Posts Tagged ‘Bill Cosby’

Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby and droit du seigneur

December 31, 2015

I noted – or thought I noted – that Hillary Clinton’s attack on Trump’s “sexist attitudes” petered out when he responded by bringing up Lewinsky and Bill Clinton. How Bill Clinton got away with his blatant sexism and treatment of women in awe of his position still perplexes me. It was a period when a display of “sexual power” by Bill Clinton in the US seemed to be admired by the electorate just as much as Silvio Berlusconi’s bunga-bunga excesses were admired by the electorate in Italy.

I am not sure though that what Bill Clinton got away with as a minor transgressions, can be transformed and utilised by Hillary Clinton as being something positive and to her benefit. In fact, that she was quite as forgiving of his peccadilloes as she was does not reflect that well on her today. It suggests that she also shared his attitudes of the time. It will not be long before his strategic blunders in Somalia and his downright cowardice in Rwanda are compared to her apparent incompetence in Benghazi, Libya.

But today as Bill Cosby finally faces a criminal charge, it occurred to me that there is a commonality of the attitudes exhibited by Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby. They both felt their positions entitled them to certain “perquisites”. No doubt it was, to some extent, an attitude of the times they reigned in, but that does not excuse them. There were very many others of their time, who also reigned as kings of all they surveyed, but who did not succumb to the de facto power they had. They both effectively believed in a form of Droit du Seigneur. Bill Cosby reigned as king of the TV world and all aspiring young women, who felt he could be of some advantage to their careers, were seen by him as “fair game”and part of his right of office. Bill Clinton was king of the White House, and all female groupies, interns and the like caught up in his train, were also seen as “fair game”, and part of his perquisites of office. Neither could (or can) see that they did anything wrong. Hillary Clinton also accepted – perhaps reluctantly and only by default – Bill Clinton’s Droit de Seigneur at that time. Her relatively weak “feminist” credentials are not enhanced by her acceptance of Bill Clinton’s transgressions.

It does not mean that Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton were not likeable. They still are. So was Rolf Harris. But they represent a time that has gone and attitudes that are not defensible – even for their times. They could have chosen – as others chose – not to indulge in the excesses available to them.

I am not sure that Hillary Clinton can get any advantage – except among the already converted – by relying too much on Bill Clinton’s support.

 

Cosby admitted in 2005 that he was a sexual predator

July 7, 2015

No further defense is possible.

Why are the courts delaying? Why not put him in the same cell as Rolf Harris?

Reuters:

Comedian Bill Cosby testified in 2005 that he had obtained Quaaludes with the intent of giving the sedatives to young women in order to have sex with them, according to court documents unsealed on Monday. Cosby, 77, made the admission during testimony in a civil case brought by a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand, who alleged that Cosby tricked her into taking drugs before he sexually assaulted her.

The case was settled for an undisclosed sum in 2006 but the documents in the case were unsealed on Monday after the Associated Press went to court. ……….

Cosby testified that in the 1970s he had obtained seven prescriptions for Quaaludes, the brand name for a sedative and muscle relaxant that was widely abused as a recreational drug in the 1970s. 

“When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” Cosby was asked in the 2005 deposition.

“Yes,” he replied.

A phrase for Cosby? – “a darker shade of black”

November 22, 2014

The richness of a language lies not only in the number of words it commands but also in the manner in which they can be modified or combined to convey some nuance of meaning and which nuance is then understood as intended.  The modification of or combining of words can be by following existing rules or current conventions of usage and even by the breaking of current conventions. A new modification or word combination only becomes part of the language if

  1. the intended meaning is successfully conveyed, and
  2. the usage of the new word(s)/usage spreads.

Thus while reading about the collapse of the House of Cosby as story follows story about his predatory behaviour with younger girls, the words of one of my favourite songs from the 60s came to mind – Procol Harum’s “A whiter shade of pale”  which was a thinly disguised song about a drunken seduction.

And so it was that later,
As the miller told his tale,
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale.

What the word combination “a whiter shade of pale” conveys depends on how it is interpreted in the recipient’s mind. Part of the impact of this song at that time lay in the strange and psychedelic pictures that that particular phrase conjured up. And it triggered for me the thought that Bill Cosby’s past behaviour was proving to be “a darker shade of black”.

And so it was that later,
As the facade began to crack,
that the soul of William Cosby,
showed as a darker shade of black.

Both these phrases use the powerful linguistic trick of invoking something impossible – a state beyond some absolute limit.  The listener/reader gets the point. (Strictly it ought to be “a paler shade of white” since paler than white should be impossible while whiter than pale is not). Other variants of the same linguistic form could be:

  • a blacker shade of dark
  • better than the best
  • worse than the worst
  • greater than the infinite
  • harder than diamond
  • softer than a feather
  • faster than lightning
  • stronger than steel
  • over the top
  • under the bottom
  • hotter than hell
  • colder than space
  • before the beginning
  • after the end
  • rounder than a sphere …….

Equally powerful is the use of antonyms, with one as an adjective for another but which serves to emphasise rather than negate some characteristic.

  • Infinitely small
  • Expanding infinity
  • The living dead
  • An evil goodness
  • A brilliant darkness
  • Surreptitious refulgence
  • A tumultuous lethargy
  • Brawny erudition
  • A restive calm
  • Relaxed turbulence
  • Solicitous indifference
  • An awakening ignorance
  • A concentrated diffusion
  • A historical future
  • A caring predator
  • Robust fragility
  • Enlightened disillusion …..

In the case of Bill Cosby, he is now being engulfed by his past and is surrounded by an expanding halo of an aggressive, licentious and debauched history.

Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and now Bill Cosby — but their predatory behaviour had accomplices

November 14, 2014

Many apparently wholesome and high profile figures in the entertainment industry are now being revealed as ravenous, sexual predators.

But this post is not about the predators themselves. They were bad enough. I suppose their behaviour is a case of being caught up in the maelstrom in the “behavioural field of fame and riches ” which makes it impossible for any kind of “behavioural moral compass” to operate. The latest revelations about Bill Cosby’s behaviour for over 30 years follows that revealed about Jimmy Saville’s predatory behaviour and that of the archetypal “good guy” Rolf Harris (who is now serving a prison sentence). There are a number of other cases, of rich and famous individuals in the entertainment industry, who preyed upon the “pretty young things” aspiring to make a break-through or who were just overwhelmed by the glitter and glamour, which are now going through “due process”.

I suppose all the rich and famous are subject to false claims of exploitation. But the police and media and lawyers who received claims against high profile figures seem to have dismissed them all as being false. But these predators who were all rich and famous did not prey and feed in isolation. They were always surrounded by their fawning entourages who could not have been unaware. Some actively helped their principals to feed. How come they were all silent? And their silence makes them all complicit. Some just waited for the principal to feed and then stuffed themselves with their leavings.  Or – as in the case of Jimmy Saville – the police and press were intimidated by his “high-level” contacts within their own organisations. What happened to all their moral compasses? One law for the rich?

The morality of our behaviour – it seems – depends upon the field in which we operate. Could it be that when we enter their “behavioural field of fame and riches” our moral compasses also go haywire?

As one of Cosby’s victims writes in the Washington Post:

The entertainment world is rife with famous men who use their power to victimize and then silence young women who look up to them. Even when their victims speak out, the industry and the public turn blind eyes; these men’s celebrity, careers, and public adulation continue to thrive. Even now, Cosby has a new comedy special coming out on Netflix and NBC is set to give him a new sitcom.

Fixing this problem demands more than public shaming. For Cosby to commit these assaults against multiple victims over several years, there had to be a network of willfully blind wallflowers at best, or people willing to aid him in committing these sexual crimes at worst. As I told the Daily Mail, when I was a teenager, his assistants transported me to hotels and events to meet him. When I blacked out at Cosby’s home, there were several staffers with us. My agent, who introduced me to Cosby, had me take a pregnancy test when I returned from my last trip with him. Talent agents, hotel staff, personal assistants and others who knowingly made arrangements for Cosby’s criminal acts or overlooked them should be held equally accountable.

 


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