A Decent Life: The Dissenting Narrative of Tom O'Carroll (film)

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A Decent Life:
The Dissenting Narrative of
Tom O'Carroll

A Decent Life (Movie Poster)
Year Released: 2015
MPAA Rating (USA): Unrated
Director: David Kennerly
Starring: Tom O'Carroll

A Decent Life: The Dissenting Narrative of Tom O'Carroll is a documentary film by David Kennerly from the perspective of Tom O'Carroll. [1]

A Decent Life, at a bit over one hour, is a film created from the material of an abandoned television interview conducted by Steve Humphries of the U.K.'s Testimony Films with British public figure Tom O'Carroll best known, perhaps, for his leadership role in the much-maligned organization, "PIE" (the Paedophile Information Exchange) and his books "Paedophilia, the Radical Case" and "Dangerous Liaisons", his biography of Michael Jackson.

The interview was to have been used as part of the television program "The Paedophile Next Door" which eventually aired November 25, 2014 on Channel 4 (a U.K. television network).

No part of Tom's interview was used in that program, however and, as part of the agreement with Humphries (and as a condition of the interview), Tom was given the audio-only of that interview but not the video (visual) portion.

With that, Tom shared the entire (unedited) audio piece with his readers on his blog "Heretic TOC: Not the Dominant Narrative". David Kennerly, one of his readers, heard the audio and realized that Tom's responses were very powerful and should be considered essential listening for anyone wishing to better understand pedophilia and society's distorted views of pedophilia and child and adolescent sexuality. He decided that the interview should be made available to the widest extent possible and despite Humphries' and Channel 4's decision to bury the piece.

Kennerly's original idea was to simply edit out Humphries' voice as well as irrelevant directions and discussion and post the edited-down audio online.

As part of that process of editing, he had the idea, on a lark, of taking some of the edited-out portions of Humphries' almost hilariously unctuous and ingratiating questions and assurances, and to string them together into a silly, stand-alone, audio piece. That piece was made separately available on Tom's blog and was entitled "Stitching Up Steve Humphries Interviewing Tom O'Carroll" and is available here: https://soundcloud.com/david-kennerly/stitching-up-steve-humphries .

The larger project, however, had the far more serious and important objective of accurately conveying Tom's ideas and experiences to a wider audience, an opportunity that had been denied him by a nationally prominent television network's decision to withhold his interview from the British public.

This project soon grew to become a "video" and not just an "audio" project with the greatest challenge quickly emerging as a need to discover and synthesize visuals to accompany the spoken word piece (now a monologue rather than a dialogue). That process, along with the earlier audio portion, would ultimately require a number of months to complete.

The film finally complete, it was made freely available on YouTube June 5, 2015. For reasons primarily of YouTube policy, it was divided-up into eleven segments which could be viewed end-to-end as a part of a playlist or which could be viewed separately.

The film is constructed chronologically, beginning with Tom as a boy growing up in the Midlands of England in the 1950s and continuing to the present day. He discusses coming to terms, as an adolescent, with his sexuality and attraction to boys, his teaching career (which ended rather badly) and his later career as a journalist. He tells of his emerging pedophile consciousness and activism, his eventual leadership within PIE as well as his eventual criminal prosecution (and incarcerations) which were the direct results of that leadership. The British public's hatred of him, which had been fueled by grandstanding politicians and a gutter press, made it nearly inevitable that O'Carroll would be made to pay with his liberty, no matter how tortured the law would have to be to accomplish that end.

He discusses key scholars and their groundbreaking research into pedophilia and child and adolescent sexuality as well as the active suppression of their findings. O'Carroll places that suppression within a political and cultural context, describing an extraordinary zeitgeist (and some peculiar confluences) from which emerged the systematic persecution of pedophilies and hebephiles, as well as the wholesale disenfranchisement of children and adolescents; developments which paralleled the rise of feminism and gay rights.

From Heretic TOC

There’s a fantastic new film out today but I have a bit of a problem if I try to big it up too much. It’s the greatest thing you’ll ever see but I can’t say so on account of an embarrassing personal detail, namely that I have an – ahem, excuse me – starring role! So that’s why I am mentioning it only down-page rather than giving it top billing. On this occasion I am quite happy to play second fiddle even to Stinson Hunter!

The real star of A Decent Life: The Dissenting Narrative of Tom O’Carroll, is the director, David Kennerly, who has miraculously managed to turn the pig’s ear of my discarded interview last year for Testimony Films into the silk purse of a 11-part, all-singing, all-dancing (well, not by me!) epic, which is launched today and can be seen on YouTube. The segments are each just a few minutes long, hence easily viewed at separate sittings, while the complete work is a little over 68 minutes.

David, as those who have been around at Heretic TOC since the inception will know, has been a guest blogger here a couple of times, debuting in 2013 with a piece about his childhood in the American Midwest and returning last year to warn about the menacing advance of securocratic government.

He studied at film school and has been involved professionally in film production. I didn’t know this background, but when he was liaising with me to make A Decent Life (his title not mine, in case you’re wondering, and I like it) it became obvious to me he has the relevant skills.

David first went to work on the audio of the Testimony Films interview last year, producing Stitching Up Steve Humphries, Humphries being the guy who conducted an interview on behalf of Testimony, which, in the light of what happened later, appears to have been designed to stitch me up as the interviewee. In making his pitch to me, Humphries had come across as a very sympathetic figure, emphasising his background as a social historian, and his interest in hearing a diverse range of views on sexuality, including mine.

The interview was to be part of a documentary on paedophilia he was making for Channel 4 called The Paedophile New Door. When this was aired, however – without any footage from his interview with me – it became overwhelmingly clear his position had all along been fundamentally hostile to mine. It looks as though he ditched my contribution because he had failed to trick me into saying anything that would discredit me: his would-be stitch-up had unravelled.

What David did was to turn the tables on Humphries, stringing together the audio of all his questions but without giving a word of my responses. This cleverly exposed his stitch-up tactics for what they were.

In A Decent Life, by contrast, he has done the exact opposite. This time we hear not a peep from Humphries. Instead, he has given full rein to my responses without them being butchered to quote me out of context or otherwise discredit my contribution.

I like the result and I hope you will. If you agree A Decent Life is a good film, please Tweet about it or give it a plug wherever you can, online via the social media or elsewhere. Thanks! Tom O'Carroll [2]


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