Monday, 7 October 2013

The 1960s sexual revolution and the corruption of once-exemplary institutions - the example of the BBC

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It has been apparent for several years that the Roman Catholic Church was corrupted by sexual abuses from around the mid-1960s onward and especially among the liberalizers of the Church who approved of and implemented the Second Vatican Council. Furthermore, and even more significantly, these abuses were known about but kept secret by many thousands of people including those at a very high level.

Following the Jimmy Saville affair and a series of prominent prosecutions - plus a number of admissions and statements, it is apparent that something similar (although much more severe) happened at the once exemplary British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London - apparently over a similar timescale; and involving people not just the strange and sinister Saville, but also other BBC personalities who were more generally popular and seemed apparently decent chaps.

Again thousands of insiders knew all about this, including many high up bosses but in this case also 'everybody' in the mass media in general was 'in the know'; again this was kept secret from the general public.

The irony is that the BBC has been purposively and stridently moralistic, selective, exaggerating and dishonest in its coverage of the Roman Catholic scandals - for example in blaming Pope Benedict XVI (who was one of the major forces against corruption), and in concealing the dominant sexual preferences of abusers.  

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I had a personal insight from a trusted source that when the father of a child actor was accompanying his son to the BBC London to record a popular drama in the late 60s/ early 70s - he was taken aside by someone with inside knowledge of the BBC London studios, and warned not to let his son out of his sight for a moment, and it was stressed again and very seriously not for one moment; because there were some very nasty people in that place.

My impression is that the BBC in London has been a cesspool of sexual aggression, exploitation and abuse of many types for over forty years, and that this is therefore - presumably - an accepted fact and likely to be a major motivational factor in those who work there.

I assume exactly the same applies to other major media institutions, who tolerate or approve this; since otherwise the whistle would have been blown long ago.

I am also struck by the fact that - although I always regarded Saville as a nasty piece of work, since that was just so obvious - I was completely unable to judge that something similar (albeit not so horrifically bad) applied to many other entertainers whom I liked.

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The lessons I have learned are that:

1. I, indeed we, are utterly unable to judge the moral worth of people in public life from what we see on our screens. We think we can, but we cannot. Our instincts tell us we can, but we cannot. This applies even, or perhaps especially, to those put forward as moral exemplars. We must therefore resist reassurances that things are alright, simply because we have not been allowed to learn how bad they are. We now know things may be quite disgustingly bad, and we the public know nothing about it. 

2. The moral worth of people in public life is much, much lower than we had supposed. We must therefore assume the worst of many or most people in public life.

3. The evils consequent upon the sexual revolution have been systematically hidden, excused, indulged, even applauded. There must be a lot of the same kind of things we do not know about in many other institutions, especially those most subject to the changes in ethos dictated by the enforcement of the sexual revolution; and it is reasonable - indeed prudent - to assume the worst.

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In sum - I am not trying to persuade anybody of anything - those who do not want to learn will not learn. But I think we really need to think hard about the wisdom of exposing ourselves to these presumptively but covertly depraved media people so frequently, so pervasively and for such long periods of our lives.

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