The Proposed Disinterment Of Jimmy Savile
While Stuart Burch has beaten me to the punch by suggesting that the disassociation of every body ever connected to Jimmy Savile in life from him in death is strongly reminiscent of the Roman process of 'damnatio memoriae', I think that any proposal to disinter his remains and cremate them would be going too far.
Matter which has been burned remains matter. It must either be stored somewhere or disposed of somewhere. The current level of animosity towards Savile suggests that it would be impossible for his cremated remains to be discreetly reinterred at another location, or scattered privately - regardless of the fact that he was buried suggests that he either did not wish to be cremated or left no clear instructions to that effect, it is unlikely that any location on these islands which was dear to him would consent to his remains being scattered there. That leaves only one other option, that of scattering his ashes at sea, and if that were to be suggested I would have no alternative to believe that this whole issue has been carried to a morally unsatisfactory extreme.
I can think of only two other men whose actions in life have been thought so foul that even their mortal remains were deemed anathema and unfit for interment in the places in which they died, with their ashes having to be scattered at sea as a result. Those men were Adolf Eichmann and Osama bin Laden. One must be very careful what one says about such things, but a society which considers Savile's actions - and I certainly do believe he behaved in the manner alleged against him - to have been on the same moral plane as Eichmann's and bin Laden's is one which has lost its moral compass, has lost the ability to discern the difference between great wrong and greater wrong, and has become, in a different way, as morally distorted as he was.
If Savile's remains were to be disinterred and cremated, it would represent a point of no return for our civilisation. Things would stay the same on the surface for a while, there would be no actual change in how we go about our business but there would be a change in our patterns of thought. The taboo of letting the dead rest in peace, or perhaps not, as the case may be, but certainly the practice of leaving their remains alone, would be broken for what would be widely believed to be a good reason. Yet once you do that to one person you don't want next to your grandmother until the end of time, it's less of a problem doing it to other people, for what would probably be less significant reasons. One of the beauties of Christianity is that it resolves the fear of death. For Christians the options are simple, so you try to live your life in such a way that you qualify for the only one worth having. What not just puzzles but actively alarms me is how an increasingly less Christian society would react, should the abuse of human remains become widespread. Courtesy of the false religion/pseudo science known as economics, many more people enjoy a great deal less security in life than they used to; yet if death has nothing else going for it, it does provide one with a degree of security. The attainment of that security, a wiping away of life's troubles, is what motivates all suicides. The disinterment and removal of human remains, whether for reasons of policy or, more basely, in order to cultivate popular opinion, or even just to look as if one is doing something, undermines that security. The single-souled, unilifed private individual will become aware that they can be got at and abused even in the grave, their flesh subject to a lesser degree of protection from assault in death than it had in life.
This would not a be a good move. There are any number of good moves which could be made, such as, for example, the immediate publication of all material held on Savile by MI5, in full and unredacted. That will not happen, indeed it wouldn't surprise me if it's buried forever, but I for one would dearly love to know what those charged with securing the state knew about an individual who seemed to enjoy immediate access to some of the country's highest office holders. There could be a statement of regret from the Royal Family over their poor choice of Rasputin. He even seems to have advised the Prince of Wales over his marital problems, but no royal apology will ever be forthcoming. These would be good moves, but disturbing the sleep of the dead for no real reason other than you don't want to be associated with them anymore would be both immoral and counterproductive. The repose of the nation would be disturbed by James Savile even more than it has been already, and that wouldn't be fair.
And if that were to happen, we would show that the nation in the world most in need of prayers would be our own.
Labels: The Blogger's Deepest Thoughts