David Bowie and Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Statutory Rape Problem:
We can dismiss all of this as just the “way things were back then.” We can pretend that we haven’t heard countless songs about young “Lolitas” who were “just seventeen—you know what I mean.” We can ignore the racial implications in the mainstream media’s relative silence on rockers’ histories of statutory rape and its glorification. But the next time you watch Almost Famous, take note of how much younger most of the Band Aids seem compared to the world-weary rockers that are repeatedly shown taking them to bed (Kate Hudson’s Penny Lane says she’s 16 in the film). Note how the movie casually nods to Page and Mattix in a scene at the infamous Hyatt “Riot House” on Sunset Strip. And think about how many girls would’ve been better off had someone given a damn way back when, as opposed to just fawning over a guitarist with some hit songs.Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman infamously began seeing 13-year-old Mandy Smith in 1983. According to Smith, Wyman had sex with her when she was 14. They married when she turned 18 in 1989; they divorced in 1991. She spoke about her time with the ex-Stone in an interview with The Daily Mail in 2010.
David Bowie, Jimmy Page, Sam Cooke, Don Henley, R. Kelly, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis. Lots of names.
Every person condones questionable behavior of others, but the line “you’re not allowed to cross” is different for everyone. Some people are willing to overlook Bowie’s behavior, but others will write him off completely.
This brings to mind Woody Allen, particularly his movie Manhattan. In it, Woody Allen’s character Isaac is a 44-year-old dating a 17-year-old high school student, Tracy, played by an actual 17-year-old Mariel Hemingway. In 1997, Allen married his adopted daughter, Soon-Yi.
As a man, it’s easy for me to justify why I still enjoy watching Woody Allen films (I contend Cate Blanchett’s performance in Blue Jasmine was her best ever), but I would like to know what the actresses that starred in his films from 1998 until today think about his past.