I learned the other day that prostitutes in England used to be called “Winchester Geese,” which is so weird to me. Winchester is a nice cathedral town in the south of England and that it was ever a byword for prurience is kind of amazing. [x]
If Nick Broomfield never found anyone with affection for Courtney Love, as Daphne Merkin suggests, it’s only because he conspicuously avoided the countless friends, colleagues, and fans who appreciate her talent and admire her as a person,“ Norton writes. "But then, why would Broomfield have opened up his film to those of us who work with Courtney and are close to her when there were so many bitter left-behinds and desperate attention-seekers eager to validate his attack on her character?”
Norton compares Broomfield’s documentary to a classic witch-hunt: “Inquisitors in every age, scared of forceful women, have used all kinds of half-baked testimony to whip up chants of ‘Burn the witch!’” The actor accused Merkin of “simply capitalizing on the prurience of Broomfield’s tabloid trash by repeating it. Her only original contribution is her conclusion that Courtney was of more value as an icon of pain and self-destruction than she is as a complex, evolving, and healthy human being - a conclusion that is sexist, intellectually shallow, and spiritually bankrupt. In the end, Courtney’s achievements will speak louder than any of her critics.
Edward Norton, July 7th 1998in response to an article centering on Nick Broomfield’s documentary(x)
There’s an episode of the dystopian TV series Black Mirror in which terrorists force the British prime minister to fuck a pig on live television. As people gather to gawk at the spectacle, rambunctious prurience gives way to funereal sadness; the humiliation soils everyone who watches it. That’s what it felt like going into the second presidential debate on Sunday.