Friday, July 02, 2021

Cosby is Freed

Bill Cosby was freed from prison yesterday on a legal technicality. Many women across America are rightfully upset at this news - as well they should be. Cosby was convicted of some serious offences and needed to pay for what he did. The irony is the fact that he would have been eligible for parole in two months. It is my suspicion that, due to his advanced age, he would have been released by that time. That's just a hunch on my part.

Bill Cosby has scored a big one....I guess. His career as a beloved and working entertainer is over. The next time we read about Bill Cosby will be his obituary.

I cannot recall in my lifetime a career crashing as completely as this. As a longtime fan and admirer, this is indeed a sad and disturbing thing to behold. He has fallen as far as it is humanly possible to fall.

Bill Cosby may very well end up as the Joe Paterno of comedy. A brilliant, scandal free career and reputation that has endured for over half a century has been completely and permanently detroyed.`

One of the first books I ever purchased to read - with my own money, for my own enjoyment - was called "Cool Cos". It was a biography of Bill written especially for kids. I sent away for it to a school book club.  I was around ten at the time. I had to learn as much as humanly possible about this man who had so captured my imagination and my funny bone.

In a lifetime that has been devoted to comedy in general and comedians in particular, Bill Cosby (along with The Smothers Brothers) was my first comedic hero. When I was a kid I thought that he was the smartest, coolest, funniest human being who ever walked this earth. As I write these words his second LP, "I Started out as a Child", is lying atop a small stack of records directly behind my right shoulder.

Like Chaplin, Bill appealed to both adults and children. When I was a very small child I couldn't understand the humor of Bob Newhart. I understood and appreciated Bill Cosby perfectly well. Anyone who grew up in the sixties and seventies has their own, personal Cosby memories: In June of 1968 my father came up with the wonderful idea that it would be a really neat thing to send my brother, Pete, and I to a summer camp in Lenox, Massachusetts, on the campus of Cranwell School. The place was inhabited by hundreds of spoiled-rotten, rich Catholic kids, and run by humorless Jesuit priests. Sound like fun? My only cherished memory of that utterly wasted summer was that every Monday night before we went to sleep, a seminarian named Jim Leroux would gather us in his room and play a Bill Cosby record. I can still hear the guy's voice a half-century later:


That threat was enough to get us moving, believe me. Bill Cosby was, for me, one of the very few bright spots in a perfectly miserable childhood. That is what makes this spectacle all-the-more heartbreaking for me to have to witness.

The only time in my life I ever saw a comedian in concert was in the mid-eighties when I took a date to see Bill Cosby at Radio City Music Hall. I could not resist the opportunity to see my childhood hero in the flesh. One of my nagging regrets is that I'm too young to have ever seen Lenny Bruce in person, but at least I could say that I saw Bill. 

All of the sudden that's not too big a deal any longer, you know? In November of 2014, I was driving home one night with the radio on when it was announced on CBS  News that the TV Land cable channel would no longer be airing reruns of the classic Cosby Show. In an era of hideously mediocre comedy, that particular program was one of television's depressingly few high marks. I won't even bother trying to explain to you how sad it made me to hear this.

I loved Bill Cosby. 

Again, it's all over. We shall not hear from him again except as a figure of shame, ridicule or dark satire. There will be no second act in this American life. As tragic as Lenny's end was, death and posterity would ultimately vindicate him. There will be no such vindication for Bill Cosby. The show is over; the curtain has closed. The last decade has been a horribly unfunny period for comedy and comedians, have you noticed that?

When the mighty fall, the sound can be deafening.`

Here would be a possible assignment for an experienced investigative journalist: 
It is not an unreasonable assumption to conclude that a drug-induced rape might turn fatal. It's happened before. When one introduces a foreign substance into the blood stream of an unwitting victim, that is always a remote possibility. When there has been a half-century pattern of such behavior, that "remote possibility" becomes a virtual inevitability. This is not irresponsible speculation on my part. In fact, it only stands to reason. Think about it.

This is something that has to be looked into. Did any aspiring model/actress in Bill Cosby's presence or proximity die suddenly of an unexplained overdose in the last fifty years? There might be a long-forgotten news report that, at the time, didn't sound any alarm bells. It would be worth knowing the answer to that question. I'm just putting it out there.
I might be accused of jumping the gun here. So be it. When these allegations were first made public in 2014, I didn't want to believe them - in fact I didn't believe them. But as the months transpired, and more and more women came forward with their stories, my doubts became as soft as, forgive the pun, Jell-O. As they say, where there's smoke....
The final straw came when the transcripts of Cosby's own testimony during a civil lawsuit over a decade ago became part of the public record. When he admitted to acquiring Quaalude to give to one woman in particular for the purpose of sex, it was all over as far as I was concerned. He convicted himself.
When his epitaph is written, he won't be remembered primarily as "America's favorite dad", or as "one of the great humorists of the twentieth century" (a title which I believe he deserved). There will be no two-hour documentaries on the life and groundbreaking career of Bill Cosby - as is the case with Chaplin, Keaton, Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce. There will be no more lifetime achievement awards for Bill. Nothing.

As I stated earlier, Bill Cosby was my first comedic hero. Ask anyone who knew me in high school. While my record collection was filled to the rafters with obligatory rock 'n' roll, I possessed a sizable collection of comedy LPs. Bill's early Warner Brothers recordings were always a prominent part of that collection. 

I cannot emphasize this enough: I loved Bill Cosby.

This is a nasty tasting pill indeed. That he could be so reckless, given all that he represented to so many people - forget about race - is beyond comprehension. I know that he did a lot of good in his time, and I think he was sincere in his desire to leave the world a better place than he found it. Maybe that's true. Just try convincing his victims of that. Good luck.

We believed in Bill Cosby and he played us for chumps for a half century. That's some legacy, huh?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Parts of this piece are re-edited from two articles posted on this site in January of 2016 and September of 2018. To be perfectly honest with you, I just don't want to spend that much time thinking about Bill Cosby on such a fine summer's day. I think I'll go get drunk.


At 2:17 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

"We believed in Bill Cosby and he played us for chumps for a half century. That's some legacy, huh?"

He started out as a child, but wealth and fame brought out his inner sociopath nature.

At least we aren't like the chumps who still revere and serve their beloved sociopath, aka the Big Loser.

Very few will have the sense and decency to say, "We believed in Trump and he played us for chumps".

This indicates the difference between most of us and the authoritarian radical Right.

At 6:16 PM, Blogger Mozart1220 said...

We had a dozen Cosby albums. I did "the chicken heart" as a puppet show in grade school. I memorized the entire thing.

I watched him on Sesame Street.

I could not have been more disappointed to find out he is a serial rapist.

At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He started out as a child"

Odd, but I thought we all started out as a child.


At 9:39 PM, Blogger Mozart1220 said...

Sybil never stopped being a child.

At 6:19 AM, Blogger Jerry said...

By his own words Cosby is and will always be a serial rapist. Our legal system is known for doing crazy and unfair things. The fact that he and his team try to still claim he is a great man just shows he has no remorse for his actions. To me, he is and will always be a scum bag.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

"He started out as a child" Odd, but I thought we all started out as a child. LMAO"

It only took 55 years for Vern to get the Cosby joke title. LMAO

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At least we aren't like the chumps who still revere and serve their beloved" Democrat party which was the party of slavery, and which continues to promise and not deliver to blacks who vote for them cause they can't be black if don't vote for them.

Very few blacks will have the sense and decency to say, "We believed in the Democrat party even as it continues play us for chumps". ("Vote for me, I'll set you free", all whites are racist and other lies) Cause they don't want to be called Uncle Tom or House Negro or Token as Dave calls those blacks who don't vote Democrat on this blog.

At 6:29 AM, Blogger Mozart1220 said...

CONSERVATIVES supported slavery. LIBERALS ended it. Conservatives then formed the KKK.

No one but Sybil says "ALL Whites are racist".

And any person of color that votes GOP is voting against their own interest.

Sybil cannot even decide on a name.

At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democrat party supported slavery, voted for it and against Republican efforts to end it.

Democrats went to war to continue slavery.

It is was with the votes of the GOP that the 1964 Civil Rights act was passed. Democrats like Senator Byrd opposed it. Joe Biden was called by his VP a racist.

CRT says America is racist and all whites are racist.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger TB3 said...

Oh, come on, Mozart. You fell into the trap. People like JTF/Anon know this. They just engage in the revisionist history then they project onto "the left" and "CRT" that they say they abhor so much when facts get in the way of the warm and fuzzies they feel with their heads in the sand.

I mean, just look at the last sentence of his last comment. Let me translate from Trumpelthinskinese:

"I think I know it all, but I am ignorant of our past and have no desire to educate myself. Ignorance is my identity politics, now bend to my fabricated reality."

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Mozart1220 said...

Sybil can't seem to grasp the fact that it's not 1865 anymore.

CONSERVATIVES supported slavery and went to war against the UNited States to maintain it.

LIBERALS ended slavery.

Robert Byrd denounced racism almost his entire life, and is not the President of the USA.

Joe Biden is the President and it's not 1964 anymore either.

Sybil is a racist trying to pass the buck.

Prove me wrong.

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