Today’s Depressing Dose

Bill Cosby

Look, we know, it hurts.

Heroes rise and fall; the cycle of generations is now molded into prepackaged expectations, but beyond the flighty, twitterpated spasms of youthful celebrity there remain the titans of a former era.

And sometimes they fall from grace.

It is never pretty. It is never happy. Schadenfreude percolates its toxic brew. And, yes, it hurts.

But to consider the grand scale, this sort of hurt is more a self-indictment; what have we given, and for what? To what?

Some are aware that one such titan of American history—the first black actor to star in a television drama series, the voice and style that charmed generations, a persuasive figure in family and educational philosophy—stands accused, reeling backwards toward the precipice. Bill Cosby sees his legend at the verge of crumbling.

It hurts, but here’s the thing: What if it’s true?

We know the difference between innocent and not guilty. We know the feeling of watching beloved stars from our celebrity cosmos crash and burn. We know about presumptions of innocence. We know about appearances of guilt. And perhaps we are depressed by accusations of serial sex assault, or maybe we are enraged that someone might besmirch The Cos, or it might simply be that our hearts are broken because yet another icon of our cultural glory might well turn out to be just another sack of toxic, useless fertilizer.

It hurts, sure. But who and what are we really indicting?

Because if it’s true, what hurts about watching another star streaking down from the firmament has nothing on the damage such actions caused.

So if you want the overview, consider Jenée Desmond-Harris’ lede for Vox.com:

On Tuesday, the 15th woman to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault came forward.

No matter how one spins it, this is not good news. Not for Cosby, nor his alleged victims, nor the millions of Americans who are simply shaking their heads in sadness, confusion, and disgust.

And this is where the discussion seems to be:

NPR host Scott Simon appeared on CNN Sunday morning to describe his recent interview with Bill Cosby that quickly devolved as the comedian refused to answer questions about the sexual assault allegations against him.

Simon said that as soon as he began to ask about the charges, Cosby immediately started to shake his head with a distinct expression.

“He gave what I would refer to as that delightful, impish little kind of Cosby smile, at first, and then was silent,” Simon told “New Day.”

Scott Neuman, blogging for NPR’s The Two-Way, offers a bit more on the Simon-Cosby interview:

In an NPR interview with Bill Cosby that aired today on Weekend Edition Saturday, the comedian discusses the loan of 62 pieces of African Art for an exhibition in Washington, D.C.

But there’s one thing the 77-year-old actor would not comment on: accusations of sexual assault that have been leveled against him.

Those allegations resurfaced in recent weeks. In a column published Friday in The Washington Post, Barbara Bowman, who in 1985 was a 17-year-old aspiring actress on the Cosby Show, says the comic actor “brainwashed me into viewing him as a father figure, and then assaulted me multiple times.”

Bowman says Cosby drugged her and then raped her. Her claim follows a 2006 legal settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed by another woman, Andrea Constand. The comedian was never charged.

The silence. The sheer number of accusations. The unfortunate comedy classic about drugging women.

That little sting of pride that comes when we discover a respected person might not be so respectable? Yeah, we all know that hurt. But it has exactly zero relevance now.

Doesn’t mean you can’t find it all depressing, though.

____________________

Desmond-Harris, Jenée. “Everything you need to know about the Bill Cosby sexual assault allegations”. Vox. 18 November 2014.

Taibi, Catherine. “NPR’s Scott Simon Describes Bill Cosby’s Silence As Rape Allegations Resurface”. The Huffington Post. 17 November 2014.

Neuman, Scott. “In NPR Interview, Bill Cosby Declines To Discuss Assault Allegations”. National Public Radio. 17 November 2014.

Scherstul, Alan. “Here’s the 1969 Bill Cosby Routine About Wanting to Drug Women’s Drinks”. Village Voice. 17 November 2014.

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