Rob Long on Bill Cosby

 

bill_cosby_68416Ricochet co-founder Rob Long reviews Mark Whitaker’s Cosby: His Life and Times over at Commentary. From the piece:

When the sticky issue of Cosby’s infidelity forces its way into the narrative, it’s always cast in the past tense. He and his wife, Camille, are forever “working harder on their marriage.” They are said to have “moved on.” Cosby is described many times as “cutting back on his womanizing ways.” When he is accused, publicly, of fathering a child out of wedlock, his wife says: “All personal negative issues between Bill and me were resolved years ago. We are a united couple.” In other words, Whitaker’s book manages to make sex and infidelity uninteresting, which is in its way quite an accomplishment—especially because in the wake of allegations that Cosby drugged and then raped more than two dozen women since the late 1960s, it’s fair to say that sex and infidelity are very big parts of Cosby’s Life and Times.

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    There are two men who I admired for years who have proven to be ill chosen for the roles they played. Bill Cosby was one. I started listening to his albums when I was in college and listened to them over and over again. He was a brilliant comic, never using obscenities, Even his bathroom humor was clean, “pull my finger, ” and “Right! What’s an ark?” The other was Lance Armstrong whose cycling career I started following when Greg Lemond left the international circuit.

    In both cases the men had enormous talent and used it to rise to the top of their fields. However, neither seemed able to maintain on a personal level the ideals that their successes seemed to exemplify. They are both deeply flawed characters.

    Both attempted in their particular spheres to bring about meaningful changes for good. Unfortunately, their character flaws have tainted their efforts with a deep and spreading stain of hypocrisy. It would have almost been better for everyone if they had just stayed away from the causes they championed, as their advocacy has likely done more damage than good.

    • #1
  2. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    The womanizing is a predictable percentage in successful celebrities and while disappointing, is not exactly  a shocker.   The drugging and raping is something he’d regret if it was one of mine.   His behavior there is so vile I wish him nothing but physical and emotional pain throughout his life.

    • #2
  3. EstoniaKat Inactive
    EstoniaKat
    @ScottAbel

    (Clicks on Rob’s article, reads; tiny Internet fists ball in rage).

    Manimal was awesome.

    • #3
  4. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    First, whatever his personal life, Bill Cosby was an excellent entertainer who led the pack in family-oriented comedy and storytelling. His work stands on its own. And it reflects well on him. A man’s misdeeds do not erase his good deeds.

    Second, it is human nature to favor an accuser over the accused, especially when the allegation is horrible. We all want to be on the side of the victim, and the accuser is the first to claim that role. Accusations of sexual misconduct are particularly nebulous because the evidence usually boils down to mere words and circumstantial evidence. I don’t know enough about the allegations against Cosby to reject them; but if the accusers lack sufficient evidence to land him in jail, then they probably lack sufficient evidence to prove his guilt even outside of court. If so, I’m not aware of any reason to believe one party over the other.

    Third, it would not surprise me if Cosby was so tempted because Satan obviously has much to gain from spoiling the best of us. Mel Gibson also was a great actor with exceptionally wholesome works. Though Gibson’s offenses were exaggerated, he certainly fell apart and did harm. This sort of situation is to be expected. Even if you don’t believe in God and/or Satan, there are obvious incentives for liberals to tempt such apparent paragons, to haunt their every step, to dig into their pasts, and to reward false accusers with fame.

    I don’t know what the truth is about Bill Cosby’s alleged misconduct. But my opinion of him as mixed at most. The Cosby Show is still a great family show. And his clean comedy stand-up is still among the best.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tf1K1P2Skw

    • #4
  5. user_139157 Inactive
    user_139157
    @PaulJCroeber

    If the accusations are indeed true (and there is a prodigious amount of smoke for there to be no fire), Cosby isn’t a tragic figure but rather a monster.  From a cultural or left/right perspective this wouldn’t matter so much were it not for his show’s values and his later “pull your pants up” comments.  Once again substance is clouded by sensationalism and sin while those most in need of a respectable purveyor of a positive message suffer.

    • #5
  6. Belt Inactive
    Belt
    @Belt

    I liked the article; nice analysis of Cosby’s dual nature.  As one who grew up with Fat Albert and Cosby’s comedy records (we checked them out a few times from the public library), I esteemed him quite a lot.  I never got into The Cosby Show, though I did see many an episode and respected what he was doing with it.  These revelations have been distressing.

    Ah, Manimal.  I think I’d chalk this up as an ‘interesting failure.’  Naturally, someone has proposed rebooting the series recently, because there’s money in them thar nostalgia mines.  (And now I can imagine this comment thread turning into a triple-digit-post excursion on the merits of this long-forgotten TV series.)

    • #6
  7. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    Aaron Miller:First, whatever his personal life, Bill Cosby was an excellent entertainer who led the pack in family-oriented comedy and storytelling. His work stands on its own. And it reflects well on him. A man’s misdeeds do not erase his good deeds.

    Second, it is human nature to favor an accuser over the accused, especially when the allegation is horrible. We all want to be on the side of the victim, and the accuser is the first to claim that role. Accusations of sexual misconduct are particularly nebulous because the evidence usually boils down to mere words and circumstantial evidence. I don’t know enough about the allegations against Cosby to reject them; but if the accusers lack sufficient evidence to land him in jail, then they probably lack sufficient evidence to prove his guilt even outside of court. If so, I’m not aware of any reason to believe one party over the other.

    Third, it would not surprise me if Cosby was so tempted because Satan obviously has much to gain from spoiling the best of us. Mel Gibson also was a great actor with exceptionally wholesome works. Though Gibson’s offenses were exaggerated, he certainly fell apart and did harm. This sort of situation is to be expected. Even if you don’t believe in God and/or Satan, there are obvious incentives for liberals to tempt such apparent paragons, to haunt their every step, to dig into their pasts, and to reward false accusers with fame.

    I don’t know what the truth is about Bill Cosby’s alleged misconduct. But my opinion of him as mixed at most. The Cosby Show is still a great family show. And his clean comedy stand-up is still among the best.

    We are always ready to think the worst of the accused. (See Aaron’s second paragraph.) Remember Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill?  Liberals went after Thomas because he represented the same thing as Cosby…a conservative black man.  They called him an “Uncle Tom” because that is exactly what he wasn’t.  They are going after Cosby the same way.

    Is Cosby guilty of the allegations?  I don’t care.  It is not my place to forgive him because I was not wronged by him.  Look at his body of work and what he stands for now.  Look at where he is today.  I think he’s OK.

    • #7
  8. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    At first I wanted to feel sympathy for Bill Cosby.  We listened to his standup albums incessantly growing up.  The Cos was a fixture in our house.

    That’s why I feel as though I was blinded when I was listening to Hannity the other day and he brought on Kathleen Willey.

    Most Conservatives know the tawdry nature of Bill Clinton’s sexual shenanigans in and out of the White House – even up to and including the alleged sexual assaults of Kathleen Willey and Juanita (“You’d better put some ice on that”) Broadrick.

    The accusations against Clinton are not as numerous or as well-sourced as those against Cosby and I found myself squarely on the horns of a dilemma: how could I roundly denounce Clinton and simultaneously give Cosby a pass?

    The answer is: I don’t think we should.

    Clinton obviously has the compounding factor of being a lecher while in the White House after having been entrusted with the reins of power, to which he reacted by playing the role of “towel-snapping, drunken frat-boy.”  That’s bad.

    Cosby carefully cultivated a public image which was squeaky-clean.  As it turns out, he’s Grade-A Creep who wouldn’t be out of place on the Caribbean Sex-Slave Island with Jeffrey Epstein and Bubba.

    Both of them are monstrous betrayers of the public trust which they were given.  Certainly, Clinton’s is worse given his position, but Cosby’s betrayal stings.  It’s like finding out your Dad had another family when he was going on all of those “business trips” throughout the years.

    • #8
  9. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Considering the subject matter we have an unfortunate headline here Ricochet…

    • #9
  10. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Tommy De Seno:Considering the subject matter we have an unfortunate headline here Ricochet…

    Bad day, Tommy?

    • #10
  11. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    It is all a shame. I, too, greatly admired Cosby. In the mid-90s, I was invited to a dinner at which he performed. Grace, yes. Style, yes, Gentleness, yes. Civility, yes. And when he spoke up, he said things that liberals — and, yes, African-Americans — need to hear . . . about self-discipline among other things.

    I found it heartbreaking to learning that a man I greatly admired had done much that was vile.

    • #11
  12. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    MLH:

    Tommy De Seno:Considering the subject matter we have an unfortunate headline here Ricochet…

    Bad day, Tommy?

    If Rob can do Red Eye I can get a little bawdy in a comment about him, can’t I?

    • #12
  13. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Tommy De Seno:

    MLH:

    Tommy De Seno:Considering the subject matter we have an unfortunate headline here Ricochet…

    Bad day, Tommy?

    If Rob can do Red Eye I can get a little bawdy in a comment about him, can’t I?

    Ah, hadn’t thought of that. ’twas a good day then, eh?

    • #13
  14. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Paul A. Rahe:It is all a shame. I, too, greatly admired Cosby. In the mid-90s, I was invited to a dinner at which he performed. Grace, yes. Style, yes, Gentleness, yes. Civility, yes. And when he spoke up, he said things that liberals — and, yes, African-Americans — need to hear . . . about self-discipline among other things.

    I found it heartbreaking to learning that a man I greatly admired had done much that was vile.

    I agree, Professor.  I’m a bit heartbroken.  Like many here, his comedy records sat on my nightstand, wearing out needle after needle.

    His insistence on good diction among black youth wins my award for the best idea that was ever ignored.  In my majority black high school even the teachers would “aks” me questions and then say, “Imma gonna be mad” if I ignored them.  The need for good diction never caught on in poor black communities.

    One of my first understandings that there was this “race issue” in the world was turning on the tv, crossing the news as I turned the dial and seeing Bill Cosby speaking out on some issue involving race (he was not always on the right side of things – recall Tawana Brawley).

    I can’t recall how old I was or what the issue was. I was floored that there could be some condition in the world that might have Bill Cosby looking back at me from the other side.  I loved him.  Color never occurred to me. Until then.

    That incident and all the security Hank Aaron needed as he approached Ruth’s record (another reality that as a boy left a scar on me) was my first indication that the world was not the fun place I thought it was going to be.

    I want my old Bill Cosby back.

    • #14
  15. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @GoldwatersRevenge

    Bill Clinton’s indiscretions were well known, (at least within the Democratic Party) long before he was elected President. Don’t forget Hilliary’s “bimbo squad”, her henchmen detailed to guarantee the silence of Bill’s victims. Everything Cosby is accused of doing may well be true but I question why at the age of seventy seven all this begins to surface. My natural skepticism makes me think that he was given a pass until his conservative rhetoric began to resonate with many blacks. As with Clarence Thomas, a black conservative is given no quarter. Cosby must be destroyed.

    • #15
  16. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Charles Horton:Bill Clinton’s indiscretions were well known, (at least within the Democratic Party) long before he was elected President. Don’t forget Hilliary’s “bimbo squad”, her henchmen detailed to guarantee the silence of Bill’s victims. Everything Cosby is accused of doing may well be true but I question why at the age of seventy seven all this begins to surface. My natural skepticism makes me think that he was given a pass until his conservative rhetoric began to resonate with many blacks. As with Clarence Thomas, a black conservative is given no quarter. Cosby must be destroyed.

    I share your opinion.

    Claire Huxtable has said as much too.

    • #16
  17. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Yes, he’s a cad. But after looking into a lot of the stories, I no longer believe he drugged or raped anyone. The way he was taken down frightens me.

    • #17
  18. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Charles Horton:Bill Clinton’s indiscretions were well known, (at least within the Democratic Party) long before he was elected President. Don’t forget Hilliary’s “bimbo squad”, her henchmen detailed to guarantee the silence of Bill’s victims. Everything Cosby is accused of doing may well be true but I question why at the age of seventy seven all this begins to surface. My natural skepticism makes me think that he was given a pass until his conservative rhetoric began to resonate with many blacks. As with Clarence Thomas, a black conservative is given no quarter. Cosby must be destroyed.

    The motives of those who have outed his accusers have no bearing upon whether or not Cosby is a sexual predator.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Cosby was a closet conservative – he was a traditionalist, and has dutifully lined up behind the self-appointed black leadership when it has suited him.

    Sure, he has spoken out of school on a couple of hot-button issues which may have teed off those black leaders, but I don’t think we should have a double standard because occasionally Cosby said one or two things which gladdened our hearts.

    • #18
  19. Rob Long Editor
    Rob Long
    @RobLong

    Tommy De Seno:

    MLH:

    Tommy De Seno:Considering the subject matter we have an unfortunate headline here Ricochet…

    Bad day, Tommy?

    If Rob can do Red Eye I can get a little bawdy in a comment about him, can’t I?

    Yes, of course you can.  As far as I’m concerned, Tommy, you can get away with anything.

    • #19
  20. Rob Long Editor
    Rob Long
    @RobLong

    Charles Horton:Bill Clinton’s indiscretions were well known, (at least within the Democratic Party) long before he was elected President. Don’t forget Hilliary’s “bimbo squad”, her henchmen detailed to guarantee the silence of Bill’s victims. Everything Cosby is accused of doing may well be true but I question why at the age of seventy seven all this begins to surface. My natural skepticism makes me think that he was given a pass until his conservative rhetoric began to resonate with many blacks. As with Clarence Thomas, a black conservative is given no quarter. Cosby must be destroyed.

    I think a lot of folks feel this way.  Personally, I’m not sure.  I’d like to hope that his “Pull Up Your Pants” message was working, but it doesn’t seem to have had much effect.

    • #20
  21. Rob Long Editor
    Rob Long
    @RobLong

    Tommy De Seno:

    Paul A. Rahe:It is all a shame. I, too, greatly admired Cosby. In the mid-90s, I was invited to a dinner at which he performed. Grace, yes. Style, yes, Gentleness, yes. Civility, yes. And when he spoke up, he said things that liberals — and, yes, African-Americans — need to hear . . . about self-discipline among other things.

    I found it heartbreaking to learning that a man I greatly admired had done much that was vile.

    I agree, Professor. I’m a bit heartbroken. Like many here, his comedy records sat on my nightstand, wearing out needle after needle.

    His insistence on good diction among black youth wins my award for the best idea that was ever ignored. In my majority black high school even the teachers would “aks” me questions and then say, “Imma gonna be mad” if I ignored them. The need for good diction never caught on in poor black communities.

    One of my first understandings that there was this “race issue” in the world was turning on the tv, crossing the news as I turned the dial and seeing Bill Cosby speaking out on some issue involving race (he was not always on the right side of things – recall Tawana Brawley).

    I can’t recall how old I was or what the issue was. I was floored that there could be some condition in the world that might have Bill Cosby looking back at me from the other side. I loved him. Color never occurred to me. Until then.

    That incident and all the security Hank Aaron needed as he approached Ruth’s record (another reality that as a boy left a scar on me) was my first indication that the world was not the fun place I thought it was going to be.

    I want my old Bill Cosby back.

    I agree with both of you guys, Tommy and Paul.  It’s  heartbreaking, because he really is a comic genius — one of America’s greatest, right up there I think with Twain and Will Rogers.  But where do we put that, alongside the cascade of sordid stories?

    • #21
  22. SallyVee Inactive
    SallyVee
    @GirlWithAPearl

    No one ever seems to recall all those years when Cosby was a fixture at the Playboy mansion and on those creepy, drugged up Playboy house party shows… along with Sammy Davis Jr. (another rapist and swinger), Rex Reed and a few others I can’t think of right now. I watched one old show on YouTube and it was embarrassing how Cosby played so dumb (or was he playing?) and looked like a hulking predator milling about in the background wearing very tight pants… just beyond strange and frightful. I could never reconcile that Cosby with the other Cosby.

    Now I will click to read Rob’s entire article – love the excerpt.

    • #22
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