According to a leading psychologist, large numbers of Britons have been left severely traumatised by the recent conviction of once popular children’s TV star Rolf Harris for serious sexual offences. “There are a variety of traumas being manifested,” Professor Roger Persil, of the Northampton Institute of Craft Work, wrote in his weekly column in the Daily Excess “There are a surprising number of people, for instance, who feel somehow stigmatised by the fact that Rolf Harris didn’t molest them, when he seems to have groped half the female population of Britain. They’re left asking themselves – ‘what was wrong with me that he didn’t want to indecently assault me?’.” Incredibly, despite never having even met, or seen in the flesh, the disgraced TV presenter, these ‘victims’ have experienced a significant loss of self-esteem as a result of their non-molestation. However, as Professor Persil explains, they don’t represent the majority of the traumatised. “An even greater number of Britons of a certain age, both male and female, feel that their childhoods have been destroyed by Harris’ activities, with once cherished childhood TV memories now tainted by the knowledge of Harris’ horrendous sex crimes,” he wrote.“Their whole sense of identity is under threat from the revelation of Rolf Harris’ guilt – what they thought was innocent fun has now been revealed as the work of an evil sex maniac. Being told that you can no longer enjoy those memories calls into question their whole moral compass, resulting in emotional confusion and trauma.”
However, for those finding the desecration of their cherished childhood memories of Rolf Harris on TV too much to bear, salvation could soon be at hand, with the announcement by a top research institute that they could soon have the opportunity to have these memories ‘corrected’. According to Dr Carl Faddox, Head of Development at the Max Schumacher Institute of Media Research, his organisation has signed an agreement with a major British TV network for a special broadcast in the next fortnight. “Clearly, these people have been severely damaged by the way in which their memories have been sullied by the revelation that a childhood hero – a reassuring, avuncular and trustworthy figure – was actually a sexual predator,” he explained to the Radio Times. “Many of them believe that if they could only lose those memories, somehow, then they could regain their mental and emotional equilibrium. Well, we believe that we can help them with that.” Faddox claims that by watching the special broadcast, those affected by Harris’s crimes will find their now tainted memories transformed back into happy memories.
“The fact is that, as far as most people are concerned, if they haven’t seen something on television, then it hasn’t happened,” he told the Radio Times. “In days of old the ultimate validation was to actually see something with your own eyes – Aristotle, for instance, refused to believe in the existence of elephants, having never seen one, he thought the descriptions of them given by travellers utterly preposterous – nowadays seeing it on a TV news programme is sufficient validation. Especially if it is BBC News!” What his institute plans to do in their broadcast is to ‘adjust’ the memories of those watching it to effectively remove Rolf Harris from them. “It is really no different to digitally removing figures and objects from photographs or even videos,” he enthused. “All the subjects have to do is to give their TV screens their undivided attention for the duration of the broadcast and our remote electronic hypnotic therapy will do the rest. When the broadcast ends, they will find that Rolf Harris has been replaced by a jolly, ruddy faced rotund South African called Uncle Smuts in their memories of childhood – because they will remember seeing him, instead of Harris, on TV, they will accept these memories as real and any residual memories of Harris as false.”
The Institute’s concept has aroused considerable interest in the broadcasting industry, with broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Channel Four eagerly anticipating the forthcoming trial programme. “This is the most exciting broadcast media development in decades,” opines top media journalist Tristram Hardwell. “People are always complaining about how something they saw on TV offended them. Well, if this technique works then, instead of having to give a phone number for counselling services, broadcasters can arrange for a special programme for those affected to exercise their ‘right to forget’ – all memories of the offending material will be removed and replaced by something pleasant!” The applications, the writer believes, could be even wider. “Look, since the Savile sex scandal broke the BBC alone has been forced to junk thousands of hours of archive recordings featuring him, then they had to do the same with Stuart Hall and now Rolf Harris,” he points out. “If this works, instead of wiping those recordings, it might be possible to encode the Institute’s hypno-ray thing in them, so that viewers won’t see, say Jimmy Savile presenting a 1979 edition of Top of The Pops, but ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton or Tony Blackburn, instead!”
Not surprisingly, many other commentators have reacted to the Institute’s announcement with alarm. “Quite frankly, this is the most sinister form of censorship yet devised,” declared Labour backbencher Greg Ditch in the Sunday Bystander. “They can dress it up as therapy all they like, but we all know that it will only be a matter of time before we move from removing unpleasant childhood TV memories to repressing news stories and effectively rewriting history for the benefit of corporate and political interests. Sure, at first they’ll dress it up as helping people traumatised by seeing images of war, terrorism and violence on the news – ‘don’t worry, we’ll take the nasty memories keeping you awake at night away’ – next thing it will be those disturbing stories about famines we won’t be able to remember. From there it will be a short step to erasing memories of corporate misconduct, oil spills, radiation leaks, political failures or opposition successes.” Ditch suspects this slide to mass censorship of the news media is already happening. “Even without this new tele-hypnosis technology, the news media are already trying to shape people’s perceptions by selective reporting of events,” he told readers. “Just look at the way they completely ignored that recent anti-austerity rally in London. Fifty thousand people marched through the streets, yet is was barely mentioned by the mainstream media, not even the BBC. For all intents and purposes, as far as most of the population is concerned, it never happened because they didn’t see it on TV or read about it in the tabloids. Damn it, I was there and I’m beginning to doubt that it ever happened!”