Deborah Ross: Does being a 'genius' offer any excuse?

If you ask me...
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The Independent Online

After a great deal of thought, I have decided to forgive John Galliano for his remarks and would even return to Dior for all my fashion, accessories and perfume requirements, had I ever shopped there in the first place, and had it not been way out of my league.

You will have read much in his defence already; you will have read that he was "under extreme pressure" and that he is a "genius couturier". You will have seen the fashion editors crowding to get into his final show; a show accompanied by much "whooping and cheering" before the tears set in for this great talent who may now, alas, be lost. And you will have thought to yourself, as I did, that even though anti-Semitism is the disgrace of humankind, has led to industrial murder and, post-Holocaust, should be impossible to think, let alone say, a trio of supermodels dressed in ribbon-tied bloomers and fox jackets cannot be dismissed as easily as six million Jews, gassed, incinerated, tortured, starved, experimented upon and tossed into mass, unmarked graves. Let's not lose our sense of perspective here. This is a "genius couturier", after all. Plus he wore funny hats, which has to mark someone out as special.

True enough, Galliano's abuse – the dirty Jew, the gas chamber, the "I love Hitler" stuff – will have appalled many, but, come on, he was under the influence of alcohol and we all know people do things under the influence of alcohol that they wouldn't otherwise do, like run over small children while at the wheel of a car, so it's not as if it's just a noxious and pathetic excuse. Give the poor fella a break! And it's not as if he hasn't shown remorse. Isn't he now in a rehab clinic in Arizona?

And while some have questioned how rehabilitation for anti-Semitism actually works, I think we have to assume that, to avoid acute withdrawal, it has to be a slow business, accomplished bit by bit. For example, he probably won't be told outright that there isn't, and has never been, a Jewish conspiracy to run the media, only that Jews don't conspire at all on Tuesdays and have a half day every Wednesday. It may even be that they don't even get on to Jews not being dirty until week five.

And so I forgive John Galliano, the "genius couturier" who was under "extreme pressure" and for whom, it would seem, exception must be made, and now I must get on, albeit in the manner of someone whose forefathers should have been gassed. Should I ever shop in Dior, I shall certainly ask them what the best look is for that.