BILL COSBY

When my father was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, Bill Cosby came to visit my mother (and me, as it turned out — I was there that day.) It must have been around 2002 because my father was already bedridden. The three of us — Mr.Cosby, my mother, and me — sat in the study of my parents’ house for nearly an hour and he had us laughing so hard our stomachs hurt. A welcome gift given the sober reality of my father’s illness. My mother and I mentioned it often in the following days and weeks, revisiting that hour of laughter and jocularity as the tonic it was.

I’ve not thought of Mr.Cosby’s visit for years…until recently when 14 accusations of rape have made him a news story. We all tend to believe that people are transparent, that nefarious character defects are revealed in clues, signals. Sometimes that’s true. Most of the time it’s not. But in line with that rather naive belief about transparency, I have run his visit back through my mind, dissecting it, searching for moments when I might have felt discomfort or suspicion about the man sitting easily on the couch making us laugh. Other than taking note of his sometimes blustery self-confidence, I saw nothing that indicated a dark side. It would probably make a better story if I had — if I said, There was one moment…

But the real story is, I think, more poignant — that I saw nothing. If I didn’t pick up on anything lascivious, how could women decades younger than me be expected to do so? Men who prey on women are generally quite cunning and convincing; they’ve practiced their dark art and they’re good at it.

We are, of course, supposed to consider someone innocent until proven guilty. But in the case of rape, there is a 10 year statute of limitations, so it’s likely nothing will ever be proved and Bill Cosby can continue to maintain his stony silence. That stony silence, however, reeks of guilt. If an innocent man were accused by one woman of rape, he would, I’m sure, be doing back-to-back interviews denying the charge. He might even sue the woman for defamation of character. 14 women have now told very similar stories about Bill Cosby drugging and raping them, and he says nothing? In the midst of his silence on these charges, he posts a picture of himself on Twitter and asks people to “meme” him. The photo above is just one example of what happened. What arrogance to think he was going to get anything other than a slew of bitter comments.

Apparently, Mr. Cosby doesn’t feel obliged to say anything to the public that made him a famous and very wealthy man. That’s his right, I suppose, although it isn’t a very smart strategy. If he’s thinking this will all just go away eventually, he’s wrong. Rape doesn’t go away. Ever.

13 Responses to BILL COSBY

  1. “Back-to-back” interviews are also unbelievable as silence, as Clinton and Weiner taught us.

  2. Patti Petow says:

    Any way I look at Mr. Cosby’s predicament as well as his alleged victims, my heart breaks. I am dumbfounded and saddened.

  3. Bonnie White says:

    Wondering if the story may have been different if there had been only one of you at home. You or your Mom. The kind of man Cosby is accused of being ~ dont like witnesses to their behavior.

    • Penny Antine says:

      I doubt Cosby would have tried his tricks on anyone as famous as the Reagan women. They had the $$ and power to destroy him. He always picked on young, vulnerable women, those wanting a career in show business or as models. Those who would keep their mouth shut out of fear or imagined guilt. Never the wife or daughter of a President. He was a lot of ugly things, but he wasn’t stupid.

    • Jhill Perran says:

      Wow, Bonnie! That’s a frightening thought. It just gave me a chill, because the reality of it, causes one to pause; think; consider; and shudder.

  4. Mick Bysshe says:

    Several years ago I listened to a presentation by Michael Dowd, author of THANK GOD FOR EVOLUTION. He opened his lecture by stating that when a man is placed in a position of power his sperm count doubles. This might explain sexual misbehavior of some men. Perhaps they have no moral compulsion that would put a brake and predatory behavior.

  5. Mick Bysshe says:

    correction: “that would put a brake on predatory behavior.”

  6. Well said Patti. I have worked with dozens of victims of sexual abuse. The pain, the fear, the destruction does not go away and wrecks lives unless they get some substantial help. You can’t “just get over it”. Here in the UK thousands of such crimes are reported every year. Less than 5% result in a successful prosecution.

  7. kara fox says:

    you have the gift of seeing in an almost nonjudgmental way so the essence of your words comes through. thank you!

  8. CJ Ryan says:

    I’m really surprised by Cosby’s behavior, particularly because he always preached to African American men on responsibility, and expounded family values. Plus he seemed like such a nice guy! Sad that an iconic figure of the 1980s has been exposed to have such a dark and ugly side. He needs to be brought to justice.

  9. Jhill Perran says:

    Patti,
    Once again, you nailed it! I grew up watching Dr. Cosby-LEARNING from him — Fat Albert, Lil Bill, the Jello commercials…Lord. WHO could forget those warm fuzzies? I was in my 20’s during the 80’s. The Cosby Show was a staple in our house. By the end of that decade, Dr. Cosby had “his brand” sewed up.
    When the first allegation broke, with a reference to a previous court case on similar allegations several years ago, I paused and thought, “Where was I?” I certainly didn’t recall any news of a rape charge. I researched it, and sure enough, there it was. As I read that history, I thought to myself, “WHY did he settle?” That’s the writer’s nature in me – to ask the question…to want the answer. There always appears to be an “acquiescence of sorts”, when one settles. For me, that implies an agreement to whatever charge, without protest. It gave me pause, as I was reading. It gave me a chill. He settled, not because there was one woman’s charge against him, but because there were 13 more [I believe that was the number], waiting in the wings to substantiate that charge. Therein was the problem for Dr. Cosby. I cried when I read it. I don’t want these charges to be true. I don’t want to believe that a man who has done so many wonderful things for education, for children of ALL races, for the African American community, and for the arts, and there have been MANY wonderful things, could be guilty of such horrific charges ~ especially reading about those young girls who were not of age – YOUNG GIRLS! This man has been a champion of children for years! HOW could it be that he is charged with violating so many young girls in the MOST vile manner for a young girl, for ANY person with double X chromosomes? My insides screamed out, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”, as my mind tried to shut down to the thought of it. It was too troubling for my brain to consider. It made my head hurt. It made my heart break.
    Silence. It says nothing, yet it says SO much! One would think that a man of his stature would be outraged by allegations of this nature! One would think that he would vehemently deny it with a, “How dare ANYONE attempt to besmirch my character and everything that I stand for by stating such a vile thing!” Yet, Dr. Cosby remains silent, almost arrogantly smug about it all. HIS action causes me to believe that those who are charging him for improper actions, just might have some merit. The sad thing is, that the damage has been done, BECAUSE of his silence. Now, I shall never look at him in the same light again. I will never take enjoyment from any of his work, that I once use to take such pleasure in. Who would have EVER believed that THIS would have been the commentary on Dr. Cosby, at this time of his life, instead of regaling him for his life’s body of artistic work?
    Still, there are many women who claim that he harmed them. All of their stories resonate with a similar, eerily troubling dialogue. If true, I can ONLY imagine the fear, confusion and unrest that this nightmare has created for them! Sadly, I cannot help but believe some part of what they are all saying is true. Sadly, for Dr. Cosby’s family, I cannot imagine how horrible and devastating this must be for them to grapple with, as they are all surely grappling. Sadly for us-the audience at large-how terrible it is to find that something good, decent, honorable and so definable as Americana, that we have believed in for so many years has been shattered. We are left to pick up those pieces, now, and put them back together in whatever way makes it acceptable. Is that possible? I don’t know. I don’t know…
    As for your lovely story of Dr. Cosby with you and your mother, during such a gut-wrenching time for your family, Patti, it was lovely. It truly was heart-warming – heart-felt. It made me feel good inside when I read it. THAT is the Bill Cosby I knew to be the real deal! I think you should hold onto that memory as you remember it, and for what it was meant to be to your family; I do think it was genuine, from your recollection of it. How fortunate however, looking back upon that scenario, that you were there with your mother, WITH Dr. Cosby, and your mother was there with you…

    • Joanna Perry-Folino says:

      He brought it on himself. Little if any sympathy here for a man who had everything but really had nothing: no respect for others means no genuine self respect.

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