Advent Calendar 21st December 2011: Pleading guilty

London in 1936. Michael Davidson and his young friend have been followed by the police, and then: “the unspeakable, the unthinkable, had happened – I had been arrested.” The charges were unknown to him, but the boy, “poor Bill”, who had been taken to the police station with Davidson, had given a ‘statement’ and Davidson’s solicitor advised him to plead guilty; “if I made things easy by refraining from denying what plainly was true, I would almost certainly get probation.” We read from page 170 (chapter 12) in The World, the Flesh and Myself:

I’ve always considered that most of the sexual actions one’s nature drives one unreasonably to perform are too silly for words. Why, I ask, does one want to do such pointless things? Yet at the moment, nothing in life seems so important.

When these things are publicly described in the nerveless tones of a dusty solicitor from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and publicly ascribed to oneself, sittin in the dock under the public’s goggling eye, they make one feel not only imbecile but also a monster; in his mouth things which seemed to one perfectly natural became horribly deformed. And that, evidently, is what’s intended.

Davidson didn’t get probation. He got jail.

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