Sex & Love

Howard Jacobson on the British Race Car Nazi Sex Scandal

Proving once again that sex scandals are more entertaining in Europe, Formula One head Max Mosely was recently caught on film acting out a Nazi–themed orgy with five hookers, and then relaxing with a nice cup of tea. (Seriously. There … Read More

By / April 7, 2008

Proving once again that sex scandals are more entertaining in Europe, Formula One head Max Mosely was recently caught on film acting out a Nazi–themed orgy with five hookers, and then relaxing with a nice cup of tea. (Seriously. There is tea in the video, as well as nudity and a really unsexy striped concentration camp uniform. Not that a sexy one would have been any better. Actually, it almost certainly would have been worse. But I digress.)

It’s creepy, though not criminal, that Mosely gets off on Nazi fantasies. It’s significantly creepier when you realize that Mosely’s parents were two of the most prominent British Nazi sympathizers. Hitler came to their wedding, which took place—for some reason this is the detail that really gets me—in Joseph Goebbel’s drawing room.

Naturally, Britian is totally up in arms about this, as are some Jewish groups. Should Mosely step down? Is the UK’s answer to NASCAR permanently besmirched by its leader’s penchant for pretending to be both a concentration camp inmate and a guard? (If you watch the video, which I strongly recommend you don’t, you’ll see him in both roles.) Hilarious, crotchety British writer Howard Jacobson takes a clear-eyed look at the scandal, asking

why a man shouldn't indulge in a bit of retro-Nazi sado-masochistic role-play in the quiet of a house of ill-repute in leafy Chelsea when the fancy takes him, provided no one gets seriously hurt in the process – other than, one hopes for his sake, himself.

Jacobson is less repulsed by Mosely’s fetishes and more repulsed by his upper-crusty excuses:

The only reason he is to be heard speaking German, he insists, is that two of the five prostitutes he hired – at least one of whom is seen in a striped uniform reminiscent of those worn by prisoners in the camps – are German speakers. In other words, what we are watching is not depravity but good manners and a cosmopolitan education.

Oh, and also race car driving. He is also repulsed by race car driving:

I would prefer him to have owned up to depravity and told the News of the World to go hang. But he has his job as president of FIA to think about….Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Formula One dedicated to the promotion of the sale of killer cigarettes, the wanton spillage of expensive champagne, the encouraging of easily excited rich young men (and that is not an oxymoron) in their pursuit of acceleration, exhaust noise and extruded showgirls?

Jacobson concludes, in a logical flourish both utterly implausible and kind of brilliant, that Mosely must have been acting out some kind of Freudian destructo-urge aimed at both his father and Hitler. S&M is always parody, after all, he explains:

Certainly, if I were a Nazi I wouldn't appreciate Mosley's travesty of my beliefs and uniform. I put it to you, anyway, that it is not impossible he is avenging himself, now upon his Führer-fetishising father Oswald, now upon his Goebbels-glorifying mother Diana, once a Mitford "gel".

Lady Diana Mosley's biographer, Anne de Courcy, guesses that Max's Nazi romp in Chelsea would have shocked her deeply. "Even though she admired Hitler, she deplored any form or depiction of violence and cruelty." Drink deep of that. The monstrous hypocrisy of the genteel. Get the whips out more often, is my advice to Max. The more you parody the violence your parents were in awe of, the less of a sucker you'll be for it in reality yourself.