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On Paragons and Pedophiles

January 11, 2016

David Bowie was a rapist.

This is just a fact. Deal with it.

He had intercourse with multiple children.

A child cannot consent.

He knew these girls were children.

A child cannot consent.

These are simply facts.

David Bowie was also a musical genius whom many of my readers may have loved.

These two things exist at the same time and about the same person.

And that, people, is what we call duality.

Billy Cosby is a rapist.

He drugged women and had intercourse with them.

A drugged person cannot consent.

He knew they were drugged.

HE drugged them.

These are also facts.

Bill Cosby is also a comedic titan who was the creator of some of the most beloved and influential TV shows ever.

You can appreciate, hell even love, someone’s art and performance without cosigning every single aspect of their lives.

It’s OK to be sad that Bowie died. It’s OK to still like the Cosby show. You are not a bad person for recognizing the duality of art versus artist.

It’s OK to watch the Cosby Show because Cliff Huxtable is a fiction character who, one can only hope, isn’t a rapist.

If you can’t watch the show anymore that’s OK too.

It’s OK to love Bowie’s music because the Thin White Duke and Ziggy and pretty much every persona he put on including David Bowie were fiction characters.

That’s how performance works sometimes.

Duality.

That said, if your love of either man’s art extends to ignoring, excusing or attempting to mitigate their rapes then you have a problem.

Yes I said rapes.

Can we please not pretend that David Bowie in the 1970s only went after that one child?

There was a whole movie made about the so-called “baby groupies,” (fucking plural) of that era and it was informed by the lives of several women.

Many of them slept with him and, while we’re at it, pretty much every other singer/band that you love from the era. So Zeppelin fans, don’t get smug. Deep Purple fans? Take a knee. Every other fan of every popular band of the era? Stifle. Rapists. Deal with it.

Led Zep Groupies

All of the girls in this picture are children.

I don’t want to hear about how times were different. Because honestly? You’re excusing rape and if you want to do that you should really stop and look at yourself in abject horror and shame.

I don’t want to hear about how the women that Cosby raped should have done something to not get raped. Because once again, you are defending/excusing/apologizing for a rapist and if you are not ashamed of yourself there is no help for you.

And there is something ot be said for the racial double standard in regards to rape by famous people but someone else has already said it and done so better than I would so go read that.

Instead of posting meandering, illogical excuses pretty much anywhere take a moment to recognize the duality of humans.

Whatever good an artist may do for you through their art does not negate the harm they may have done as a person. These two things must exist at the same tie withing the same space in your mind or you are simply deifying a fictional character.

Sometimes we love art made by problematic artists. I would venture to say MOST times we love art by problematic artists. Because artists are humans and humans, more often than not, do something fucked up to some other person or group. It doesn’t matter why they do it. It could be through malice or ignorance or the systemic, grinding cultural paradigm. It really doesn’t matter.  The fact that all humans are flawed does not negate the feelings we have about their art. I really wish we, as a culture, could get over the idea that our idols must be paragons and that death somehow transformed a flawed human into a perfect memory.

 

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2016 7:29 PM

    Many of them slept with him and, while we’re at it, pretty much every other singer/band that you love from the era. So Zeppelin fans, don’t get smug. Deep Purple fans? Take a knee. Every other fan of every popular band of the era? Stifle. Rapists. Deal with it.

    Exactly. And worse, it was encouraged. There was a fucking magazine back then that was devoted to showing off these baby groupies.

    I got into an argument with a woman who was a “baby groupie” in the late 60s (lost her virginity at fucking ELEVEN [in 1964, she says] to a rock star, and stayed in the scene into her 20s), and she insisted that she and the other children like her “knew what we wanted and we got it. We were predators.”

    I didn’t want to negate this woman’s experiences but… for fuck’s sake… that’s not how this shit works. Responsible adults say NO. These rock stars should have said no to these groupies.

    This is not that hard.

    For the record, Led Zeppelin is my all-time favorite band. The reason I play guitar is Jimmy Page. But that woman who says she lost her virginity to David Bowie at 13? At 14 she was in a year-long open sexual relationship with Jimmy Page… and it started with Jimmy Page having her kidnapped. Of course she insists that she was “into it” from the start and that they both had many other lovers (she claims to have slept with Robert Plant and John Bonham, too, among many other rock stars, while she was “dating” Page).

    I do think 1965 to 1975 is just about the best decade for music; it’s certainly my favorite. I love the experimental psychedelic and progressive rock that was coming out at the time (my own guitar-playing is experimental, inspired specifically from watching Jimmy Page play his guitar with a violin bow during Dazed and Confused from the two-disc DVD). But I’m not going to sit here and defend the rampant pedophilia that was the groupie scene at the time.

    There is no legitimate defense for it.

  2. EmWed permalink
    January 11, 2016 7:36 PM

    YES. Thank you.

  3. January 13, 2016 9:18 PM

    Really? This happened? I could understand if all concerned were adults and so drunk or high that no one knew what they were doing, but if this is the case, why wasn’t he part of operation yewtree?

  4. thefeatheredsleep permalink
    January 14, 2016 12:32 PM

    Excellent excellent excellent article

  5. handywoman permalink
    April 14, 2016 2:37 PM

    Thank you.

    My mantra this year is “Have no heroes.”

    Having no heroes is a way to live in the world as an equal to all those who have power and influence; and it’s the only way we can all grow up, take full responsibility, and not allow this sh** to keep going down!

  6. April 17, 2016 4:25 PM

    This is so disheartening. My heart breaks for the victims. I like how you release the guilt from the reader by expressing the predator’s duality.

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