Tag Archives: John Galliano

Busting the, ‘when you’re drunk, you tell the truth’ myth.

Paul Gascoigne (ex-British soccer player) has been hospitalized again. He was drunk and got into a fight after racially abusing some other guests. This is awful on many levels and racial abuse should never be tolerated but it’s important to point out that Paul Gascoigne is a really, really sick man.
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It’s also important to not jump to the conclusion that Paul Gascoigne is a racist and he spoke the truth because he was drunk. I’ve heard the phrase ‘when you are drunk, you speak the truth’ repeated many times and feel the need to point out that it is a total myth.
You don’t speak the truth when you are drunk. What you do is speak a lot of old bollocks.
Alcohol doesn’t give us the courage to open our inner most thoughts and feelings to others. What it does do however, is open our inner life for everyone to see. And if your inner world is full of self-loathing, hatred, loneliness and desperation, then alcohol will manifest exactly that in your words and deeds. Far from revealing himself as a racist, Gascoigne was instead, revealing his own self-loathing. Racists remarks are so deplorable that they cause a very immediate and visceral reaction. This is probably the reaction Gascoigne’s own sub conscious was looking for. As it confirmed his view of himself: ‘I am so disgusting and un-lovable, who could bear to be near me?’ Let me do something really disgusting, so I can indeed, confirm my own disgusting-ness to myself?’

Make sense?

John Galliano and anti-Semitism
I wrote about this a few years ago when John Galliano similarly made some abhorrent anti-Semitic remarks that were made public. I argued then, that rather than see Galliano as an anti-Semite, it was actually the most disgusting thing, his sub-conscious could come up with, that would manifest how he felt about himself. His sub-conscious knew it would bring an immediate reaction that would push everyone away. That is exactly what alcoholism wants. It wants you alone, without friends and without hope. Because then all you have to turn to, is the drink.

I would never apologize for racists or anti-Semitism and full apologies and amends should always be made, regardless of when, or how these remarks were made. No exceptions. John Galliano went to rehab and then went to considerable lengths to atone and make amends for what he said. Gascoigne needs to do the same.
But I also believe Gascoigne needs our compassion. His downward spiral is continuing and his friends and family must be extremely worried about him.
Gascoigne and Galliano are both intelligent people, both of them in their stone-cold sober minds would know exactly what kind of reaction those comments would have. That’s exactly why their drunk selves said them.

What are we really communicating?
So when you hear someone who is drunk (and unhappy) say something out of character, or harmful, or hurtful. Look a bit closer. What is it they are actually trying to communicate? Communication isn’t always about the words we use. Many of us have feelings we are at a loss to express or process. If left this way then they will be manifested in our behavior. When we are disgusted with ourselves, it will come out in what we do. What we do, often speaks louder than what we say. And what we say, is often a cry for help from a dark and troubled soul.
Hear that.

Can we forgive John Galliano?

IMG_1957John Galliano famously self destructed two years ago when he drunkenly went on a vile anti-Semitic rant that then went viral.
He was fired from his job as chief designer at Dior and abandoned by many of his friends.
With nothing left to loose he had a moment of clarity and went into rehab. Newly sober, he has just done his first interview with Vanity Fair, which you can read here.

Clearly, John Galliano is an alcoholic whose drinking had become more and more self-destructive, resulting in his public melt down.
In the interview he discusses the vile rant and apologizes profusely, claiming he doesn’t even remember it, as he was in black out when it happened.
The next day he woke up and the true horror of his actions came home to him.

As an alcoholic I can relate to this horror.
The pounding of my heart as I desperately tried to rack my memory for some hint as to what I’d done the night before. Then the sinking feeling in my chest because I knew it wasn’t good.

I remember once going to on a hen night (bachelorette party) and creating a scene outside a nightclub we were meant to be going in to. The doormen barred me and therefore all my friends, ensuring the future brides night was ruined.

At the wedding the following week I tried to smile at several friends attending the wedding, they just looked at me in disgust.

A minor incident maybe, but no less shame inducing. I can’t imagine what it must be like, for the absolute worst part of yourself to be filmed, then sent around the world for everyone to see.

There is no end to my gratitude that my drinking and drugging years happened well before the advent of smart phones or Internet use. There are a few (well more than a few) pictures of me in various states, usually in bars with my arms thrown round whoever was near.
Thankfully, these pictures won’t ever be paraded across Facebook or Twitter as even after all those years of sobriety I’m still embarrassed at how I used to behave.
Being an alcoholic is hard enough without having to deal with your worst moments becoming publicized.

But this is what John Galliano is dealing with.
His absolute worst behavior will exist on-line forever, for everyone to see when ever they want. According to the Vanity Fair article he is beginning to make amends to everyone he hurt (of which there are many) and in particular the Jewish community.
He has clearly alienated a lot of people and a lot of people are finding what he said very hard to forget let alone forgive.

The reason for this, is the myth that when we are drunk we speak the truth. Which means when we say hateful things (or that we love someone) it’s how we have always really felt, we’ve just never expressed it before.
This is the reason people are finding it hard to forgive John Galliano, they believe he really meant what he said and no amount of apologising will change that.

I can’t speak for Galliano as I’ve never met him, I’ve not even had the fortune to wear any Dior (sigh).
However, I do know about alcoholism and I do know that when alcoholics are in the worst of their disease, their self-hatred is inescapable.
That’s part of why we drink the way we do, we hate ourselves, we hate being in our bodies we hate the voices in our heads and we are trying to do everything we can to block it all out.
It that state, constant use of alcohol and drugs makes sense.

My guess is that on that fateful night, when he unleashed his venomous hate, it was not because he is anti-Semitic and hates Jews or Asians. It was because he hated himself so much, that the final act of this self-hate, is to act so repulsively that the world will hate you back.
Thus, proving to yourself how hateful you are.
This is how alcoholism works, it wants you alone, isolated and hate filled because then there is only one thing for you to turn to; more alcohol.

As extraordinary as it sounds, what Galliano said wasn’t actually personal. Booze didn’t reveal how really felt about jewish people, it revealed how he really felt about himself.

It was a truthful revelation of his inner life.

As the most spiteful, meanest, repulsive thing his sub-conscious could dream up in order to achieve the end result of ultimate self-hatred.
It was an attack on himself, no-one else.
Our ‘outsides’ are just a reflection of our ‘insides’.
When you hate yourself that much, then the inevitable consequence of that, is to manifest in your life, something that equals your internal hatred.
This is what John Galliano did that night in the Paris bar.

It is only right he makes amends for what he said and then he needs to be forgiven.