Monday, June 22, 2009

hands up! this dog is loaded

The Independent's occasional online "10 Best" feature is always amusing, and the latest one (The 10 Best Sex Scandals) is no exception, partly for the warm schadenfreude of the actual content (Paddy Pantsdown!), but also for the hilarious lazy drunken "will this do?" journo hackery revealed in the section on Jeremy Thorpe:
Jeremy Thorpe's political career was dogged by rumours of homosexual relations at a time when such acts were still illegal in Britain; in one instance of having an affair with Norman Scott, a former male model. Liberal democrat leader between 1967 and 1976, Thorpe, who was twice married and had one child, met Scott in 1961, while the latter was working as a stable boy. Following a bizarre episode in which a man called Newton approached Scott armed with a dog, and shot the animal dead before attempting to shoot Scott too, Scott suggested Thorpe had threatened to kill him if he spoke about their affair. Newton later claimed Thorpe had hired him to kil [sic] his lover. Thorpe was never charged of any such offence, but his political career buckled under the weight of the scandal.
The first obvious quibble is that Thorpe was never Liberal Democrat leader, since no party of that name existed at the time. The second slightly more serious offence against good sense is the assertion that not only was Norman Scott approached by a man "armed with a dog", but that the assailant then shot his own dog, presumably to prove how hard he was, before turning the gun on Scott. Most accounts of the incident have it unfolding slightly differently.

Which is a pity, in a way, because the incident as described here has an almost Beckettian tragicomic absurdity about it. Man standing on deserted moorland, fog a-swirling, second man shows up with dog under arm, gnomic non sequiturs are exchanged, second man pulls out gun and shoots dog in the head, first man flees shrieking into the fog. It would have slotted into Waiting For Godot quite nicely.


everlands said...

By far my favourite sex scandal is the Fatty Arbuckle one. Especially the bit about the Coke bottle. Ouch.

Didn't make it on to this list though.

PS The 'word verification' image for this comment was "Chuffema" which sounds like the sort of damage that could have been caused by said Coke bottle.

electrichalibut said...

Not forgetting Marianne Faithfull and the Mars Bar. Or Clara Bow and the entire football team, including a young John Wayne. That one's too good to check!