Bill Cosby. . .

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This is probably the most difficult post I’ve ever tried to write on this blog. I’ve literally been planning to write this everyday for the past two weeks but I kept putting it off, because I wasn’t sure what to say. And, I guess, part of me was hoping that “it” would just go away and then I just wouldn’t need to say anything. But that doesn’t appear to be happening. So I’m going to try.

First, let me just state for the record that I am not completely unbiased here. Point blank: I’ve loved Bill Cosby for almost as far back as I can remember. Starting as a wee lad when one of my favorite cartoon shows was Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids.

2013-10-19-fat_albert_and_the_cosby_kids

It was such a fun show. And appropriate for kids (with the harshest language being sayings like “You’re like school on Saturday: no class”) while also presenting a nice moral message in each episode, but without being preachy. Even back then, Cosby new the importance of using entertainment for education.

And then, of course, there was The Cosby Show.

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Man, this show was such a breakthrough. A sitcom with a happy stable Black family. People forget that it actually received some criticism from some Black activists, who were unhappy that the show didn’t deal with “racial issues,” and very rarely even discussed race. But what Cosby was doing with this show was pretty brilliant. He was sending a message by having the Huxtables be just like any other family, people of all races could watch and identify with it, thereby showing that deep down we’re all the same. Sometimes the best way to send a message is with subtlety. For those first 5 or 6 seasons The Cosby Show was appointment television for me and my friends. It lost some of its steam in later seasons, becoming a show you just watched of habit, but it ended on a high note. I’ve often marveled at how the show came full circle. In the first episode we had this famous scene between Cliff and Theo.

And then 8 years later, on the series finale, everyone was getting ready to attend Theo’s college graduation ceremony. A perfect ending.

And there were other things I liked, like his iconic comedy special HIMSELF, and I read a couple of his books. But just as important as his entertainment were his examples of real-life activism. The millions of dollars he’s given to historically Black colleges, and his speeches stressing the important of education. Some years back he started speaking more forcefully on the problems within the Black community, and the need for more personal responsibility. And, predictably, he got denounced by some Blacks as playing “respectability politics”, as if saying pull up your pants, speak proper English, and get an education are such horrible things. But I was totally on his side.

Okay, so his reputation was slightly tainted back in the 90’s when we learned about his past extramarital affair and the woman who claimed to be his illegitimate daughter. And coming so soon after his only son was murdered, it was a tragedy. But, well, I hate to be flippant about adultery, because I don’t approve of it, but he’s hardly the first man to cheat on his wife. Many “great” men in history have done the same. It sucks, but I can overlook that.

But now all these other allegations have surfaced, dating back decades. I’m not going to link to any of them because if you’re reading this I’m sure you’ve already aware of what I’m talking about. It’s hard to even wrap my mind around it. It’s just so the polar opposite of the public image that I’m dumbstruck. THIS can’t really be Bill Cosby, can it? God, it’s sad. I mean, he’s not the first iconic figure to be accused of horrible things, and generally I’m a innocent until proven guilty kinda a guy. I still listen to Michael Jackson music and watch Woody Allen movies, and I’ve had friends argue with me about THEM. But I can just say, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what happened, and nothing’s been proven in court. Technically, that’s the same situation here, and I’m generally not a believer in the Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire, adage. But, dang, there’s a LOT OF EFFIN’ SMOKE here!

I’ve been hearing about 13 or 14 women in the past, and now more and more women are coming forward. Sure, not all of them may be credible, but enough of them sure seem to be. There’s women who would appear to have nothing to gain and no reason to lie, like Lou Ferrigno’s wife, coming forward. It’s just…I can’t compute…

Y’know, when I first started thinking about writing this before, I was going to end with a plea that I would hope that he would simply retire now. He’s 77. No more performing, no more interviews, just live the rest of the days out of sight, and perhaps we could, y’know, call it even? So we can just remember the good things. But it’s beyond that now. This isn’t just a history of “bad behavior”, we’re talking about a possible serial rapist. I can’t overlook that now (and perhaps it was wrong of me to even consider it, I admit), this taints everything he’s ever done. I hate it, but it does.

I thought of sub-titling this post The Danger of Having Heroes, because it does illustrate a problem with putting people on a pedestal, and looking up to them, for whatever reason. Sometimes the truth of who someone is can let you down.

  9 comments for “Bill Cosby. . .

  1. November 21, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    I’m so with you on this… It seems unreal to believe that such a spokesperson for good morals and common sense would be guilty of such horrible offenses. But yes, no human being is infallible so we must be very careful about our impossible-to-live-up-to-idealistic expectations of people — namely celebrities. On another note, I noticed you didn’t mention his first show, “The Bill Cosby Show” back in 1968-69. Have you seen it? So good! He is a bachelor and high school PE teacher. Lots of moral lessons and from the perspective of a classy single man/role model. It was shot single camera on film… I like to think it is the first comedy shot in such a fashion with no laugh tracks and so effective. Anyway, I stumbled upon it on a trip to Santa Fe a few years ago and bought the box set. There are only the two seasons but I think you would dig it. On a final note, if I had to throw out every movie, TV show, CD that featured someone who since had become infamous for some ill deed, I probably wouldn’t have a collection at all…

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 21, 2014 at 8:18 AM

      The first show is a little before my time, I saw one episode of it once. Same with I SPY. But, man, I just don’t want all this stuff to be true. I want to just remember Bill Cosby as that cuddly, friendly, fatherly/grandfatherly figure. But I just don’t think I can anymore. And that’s sad.

      Like

  2. November 21, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    I feel the exact same way. So much of my childhood was shaped by his media influence. This is so disheartening. Every time I see a picture of him now these stories are the first thing that come to mind…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. November 21, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    I’m left shaking my head for the same reason. He’s been there my whole life, and seemed like a decent person. But yeah, smoke = fire.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. November 26, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    It is sad to hear Bill Cosby being accused of raping these women. No one will probably ever know if he actually raped these women. For all intensive purposes, the women could just be lying. No one knows exactly. You are kind of left with well which fence do I go on, if you know what I mean. If Cosby does eventually confess, whch I doubt he will, then he should get the punishment that he deserves so these women can stop tyammering on to the media about being raped, and many people do not have to hear all of these allegations sufacing on the news again. There are other things to focus on more besides a famous actor being accused. Again, as you point out, many famous people have been accused of something that they either admitted to or supposedly did. There was a president not too long ago who admitted to having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. In 2012, you had Republican candidate Hermain Cain accused of sexually harrassing some women.

    Like

  5. November 28, 2014 at 12:10 AM

    I don’t know if the accusations are true or not but it does illustrates the point the we are all human and there is a private side to all of us that many are never aware of.

    Liked by 1 person

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