Welcome back to the long and winding path. I’ve been busy as I said in my last entry, but I’ve also been kind of wrestling with the idea behind this post. It’s actually very close to something I’ve considered writing about before, and it’s going to be controversial, but hey, since when has that stopped me?
Actually, I should answer that one. It’s stopped me when I thought the position or person I was defending wasn’t worth the time, effort, or cost. Ultimately I don’t know whether to consider that position judicious or cowardly, but I lean more towards calling it cowardly to be quite honest, and that’s just not acceptable. As I have said on more than one occasion, I do not believe in merely fighting the fights I think I can win, I believe in fighting the fights that need fighting. That does not mean that I can’t be judicious in explaining my reasoning, however. So, with that caveat, we begin. I hope if you’ve read this far you’ll stick with me to the end of this post before declaring how wrong and sick and evil I am.
This post is about Bill Cosby. By now it’s almost old news that he was convicted on retrial of multiple counts of sexual assault, stemming from very old accusations that he gave women drugs and then took advantage of them while they were in drugged states. I need to start this off by making it very clear that I do not like Bill Cosby the man any more than I like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Billy Jeff Clinton, Charlie Rose, Tom Brokaw, Matt Lauer, or any other far-left male feminist. I think his comedy was great in places and merely decent in others, but Cosby himself is a lifelong leftist and many of his defenders calling him “America’s Dad” and reminiscing about the glory days of The Cosby Show are looking back through a very rosy window.
It’s true that a lot of the humor in both Cosby’s stand-up and in the early years of The Cosby Show centered around no-nonsense parenting and family life. It’s also been said that by showing an upper middle class black family where nobody was in jail and nobody came home pregnant that The Cosby Show did a lot to improve race relations in the mid 80s to the early 90s. Maybe that’s true too. I would have to highlight that the family portrayed by the Huxtable clan was in many ways much too perfect to be believable. I mean really, Dad is a doctor and Mom is a lawyer, there’s no “Alice the maid” character to take care of the children while the parents work their high-pressure long-hours jobs (that we very rarely see them working at), and the Huxtable family just happened to be pals with lots of famous people who would drop by for musical interludes. Or the kids would just happen to get into a fender bender with Stevie Wonder. So let’s give credit where it’s due but not try to pretend that TCS was even trying to approximate a real family, regardless of race. This became even more apparent in the later seasons when the character of Cousin Pam was introduced, a much more stereotypical (and some would and did say much more “real”) inner city youth who was not as well spoken as the Huxtable kids and regularly had to fend off the advances of her overamorous boyfriend. Again, more miraculously than realistically (and I don’t care what race you are), rather than bucking the expectations of the Huxtable household, Pam gradually assimilates into the family and her street-talking friends end up becoming recurring characters on A Different World.
Cosby’s Cliff Huxtable has been called “America’s Dad” but in reality he was the prototype for Homer Simpson–an affable buffoon whose wife and kids showed him up constantly and whose main goal in life seemed to be sneaking around behind his wife’s back to eat the food he loved without being harassed. If there was an “unreasonable” paternal position to take, Cliff would take it only to be shown the error of his thinking by episode’s end, usually through being outsmarted by his wife. It was so bad that for a time (as a twelve year old) I decided I didn’t want to watch anymore because Claire was always right and Cliff was always wrong and made fun of. The PC feminist message was not always just subtle and contextual, however. In one episode, in one of the rare instances we see Dr. Huxtable being a doctor, he’s talking to a young father-to-be in his office and said young father is very excited about his wife’s pregnancy, proudly declaring “there’s nothing like having a barefoot pregnant woman at home to make you feel like a man!” Cliff pointedly shuts him down for his “outdated thinking.”
Of course The Cosby Show was not Bill Cosby’s only television endeavor by a longshot. His body of work included I Spy, Fat Albert, a late 90s quasi-reboot of The Cosby Show simply called Cosby, a short-lived detective themed series called The Cosby Mysteries, and Lisa Bonet’s spinoff vehicle A Different World. I’m not going to get into his movies as they were few and ultimately forgettable, and despite the massive success of TCS Cosby was not exactly a silver ratings bullet. But two of these series did well enough to be worth looking at. Fat Albert was a cleverly funny animated series by the same folks who did He-Man and other 80s classics that tackled lots of universal growing-up issues through the lens of inner city kids, as well as a few more edgy subjects. While Fat Albert was a generally positive show, I kind of wonder, if the Huxtables did good things for race relations with their family example, how did it play to have the Cosby kids hang out in a junkyard with almost no adult supervision besides what seemed to be an old homeless guy? In an age where the battle over sex ed in schools was still going on, Fat Albert and pals learned about “V.D.” as the solemn voiced doctor said it and had an episode where one of the girls in the neighborhood had a baby. Overall Albert was a tame, gentle cartoon, but looking at it in hindsight and knowing what the left does I wonder how much I’d see if I watched it again.
Where Fat Albert was gentle, the direct Cosby Show spinoff A Different World hit you with a hammer. I know Cosby himself rarely if ever made appearances on the show, but it was a direct link to TCS featuring the second-oldest daughter going off to Cliff’s fictional alma mater, Hillman College. It had the same creators, it had the same writers, the actors made cross appearances and it routinely followed in the enviable right-after-Cosby time slot as long as both shows remained on television. And as you might expect, the show took the theme and backdrop of academia to tell a story of a world full of proto-social justice warriors, making broad-struck hardly-subtle plots about everything from apartheid to police brutality to race relations in general, even doing an episode where the main characters happened to honeymoon in Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots. One of the most memorably chilling episodes (especially in light of recent history) had a student at Hillman facing sanctions and (I think) expulsion for calling a female classmate a “digit ho.” The joke was she’d do anything for a math problem–no, I don’t think it’s all that funny either. It was cast mostly as a free speech issue although the sexual harassment theme was very plain, and the irony went up to eleven when it turned out that this student hadn’t even used the offensive language. In other words, he was being railroaded for something he didn’t do.
The point of all this is to highlight that Bill Cosby is not someone who we ought to rally around. I know he made some very recent statements about personal responsibility and telling Black Lives Matter to pull their pants up, and while that’s great, it’s also a day late and a dollar short. Cosby’s leftist cred is in good standing and it didn’t save him.
That doesn’t change the fact that what has happened to him is abhorrent. Years ago, to make one of these cases go away, Cosby entered into a settlement with the woman who now has successfully had him criminally prosecuted. During the course of that civil case, Cosby gave a deposition after being assured that he was not going to be prosecuted wherein he admitted to having a sexual relationship with the woman in question and to giving her “quaaludes.” People have taken that to mean he gave women date rape drugs, and while it’s possible he did, that’s not “quaaludes.” Quaaludes are (or were) a sought-after party drug, and in Hollywood of the 80s and 90s, doing drugs and sleeping around was just something people did. But this statement launched a thousand memes–and let’s face it, Bill Cosby was convicted in the court of public opinion because people thought it was funny. People like seeing someone famous and successful taken down, and when they can make a silly .gif with Cosby’s famous silly face or can tell a crude joke about pudding pops it catches on like wildfire. I’m not saying no one was outraged by his behavior, I’m not even saying that no one besides feminists were angry, but I am saying, that’s why this took off. It’s like his final performance where he’s the butt of all the jokes and nobody cares what happens to the comic when the curtain falls.
Regarding the trial, another alleged “victim” testified for the prosecution in an attempt to establish a pattern of behavior, and…let’s stop right there a second. Maybe most folks don’t know this, but in most criminal cases, it’s absolutely verboten to do something like this. The way the law looks at it, it doesn’t matter if you killed thirty people or robbed twenty gas stations, all that matters is did you kill this specific person or stick up this specific gas station. “Patterns of behavior” can enlighten investigators and be considered by prosecutors but in court they are NOT supposed to be admitted as evidence to show a defendant is a “bad person.” Except, however, under the special rules in sexual assault cases. This is not okay. Furthermore, while I don’t have any other explanation for why this person was allowed to testify other than “it’s a sex case so reasons,” Cosby’s defense team lit her up and she admitted that she made up parts of her story in order to get a book deal. As in, the important parts, not the “I was wearing a red dress that day” parts. After hearing that kind of impeachment evidence, don’t try to tell me the jury was making a decision based on the evidence. This kind of case is won or lost on the seriousness of the charge all the damn time.
The irony here is I am not saying any of this to defend Cosby. I’ve pointed out that party drugs and promiscuous sex were just part of Hollywood culture, but the fact is, I’m not interested in defending someone who engaged in that kind of behavior. As far as I’m concerned, this is a bright shiny example of “your sins will find you out” (kind of the Christian version of karma), and as someone who has played by the rules his whole life I find I just don’t have any sympathy for someone who did what he did, whether or not it was legal or society in general thought it was okay. Cosby may be a victim of malicious prosecution or he may be a serial rapist, I don’t know and I don’t honestly care. I believe it’s horrific and terrifying that charges can be dredged up from the distant past and that prosecutors can play fast and loose with the rules of evidence and the rights of the accused when a particular crime offends the lady parts, but then again, I’m not willing to go to the mat for someone who thought doing ‘ludes and committing serial adultery was a fun way to pass the time. I can find his conduct reprehensible and still be disgusted by his conviction, because you know who doesn’t find his basic conduct reprehensible (the innocent version, not the criminal version)? The left. The free-love anything-goes if-it-feels-good-do-it aging hippies who comprise the left see no problem with casual drug use and rampant fornication. I’m not cool with either. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to criminalize the latter and I have very serious reservations about the criminalization of the former, but I find it difficult to stick up for someone who did things I consider to be morally wrong. So I’m not going to defend him, but I am going to speak up in defense of what I DO believe in–truth, fairness, and justice.
I’m making these points not to defend Bill Cosby, but because this is a fight that needs fighting. Because if you think any of these male feminists is the target here, you’re sadly mistaken. If you think the Weinstein wildfire or #MeToo was meant to purge all of these hard-lefty men from their positions of power then you’re forgivably wrong (seeing as how they’re trying to replace them all with women) but wrong all the same. It’s only a matter of time before these guns are trained on us again. Roy Moore was just a test case and Bill Cosby was the first blood in the water, and now the piranha have had a taste. As far as I’m concerned, Cosby can enjoy all the benefits of his undying loyalty to the left as he ends his career in disgrace and possibly (we don’t know yet) spends the remainder of his life in prison. Someone still has to speak up, not for the man, not for behavior which I find to be immoral on its face, but for the rights that protect us all. Because this is not the end, and a frail old blind man thirty years past his prime was not the target. Who’s to say what kind of innocent conduct will be glamorized with outrage-inducing embellishments and rendered a mortal sin ex post facto next time around? They are counting on people to either consider this issue radioactive and not touch it, and/or to decide they really don’t want to support either the perpetrator or the behavior so they’re just going to let it go.
You’re welcome as always to tell me how I’m wrong, but be forewarned, missing my point here is not an argument. Seriously, I’ve gone enough rounds with people accusing me of being a scumbag defense attorney, like that’s a secret.
And don’t even start on Tom Brokaw and tickling.