What To Think Of Bill Cosby? Ctd

Lots of readers are still sounding off on this story:

I think the Cosby downfall has been the product of two things: our current cultural shift in thinking about sexual assault, and the democratization of the news cycle via social media. Once the young people get a hold of something, they push it to the surface and drive into action the crusty old media, who love to kowtow to the famous and powerful.

Another:

I was glancing through the latest blog entry about Bill Cosby and the thoughts on separating the character on TV from his real person … I just don’t think that’s possible. Because that’s the way he wanted it. He didn’t just play America’s favorite dad on TV; he parlayed that into a secondary career, via speaking engagements at colleges, or inserting himself into the public discourse as some sort of voice of wisdom on how other people should raise their children or conduct their lives. He wasn’t just an actor/comedian.

If these allegations turn out to be true, then every time you watch a re-run of The Cosby Show, his character – upstanding family man – will look macabre, not funny.

And I just remembered a quote I had read from his book Fatherhood (published in 1987 – three years into his role as America’s Favorite Dad) and knowing what we know now about the alleged assaults frequently being on young women in their late teens, it just gives me a chill:

A father… knows exactly what those boys at the mall have in their depraved little minds because he once owned such a depraved little mind himself. In fact, if he thinks enough about the plans that he used to have for young girls, the father not only will support his wife in keeping their daughter home but he might even run over to the mall and have a few of those boys arrested.

Yeah, I guess he’d know.

I so want this to not be true. But the man who made me want to eat Jello is making me queasy.

Another insists that “Cosby was never a good guy”:

One of the interesting things about the Cosby implosion is that in addition to all the allegations of rape, groping, and harassment, there are an awful lot of people chiming in on blogs to relate personal anecdotes about when they learned firsthand that Bill Cosby is an asshole. At commencement speeches, football games, and other public appearances, Cosby appears to have bullied and belittled people, sometimes to the point of tears. None of this rises to the level of sexual violence, but it’s an interesting complement to all the rape allegations.

An expert weighs in:

As someone who has been a therapist for both those convicted of sex crimes and victims of sex crime, the whole Bill Cosby issue has been difficult to watch. The primary reason being, that most of the defense seems to, on some level, rest on the belief that people have a connection to this man based on his public persona. Or even in the case of Whoopi Goldberg, a personal connection. But both of these relations assume that we can somehow know how a person will act in all circumstances, based on how they react to us and a what we can observe in some situations.

I don’t mean to get too mind-fuck-y, but when can we lay that belief to rest? I mean how many bootleg-produced crime docudramas and news clips of those knowing the perpetrator do we need to watch, where they teary eyed proclaim, ” they would never be capable of this”, before we understand that someone who can display empathy and charisma in one arena, be capable of evil in another? We can generate composite sketches of people, but that is about it.

Look, 15 women have made accusations and those that have come forth have remarkably similar stories. Some of them are highly accomplished, who are doing nothing but risking their own livelihood by sharing their story. Further, the stories that I have heard are all consistent with trademark characteristics of someone with power, who grooms their victims and understands their own social capital and how that can be used against their victims.

Either these women held a conference, read intensive literature on the hallmarks of serial rapist and the abuses of power and decided to come forth, or Bill Cosby is a wonderful comedian, transformational role model for thousands, public intellectual and a rapist. As someone who both hates binaries and grew up loving Bill Cosby, both options area tragedy. But they also cannot be true at the same time.

Another reader remarks on this chilling YouTube:

The buried AP footage should be mandatory viewing for those who are blaming Cosby’s accusers. What you see in the iced stare that causes the interviewer to squirm is the classic Jedi mindfuck of a predator. Cosby insists that the mere posing of a question be censored: “If you want to consider yourself to be serious.” He repeatedly inverts reality by claiming AP’s “integrity” lies in NOT doing their job as journalists. In this footage, we see the reporter and producers cave swiftly to the chilly, implicit menace that Cosby radiates, as well as to the narcissist’s inverted truth.

I know that gaze well. As a writer whose career began at Playboy – and as any female writer today will confirm – these assaults-qua-career-transactions are standard fare. Experience with abuse at home made me hypervigilant against the situations Cosby’s accusers describe, but I’ve seen them and occasionally (very shamefully) neared them. You can blame the victim, but first watch how Cosby flips the tables on these journalists, convincing them there’s more integrity in helping him cover his crimes than in exposing them. That’s the power of a narcissistic predator. It’s real. And his threat feels real. What has silenced this victims for so long is their willingness to blame themselves.

Many thanks for your thoughtful coverage of this story.