MONSTROUS ALLEGATIONS ABOUT A GREAT COMIC
SUGGEST EXPLOITATION IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE
Cosby had a significant presence for me during my college days, since we both attended Temple University (albeit years apart) and worked at the university’s radio station, WRTI. Also, like most people, I’ve been a big fan of this remarkable performer who has always radiated such great personal warmth and kind, intelligent humor.
I’m as shocked as anyone at the monstrous charges, though I’ll grant that everything being said against him surely could be true, human frailty being what it is and there being so many accusers.
However, I also see the distinct possibility that there’s something at work in this current media frenzy other than a search for justice.
Writing in The New Republic, feminist author Rebecca Traister attempts to answer Bowman’s question, asserting…
“One reason that we have collectively plugged our ears against a decade of dismal revelations about Bill Cosby is that he made lots of Americans feel good about two things we rarely have reason to feel good about: race and gender ….
“[Cosby’s work] did permit white Americans to buy into one of their fondest (and falsest) wishes: to consider the sins of the past as past and believe that true racial parity was not only possible but perhaps upon us.”
Some of Traister’s observations are quite provocative. But in the end, she can’t mask the inherently leftward bias that reveals a fundamental hostility to America and its values when she insists that…
“patriarchal attitudes about sex and limitations around racial representation were not some special poison slipped into ‘The Cosby Show’ …. These are messages baked into practically every iteration of popular culture (and politics) in the United States …. They’re baked in because we’re a fundamentally racist and sexist country with persistently racist and sexist attitudes. The chilling lesson, perhaps, is that the cheerier, popular vision put forth by Bill Cosby was illusory all along.”
Too bad, because this essay might have helped us derive true insight from a tragic situation.
Film critic Barbara Nicolosi captures the falseness of Traister’s argument in a wry comment on Facebook…
“And so I guess it follows that no one wanted to talk about Bill Clinton’s sex crimes because he made Democrats feel good about Southerners?”
Read Traister’s New Republic article anyway, and take from it what you will…
Back to the Washington Post — a lengthy weekend feature surveys the extent of this unfolding disaster and offers a reflection on the changes that have occurred over the years of Cosby’s alleged predatory career…
“If his accusers are to be believed, the earliest allegations against Cosby remained hidden for decades, private artifacts of an era when women were less likely to publicly accuse men they knew of sexual misdeeds and society was less likely to believe them. But they have flared periodically throughout the past nine years, both because of changing attitudes and, particularly over the past month, because of social media’s ability to transform a story into a viral phenomenon almost impossible to suppress or control.”
The article also highlights some conflicts in the personal lives of several accusers, which may or may not raise doubts about their charges (depending on how you look at people). On balance, it raises more doubts about Bill Cosby.