Skip to main content

Jake the peg diddle diddle

The Rolf Harris conviction for sexual abuse leads me to ask a question. Does 'evil' or wrong-doing wipe out any 'goodness' we have once seen in an individual? I ask this not to 'forgive' Harris but to address a significant ethical question. Do we like or enjoy Rolf Harris's songs any the less because of his conviction? Are they indeed different when we listen to them.

I have had Jake the Peg buzzing round in my head for days now. It won't go away, and as I conjure up the image of Harris performing it I still smile - perhaps now a kind of guilty smile. We are told there are two sides to Rolf Harris - one being the dark side. But does the dark side really diminish the joy of the light side?

Cilla Black I think summed it all up when asked to comment on the news of Harris's conviction. "I'm disappointed." Yes and I am disappointed too. We have been let down by another 'hero'. We build people up and put them on a pedestal and expect the epitome of goodness. Yet, the truth is they are human with human frailties. Nothing excuses what he did, but does it really diminish his art? I understand the portrait he painted of the Queen has gone missing - nobody seems to know its location. All that is very odd and frankly hypocritical if they have hidden it away because of the conviction. If it was good enough to display before the conviction then it must surely be good enough after.

Rolf Harris is not the only artist to have had a hidden murky side. There has been speculation that Lewis Carroll was a paedophile. It is of course difficult to answer such speculation. But does the possibility render his work unreadable?

It might be said, indeed it has been said, that what makes Rolf Harris' crime worse is that he abused his position. Well all paedophiles do that. It was opportunistic - so too is much sexual abuse.

Now I want to be clear I am not asking for us to render Harris' crime to be less than it was. It was appalling. I am just wanting to know if it really renders everything he did 'bad'. I am still thinking about the answer.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The lion and the wildebeest

Birds flock, fish school, bees swarm, but social being is more than simply sticking together.  Social groups enable specialisation and a sharing of abilities, and enhances ability, learning and creating new tricks. The more a group works together, the more effective they become as a team.  Chimpanzees learn from each other how to use stones to crack nuts, or sticks to get termites.  All around us we see cooperation and learning in nature.  Nature is inherently creative.  Pulling together becomes a rallying cry during a crisis.  We have heard it throughout the coronavirus pandemic.  "We are all in this together", a mantra that encourages people to adopt a common strategy. In an era of 'self-interest' and 'survival of the fittest,'  and 'selfish gene', we lose sight of the obvious conclusion from the evidence all around us.   Sticking together is more often the better approach.  This is valid for the lion as it is also for the wildebeest.   We don't

Noise pollution puts nature at risk

 "I just want a bit of peace and quiet!" Let's get away from all the hustle and bustle; the sound of endless traffic on the roads, of the trains on the railway, and the planes in the sky; the incessant drone; the noise. We live in a world of man-made noise; screeching, bellowing, on-and-on in an unmelodious cacophony.  This constant background noise has now become a significant health hazard.   With average background levels of 60 decibels, those who live in cities are often exposed to noise over 85 decibels, enough to cause significant hearing loss over time.  It causes stress, high blood pressure, headache and loss of sleep and poor health and well-being.   In nature, noise has content and significance.  From the roar of the lion, the laughing of a hyena,  communication is essential for life; as the warning of danger, for bonding as a group or a pair, finding a mate, or for establishing a position in a hierarchy - chattering works.  Staying in touch is vital to working

Therapeutic animal stress

Interacting with animals is known to be therapeutic,  particularly in reducing stress.  But do we consider sufficiently the effects this may have on the animals involved?   We might assume that because it is calming for us, then it must be so for the therapeutic animals, but is this so?  New research suggests that it isn't always without stress for the animals involved.  Positive human-animal interaction relates to changes in physiological variables both in humans and other animals, including a reduction of subjective psychological stress (fear, anxiety) and an increase of oxytocin levels in the brain.  It also reduces the 'stress' hormone, cortisol. Indeed, these biological responses have measurable clinical benefits.  Oxytocin has long been implicated in maternal bonding, sexual behaviour and social affiliation behaviours and in promoting a sense of well-being .  So far, so good.  We humans often turn to animals for stress relief, companionship, and even therapy.  We kno