Make No Man Your God: when heroes fall
Things were different in the sixties. Things were different in the seventies. Things were different in the eighties. Things were different in the nineties. Weren’t they?
Did it feel different when the man at the after show party grabbed your breasts? Did it wash by freely when your director wondered loudly how tight you were? Did you shrug when the endless hands, lips and bodies invaded yours? Was it vintage lit, nostalgic, when he grabbed your neck in the elevator? Was it? Was it elegant and empowering and macho to be groped backstage by a fading, alcoholic old man?
No. The only thing that has changed is that now my sisters will question the press that paints me as a slut, little more than a prostitute. Deserving of assault at my ambition and flirtation. After all. A moth in a web should not complain to the spider.
So tell me why then, when I am wise to the tricks and the headlines of old time chauvinists, I still feel sadness at the end of an icon?
Why do I feel like a god has just died and been replaced with a despot? How many have crumbled to dust under inspection? Like dominoes they crush each other over association. And the tide of women rise up in the wake, he did that to me, he did that too, he did that, he did. And in the aftermath, when the voices have faded and the press has withdrawn, you wouldn’t recognise your hero. He has gone, replaced with lies, bribes, tears of starlets and bruised bodies of waitresses.
I think there’s a tendency to want to distance the illusion from the showman. We want to believe that the magic was real, his smile genuine, his assistant willing. So we saw him in two- the old nostalgic myth and the fading alcoholic who likes little girls.
Because its nice to believe the monster lives under the bed and not in your daddy, your brother or Pulp Fiction poster.