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Say It Ain’t So, Dr. Huxtable!

November 20, 2014

 

cosby as huxtableDuring the past few weeks, the autumn air has swirled with uncertainties. It feels as if we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop in half a dozen different rooms on the floor above us.

Obama has been promising (or threatening, depending on your opinion of him) unilateral action on our illegal immigrant saga. Police and demonstrators are poised ominously along a figurative battle line in Ferguson, Missouri, until the grand jury finally decides whether to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of black teenager Michael Brown. (I suspect they’re afraid to announce their decision.) ISIS continues to decapitate helpful Westerners while we amass “advisors” in the vicinity. And Putin, that unpleasant and inscrutable mini-Stalin, has still been puttering around the eastern fringes of Ukraine without taking decisive action.

But the shoes have been dropping like thunder in the room occupied by one William Henry Cosby, Jr., a man revered not only for his comic prowess but for his once-unimpeachable air of benevolent moral authority. His accusers have re-emerged from the woodwork, insisting that the beloved paterfamilias drugged, groped, molested, sexually assaulted and/or raped them over a span of decades. The accusations first surfaced nearly fifteen years ago; there were rumblings and at least one out-of-court settlement, yet the accusations didn’t stick. Cosby appeared to be coated with more Teflon than Ronald Reagan.

Fast-forward to the social media era. Cosby’s P.R. team concocted an Internet challenge that invited creative Cosbyphiles to adorn photos of the star with catchy slogans — in the meme-generating manner of the Dos Equis Man or Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka. It would be great publicity, they reasoned.

Never in the history of public relations — at least not since the White Star Line touted the virtues of its “unsinkable” new passenger ship back in 1912 — has a publicity scheme backfired so disastrously. Here came the meme slogans: cosbymeme

It’s Not Rape if You’re Famous

I Don’t Always Eat Jell-O but When I Do It’s Not Consensual. And by Jell-O I Mean Have Sex

14 Allegations of Rape? Zip Zop Zubittybop!

That Feeling You Get from Being America’s Most Beloved Serial Rapist

… and many, many more. You get the picture. Almost immediately the renewed accusations from Cosby’s female acquaintances went viral.

This is serious business. Very serious. Rape allegations are notoriously hard to prove, especially after the passage of time. And of course, wealthy men are easy targets for extortionists and unstable women with faulty memories. But the sheer number of accusations, coupled with the similarity of circumstances from one story to the next — well, let’s say it’s looking as if “America’s Dad” is due for a painful trip to the woodshed.

I always liked Bill Cosby even before he became an institution. I’d catch him occasionally as that amiable paternal authority figure, Dr. Cliff Huxtable, in his 1980s TV megahit, The Cosby Show. I was pleased to see him soaring in his middle age, creating a stable and prosperous black family for the home screen and making it go mainstream.

But it was the early Cosby that dazzled me most memorably, back in the 1960s, with an immortal series of comedy albums. Half a century later, I can still hear the sound of Cosby’s Noah sawing planks for his ark: VOO-pah, VOO-pah. And the adolescent Cosby’s early attempt at shaving with a razor: “ZIP-ZOP — my face is ripped to shreds.” And of course, the first appearance of that inimitable Cosby icon: “Come on out… FAT ALBERT.”

As a former white guy, I also liked Cosby for transcending race in those early routines. Back in the fractious ’60s, he made a positive statement about race by not making statements about race. Yet he was nobody’s Uncle Tom. He never forgot his roots, and neither did we: a trace of the ghetto always lingered in his delectable vocal mannerisms. He wasn’t implausibly impeccable like the saintly Sidney Poitier. He seemed real and vital. And yet, without ever raising the subject of race, he seemed to say that it was possible for blacks and whites to come together over shared experiences and a mirthful enjoyment of stories told with wit, nuance and gusto. I still think he was the most inspired comic storyteller of his time.

Numerous comedy buffs would vehemently disagree, of course. Even before the rape allegations dominated the headlines, the anti-Cosbyites typically accused him of catering to white middle-class sensibilities… of playing it safe and shunning controversy for the sake of mass acceptance. Richard Pryor was their idol: the manic, trash-talking bad boy whose world-view was permeated by the pungent comedy of race. Pryor was Elvis to Cosby’s soothing, cardigan-clad Bing Crosby.

Bill Cosby always worked “clean” — eschewing profanity on principle — and he castigated comics who habitually spewed four-letter words. He also castigated poor inner-city blacks — with the tough love of a disciplinarian father — in a series of controversial lectures to black audiences. Even I thought he went a little overboard in mocking ghetto speech and exotic African American children’s names, but his central message was clear and on target: that poor blacks couldn’t continue to blame all their misfortunes on white folks… that they needed to get focused, apply themselves in school and disown the more insidious elements of black street culture that dragged the community down. He risked his reputation among black Americans to make those statements. It took courage and conviction to say things that blacks (and the white liberals who made up a sizable share of his audience) didn’t want to hear.

I have to suspect that Cosby’s assumption of moral authority led to his undoing, and that’s his tragedy. Society has always reviled its hypocrites. Here he was, lecturing black people on how to live and how not to live — while he was allegedly drugging susceptible women for furtive and even reprehensible amorous adventures. Diehard feminists, black activists and other enemies of patriarchal authority must be having a field day.

Still, we need to ask ourselves an important question: do Cosby’s purported sins invalidate his message? Should we go back to obsessing about institutional racism, white privilege and all the rest of the convenient left-wing academic excuses for the woes of African Americans? Of course not. The messenger may have been flawed, but the message remains as relevant as ever. Look inward. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility. Prevail against the odds.

I just hope that, in the swirl of ugly accusations that will most likely unseat an idol from his lofty perch, the essential message doesn’t end up in the dumpster.

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

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44 Comments leave one →
  1. November 20, 2014 7:40 pm

    Of course, Cosby denies it. And at this point, nobody can prove things one way or the other. Too much time has gone by. Are these women making these accusations because they figure they can get money? Or did it really happen. It’s like Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas. There’s just not enough evidence to decide.

    • November 21, 2014 5:33 pm

      Bruce: I don’t think the women’s claims can be proven in court… you’re right about the scarcity of evidence. If he were innocent, though, you’d think he would have stepped forward to deny the claims in a forceful and conclusive manner. He’s been damningly shy about it.

      • November 21, 2014 5:42 pm

        Rick, it is at the point where so many people are being accused of wrong doing and when they do make public statements, most of the media takes comments they may make out of context and use their own words against them.

        People will make up their own minds and staying silent or making a PR written comment about not doing the things they are accused of will make no difference. His reputation is toast one way or the other. Given his wealth and age he probably doesn’t care what people think because he has not worried about those things when he has come out against the black communities family values, dress or speech.

      • November 21, 2014 8:55 pm

        I don’t know why you say “If he were innocent, though, you’d think he would have stepped forward to deny the claims in a forceful and conclusive manner. He’s been damningly shy about it.” This seems to be a “forceful and conclusive” denial:

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/bill-cosby-denies-janice-dickinson-rape-allegations-theyre-a-complete-lie-9870652.html

      • November 22, 2014 12:17 am

        Ok, ok, let me get this straight……it comes out that, for years now, at least since 2005 or so, there have been allegations, with at least 2 lawsuits settled out of court (one in which 15 women had agreed to testify under oath before Cosby paid out a big settlement), and all of the women are saying essentially the same thing….that they were given spiked drinks and then raped or molested.

        Most of these women were quite young when the alleged attacks occurred, some teenagers. And they all say that Cosby offered to mentor and help them in their show business careers…classic casting couch stuff. At least 5 have gone public with their names- and they are not women who have ever made these types of accusations before or since.

        And all Cosby has done is to say that he would not “dignify” the accusations with a response? Well, he sure as hell dignified Janice Dickinson’s accusation, didn’t he? Why not deny the others? I disagree that a rebuttal would not be effective. Most people are willing to give popular celebrities a huge benefit of the doubt.

        But, crickets…….

      • TeaBone permalink
        December 22, 2014 5:42 pm

        To make a public denial would subject Bill to very type of out of context postings and stories imaginable and certainly no gain for himself. It would be nice to see the settlement for the lawsuit so often cited as to how much money was settled on whom. Anyone having been involved in the inner workings of any lawsuit knows that there is a point where cost is considered and settlements are often made to end the bleeding on monies to the legal profession. A settlement by it self is like an accusation of rape, without all the details there are many scenarios that could apply.
        Today we have a huge number of women who have experienced some form of sexual contact that was, criminal or otherwise left them feeling used and their dry is for the presumption of guilt based upon a woman’s testimony be the standard for conviction of any sexual misconduct charge. If the presumption of innocence is going to be done away with we are in for a huge change in how the criminal justice system will function.
        That being said it would certainly seem that Bill was actively involved with at least a few of these women at some point. I would have a hard time buying into the lady’s story where she was raped 19 different times, and then there was the one who was demanding a payoff before going public.
        I am sure that back in the day of the Play Boy Mansion that there were many cases like this where the big producer promised some career enhancement for some slap & tickle in one of the Mansions rooms. I can remember back when Play Boy After Dark was on and ole Bill was so regular on there one would think he was Hef’s assistant and I dont think he was there for the food. All the little sweeties hanging all over the A list guys there without their wives, having drinks in their hands and indulging in who know what kind of chemical enhancements. I’m sure that when the girls tried to call the guys the next day there was much disappointment when they could not get through. The use of drugs is a bad sign but like Polanski who seems to be getting a pass for the same thing after a conviction what is our standard?

      • Ron P permalink
        December 23, 2014 12:26 am

        Whatever the real circumstances are that occurred years ago, it is very apparent that one of the largest problems we have in this country is our legal system. We have a system that allows individuals to claim another person attacked them in some way and they have little exposure to a legal claim against them. In most all cases it is cheaper for the accused to offer a settlement than to continue the case into the court system to exonerate themselves.

        It is time that we change our system to a loser pays system no matter what the case may be. Maybe then we will see then end of the ridiculous claims against people, businesses and others that have the ability to pay even the most outrageous claims against them.

        When layers take cases, they will have a good idea they will win and if they think they will lose, then they will demand payment up front from the clients that will then decide in many cases to drop the case knowing they will be stuck with all the bills.

        But since our country to owned partly by the legal profession, they will not give up their cash cows they now have, no matter how bad the system might be.

        Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! And for the Jewish readers, I hope your Hanukkah was enjoyable and brought blessings to you and your family.

      • December 23, 2014 10:03 am

        Ron, I agree – at least in theory – with the “loser pays” concept. In the case of Cosby, though, don’t you think that his victims (if they are, in fact victims and not false accusers) would rightly fear that they could never prevail in court.

        TeaBone, there is no doubt that context is necessary. After all, Cosby actually joked – in the past, of course – about drugging women with “Spanish fly” and having sex with them. And it was considered…..funny.

        Merry Christmas, all.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 27, 2014 8:24 pm

      Why not all of the above ?

      We know from the various catholic priest scandals that once a credible claim against a priest emerges, that myriads of others arrise – partly because no one else had the courage to come forward before, but partly because there are always some people willing to lie about victimization in order to receive money.

      Why is it not possible that some of these allegations are true and some opportunism ?

      • November 27, 2014 8:49 pm

        “Why is it not possible that some of these allegations are true and some opportunism?” Never did I say it was not possible. What I did say is that we really will not know in Cosby’s case, because so much time has elapsed.

  2. Rob Anderson permalink
    November 20, 2014 7:50 pm

    I loved Cosby right up until he did The Cosby Show. Believe it or not, I have never seen one whole episode of that smugfest all the way through. When The Simpsons started routinely beating it in the ratings I felt triumphant: real satire, the kind that matters, had defeated self-satisfied mugging. Truthfully, the last time Cosby was genuinely funny was on his album “Himself”, recorded early in 1983. He was good prior to that too, though some of his most famous stuff (like “Noah”) isn’t aging very well.

    Something you forgot to mention is Cosby’s film career in the 70s. In movies like Uptown Saturday Night, Lets Do It Again and – especially – Mother, Juggs and Speed with Raquel Welch and Harvey Keitel, Cosby established a hip, witty screen persona that could at times reach levels of surprising profundity. He was VERY good.

    But something happened in the early 80s, with the arrival of that execrable TV show. He started referring to himself in credit rolls as “Dr. William H. Cosby, Jr.”, which made my friends and I snicker up our sleeves in those days since his PhD was not in medicine or another hard science but education. He started to seem arrogant, smug, self-entitled and grouchy.

    When these charges first surfaced 15 years ago I assumed they were yet another (Michael Jackson being the first) example of people trumping up unprovable charges to blackmail money out of a prominent black man. I’m still not sure I believe these ladies, but their persistence is wearing me down. These days, with the Internet in such ascendance, they have to know that they will never have a moments peace again, and yet they insist on the truth of their claims. Perhaps they are telling the truth.

    • November 21, 2014 5:30 pm

      Rob: I was never an avid watcher of “The Cosby Show.” I thought it was OK but pedestrian. I liked the chemistry between Cosby and Phylicia Rashad… thought the kids were miscast (two clearly biracial older girls and a son who seemed to be from the ‘hood — what were they thinking?)… situations were bland… didn’t catch the smugness, though. (Priscilla agrees with you).

      He had two other (short-lived) comedy series that might have been even better if they had lasted. The later one (“Cosby”) featured him as an old curmudgeon, which seemed to suit him nicely — with the great Madeline Kahn in a supporting role. She died after the first season, I think.

      I loved the early record albums, of course, although I haven’t listened to them for over 40 years. Never saw the movies he made in the ’70s, though I remember them.

      I’m sure he was proud of his doctorate, but I don’t know if he took it all that seriously when he called himself “Dr.” in the credits. Knowing him, he probably did it with a wink.

      His son was murdered in cold blood in the late ’90s. I wonder if this tragedy hardened him and made him more likely to abuse women… assuming there’s any credibility to their claims. For me, the most damning evidence is his reluctance to address the issue.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 27, 2014 8:40 pm

        Rick – why is required to address the issue ?

        His alleged victims are entitled to whatever day in court and compensation the law allows.

        Cosby is entitled to say as little or much about this as he pleases.
        Whether he is guilty of innocent.

        Frankly, if he is innocent – I am not sure how talking alot about this helps him in any way. And it certainly does not help if he is guilty.

        The fact is whatever issue we are dealing with – people respond differently.

        My wife handles criminal defense cases.

        The police and DA’s constantly argue to jurries that the defendant’s response to some crime is different from what normal innocent people would do and proof of their guilt.

        But they have also argued that the defendants response is a calculated effort to math what normal innocent people would do and therefore proof of guilt.

        The fact is we are all different. We do not respond according to perfect patterns. Some of us are very good at deceiving others – and some not – but that says nothing about our guilt or innocence.

        Worse still we do not respond the same at different times.

        Three decades ago, a few months after our marraige my wife was brutally raped for 3 hours walking to her job as organist at a local church.
        For nearly a year after for both of us the entire world was gray. No joy, no anger, no emotion. We observed our own lives antiseptically from the outside. If we had allowed ourselves to have feelings they might have destroyed us.
        Tears, rage, hatred, violence, forgiveness, healing and new life all happened slowly.

        I can not judge for you how Cosby should respond – not if he is guilty, not if he is innocent. Nor can I judge his accusers based on how I think they should act.

        There is no normal way to respond to an accusation – true or false, and no normal way to respond to what he allegedly did.

  3. November 20, 2014 10:29 pm

    I’m with Rob, the last time I enjoyed Cosby was with the 1970s Fat Albert cartoon. He lives 30 minutes from here in Amherst. He has received numerous honorary degrees. I guess I was proud we had a celebrity but you rarely if ever see him locally. Based on the number of allegation and OUT of COURT settlements, I’m going with the women.

    • November 21, 2014 5:35 pm

      Sadly, I have to agree with your last sentence. Still no proof, but it looks pretty incriminating.

      • November 21, 2014 5:51 pm

        Again I bring up the issue of timing. How many of these accusers went to the police while evidence was obtainable? I can’t find any.

        That is not to say one or more did not go to the police, but the ones I can find either reported it more than a year after it happened or are just accusing him without any official charges.

        If you are drugged and raped, why not report it? I can’t believe all of them did not due to “social stigma” and “police not believing their claims” like some do when not reporting the crime.

  4. November 20, 2014 11:05 pm

    Piling on here. Haven’t liked Cosby for the longest time and agree that The Cosby Show was annoyingly smug and only kinda-sorta funny.

    Plus (and I know this is going to sound very “after-the-fact”, but I swear it’s true!) I always found him sort of creepy. Something about his voice……

    I believe the women. If the guy were innocent, he would be booking himself for a prime time interview, probably with Brian Williams of NBC, and forcefully denying the allegations. Instead, he’s apparently hiding under a rock.

    • November 21, 2014 5:45 pm

      Priscilla: “Hiding under a rock” is an apt way to describe his response to the recent wave of accusations. I’m sure he’s stressed out about it, but an old pro like Cosby should have been able to dismiss the accusations with a few well-prepared public remarks.

      Cosby’s voice was his calling card — I thought it went perfectly with his expressive face. He used both for great comic effect. Whether the average woman would find it creepy — who knows? (You’re not the average woman.) 😉

      • Robert Anderson permalink
        November 21, 2014 5:49 pm

        I watched the AP interview that has everybody foaming at the mouth.I was unaware that he was interviewed with his wife Camilla. Cosby came across as very reasonable and polite, but firm. And he said “..we don’t talk about that..” at which point Camilla nodded her dead and smiled. I came away from that interview feeling that perhaps he was innocent after all. Why? Because when it comes to serial adultery spouses always know. It is almost impossible to hide in a long-term marriage.

      • November 22, 2014 12:26 am

        Rob, many people who have been sexually abused by a parent, say that their other parent looked the other way, even after being presented with pretty convincing evidence of what was going on. And Hollywood wives are often the last to know. Trust me, I’m related to one…..

  5. Pat Riot permalink
    November 21, 2014 8:14 am

    OK, so we know fame and fortune are powerful aphrodisiacs. Rock stars and movie stars are magnets. At the time of the alleged rapes and misconduct Cosby already had fame and fortune. Also he had the gift of gab, so he wasn’t an awkward chap. So why the alleged behavior?

    Some possibilities:

    He had a lot of pills and juice running through his own body

    He was a megalomaniac who would not accept the word “No”.

    Consensual sex wasn’t enough for him; drugging women and forcing himself became a deviant “game”

    The allegations are exaggerated misunderstandings

    Combinations of above

    And so Rick asked a question in his post. Does bad behavior by the messenger invalidate the message? Should it? Are Christian messages just a hoax because of pedophile priests?
    Is the U.S. Constitution bogus because some of the Founders had slaves?

    • November 21, 2014 5:48 pm

      All good hypotheses, Pat. I’d go with “combinations of above.” And I agree, of course, that the sins of the messenger shouldn’t invalidate the message. (I see that Priscilla doesn’t entirely agree.) Most hypocrites are just failed idealists with a judgmental streak.

  6. November 21, 2014 11:15 am

    “Does bad behavior by the messenger invalidate the message? Should it? Are Christian messages just a hoax because of pedophile priests?
    Is the U.S. Constitution bogus because some of the Founders had slaves?”

    Sometimes.

    Sometimes.

    Not usually.

    No.

    I think that Americans in general are far too likely to accept a message from a “likeable” source, to excuse bad behavior from celebrities and con men (and women) and to reject a good message from an “unlikeable” source.

    Likeability, in other words, although it is based on the flimsiest of character traits – a nice smile, smooth words, willingness to go along to get along, etc) is put forward as an important trait with which to evaluate our moral, cultural and political leaders.

    There is a certain naivete in this, and, although anyone of any nationality can be charmed into believing that a liar and a hypocrite is speaking the truth, I think that Americans, who like to think of themselves as “good people” are particularly susceptible….and, when they realize that they have been conned into liking someone who turns out to be a liar and a hypocrite, they are more likely to throw the baby out with the bath water and reject the person AND his/her message.

  7. Ron P permalink
    November 21, 2014 1:41 pm

    I have no idea if he did this or did not do this.

    I will not make any assumptions if he did or did not do it, just as I will not make any assumptions if the police officer in Ferguson did or did not murder Brown. I will base my opinions on the findings of the judicial system in both of these instances as well as those to come. We see in Ferguson the outcome of people who make decisions that are not based on facts.

    But I do have an opinion on issues that raise up 10, 20 or more years after the fact when no one can prove or disprove something happened. Just as the legal system has statues of limitations on bringing someone to trial, I also believe that individuals should have some statue of limitation on how long after a crime has been committed that they can then accuse someone of that crime.

    How long that may be would be up to the criminal system based on how evidence could or could not be collected to prove or disprove the claimants accusations. Today we have another investigation into Kurt Busch (NASCAR Driver) and domestic violence. His X girlfriend claims this happened, but it is 3-4 months after the fact. She claims he pounded her head against the wall in his motor home, but did not call police nor go for medical care. No evidence is present and police are spending time investigating claims, which short of some 1 in a 100 chance some evidence is found, they have spent time on a claim impossible to prove. My point, if something happens and it is a crime, then it should be reported while evidence is ripe for collection.

    The Cosby claims might be true or they may not be true. What is true is Cosby will never be viewed by most people like he was in the past. And if he is not guilty of any crime, then the claims of a crime should be a crime themselves. But here again, so much time has passed neither can be proven.

    • November 21, 2014 1:46 pm

      Yes, I know. Its ‘statute of limitation”, not statue. (Self reporting before someone else jumps on my typo’s)

    • November 21, 2014 3:02 pm

      I have to say I agree with Ron P. Cosby’s reputation is hurt now even if he did not do any of the alleged things, and whether he did or didn’t can’t be determined after all these years. Yet even if he is innocent, nothing will be done to the women who lodged these charges. There is a crying need to punish people who make false accusations in cases like this, long after the alleged offence was supposed to have occurred.

    • November 21, 2014 5:54 pm

      Ron: Some victims of abuse are afraid to come forward. In the case of Cosby’s accusers, I suspect that some of them tolerated his behavior because they thought he could advance their careers. (The old casting-couch story.) And yes, I agree with you and Bruce that Cosby’s image has probably been sullied beyond redemption — unless he comes out with a mighty convincing rebuttal, which seems unlikely at this point.

      • November 21, 2014 6:02 pm

        No rebuttal will be convincing enough to repair the damage done. So why try? They don’t have evidence he did it and he doesn’t have evidence he did not do it. They can say what they want because they have the first amendment going for them and when he can’t prove defamation of character, there is no recourse.

  8. Pat Riot permalink
    November 22, 2014 10:12 pm

    Priscilla you have made some excellent observations in your last 3 paragraphs above about “the way things are” regarding likeability, Americans being conned, and messages being accepted or rejected, et cetera. So true. And these perceptions by people do as you say involve a certain naiveté, and I think also a helping of ignorance, a dash of shallow thinking, and a pinch of bad habits.

    Shouldn’t humans generally be better be able to separate the messages from the messengers, as well as separate some bad behavior from otherwise good lives. I’m not so much talking about William Cosby here, nor about heinous crimes, but even those are at the outer edge of what I’m getting at. I think I’m now talking about lesser infractions and isolated big mistakes and how quick humans can be to label and condemn. I think of my father who was extremely hard-working (double shifts with no sleep, over-time for months at a time when the company was moving from one building to another) talented, patient, loving, family-oriented, etc., Like many American men in the 60s and 70s, he drove us home inebriated from many of our family get-togethers. Thank God there were no accidents. If there had been, would that have made him a bad person? Would that have wiped out his years of good behavior? Or would it have been a poor choice or mistake, requiring retribution and a pay back to society, by an otherwise good person?

    We are quick to label people for their misdeeds, as if what they have done is the essence of who they are. Of course my whole point here goes out the window for repeat offenders and people who are horrible through and through, such as extreme liberals (jk)

  9. Pat Riot permalink
    November 22, 2014 10:16 pm

    P.S. ….”jk” means “just kidding” (about the liberals)

  10. Ron P permalink
    November 24, 2014 1:00 am

    Well with more reported over the weekend, I am beginning to believe the stories being told. When someone like this comes forward, it is hard not to beleave.
    tv.yahoo.com/news/ex-nbc-employee-claims-helped-bill-cosby-pay-184342015.html

  11. November 26, 2014 3:12 pm

    I have a black Facebook friend with an activist bent — a very smart, funny, personable guy (I know him from the years when our kids went to the same day-care center), Ivy-educated, an author and adjunct professor, but also the sort of black chauvinist who insists on capitalizing “black” while putting “white” in lower case. He tends to lose his sense of humor when discussing race-related topics.

    Anyway, I was surprised to see him ripping into Cosby on his FB page. Yes, the case against him looks pretty convincing, but nothing has been proven yet. I have to wonder if some of the animosity is based on Cosby’s criticisms of the black community. Would my friend have ripped into, say, Cornel West or Henry Louis Gates if those men had women coming out of the woodwork to accuse them? Somehow I doubt it.

    My friend also tore into Kathleen Parker for a Washington Post editorial in which she compared the Cosby and Darren Wilson cases: her argument was that both men were essentially convicted by the social media before all the evidence was in. I agree with her about the power of online amen corners to generate a mob mentality that frankly scares the bejeezus out of me.

    I really should write a column for Christmas called “The Polarization Express.” These amen corners attract crazed adherents and make them even crazier with willfully distorted news items and opinions; you disagree with them at your peril. Ironic that the Internet, which began as the ultimate expression of democracy, is fostering the worst kind of authoritarian mentality.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 26, 2014 4:30 pm

      “These amen corners attract crazed adherents and make them even crazier with willfully distorted news items and opinions;”

      As long as the leadership in the black community follows the actions more aligned with Louis Farrakhan than Dr Martin Luther King, one must expect the followers to become crazier in their actions.

      The social media just makes it easier for the word to spread faster.

    • November 27, 2014 11:00 am

      Rick, you are being kind to refer to your friend as a “chauvinist,” when perhaps the more accurate terms would be “racist” or “black supremacist”.

      I read an article this morning about how ISIS is using the situation in Ferguson to promote their own anti-American cause (http://www.newsweek.com/isis-urge-ferguson-rioters-be-malcolm-x-287257) and it made me realize, once again, how incredibly dangerous the race-baiting of this situation has become.

      The truth is, the shooting of Michael Brown was due almost entirely to his own behavior, and almost not at all to his race. Had a 6’4″ 300 pound white kid done the same to any cop, white or black, I would guess that the result would have been the same.

      Brown’s behavior, on the other hand, was largely influenced by racial animosity – the virulent anti-cop, anti- white animosity that has become endemic to black urban areas where drug-addiction, unemployment and violent crime are everyday facts of life.

      Cities like this are often policed by white officers because they cannot find black men and women who are willing to become cops. And then those white cops are dealing not only with the crime and violence of the community, but with the hatred and suspicion of the residents. And, in situations like Ferguson, with an ignorant and dangerous media that capitalizes Black and preaches that all evil and racism is white.

      But, I actually think that the internet and social media have been as helpful as not, in showing people what is really happening, rather than having it filtered through the so-called news media. The sight of Michael Brown’s “grieving” step-father, standing on a car and inciting the angry crowd to “Burn this bitch down!!” after the grand jury’s decision was announced (despite the family’s spokesperson having told media that they were calling for calm) was something that would have – and in fact was – a malicious act that would have no doubt been excused by reporters, as it did not fit the narrative.

      (Happy Thanksgiving, all!)

      • November 27, 2014 11:07 am

        Oh yeah, I got carried away with my rant, and forgot to say that I agree that Cosby’s message went counter to the race-baiting narrative that fuels stories like Ferguson.

        While I am no fan of rapists, there is no doubt in my mind that, if Cosby had not said some of the things that he has said about the black community, the Al Sharpton’s of the world would be defending him as a victim of racism.

      • November 27, 2014 6:53 pm

        Well said, Priscilla. My friend would probably deny the racist label. (He’s fine with white progressives.) But I think he’s been indoctrinated by “grievance studies” scholars, and now he’s in a position to indoctrinate others. I’m continually impressed by the elaborate web of rationalizations and intellectualizations they weave to demonize white Americans and their European forefathers. (I know they insist that only whites can be racist, and I suspect they have a foolproof argument for capitalizing “black” but not “white.”) I don’t think they’ll stop until whites are a marginalized minority.

  12. November 27, 2014 8:19 pm

    I have no clue whether these allegations are true. I am inclinded to beleive that some are, and some are not.

    But in the cosmic sense what does it matter ?

    There are similar allegations about Pres, Clinton – and he is collecting lavish speaking fees.

    Martin Luther King was heavily catting arround and Ensign John F. Kennedy was sleeping with a German Spy.

    Somebody in the Jefferson family was sleeping with the slaves.

    Roman Polanski is an incredible director – and drug and raped a teenager.

    And on and on.

    Should those who have wronged others be punished for their bad acts ?

    When we can – absolutely. Should our heros private conduct cause us to question their public wisdom ? Sure.

    But in the end we measure a persons deeds – by those deeds, and their words – by those words.

    Bill Crosby is an incredible comedian, who made a tremendous contribution to our thought and culture. Few people are more responsible for creating a positive perspective and influence on race in this country.

    I hope that he is not also a serial rapist, but if he is then to the extent we can he should be punished.

    But we need not discard everything to discard the evil.

    • November 28, 2014 1:45 am

      And Woody Allen is a great filmmaker, but possibly molested his own daughter……

      Interestingly, I don’t think that there is much doubt about fact that Bill Clinton, while President of the US, carried on a sexual affair with a 22 year old intern, an act of such breathtakingly bad decision-making that it boggles the mind. Yet, somehow, (and despite other, more serious allegations of sexual harassment and even rape)……things have turned out pretty ok for him.

      So, I actually think that Cosby could turn this around, whether the accusations are true or not . It will be interesting to see if he is able to keep his positive message at the same time….

  13. Pat Riot permalink
    November 27, 2014 10:36 pm

    “But we need not discard everything to discard the evil.” I can agree with that.

    Regarding punishment for crimes, I think people sometimes forget it is not only to punish those who are proven guilty, but also to deter others. I am thinking of a co-worker/friend whose young adult son is serving jail time for a DUI manslaughter. Obviously it has been devastating and heartbreaking for all involved. The punishment has also caused many people to be more demonstrative/animated/urgent in warning their own children and friends to not drink and drive, and to BE CAREFUL in other ways.

    For Thanksgiving I am thankful for all the good decisions by people all over the world that did not result in tragedy, and also for those who have endured punishment, learned their lesson, and emerged as better people.

  14. Kent permalink
    December 15, 2014 2:02 am

    I fail to see the point in this Cosby episode. It came out he’s been accused before and no one charges him immediately or with enough evidence. Therefore, judge says no crime committed. U.S. burns to the ground between another four year threat of a Bush or Clinton Royalty while we are spending our time debating someone’s own problems. Let the courts decide or in this case the lawyers.

    • Ron P permalink
      December 15, 2014 1:42 pm

      Kent, we have a year between now and the next election cycle for the media to cover insignificant news all while avoiding the real issues that face the country. One only has to look closely at the waste included in the just passed funding bill to run the country to see that neither the conservative nor liberal media cares much to address the overspending in Washington. Their only thoughts are to continue to divide the country by covering the immigration piece of the funding bill.

      As for Bush/Clinton, we might be surprised when the primaries are over and the fringe of both parties have chosen a Cruz/Warren presidential race. Remember the moderates in both parties have little say in primaries and it was only due to the weak conservative candidates in the last republican race as well as Romney moving very right during the primary race that got him picked to run against Obama.

      • December 15, 2014 2:49 pm

        So true. Plus, Hollywood and pro-sports news always seem to trump politics. The Sony hack is still the lead story on all news outlets, despite the weekend passage of a $1.1 trillion spending bill, a terrorist attack in Sidney, and lord knows what else.

        But, someone said that Angelina Jolie was a spoiled brat?? Horrors!

  15. December 25, 2014 4:56 pm

    It is interesting that Cosby’s past is now big news since he has taken to lecturing African Americans on responsibility. That clearly could be a coincidence, but maybe not.

    That said, nothing that members of the “entertainment industry” does surprises me anymore. It may be a selection issue but the bad news out of Hollywood never seems to stop.

  16. March 1, 2016 7:56 am

    Hahahah very funny topic about Dr. Any way he is nice person
    T20 World Cup 2016

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