ephenophile, or whaddever. The Greeks have a word for it

  20. There must be a few ageing rockers wondering when the tabloids (and possibly the cops) are coming for them. I mean, its pretty well documented that Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame had a 14 yo girlfriend back in the early 70s. I doubt he’s the only one too.

  21. The John Peel comparison misses the point. I’m not aware anyone accused him of abuse. Presumably, in all his under age encounters were mutually consensual. At least he was open about it. I’m not making any judgement of those who fancy post pubescent girls. As Mark points out, it’s a natural phenomenon.

    As for Saville….a number of women have accused him of rape…..

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/view/274639/JIMMY-SAVILLE-RAPED-ME/

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19806312

  22. So Much For Subtlety

    Can I point that the creepy old bugger was never once convicted of any crime. You can’t, or at least you shouldn’t (as he is dead and so you can safely) going around calling him a paedophile. Or any other fancy Greek term.

    That said I think Ian B puts it best – some of them have the ring of truth but we will never untangle the nutters from the real cases.

    But it reminds me of nothing so much as the Witch Trials. Someone told me once that they tended to rage and rage until people started accusing the leading figures in the town. Then they stopped. Jailing poor child care workers in some ice-bound, religion-curse Scottish ice berg is one thing. Accusing our leading cultural figures of paedophilia is another. I don’t see this going on much longer. Sure, John Peel was f**king underage girls. So was Jimmy Page. And David Bowie. These days they would be sharing a cell with Gary Glitter. The fact that it is true doesn’t mean that their friends will tolerate this sort of witch hunt for long. Dare I call it Peak Paedophillia?

  23. No it doesn’t count as rape. Assuming that the young person concerned is under 16 but not under 13, and the DJ did not reasonably believe her to be older, it would count as “Sexual Activity with a child”, which is a lesser offence.

    Nor, as IanB may be suggesting, is a DJ in a position of trust, as defined by the Act.

    I’ve not been paying close attention, but I do wonder whether there’s a reason other than the libel law why this investigation should be proceeding now, rather than a ten years ago when there would have been an obvious purpose to it. The allegations against Savile have been in circulation for years, particularly in the (spoof) Have I Got News for You transcript (from 1999).

  24. “But it reminds me of nothing so much as the Witch Trials. “

    Spot on!

    “…but I do wonder whether there’s a reason other than the libel law why this investigation should be proceeding now..”

    Well, there’s all those other rather inconvenient (for the multiculties) trials going on where members of the Religion of Peace have been doing something very similar to the allegations about Savile?

    And, of course, there’s always the pressure on ‘child protection experts’ to put a crust on the table too.

  25. prog-

    The John Peel comparison misses the point. I’m not aware anyone accused him of abuse.

    The Daily Telegraph just did. That’s what I quoted.

  26. SimonF,

    Did you mean “The most important thing about this is whether …”?

    In which case, I would partially agree with you. The most important thing is, if the then-girls, now-women, were raped, that they get closure and any help that is now relevant. Then we need to sort out wtf went wrong.

  27. What hasn’t been explained to us thus far is how wary we should be of all those people who do a surprisingly good Jimmy Savile impression.

  28. Ian. The extract from the TG doesn’t mention any accusations of abuse, let alone rape (at least in the bit you quoted). I don’t think the paper is making an accusation, merely suggesting that his activities might come under closer scrutiny – based on what he said himself. He died some years ago and I don’t think any individual has since made any accusations. I may be wrong.

    There is, however, one thing to consider about the Saville issue – how genuine are the claims? Have any been exaggerated in order to claim damages? Perhaps it’s too late for that.

  29. I do a good mimic of Sir Jim. I think I will stick to my Sean Connery routine going forward.

    On a serious point, I used to be a court reporter and had the dubious job of covering a number of sex cases involving minors (it was so unpleasant in some cases that I am rather glad I moved into a different form of journalism). This was back in the late 80s and early 90s. Even then, a dirty old man figure such as Savile allegedly was could not, I would have thought, carried on for decades without anyone trying to nab him. That bothers me – dozens of people were allegedly attacked by him. Did not a single credible allegation ever make it to the CPS?

    Anyway, while we should be wary of moral panics, we ought to also realise that what JS allegedly did at the time was criminal and hateful, particularly if he was taking advantage of people in particularly vulnerable environments, such as approved schools, hospitals, and the like.

  30. prog-

    I think you are being disingenuous. The article just stops short of a direct accusation, but the implication is extremely strong in the context.

    One other possibly ironic thing; I seem to have a false memory syndrome of having seen the episode of HIGNFY where Merton lays into Savile about this. I now find that it’s merely a “hoax” transcript of an episode that never actually took place, yet my visual memory of seeing it was one of the first things that came to mind when this scandal blew up. I still feel sure I saw it. Most peculiar.

    Johnathan-

    It’s simply impossible for any of us to know the truth. My own best guess is that he simply took advantage with some girls who were, for want of a better word, “willing”, and what we’re seeing now is a rumour mill disgorging its contents.

    There was an article by someone or other in the Tele the other day saying that the showbiz rumour mill is extremely reliable and everyone should have believed it. My own experience in the entertainment business would have me say the opposite; it’s an incredibly bitchy profession and I remember all sorts of rumours flying around that were untrue. The problem is that when somebody is labelled something by a rumour mill- e.g. a pervert, or very mean with money, or a drunk, or something- everything gets believed, stories get embroidered and exaggerated, new stories are created out of whole cloth, and so on.

    We’ve now got Esther Rancid reporting that somebody left a message on her ansaphone about how he’d heard that Savile once had a girl in the back of his Rolls at a charidee do decades ago… and so on. Which is why the common law doesn’t allow convictions on hearsay, and has that corpus delicti thing. The court of gossip has no such restraints.

  31. it is all a *bit* witch-hunty, isn’t it? (I was particularly taken by the whole “let’s erase his name from the face of the earth thing; I mean it’s not like people kick up a fuss about using Gill Sans, is it?). I mean there was always something pretty creepy about him – which is why this is so successful – but it’s rather telling that a lot of people waited until he was good and dead before saying anything.

    It seems likely that he did some pretty unpleasant things – but a) only *likely*, and that in part because he was creepy as hell and b) as referenced above the issue is surely whether it was covered up at the time, since there’s no power on earth can touch him now.

    Oh, and without wanting to get all tin-foil hat about it, I note that we have now had “Let’s all bash politicians” (Expenses), “Let’s all bash the newspapers” (leveson) and we’re on to “let’s all bash the BBC”. I wonder who’s next? Can’t be the rozzers, they had Macpherson in ’99.

  32. Ian. No individual is quoted as making an accusation. At the moment I think JP can probably rest in peace – unless someone comes forward. Although there’ll be a lot more to come out re the JS and pals issue. In any event it’ll will turn into a witch hunt and give TPTB grounds for more control over peoples’s lives. Child sexual abuse remains one of worst taboos, if not the worst. The papers will have a field day.

  33. prog, we might be splitting hairs here. The Telegraph very strongly implied an accusation. You are quite correct that no “victims” of Peel have made any accusations. I’m not sure that we’re disagreeing about anything particularly substantive. For my part, I was just making the point that the activists and media are trying to spread the net beyond Savile and effectively create an impression of “big celebrity padeophile ring”, kind of thing. It’s hard to see why else John Peel was dragged into that article.

  34. Surreptitious Evil // Oct 8, 2012 at 8:25 am

    SimonF,

    Did you mean “The most important thing about this is whether …”?

    In which case, I would partially agree with you. The most important thing is, if the then-girls, now-women, were raped, that they get closure and any help that is now relevant. Then we need to sort out wtf went wrong.

    I was being lazy as I was on my iPad and I agree with your additions.

    Johnathan Pearce // Oct 8, 2012 at 9:09 am

    That bothers me – dozens of people were allegedly attacked by him. Did not a single credible allegation ever make it to the CPS?
    .

    The CPS didn’t start work until 1986 before then the police were largely responsible for deciding what was prosecuted and most of these alleged offences took place before that date.

  35. “Anyway, I’m not sure what we can do with the issue of nightclubs discriminating against male potential customers. More gay bouncers, maybe?” … there’s always at least three times more male than female in nightclubs, without the discrimination of the bouncers it would likely be worse, nobody wants the bouncers to let blokes in. refer Charles Darwin.

  36. So Much For Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “The most important thing is, if the then-girls, now-women, were raped, that they get closure and any help that is now relevant. Then we need to sort out wtf went wrong.”

    I loath the term closure. If they haven’t come to terms with it by now, what on Earth is likely to help them do so now he is dead? They had a chance for justice when he was alive. They did not take it.

    What went wrong? Obvious isn’t it? We left vulnerable young girls in the hands of men in the middle of the sexual revolution. Of course they were going to shag them. Always will. We should have protected those girls by leaving them with more responsible people than the BBC. The Christian Brothers for instance.

  37. So Much For Subtlety

    Peter S. – “The Christian Brothers for instance. Hahaha, yes, good one.”

    The Christian Brothers having a better record than most. Better than secular institutions from what I can see.

    This blog is full of people who were educated by the Christian Brothers or other Catholic groups. They are now businessmen, like TW himself, academics, lawyers and other Upper Middle Class professions. Meanwhile those who have been in Care make up a grossly disproportionate share of those in prison, on drugs or working as prostitutes.

    Secular institutions like the BBC may hate the Catholic Church, but it does not mean they do a better job of looking after children.

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  40. If ‘ephebophilia’ is normal behavior but socially repugnant, then it ought to demostrate clearly that it is society—and not biology—that is in the wrong.

    This whole flap about Jimmy Saville is nothing but a witch-hunt, straight out of the Dark Ages.

    The fact that, up until the last 3 or 4 decades, marriage and sex with women in their teens was considered perfectly normal is certainly no proof of our generation’s ‘evolution’ or ‘enlightment’ but proof of its degeneracy and debasement as a culture.

    Cases and laws like these are not furthering civilization, they are retarding and hindering it. We have only to look at the numbers of broken marriages, fatherless children, and abortion mills to illustrate clearly how well criminializing sex and marriage with so-called ‘minors’ has actually worked.

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