American Fly

Happy New Year!

Ancient Greeks would’ve most appreciated Bill Cosby’s contretemps. Mightn’t his plight have become their meat? From it a Greek playwright might’ve scribed then bequeathed us one tragedy which not only could’ve still informed us today, but presented a template to the sullied comedian’s fate.

Let there be no mistake. What has befallen Cosby is fate.

Transgression is too pedestrian and sin smacks of overweening moralization.

Given the flood of accusations, each numbingly unvarying, even the most fair-minded among us should admit validity underpins these claims against him. Notice the main arguments of Cosby’s defenders aren’t flat-out denials but the passage of time between purported crimes and complaints.

Nonetheless no evidence exists. Just hazy memories of obscured events which may or may not have occurred. These today alone couldn’t meet standards towards a conviction. Americans have progressed far since women charged for witchcraft were executed in Salem through browbeaten say-so’s by hysterical and intimidated witnesses.

Whether Cosby is dealt a grievous blow from the preponderance of allegations or his case becomes one which compels our society to search inward regarding the leeway we allow creatures of celebrity will be for a court – a real one, not that of public opinion – to determine. Aside from potential legalities, his course has indeed become tragic in the classic sense. An esteemed idol has been brought low.

Cosby’s image has been marred. Honors once bestowed upon him now question their presenters’ judgment. Though nothing’s been proven, it’s easy to wonder how did such proclivities evade notice?

“Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad.” (“Mad” in the delusional sense, not angry.) While it would be nice to attribute that line to Euripidies, Wordsworth actually deserves the credit.

Ours remains a young and still developing society. While the ancients would’ve examined Cosby’s misfortune, divining edification which further confirmed mankind’s peculiarities, we don’t bother ourselves with much introspection. Suspicion alone justifies widespread revulsion.

That’s awfully shortsighted even for our Immediate Gratification Age. If there was ever a scenario demanding strophe and antistrophe and laments to be performed upon our communal odeon, Cosby Hubris/Nemesis Women is it.

Instead, hearsay must do.

Given the decades, we can only speculate whether Cosby inflicted himself on these women. Or now claiming themselves victims could more than several then have participated in their “humiliation”?

Surely fame is a powerful aphrodisiac. Probably much more diluted now than ever before thanks to our current reality-based programing. On these even the most talentless can make themselves the biggest sloppiest spectacles via their enthusiasm to become our era’s most dubious carny sideshow attractions.

Doubtlessly many women had entered relations with Cosby willingly. No apologies. It’s human nature. But throughout the years haven’t “yes” and “no” become inexact?

Fraught as our intimacies have devolved, whenever I hear of instances where sexual relations went sideways I’m reminded of former colleagues whose worldliness let them maneuver around tangled situations by answering “maybe yes” or “maybe no.” A good posture for modern men to maintain since more and more women are increasingly indoctrinated into believing sex no matter how eagerly entered must’ve somehow been coerced.

Anyway, Cosby was a celebrity. Man or woman, when hasn’t that allure obliterated inhibitions and drawn people desiring proximity to the glow, if not a piece of it? As it always has been, it will forever be thus.

Quite a perceptive man, no doubt Cosby understood the exalted state into which the public had launched him and took fullest advantaged. One may even say he perhaps exploited the respect given. Wouldn’t he have believed it his due? Any quibbling only exists about to what depths.

The only questions worth debating are if the deviancies he’s accused of are true, how did he commit them undetected for nearly half a century? Through what means did he select “victims” whom he knew would abet him by their silence? Apparently these women shared certain traits which made them susceptible. Are there dozens more? Women who having plenty to lose, prefer to remain safe in obscurity?

Should these contentions pan out, how was so public a figure as Bill Cosby able to proceed unfettered, unhindered, and unnoticed so long? Simply being adored can’t have offered that sufficient enough cover, could it?

In one of his comedy routines, Cosby recounts a childhood episode that derived from listening to the radio serial Inner Sanctum. The story’s punch line hinges on adolescent real and unreal misperceptions. He relates the story to us an adult, obviously. Yet his telling is so skillful that those of us familiar with radio dramas become immersed as well as revert back to an age where we recall those bumps in the night that might actually have been some lumbering beast embodying our worst fears.

We laugh at the then-child Cosby’s exaggerated fright over a creature and situation concocted by creepy voices and scary sound effects and broadcast over the ether. Now as adults we also recognize how we at the same age might’ve spun out of control as did.

We laugh at the story. We should, it’s funnier than hell. The tale’s ridiculousness amuses us. Through it we also laugh at our own once gullible selves.

So is it far-fetched to posit that if Cosby could weave together such a humorous adventure of self-recognition, he likely could’ve used this same gift to ably convince potential accusers the acts they suspected he committed against them imaginary? After all weren’t drinks and drugs involved? Although the latter may have been induced stealthily, any competent attorney can twist guilty circumstances into highly complicit ones.

Back when women were generally less bold, held in even lower regard, raising a dubious sexual complaint against a man – especially one the public was already quite predisposed to trust absolutely – then facing the resulting scrutiny of people overwhelmingly critical of female sexuality ought’ve served to tamp down any nettlesome litigation.

Either that or Bill Cosby learned well from mind-clouding Lamont Cranston and followed in his alter ego’s untraceable footsteps.