Friday, March 10, 2006

Skinny-Dipping and the Fate of Nations

The death of John Profumo — a figure likely forgotten by many today — is big with biblical echoes. Profumo was a Conservative cabinet member in the British government in 1963, and was brought down by a sex scandal involving call-girl Christine Keeler. The NYT reports:
She [Keeler] was 19. He was 48. As the story went, he first caught sight of her climbing naked out of a swimming pool.
For those, like myself, who view the world as a vast biblical commentary, the story of Profumo is a gloss upon the sin of David and Bathsheba. 2 Sam. 11:2-4:
Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her.
All of which is an illustration of the observation, first enunciated in ancient wisdom literature, which may be paraphrased as follows:

The whiskey glass
and the female ass
have brought many men
to a sorry pass.

It is also a biblical principle, however, that that is not necessarily the end of the story. I will assume that the later story of David is well-known to most of my readers. The later story of Profumo, on the other hand, was news to me. The NYT story notes that "after his fall ... he turned to charitable work among the poor in the hardscrabble East End of London":
But there was another side of the story: redemption. By working in the East End, washing dishes, tending alcoholics, Mr Profumo's friends said, he paid his dues. Lord Deedes, a friend, told the BBC today: "He atoned for his mistakes and I think will, on death, receive his reward for that."

1 comment:

Steve Hayes said...

Yes, there is little said about his post-Keeler life, though I've been looking for it. The media give it little more than a p0assing mention.