What to make of Bill Cosby’s recent aggrieved actresses/dilapidated models eruptions? Yeah, against him they’ve certainly stacked the preponderance of remarkable similarities. Nonetheless thanks to presumption of innocence, the accusations alone are insufficient proof of guilt. Otherwise it would be a Salem redux regarding one of America’s former “dads.”
Which is why in the United States one’s proven guilty instead of simply condemned of witchcraft after being spied upon dancing in forest clearings.
Skip Cosby’s Spanish Fly (or as it’s known in Spain, “American Fly”) routine from the hazy 60s. Oh, doesn’t that recall a time when innocence, perversion, innuendo and suggestion could all be rolled into adult laughs? Where have those adults gone? Anyway, remember Cosby’s greatest pop culture imprint didn’t come as a pitchman, a cartoon voice, or social arbiter, but as a TV sitcom obstetrician.
The subversion behind Cosby’s Cliff Huxtable role, if it is subversion – but wonder whether it’s the subtlest bald-face pie in the face to an 80s America becoming gradually accustomed to minorities outside the usual servile positions – may grant the best credence to what comedian-actor’s myriad accusers claim.
Cosby built a sturdy bridge. He made mainstream audiences disregard that one of its society’s “others” immersed himself in all kinds of American bugaboos. Huxtable’s medical specialty dealt with an aspect which then still aroused plenty of querulous frisson.
Making and delivering babies.
The sexual and natal are directly connected. That a Huxtable might be facilitating one to create the other might’ve only a short decade before provoked irrational fears which could’ve led to very fatal consequences for the practitioner.
Now, though, aware of what may be Cosby’s hidden unwholesome nature, Huxtable’s profession could be interpreted as an immensely personal inside joke. Daring too. Of course if so wouldn’t it be distressing as well?
If true, Cosby’s travails nicely fit life’s out of the past category. Reminds of writer William Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun assessment: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
On one hand, this deluge of decades-ago prurience can’t be coincidental. There’s a template. What it created then and yields now is unvarying. The details are so consistent even the gaps are identical. If there’s ever been such a thing as assembly-line crime, Cosby may’ve conceived and committed it.
On the other hand, much of the public raced through skepticism of the charges straight into their no questions asked acceptance. The public loves demolishing celebrities its raised.
Forget Cosby’s possible feet of clay for a moment. Seeing a solid image so easily shredded could’ve drawn out the opportunists in some of his accusers. Destroying idols, a special revenge of the wannabes who thought they should’ve been big but had to settle for life on the fringes. There’s always that factor to be included. After all, grasping for and missing the brass ring, proximity to fame’s glow but being denied its heat, yet resenting that striver who successfully clutched the prize, who now emits his or her own shine and hotness, these are ur-Hollywood stories, aren’t they?
Poon hound as we may suspect Cosby to have been, he may only be “guilty” of enjoying a star’s prerogative by generously sampling ambitious starlets and quiescent starfuckers. That the case be assured most of those women with whom he shared delights acceded quite willingly. In fact with the limelight beckoning, sordid as it is, a number of them might be engaging in a little last gasp revisionism.
Nooners from 1960, 70s, 80s, and just for shits and giggles let’s add the 90s, might’ve become today’s harrowing experiences. Since star-struck multitudes desperately seek extending their awareness upon the public’s conscious, relating earlier pleasures into disreputable acts now guarantees prominence in obituaries and biographies.
It’s the sort of maneuver which turns extras into bit players. Eve Harrington would approve.
However, Eve wouldn’t have condoned the stories’ less savory aspect – his rendering women unconscious and raping them. But owing to spotty memories, there’s no proof anything untoward occurred. At least none the alleged sufferers can verify. And despite the umbrage, the passage of time between what plenty presume and airing complaints frittered away all urgencies.
So rather than any smoke, mightn’t it all just be hot air?
Yet if Cosby is the predator so many hope, how did he select his targets? And afterwards how did he subdue them into such lengthy silent complicity? As of this writing, his gallery had maintained silence anywhere between two-to-five decades. What sort of profile had he developed to filter them; to weed out the possibly belligerent from the assuredly compliant?
They must’ve shared a trait or traits. While today each would swear she lacked commonality with the others, back then they must’ve possessed favorable attributes he discerned advantageous to his hunt. What were these?
In the aftermath, given instances spread across such a wide field, shouldn’t intimidation and persuasion have only gone so far and lasted just so long? Hollywood is a gabby town despite nondisclosure pacts. Rumors ought have circulated, no? Doesn’t gossip fill voids and somehow without error flow into the right (or wrong) ears? All these women grubbing in the same industry and they failed converging under any circumstances?
This must be where Joseph Wambaugh elides into James Ellroy.
While the transgressions may remain unfounded, what’s been tarnished beyond repute is Cosby’s authority. In his later years, surveying from his “America’s dad” platform, he became a scold. But in a good way. Not just a cranky old man intent on denigrating the current generation, his lashes intended bolstering self-esteem.
Cosby recognized, then correctly scorched, that too many underclass youths had fallen for the fallacy of urban authenticity. That somehow intentionally butchering the language, mugging brutishly and being slovenly attired conferred a genuine self to be admired and emulated.
No. Cosby is right. All that lunacy promotes is idiocy.
In trying to come across as lower than ignoramuses these particular people projected an imbecility whose lack of purpose simply promised plummeting prospects. Although craving, okay, demanding “respect,” the fools inhabiting these caricatures haven’t earned any. Nor will they. After all, if the persona indicates paucity of quality, why should anyone regarding the person take him or her seriously?
Unfortunately, events have drowned Cosby’s essential message. Worthy as his rebukes were, the messenger’s controversies have overshadowed and muted them.
There is the saddest loss in all this aggravation.