Friday, January 11, 2013

Jimmy Savile's psychopathy and the British psyche

The psychopathy of Jimmy Savile is now well-known and documented, and is a stark example of what happens when a psychopath attains a position of power.

The fact that he was a predatory paedophile has masked over the fact that he was also Britain's most prolific sex offender, regardless of the age and gender of the victims. The majority were underage girls, but his paedophilic tendency is merely a detail to the overall horrific nature of his personality.

His personality fits all the characteristics and behaviour of a psychopath. The gross narcissism was there, with the love of himself, and his self-made opulent lifestyle. The sense of entitlement, that he could do whatever he liked whenever he liked, was constant. All psychopaths are obsessive about control and psychological power, as well as utterly amoral. This explains why another key indicator of psychopathy is shameless sexual promiscuity and sadistic perversion.While Savile was not a serial killer like another infamous British psychopath, Ian Brady (more about him here), his psychopathy was instead displayed through his shameless and shockingly prolific sexual behaviour.
 He called his mother "The Duchess", and preserved her clothing carefully decades after her death in the early seventies. Did he do this out of "love", or was it another form of Secondary Narcissism (love through association)? If his mother was "The Duchess", then that would make him "The Duke" upon her death.
Like a typical psychopath, Savile was outwardly charming, but this was merely his psychopathic "mask" that hid the cold and calculating monster beneath. The "monster" beneath the "mask" was best revealed in Louis Theroux's TV profile of him: Savile, while outwardly charming, became hostile and intimidating at a moment's notice if he thought his outward persona was under threat.

Some of the most successful psychopaths (i.e. those which hide it most effectively) are philanthropists. Savile is perhaps one of the best-known examples of this to date in Britain, at least that we know of. The philanthropy is a shield, another extension of the "mask" - and a very effective one, as had shown with Savile in the end. This made him feel (rightly, as it turned out) almost untouchable, thus justifying his own God-like self-image. As long as he was publicly seen to be charitable and caring, the real sexually-depraved, narcissistic and sadistic monster beneath was free to do as he liked. He was given free-rein in hospitals and prisons. His cunning was such that he preyed on sexual opportunism. His preference for victims from children's homes, the psychologically disturbed and the vulnerable was another indication that he chose victims who were even less likely to be believed.
One of the most bizarre incidents involved his long-term friendship with another infamous serial-killer and misogynist, Peter Sutcliffe: he duped the boxer Frank Bruno to shake Sutcliffe's hand in prison, not realising he was the infamous serial killer. This is just one small example of the psychological power-play constant in Savile's personality. His annual festive dinner with Margaret Thatcher is another, as was his continual peddling for influence within the royal family.

Savile successfully groomed his self-image for his entire professional life as an entertainer, especially in the circles of the establishment. In that sense, there was something of the "court jester" about Savile, albeit a depraved one that was also a "dirty old man". For the entire second half of his life, Savile became part and parcel of the establishment; a sinister and freakish psychopath that hid his true nature "in plain sight" as he hob-nobbed with the rich and famous.
But I also believe that some aspects of British cultural psyche played into his hands, for depraved psychopaths like him truly thrive when there is the right "human environment": a collective culture that is callous towards sexual responsibility and indulgent of deviancy.

 "Uncle Jimmy", as he called himself, was also one of Britain's most famous "eccentrics".
There was his odd fashion sense - the track-suit - that marked him as being unique. This was another extension of his narcissism, attention-seeking to make him instantly identifiable, as well as conspicuously wearing gold chains and rings, and smoking huge, phallus-like cigars. But because such "eccentricity" is considered a natural part of the British psyche, it was tolerated and indulged without question. This "eccentric" side of the British psyche also hides a darker truth: that what might sometimes be called "eccentricity" in complacent eyes, should really be called something much more sinister.

During the decades of sexual abuse, sex crimes were not taken as seriously by the police as they are now. This reflected a casual indifference in British society towards sex acts. These things were never spoken about in polite conversation, with chauvinism and "naughtiness" the frivolous norm, and a complacency towards the behaviour of "dirty old men". It was in this atmosphere that Jimmy Savile thrived.

And yet this "atmosphere" still exists in British psyche today: casual chauvinism is the norm: "The Sun" still has its "Page Three"; anyone who has been to resorts like Magaluf will know about the rampant sexual depravity that goes on - far higher than in, say, German resorts. The British are sex-obsessed yet sexually-illiterate; have among the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and broken families in Europe; have the most irresponsible attitudes to alcohol in Europe, and as a result, night-time Britain often resembles a war-zone when the bars close.

Yet this is all part of "British Culture", supposedly. And Jimmy Savile - in the way he exploited that culture -  is partly a product of that.

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