On Cosby, Clinton, And An Ethics Dunce Convention In Melbourne, Florida

Cosby billboard

It is kind of funny, isn’t it, to hear and read the shocked reactions of pundits to the fact that probable serial rapist Bill Cosby got a standing ovation from his concert crowd of 2100 in Melbourne, Florida last night? “What could this mean?” they ask. Does this mean that Cosby’s popularity will survive the onslaught of women reporting that he drugged and raped them years ago? Well, no, it means that 2100 people who paid premium prices to see Bill Cosby and attended his concert even after hearing more than sufficient evidence that he is a sick hypocrite like Bill Cosby.

Wow.

What a surprise.

Nor should it be any surprise that that many people will adopt rationalizations and tortured logic to avoid confronting the cognitive dissonance resulting from a self-styled moral exemplar having a spectacularly immoral, indeed criminal, past. After all, the Democratic National Convention, with a lot more that 2,100 in attendance, cheered serial sexual harasser and sexual predator William Jefferson Clinton as he spoke to a throng protesting Republican attitudes toward women, as progressive journalists and pundits from MSNBC to the New York Times nodded in approval.

Unrelated, you say? Wrong. The phenomenon is exactly the same, and therein lies a serious problem for Hillary Clinton. The rationalizations used to rescue her husband from accountability for his decades long abuse of women are exactly the same as those being used now by Cosby’s desperate fans to try to keep laughing at the wise humor of the icon who includes in his storehouse of wisdom such nuggets as…

  • A hypnotic drug makes it really, really easy to rape young women, and
  • The combination of victims’ foggy memories and a celebrity’s popularity,  power and wealth are almost unbeatable.

Clinton’s name has come up more than once as the media grapples with the Cosby story, and Hillary, who enabled and covered for Bill, must be paying close attention. Eventually, she is going to have to explain why such a vile, misogynist history should disqualify a performer from having re-runs of his show on TV Land, but is irrelevant to whether a former President should be granted another stay in the White House.

I don’t think she can do it.

It was déjà vu reading the comments of the Cosby faithful in Melbourne. Gee, where have we heard these before?

  • David Love, a 54-year-old mechanical engineer: Someone who is willing to use women like that, a person like that I can’t imagine being funny and having TV shows that project morality. Watching his shows, he’s always seemed to be a man of character. I’m going to assume he’s a good guy.” This is utter denial, the first defense against cognitive dissonance. I can’t handle the inconvenient truth, admits David, so I’m going to pretend it doesn’t exist. Does David realize how jaw-droppingly stupid it is to say that because someone is convincing playing a good guy on TV, he must be a good guy? That’s why it’s called “acting,” David. Charlie Chaplin liked little girls. Danny Kaye was a sociopath. Boy, O.J. was funny in those “Naked Gun” movies…how can someone reason like this?  Yet people do. Bill Clinton’s continuing popularity proves it.
  • Lenore Raicovich, 79: “These women, if it happened, why didn’t they report it when it happened?”  The women have all answered that question; so have experts in rape and victimology. So, for that matter, has David Love, though he doesn’t realize it. With so many addled people like David in the media and law enforcement, who is going to believe a victimized woman who makes an accusation like this against a man everyone regards as being the epitome of an ethical, compassionate, beneficent man? And if they needed confirmation of their likely fate, all they needed to do is check on what happened to Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, and Monica Lewinsky.
  • Susan Raimondi, 69: “You think Bill Cosby is the only one who has ever done this thing?” DINDINGDINGDINGDING!!! The prize goes to Susan for the Clinton Special, “Everybody Does it!” I bet she still has her Clinton/Gore button.
  • Shelley Nerbonne: “I don’t buy it. First of all, why are women coming out 30 and 40 years later? That’s not fair. If that’s true, they should have brought it out when it happened.” Ah. So if a victim, for whatever reason, is late accusing her victim, that excuses her attacker from blame and accountability for what he did, even rape?  That false logic awards a benefit to a criminal for moral luck: he has no control over the lateness of the accusation (except if he takes measures to intimidate the accuser), and deserves no special dispensation if he is guilty.  The “fairness” argument only applies when the accused is innocent and the time passed makes it impossible for him to disprove the allegations. It is therefore only a plausible argument if the accuser is unique, if there is an unethical motive apparent (such as money, notoriety,or in the case of a family member, former lover, or spouse, vengeance), and there is no reason to believe the allegations. None of these factors are present here. Thirteen women alleging the same horrific crime is significant and carries inherent credibility. When one accuser did press her claim, Cosby paid her off, and included a confidentiality clause.
  • Shelley’s husband, Richard Nerbonne: “Even if he’s guilty, his personal matters do not come to this arena. They’re with him and the Lord and elsewhere. I wanted to bring a sign tonight and say, ‘We Love You, Bill.’ ” This is what I would call “the Full Clinton.” If you love (this) Bill, then you love a rapist. Of course his personal matters (crimes are societal matters, but never mind) “come into the arena.” His jokes don’t change based on his conduct off-stage, it is true. However, it is society’s duty to maintain social norms, values and ethical standards of conduct by condemning and shunning those who prominently violate them. If one cheers Cosby as he avoids accountability for harming women and breaching  the standards he has spent his career promoting, then you undermine and weaken them.

The good news for Hillary is that there are at least 2100 people in Florida who should be receptive to her candidacy. The bad news is that anyone who abandons Bill Cosby, deciding that his conduct toward women cannot be condoned in a comedian and social critic, will have to twist their ethics into a pretzel to explain why Hillary’s husband’s conduct is acceptable for a national role model, a President, or a First Spouse.

Some final points:

  • Ethics Hero status is due the one lone protester at the Melbourne concert, Julie Lemaitre, who stood outside arena in Melbourne with a sign that read “Rape Is No Joke,” and told reporters, “I strongly feel Mr. Cosby should stay at home. He needs to take a timeout and think about what these women have said and publicly address it.”
  • Bill Cosby said, in an interview before the event, “I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos. People should fact check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.” Cosby makes a big deal about his graduate degrees. We should accept that he is an educated man, and thus knows that “he raped me” is not an “innuendo.”

___________________________

Facts and Graphic: Washington Post

 

 

18 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Leadership, U.S. Society

18 responses to “On Cosby, Clinton, And An Ethics Dunce Convention In Melbourne, Florida

  1. A.M.Golden

    “if there is an unethical motive apparent (such as money, notoriety,or in the case of a family member, former lover, or spouse, vengeance)”

    This jumped out at me because it’s something that actor Stephen Collins’ team has been tossing out to try to negate tapes on which he apparently confessed to exposing himself to young girls. They argue that Collins’ wife only released the tapes to get a bigger monetary settlement in their divorce.

    If she only did it for that reason, she’s not a great person either. But that doesn’t mean Collins isn’t as guilty as sin.

    Hollywood has a rationalization for even the worst conduct. Shame on us if we accept one because the bright lights blind us.

    • Both Bills, and Hillary, will always be aces with Hollywood, no doubt about it.

      • Jim

        Sexual predators litter the Hollywood landscape. It’s been talked about for decades, and proven by cases like Polanski, etc. Lived there for a bunch of years and heard all the talk about the “casting couch”. But the double standard applies for Progressives, so there is no public pressure for these people to be held accountable.
        BTW, I’m pretty sure Cosby is guilty, but perhaps I’m running afoul of your guidelines, because I’m pretty sure just about EVERYONE in power in Hollywood has also committed these crimes for decades and decades.

        • I can say with confidence that that last sentence is a wild over-generalization. I have a close relative who was significant Hollywood star, and many friends and associates in the business. That’s an outrageously unfair accusation.

          • Moreover, you are giving Cosby an “everybody does it” pass, just like those who continue supporting corrupt politicians because “he’s no worse than the rest.” Bullshit, to be blunt. There are not a lot of serial rapists in Hollywood.

  2. Michael Ejercito

    However, it is society’s duty to maintain social norms, values and ethical standards of conduct by condemning and shunning those who prominently violate them.

    And society does that by judging these matters in court. The problem is, it is too late to bring these matters to court.

    • In court?? That’s far too limited. We show it by visibly not liking, not tolerating, not partonizing, not honoring and not promoting individuals who pollute society and the culture.

      What’s Ethics Alarms, chopped liver??

    • I don’t know if I fully believe the allegations. I don’t know if the girls and women involved should bear some responsibility for choosing to become impaired. I don’t know if Cosby’s career will long survive this uproar – Netflix is dropping all of Cosby’s works in response, and that’ll cost someone a pretty penny.

      But I do know that I don’t feel completely at ease with the notion that he faces ruin. That there is no evidence, no words, nothing he could present in his own defense. No courtroom, no trial, no lawyers. That the man who allegedly committed these acts did so a lifetime ago. I’ll admit that the women who have come out don’t have much tangibly to gain – but I also know all too well that revenge, hatred, defending existent lies, even merely time in the spotlight can be powerful motivators for some people (bearing in mind that pursuing justice, speaking the truth, and protecting the innocent are well – it could be any of them, all of them, or more.) There must, however, be SOME motive somewhere, or they would not be stepping forward – if there was truly nothing to gain.

      But I do know that his works have always made me laugh, and I will appreciate them for years to come. I know I’ve heard wisdom from him, and these crimes don’t change the wisdom, either. I might not choose to leave my daughter alone with him. And I know that the court of public opinion makes very few wise choices, it is a terrible thing to be tried by it, guilty or innocent, and true justice is rarely found there.

      • dragin_dragon

        Aaron, I agree, wholeheartedly. I also agree with Jack, that with this much smoke there must be a fire, but I have enjoyed his comedy for so long, and respected his positions on taking responsibility for your self for so long, it is difficult, if not impossible for me to condemn him as easily as the media has. I’ll get my head around it eventually, I’m sure, but for now, I’ll remain conflicted.

      • Rich in CT

        >>”I don’t know if the girls and women involved should bear some responsibility for choosing to become impaired.”?????

        The women claim to have been DRUGGED!!!!

        >>”That there is no evidence, no words, nothing he could present in his own defense.”

        Yes there are. He could say, in so many words, that he did not rape these women. He has not even mustered those words, and perhaps could not honestly muster them.

        • Rich in CT

          I wonder why the response was so lacking here; I see the response got a much more prominent position…

          • Humble Talent

            I agree with Aaron on this. I’m uncomfortable with allegations without proof, as if the allegation is proof. We’ve seen this time and time again, someone is accused of something, and then all of a sudden there is an avalanche of accusations. What could it be? Well, the first allegation could have emboldened other victims. OR. The allegation could have shown gold diggers and spotlight seekers a way to get what they want. There may be an element of either here.

            I think it’s far more likely that he did it than not. But like I said, I’m loathe to judge or take action without proof. I put some thought as to what that proof would look like. Paying those settlements made him look bad, granted, but isn’t proof in and of itself. I think the proof for me will be if someone corroborates the victim stories. These people were surrounded by other people, someone had to see something, hear something, and someone has to have had an ethics alarm.

            • Rich (in CT)

              Well, journalist have interviewed the confidants of some of the victims. While the victims may not have gone public, they did tell some people in a timely manner, and these individual corroborated that they were told soon after the incidents. Granted, they could be in on the deal, but when conspiracy theories start requiring evermore people to be “in”, the theory precipitously looses credibility.

              The second damning piece of evidence is that Mr. Cosby has simply never plainly denied that he raped these women. He lawyers, too, never used language that spoke of actual innocence. While this evidence is purposefully not admissible in a court of law, the court of public opinion is allowed to infer guilt and shun the man who probably used his fame to exploit women he mentored. Remove the fame and admiration, remove the primary tool of his illicit trade.

        • Rich in CT

          *wondered

  3. George

    Just curious, Jack, why do you assume that he is guilty?

    • George

      Never mind, just read your recent post.

    • You’ve got to be kidding. Read my comments after the Comment of the Day, posted this morning. I have a hard time imagining why any objective person would not think he’s guilty.

      But I’m not assuming, I’m concluding. I work in this area…both areas, in fact: sexual harassment and show business. Short summary:

      1. 16 unrelated victims never arise to accuse an innocent man.
      2. The emergence of multiple victims is a the watermark of a serial harasser.
      3. Celebrities have infinite resources to intimidate victims.
      4. Cosby’s responses have been evasive and dishonest.
      5. He settled the one lawsuit against him rather than vet the accusations in a public forum.
      6. When 13 accusers were on record, I predicted there were more. It is now up to 16.

      The primary counter argument is “But he’s so funny and seems like such a wonderful guy!”

      7. I’m not impressed. This is what actors and sociopaths are good at.

  4. I’ve never ceased to be amazed by the ability of people to excuse, ignore or deny the worst things possible about someone they like, for whatever reason. If idiots can run around with Che Guevara t-shirts, Bill Cosby can pose no serious problem when it comes to ethical gymnastics.

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