Rolf hits wrong note
Boomers around the world await the jury verdict on charges against Rolf Harris of sexual assault. But regardless of what verdicts the jury returns, most of us have already decided his guilt or innocence.
As Australians, many of us are saddened that one of our first global entertainment superstars has been forever tarnished by allegations of what virtually amounts to paedophilia: the crime that even hardened criminals regard as beyond the pale.
No thanks for the memories, Rolf. We love our own but there are some lines that just cannot be crossed.
Harris may well be as pure as the driven snow when it comes to preying on young girls. Even if the jury decides he’s as guilty as sin, some doubt will linger in the minds of those who remain entranced by memories of an outstanding talent they remember with fondness and affection.
But the mystique of a masterful performer crafted over several generations now lies in tatters with a stench wafting about the place that has onlookers reaching for a hankie.
Despite being a consummate performer with a career spanning decades and a fan base that covered most parts of the globe, Harris blew the most important performance of his life: his trial.
Directing his performance himself, Harris enlisted the help of a cast that just did not meet audience expectations. And he quickly revealed a lack of depth to his material by repeating the same, tragic joke day after day despite the increasingly silent reception given it by almost everyone other than the slavering pack of paparazzi and TV crews who egged him on for weeks in pursuit of ratings that notoriously come from people who like watching train wrecks.
In the court of public opinion, Harris’ determination to drag his wife, daughter and another woman through the tawdry mess of each day’s running of the media bulls was a ploy too outrageous.
The vision of Harris grimly clutching the hands of his frail wife, dutiful daughter and another female family member as they slowly limped their way through the thicket of cameras each day has left a very bad taste in most viewers’ minds.
As my wife said: if he was a real man he would not put women he allegedly cares about through such an ordeal. He would face the glare of the media on his own and spare them at least some of the trauma.
It is difficult not to see this sad farce as indicative of the prosecutor’s description of Harris as “ . . . arrogant, brazen, who treated women and young girls as sexual objects to be groped and mauled whenever he felt like it.”
In the court of public opinion, Harris is guilty of a “poor show” even if nothing much worse.