Alan Scherstul

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.

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