Monday, November 24, 2014

The Proof In the Pudding

There's a moment in the premier episode of The Cosby Show where Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby) is having a heart to heart with his son Theo (Malcolm-Jamal-Warner*). 

*I wasn't sure where to put the hyphen.

 Even if you've never seen the full episode, chances are you've seen a clip of this scene somewhere. The gist of it is Theo's getting bad grades and Cliff's not happy about it. After totally deconstructing Theo's plans for a modest future working at a gas station, it seems the tables are turned on Cliff when Theo makes an emotional appeal. 

"Why can't you just love me for who I am, because I'm your son," Theo says with all the wide eyed earnestness of a Disney cartoon. It's a sweet moment and the studio audience agrees with a collective "awwww!".  

"That," replied Cliff, "is the stupidest thing I ever heard!" And then he lays down the law that Theo is going to study hard and work hard because, as he sums up, "I brought you into this world and I can take you out!" 

I was never a big fan of The Cosby Show but that first episode is a comedic gem. Granted a lot of the heavy lifting is done by bits from Bill Cosby's stand up routine but I have never failed to laugh out loud whenever I've watched. 

Of course I haven't watched it lately. 

The big bad story that just won't go away revolves around accusations that Bill Cosby engaged in sexual acts with women forcibly and against their will. Or to put it more bluntly, Bill Cosby raped women. 

On one hand, there is not one charge, arrest or conviction against Cosby for any sort of misconduct of the sort. 

On the other hand, damn, there's a lot of women with the same story, of Cosby coercing or drugging women to have sex with him. 

So the story of Bill Cosby as a rapist continues to churn on and looks like this could mean that Cosby's legacy is tarnished forever. 

Or is it? 

Bill Cosby recently performed at a show in Florida where the crowd gave Cos a stand ovation. Somebody's still pulling for the guy. 

To be honest, I'm not writing this to speculate on Cosby's guilt or innocence. And if you want a more thoughtful analysis of this mess, click here and here for a couple posts by the far wiser Mark Evanier.

But I was so...amused, maybe, certainly intrigued by a pair of defenses of Bill Cosby that I heard on the radio last week. 

Naturally this whole scandal has made for a lot of fodder on the morning drive time radio shows, including The Two Guys Named Chris Show*.

*Their show can be heard online at  Free plug. 

A few callers in defense of the Cos cited the usual things that sadly get brought up during these sorts of things. Why now? Why didn't anyone say anything before?

But two callers each provided this defense of Bill Cosby: he could not have raped those women because Cosby is a conservative.  

The end. 

Yep, Bill Cosby's a conservative so he clearly did not these horrible things he's being accused of. And yes, both callers brought up the "targetted by a liberal agenda" line. 

I'm not entirely sure what Bill Cosby's political or economic viewpoints are but as a moral conservative, he does have a lot of street cred with that group. In his stand up act, his talk show appearances, his speeches and lectures, Cosby has been a tireless advocate for self-responsibility, of respectful conduct by young people towards their families and in public.   

But I'm not sure how saying these things, hell even believing these things makes Cos innocent of all charges. After all there is a wide variety of sins for the flesh to fall prey to. Quite frankly, I think the most pious, most respectful and responsible person in the world has a sin with their name on it. So being a good person is not in and of itself inoculation against doing a bad thing. It may make it less likely that a good person will do a bad thing but there are no guarantees. 

And certainly saying things that make you sound like a good person isn't going to stop a person from doing a bad thing. So you right wing nut jobs, telling me Bill Cosby is innocent simply because he is a conservative is like thinking Barack Obama is a bad President because he's not white. 

Wait a minute....

Never mind.


OK, you may be wondering about the title of today's post.  Back in the day, Bill Cosby was seen frequently in ads for Jell-o Pudding. There was probably a whole bunch of people that knew Cosby only as that guy in the pudding commercials. But Cos was good in them. Man, he loved his pudding!

Anyway, I thought of the title and I thought, "Hey, that's clever!" So I began writing with the idea that somehow, somewhere I would have to throw in a witty aside or observation based on pudding. 

But I didn't. But damn it, I'm sticking with the title.


Tomorrow on the blog: Instead of Wednesday, I'm doing my comic book post on Tuesday. The thing is that as more women enter the territory of writing for DC Comics and Marvel, it shows women are just as good as men when it comes to writing comics. 

And just like men, women can suck at it too.

Case in point, Wonder Woman#36

But that's for tomorrow. In the meantime, don't forget to eat your pudding.

And also be good to one another.   

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