Red herring: something that distracts attention from the real issue.

Over the past four-plus decades, the Elvis World has been infected by a broad, slow-moving, and consistent effort to paint Ginger Alden as a villain. The villain of what? The villain who let Elvis die, the villain who didn’t help Elvis with his drug problem, the villain who hung around only for the gifts and vacations, the villain who…well, whatever else these people try to pin on her. You get the idea.

A red herring in something that is used to distract. If you don’t want people to look at A, you distract them with B. B is the red herring.

What could these people possibly want to distract from? Everything was fine all those years, right? Nothing wrong with the way these people led their lives. Nothing wrong with the way they handled their relationships with Elvis. They loved him, after all. Just listen to Billy Smith say it. On cue. So what was going on that someone would want to distract from?

Let’s see…

Elvis, over the course of 20 years or so, became a prescription drug addict. From 1967 to 1977, his general health and medical conditions were overseen primarily by Dr. Nichopoulos, who, along with several other doctors, provided him excessive amounts of Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 drugs. Here are some other facts to consider:

Nichopouolos’s claim that his excessive prescriptions were “for all the people on the tour” is nonsense.

Nichopoulos’s claim that he and others were trying to ween Elvis off of drugs is nonsense. Just look at the last 2 years’ worth of prescriptions.

Nichopoulos’s claim, echoed by several others, that placebos were used in this effort is nonsense, since the placebo approach was dangerous and profoundly ill-advised, not to mention clumsy and amateurish.

Nichopoulos’s claim that “there were no Betty Ford clinics back then” was an excuse he used to escape culpability for not getting Elvis into a comprehensive drug rehabilitation program. However, several hospitalizations at Baptist were for this specific purpose and none of the treatments worked long-term. So Dr. Nichopoulos knew that Elvis had received treatment at the same time Nichopoulos was complaining that there was no treatment available (like what we know now as The Betty Ford Clinic, which is the reference people always seem to make).

Any medical professional involved with Elvis’s care was required to adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, one part of which, in a nutshell, says, “Above all else, do no harm.” Nichopoulos’s treatment of Elvis caused harm. Keep in mind that Nichopoulos eventually had his medical license revoked (1995), which is prima facie evidence that his practices were dangerous (since he did not change his methods between 1977 and 1995). Likewise, the treatment of Elvis by several other doctors, and supported by several nurses, falls under this same category.

So, the facts establish that the care provided to Elvis was harmful and dangerous. It would thus be foolish to conclude that all of Elvis’s friends and family were not acutely aware of this. Every single one of them knew what was going on, perhaps some more than others, but it was common knowledge amongst those close to Elvis that he had a serious drug addiction and required care far beyond what he was receiving. It is also an undisputed fact that while Elvis’s health was suffering and he was addicted to prescription drugs that not one single person in his family or circle of friends made any serious attempts to assist him in fighting and overcoming this addiction. And yet, while this was going on, all of them received gifts: expensive vacations, expensive jewelry, cash, living accommodations on Graceland property, automobiles, personal loans, business loans, homes/real estate, gifts of personal items. Additionally, Elvis provided salaried employment for a number of these people, the job requirements amounting to hanging out, going on vacations, picking up sandwiches, packing wardrobes for travel, and the like. One was employed as “Professional Cousin” as far as I can tell. More broadly, there were conflicts of interest everywhere in these arrangements, including the relationships between Elvis and his medical providers, Elvis and his staff, and Elvis and his friends. Everyone was compromised in some way, and everyone was a beneficiary of Elvis’s largesse.

What we have here, then, is a wealthy man with a serious drug addiction, surrounded by friends and family who received/accepted multiple benefits, and these benefits were accepted while the wealthy man was addicted to drugs. And none of them took any substantive steps to help him.

Does anyone see a problem here? From what I have found in my research, and in my travels through Elvis World, very few people see a problem here. In fact, the “problem” always seems to be somewhere else. Or someone else. Yeah, Ginger was the problem, not all these other people. Of course.