Cosby’s Culture



                        by Kenneth Bagnell




       The ugly Bill Cosby debacle lives on and as it does, reveals more than we may realize. Obviously, a large segment of the female population has denounced the jury which, after an eleven day trial, didn’t come to a decisive decision over numerous alleged sexual assaults by Cosby. (It may, thus far, take four months to get back on the court agenda.) Once the decision was revealed, an understanding outpouring filled the media almost 100 percent of which was typified by a lawyer representing a woman accuser. The lawyer, from California, called the whole thing, “disgusting.” Virtually no one could disagree with her use of the word. But she was aiming it at a plan that had quickly been announced by Cosby’s defense team: that he would now take the high road, touring and speaking to young people in the hope that they’d never stoop to what he was accused of, dreadful sexual abuse visited upon many young women.

           Aside from a minority of Cosby’s female friends the decision has provoked suspicion that it is merely a public relations tactic. It’s seen as an obvious strategy  given the fact his staff points out: (a) it proposes a national tour, (b) it claims to have had countless calls from churches wanting him to address young men and women on judicial/sexual issues (c)  remember to be careful in crowds so that they don’t brush females. (d) avoid group hugs.   Andrew Wyatt, a Cosby PR man, went on at some length on Alabama TV: “This issue can affect any young person, especially athletes of today and they need to know what they are facing when they are hanging out and partying, when they are doing certain things they should not be doing. The issue also affects married men.” Unfortunately and inevitably, these sentences have the inevitable echo of a PR man no matter how sincere he is. I’m truly sorry, really, but it’s difficult to nod your head as he speaks and swallow all he says.

            As a result of this wariness, the response reveals and thereby rebukes what is said. A woman named Judy Omear a professional spokesperson, came back quickly to say of Cosby’s claim: “It would be more useful if Mr. Cosby would spend time talking with people about how not to commit sexual assault in the first place. Others chimed in, one being Kristen Houser of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, who sharpened her tongue to say: that Cosby is “a person who has 60 allegations of sexual assault against him”. (Even I didn’t know there were 60. So dreadful it shakes your head and shakes it again.)

     There are other female spokespersons, but there are also avid supporters of the accusers. It thereby is a skeptical struggle to go along with the Cosby cause. It thereby raises the overall message that this dreadful one-man activity sends. What admonition should be given to young men? What admonition should be given to women, young, middle aged, even elderly? It can happen! For example, some women, usually young, regard this as close to moral conduct -– flirting. Moreover the papers, more often than you may think, report these too often occasions. If you live in Toronto you’ll know that, not long ago, a trio of police officers off work, had too much to drink as did their colleague, a female colleague with them. You can guess what happened according to the reliable Canadian Press earlier this month. I’ll use a brief quotation out of my somewhat conservative nature: “Constable (XXXXXX,) said the woman didn’t appear intoxicated during the night and instigated sex and oral sex with all three officers… He also said that the complainant told four officers in a taxi ride to a strip joint that she hadn’t had ‘good sex’ in a while.” (For detailed accounts of this misadventure go to “Toronto Star; by Rosie Demanno and police sex.”

        It seems a bit out of character, but The New Yorker, the intellectual and elitist magazine, has treated this graceless subject more often than one would think. One good example is an essay it presented just over a week ago, entitled as bluntly as the treatment given just above: “Bill Cosby and the year of the Hypocrite.” It puts the story in an interesting context: the writer, Bari Weiss, includes in his introduction, the notable fact that other famed names belong as figures of the current subject. A single sentence by Weiss will suffice: “This is an old story with plenty of antecedents… what’s chiefly new is that this is now a media story, as conservative power has moved from the pulpit and the pedestal to the TV screen. Take Roger Ailes – the man who built Fox News by waging a ferocious culture war against an out of touch, liberal elite that did terrible things such as ‘waging war’ on Christmas. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and an evangelical Christian, once praised the network for a ‘wholesomeness’ that ‘starts at the top with Roger Ailes.’ The reality was that what started at the top was a culture of pervasive sexual exploitation. Mr. Ailes, who died in May, was finally forced out of the network last July after Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly and other women exposed his serial sexual harassment and coercion. I guess we still have a mile or two to go to reach a sensible, fair and humane culture. Let’s await what actually happens to Mr. Cosby.



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