These and other “normal” bits of British culture, such as the almost sacred position accorded to flamboyant eccentrics, are utterly foreign to most Americans, who can’t imagine any atmosphere in which — to try to put Yewtree into a U.S. context — the likes of Captain Kangaroo, Dick Clark and Merv Griffin could run an informal “jail bait” exchange with impunity.
Yet I remain slightly agnostic on the Jimmy Savile case — or, more precisely, all the other accusations that have sprung up in its wake.
It’s because, as the UK’s Frank Ferudi writes:
Operation Yewtree isn’t about solving crime – it’s more like a reality TV format where the police’s aim is to thrill the paedo-fearing public. (…)
Leaving aside the reality-entertainment nature of Yewtree, and its negative impact on the justice system, there is another question to be asked of the arrests of elderly showbusiness figures: what purpose do they serve? Even the police acknowledge that the investigation of historic allegations is not really about fighting or solving crime; rather, such operations are justified on the grounds that, through actively soliciting allegations, they help to give a voice to victims.
But of course.
Victimization certainly has its privileges these days.
It’s easier than being a hero, after all, and sometimes more lucrative.