Stop Your Cultural Bulldozing, America: Disney World Taking Down Bill Cosby’s Bust Is Like Removing The Jefferson Memorial

airbrushingNews Item, from the Orlando Sentinel:

Bill Cosby’s statue is being removed from Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park, a Walt Disney World spokeswoman said Tuesday evening. The statue was to come down Tuesday night after the park closed. Disney did not have further comment. The bronze bust’s removal comes after court documents unsealed Monday revealed that Cosby testified in 2005 he had obtained Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to women with whom he wanted to have sex. The Associated Press had gone to court to get the documents released. Dozens of women have come forward in the past year saying Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them as far back as 40 years ago.

That’s funny; last I heard Bill Cosby was still recognized as a major trailblazer in stand-up, TV comedy, and television integration (remember “I Spy”?), an important positive cultural force for race relations and black community self esteem, and a spectacularly talented comedian with a unique voice and presence. None of that has changed. Those were the achievements that prompted Cosby’s bust’s inclusion in Disney’s Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza, along with celebrities such as Lucille Ball and Oprah Winfrey who, like the Cos,  have been inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. O.J. Simpson is still honored in the College Football Hall of Fame, because he was one of the greatest college stars ever. His post-career hobby as a murderer, like Bill’s extra-curricular activities as a serial rapist, have nothing to do with the honor, just as Cosby earned and still deserves, his honor for what he achieved on stage and screen.

Sure, it’s uncomfortable having a bust of an unapologetic sexual predator in a Disney World attraction, and it might prompt some uncomfortable question from the kiddies. Well, good. It’s never too soon to learn that human beings are flawed, complex creatures, and that even the most brilliant and talented have dark sides, do terrible things,  and can be cruel, selfish, dishonest and even criminal. We honor Thomas Jefferson for his crucial role in giving this nation life, and defining its mission and values for the ages. We’re not honoring his hypocrisy, his cowardice, his own rapes,  or his slaveholding. Disney World, of all places, should understand this, since its progenitor was both a genius and a man who left a lot of circumstantial evidence in his legacy that he was anti-Semitic.

“First they came for Cosby, and we did not speak out…”

There is no stop to this slippery slope, and the political correctness mob will never stop. Yesterday the House of  Representatives voted without dissent to ban Confederate flags from national cemeteries, as well as confirming the Park Service’s hysterical order that Confederate flags cannot be sold as souvenirs at Confederate army battlefields. A man who died under the Confederate flag can’t have that flag placed on his grave one day a year? A child who wants to learn about the Civil War and collect artifacts and symbols is prevented from doing so by government power?

Stop airbrushing your history, your heroes, your geniuses and your trailblazers, America. 

It is wrong—dishonest, incompetent, unfair, irresponsible, destructive….and so, so short-sighted and stupid.

Yes, it takes courage to oppose this tidal wave of political correctness—surely some in this country still have courage, right? I know it’s scary in an environment where the immense weight of the news media, the internet and the government are constantly teaming up to smear and destroy anyone who dares to take unpopular positions—that means, “rational positions based on more nuanced analysis than the average internet meme from Move-On”—or who tries to slow  one of the  unreasoning, destructive , runaway cultural freight trains that are bearing down on American society with increasing frequency. But prominent people stood up to Joe McCarthy, opposed popular wars, fought for civil rights, and have repeatedly risked reputation, employment, friendships and even their lives to insist on sanity, proportion and rationality when it was being swept aside by coalitions of the opportunistic, the Machiavellian and the ignorant. Surely there are prominent Americans who will stand up to this? Hello? Is anybody there?

Because this isn’t just airbrushing. It is bulldozing. And the culture, history and perspective it will leave the nation with will be flat, bleak, and a lie.

But oh so inoffensive.

62 thoughts on “Stop Your Cultural Bulldozing, America: Disney World Taking Down Bill Cosby’s Bust Is Like Removing The Jefferson Memorial

  1. Actually, it is offensive…offensive as HELL! The Confederate troops fought and died for a cause they believed in, and served under that flag, or one like it. They should have the right to lie under that flag in death. This isn’t just offensive, it is ugly and vile. Do these people have no shame?

    • Should Wehrmacht soldiers lie under swastikas? Should Red Army guardsmen lie under the hammer and sickle? I agree that the complete memory-holing of important cultural events because they don’t match up with current moral sensibilities is wrong, but there’s gotta be a line…

      • “Should Wehrmacht soldiers lie under swastikas?”
        I can understand and agree with arguments for a “no” answer, but I really and begrudgingly will initially say yes, but only they requested it. Most Wehrmacht soldiers were not party members.

        “Should Red Army guardsmen lie under the hammer and sickle?”
        This is a yes, though hesitantly. But arguments for “no” are weaker than above.

        And as Jack admonishes, all must be educated enough and be on their game to answer questions and explain that what they fought for was evil.

      • I know your not equating Nazi-ism with the Confederates, and I will not insult your intelligence by acting like I do. However, the Soviet flag for those veterans of the Great Patriotic War…you betcha. As you say, there does have to be a line, and, arguably, it is crossed by murdering 14 million Jews.

  2. This also prompts a question. How long will it be before the various state flags, of those states who joined the confederacy are also banned, on the grounds that they were slave states and, hence, those flags are racist? And are the politically correct idiots prepared for the consequences of such an action?

    • Certain of them, like Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas (although not in an obvious way) Alabama, and Florida, have references to the Confederacy in them, and so in this thinking are going to have to come down.

      I think Cosby is targeted for removal because he is seen as a betrayal of everything he supposedly stood for in life, playing either the funny guy or the devoted family man and standing up supposedly for traditional values, even in the ghetto. All of that concealed a serial rapist, worse indeed than Clinton. There’s a feeling we all got duped and we’re angry. This man belongs in jail, but he will never spend a day behind bars, and these women he raped have to see him walking around free and know he’s got a statue in Disney? They yanked Joe Paterno’s statue at Penn State because he was complicit in Jerry Sandusky’s crimes, not directly involved. Cosby committed the crimes himself.

      That said, going after the Jefferson Memorial is insane. The guy didn’t lead the perfect personal life, true, and he may have fathered a child with a slave. He also laid the foundations for everything this country is supposed to stand for. If we’re going to reexamine every single monument and person we honor, we’re going to have to appoint a 30-man or larger commission. Who should be on it and what standards should they use? Is the next step to start pulling the monuments to the Confederate leaders and units off the Civil War battlefields? Andrew Jackson wasn’t exactly a humanitarian to the Indians, do we yank his statue out of New Orleans and rename Jackson Square? My area is dotted with memorials to Columbus and Magellan and the other explorer figures we grew up reading about in grade school, do they all have to come down too? What about places where emerging Americans defeated the Indians? Tippecanoe? Bushy Run? Horseshoe Bend? Have the monuments all got to go?

      Assuming they do, what do we do afterward? Just turn the places into parking lots? Leave the empty plinths up as monuments to our own more enlightened thinking? Or do we go the other way and put up new memorials to figures deemed politically correct? What do we do when those figures go out of fashion?

      In my own hometown there are two streets renamed for local soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do we now decide those signs should come down because those wars are deemed mistakes?

      The questions could frankly roll on and on, but there are frankly very few aspects of American history or figures in that history that are totally admirable with no objectionable features if you go below the surface. A history that consists only of villains and victims is simply not worth reading.

      • First, that’s OK with me…that’s kinda what we wanted in the first place.
        Second, I am currently flying an American flag in front of my house. If the State flags are made illegal, I will replace it with a Republic of Texas flag. It flies between a Gadsden flag and a Gonzales flag, and if anyone wants to remove it…well, Come And Take It.

  3. I have no problem with them taking down Cosby’s bust. They could put MLKs bust in it’s place, or Benjamin O Davis. The old rapist doesn’t deserve to be honored. As far as the Confederate flag, if some long dead Confederate soldier fought under it, his ancestors should not be barred from placing one at his grave.

    • Am I imagining that I wrote, fairly clearly, I thought, that he still deserves to be honored for exactly what he was honored for, since his actions in regards to other matters do not change his accomplishments in that area at all? I’m almost certain I wrote that…

        • Happily? Not happily. Personally. I can’t bear watching Woody in anything. Or Alec Baldwin. Or Mel Gibson. Polanski has always been a great director, but no, I won’t watch Rosemary’s baby again. But that’s my own cognitive dissonance.

          Elia Kazan.

          • You ruined my night by reminding me of Kazan. I spent over an hour looking up each person he turned over to the commission. Also, he refused to apologize (even later in life) for doing this.

            • He was a coward. Lots of great artists are cowards, but it’s not relevant to their art. Lots of artists are courageous human beings, and hacks as artists. A great artist doesn’t have to be a great human being, or even a good one, to warrant deserved credit for his or her art.

                • I don’t see what’s interesting about it. (That’s a line from 12 Angry Men, by the way.) Politicians are, by definition, leaders, Courage, integrity, ethics and the respect for law is part of leadership. A coward cannot be extolled as a leader, or we endorse cowardice. Character cannot be partitioned from leadership. Character has nothing to do with artists. Mozart was awful. So was Wagner. So was Richard Rodgers.

                  I agree that the public is just easily confused on this score; all the more important no to blur the standards. Jefferson deserves honor for writing the Declaration. You could almost call that “art.” He didn’t belong on Mt. Rushmore, assuming that was for great presidents.

                  • Who do you think influences our children the most these days? Politicians or Hollywood? My money is on Hollywood. Your analysis would be correct back in the day where there was no Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Now, our young people follow every moment of stars’ lives as well as sports figures.

      • It does not matter what you wrote, we do not want to honor a serial rapist in a children’s theme park no matter any good accomplishments he may have managed when he was not busy destroying lives.

      • He threw it all away by his activities. Benedict Arnold was a great general but I can’t hardly imagine him being honored in any way. If Cosby would have “fessed up” a long time ago, perhaps one might cut him some slack. But no, Hollywood protected him and things went on and on.

        • Well, a war hero cancels out any accomplishments by turning on his own side—that’s directly related to the reason for honoring him, which vanishes once he betrays his comrades. That’s not analogous to a great artist who is a cannibal, a terrorist or a child-rapist on the side. The Art remains great.

            • I don’t think so. The argument isn’t that Cosby built up credits at the honor bank, but that his deficits are unrelated to the assets. He can be left out of the human being hall of fame, be placed in the hypocrites’ hall of Shame, and still deserve his honors for making people laugh.

        • I really understand why Arnold did it. I think most people would have changed sides in Arnold’s place. OK, I think 99.9999% of people would have changed sides in Arnold’s place. I think everyone should learn about Benedict Arnold so we can all learn that competence matters and that cronyism and harassment by such cronies is a serious problem and should not be tolerated.

  4. Can we reasonably expect to see statues of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Malcolm X proliferating around the country? I wonder how much truth is going to be told about Bill Clinton when statues of him start to proliferate.

  5. Q: Dad, who do you like better, Crosby or Sinatra?
    A: One’s a child-beater and the other swims with gangsters. What’s there to like? . . . Oh, you mean their singing . . . .

  6. A good and respected friend just chided me on Facebook for arguing that the same logic that Disney used to erase a legitimate honor based on Cosby’s accomplishments that are in the book, done and validated, could be…and might me…used to airbrush Thomas Jefferson out of the pantheon. He calls it an unjustified slippery slope argument. I see no evidence that his no-slip argument is supported by the facts. CNN keeps playing the emotional speech by the South Carolina rep Jenny Horn last night who said repeatedly that the Confederate flag should be removed BECAUSE 1) The people of S.C. wanted it and 2) Dylann Roof killed 9 people while extolling that symbol. If our representatives, opinion makers and journalists justify cultural purging in those general terms, why is it hyperbole to conclude that the same argument would be used elsewhere? A symbol must be deleted because a mass killer chose to embrace it? Is that all it takes? The people demand it? Is that all it takes to justify doing the wrong thing? Right now the activists and race-baiters are focusing on Confederate leaders, their statues, their monuments, the schools and buildings named after them. If that succeeds, Robert E. Lee is next, and if that succeeds, why would Jefferson be immune? And Washington? If the next mass killer has a video in which he rants about how Jefferson knew how to treat blacks, why wouldn’t Jenny use the same emotional argument?

    • Which takes us back to the “sobbing testimony vs. measured testimony” discussion we had after Sandy Hook. Moral panics fueled by sobbing rhetoric are not how this nation is supposed to run.

    • I’ve got to admit that I sort of agree with the judge. Not, actually, because of any legal principal, because I suspect there was none, but out of embarrassment. I was, to be totally truthful, one of the folks that said “Cosby? Not a chance. No way did he do this.” In part, I have to admit, because I admired the message, and generalized to the messenger. I realize that the two should be kept separate, but still. That’s a hard thing to do, as this judge is finding out.

  7. “I have no problem with them taking down Cosby’s bust. They could put MLKs bust in it’s place, or Benjamin O Davis.”

    I think this goes beyond whitewashing. I am waiting to hear that all records the Fat Albert Show and the Cosby Show will be eliminated. All awards they earned will be awarded to others and the records changed. I think this is a slippery slope. We have already heard the calls for things like publishers to only publish women for a year, or only allow women’s sports for a year. Too many people think that sounds reasonable. Will we replace George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as presidents because they help opinions and performed acts that aren’t permissible today? Will we rewrite the histories to make somebody else president? How would this be different than removing Cosby’s bust and honors?

    We are not shy at falsifying history. My history books all make it very clear that the Rosenbergs were innocent and their crimes trumped-up to cause anti-Communist hysteria despite the fact that those writers all knew it to be false. Current history books are careful to eliminate any mention of religion that would counter current interpretations of the first amendment or that would impart any importance to it at all (unless it was an undesirable consequence). You can also see this is the commonly held notion that Jefferson was not at all a Christian and was a deist or not religious at all. Of all the things I have read, Jefferson would have fit right in at most of the churches I have attended and Jefferson did attend church, the Episcopal church (where he raised his daughters) and in the Capitol when he was in Washington, D.C. (church services were held there).

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