"Looking at Pete Townshend's face in the newspapers, I see someone who is wounded. I do believe what he says about research. I think it's part of a healing process because of the abuse he suffered as a child."
"I have faith in Pete Townshend. Everyone I know wants to believe he's innocent."
"The great thing about Townshend is his painful honesty. He is always looking for truth in the widest sense. I believe he is completely innocent. For me, this doesn't undermine his heritage, but it does cast doubt on these paranoid times."
A few of these quotes, taken from an L.A. Times article by Phil Sutcliffe (any relation to Stu?), continue with some variation of "Then again, I was a Gary Glitter fan too…" But taken together they suggest a turnaround in British public reaction to the Pete-ophilia scandal. Sutcliffe details how after a first couple days of shrieking and japery, both the tabloids and the wo/man in in the street have downshifted to wait-and-see mode. "With Townshend," Sutcliffe writes, "the perception of a rumbustious integrity is so ingrained that the jaded British actually seem inclined to invoke that weary old notion of believing innocence until guilt is proved."
That's a hopeful sign that after countless celebrity scandals, people are able to be shocked and/or amused by the spectacle, but still avoid giving in to hysteria. The Reason staff, it turns out, is so top-heavy with Pete Townshend fans that this whole thing has really been our September 11, but we're reserving judgment too.
[PS: The third dictionary I consulted defines "rumbustious" as "boisterous, turbulent, unruly, uproarious."]