Monday, November 24, 2014

Cosby: Another Icon Crumbling?

Icons enjoy incredible trust by us and we defend them, sometimes savagely, when there is an attempt to knock them off their revered pedestals. But what happens when this trust may be incredibly abused and in no way deserved? Do we shut our eyes to the facts or do we take one of two tracks; defend them against all odds or look at any compelling evidence? It really depends what motivates you to hold them in high regard in the first place, doesn't it? This is an intensely emotional issue where fact and fantasy spar with our minds and the devil is often in the details--to which we may still remain blind.

Bill Cosby was always a wonderful image for all of us and I enjoyed his humor, his TV shows and his stand-ups. I liked him in "I Spy" and whatever he desired to do, even those pudding commercials. He was a man of dignity, character and an inspiration to all of us. We wanted a dad like him, a physician like him and a genuine understanding friend like him. If what we are hearing from a string of women is true, we have been misled and even some of the media are admitting they, too, may have played a part in this charade. Yes, of course, it's still in the conjecture stage and definitely no depositions will be taking place on the advice of attorneys and pr people. Depositions are where those devils lie in wait.

Color didn't play into the issue for me. Didn't matter. I even got intense enjoyment out of  "Que Passa, USA" a Spanish-language TV show with a wonderful family. And no, I don't speak Spanish but I could follow the family and enjoy the show just the same. Steven Bauer was a great foil in this loving family. He, of course, has gone on to "Breaking Bad" and "Ray Donovan."

What is playing out in Cosby's case, as we've seen it in many others, is that "he said", "she said" but, of course, after viewing the NPR video, he's not saying because, "We don't talk about that." Camille sat by him smiling as though he were discussing another pudding commercial he had planned. We've seen the dutiful wife stand by other men. I don't have to count the ways beginning with Bill Clinton and Paula Jones, Jennifer Flowers and then Monica Lewinsky. He even sat with Hillary on a couch, prior to his election, and denied any affairs in a now-famous TV interview.

Infidelity doesn't play very well with voters or family-oriented entertainment features on TV. So, when something like the Cosby dust up happens, it sends ripples through homes across the nation and causes network executives to rethink their program plans. Apparently, that has happened.

But why are we so upset? We know that many politicians we've revered were serial adulterers and yet we retain an incredible admiration for them. President Kennedy leads the pack although he wasn't alone in his serial affairs. He and the others had a cooperative press shielding them from our scrutiny. A bit of digging on your part will turn up some surprises about Presidents and others.

The difference with Cosby isn't so much that he's a family-oriented, pop-of-the-nation entertainer, it's the back story that his appetite included something we only find in people like Max Factor cosmetics heir, Andrew Luster.  Cosby's allegations aren't about infidelity per se, but drugging and raping women. It's the drugging part that we find most abhorrent, if true. Rape is bad enough, but when the active drugging of a woman or a man is involved, it reveals something, I believe, that is sinister about the person in question. Certainly, Luster is the poster boy for this type of egregious behavior and he may spend 125 years in jail for his actions.

What do we take away from all of this? People are human with good and bad qualities and some, if not many, marriages arrive at certain understandings about individual behavior. We know there are marriages of convenience or ones that are purely to create a certain image or advance a career or gain social prominence. Some are created to promote a political agenda. Royals have been doing this for centuries.

We have no right to judge them because we aren't involved. It's their lives and they are entitled to live it however they wish but, when it comes to criminality, I think we have a different view of the person. Certainly, when someone presents themselves as a pillar of family morality and preaches to others about how they should live their lives, we find this repugnant, if the allegations are true. Will we ever know? Who knows.